I never knew my dad. He and my mom divorced before I turned 1, so I never even had the chance to form a relationship with him.
After my mom and I moved to the United States from El Salvador, she got remarried and I finally felt like I had a family. But my relationship with my stepdad was never good.
I desired so badly to receive love from a father and to have that special relationship, but I felt like I wasn’t good enough. I wanted to be loved and constantly tried to establish my identity in friendships and in material things.
I needed the approval of those around me to feel valued.
But nothing filled that hole.
Around my junior year of high school, my mom and stepdad got divorced. I was angry, confused and hurt. I felt unwanted. I turned to boys, alcohol and drugs to find approval. Substances became my escape and a way to avoid my emotions. During that time, I was raped.
Before leaving for college, I was at my lowest.
I felt worthless. I had nothing else to offer. I was so lost in the partying lifestyle and was convinced that what I was experiencing was what life was all about.
During my second week of college, I was invited to Cru at the University of Central Florida, where I signed up for a small group. I left feeling surprisingly good.
I remember feeling so loved. The other women had so much joy while they were talking about this “Savior.” I wanted what they had.
As I attended small group and learned from those women, I began to understand the gospel, but I wasn’t ready to make the decision to follow Christ until I went home for Christmas break. For the first time, I became aware of the weight of sin in my life and my need for a savior.
It was as if a blindfold had been removed from my eyes. I was able to see and understand why I needed Jesus and that he LOVED me. In that moment, I accepted Christ into my life.
God has taught me so much. I’ve come to understand that I have a Heavenly Father who is crazy about me. He genuinely knows me and cares!
Because of Christ’s death on the cross, I have been forgiven and live a life free in Christ. I no longer turn to temporary things for to find my value. Although I continue to sin daily, God shows me grace daily and reminds me just how much I need Him.
I now know that my worth and identity lie fully in Jesus and in what He did for me.
When Jeff was a senior in high school, he wanted to commit suicide. But God intervened.
The time I spent with my father throughout my childhood is mostly an angry blur of yelling and crying.
Olivia discovers that only God can satisfy her need for love.
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