I never knew my Dad. He and my mom divorced before I turned one 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, though.
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 was constantly trying to establish my identity in other things like friendships and material items.
But nothing filled that hole. I felt like I needed the approval of those around me in order to feel valued and loved.
Around my junior year of high school, my mom and stepdad got divorced.
I was angry, confused, hurt and felt unwanted. I turned to boys, alcohol and drugs to gain approval and love. Substances became my escape and a way to avoid my emotions. It was in that time that 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.
The 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 and watching the other girls and the joy they had while talking about this “Savior.” I wanted what they had.
As I attended small group and began to be discipled, I began to understand the gospel. I wasn’t ready to make the decision to follow Christ until I went home 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.
I have seen God teach me so much. I’ve come to understand that I have a heavenly Father who is crazy about me. He genuinely cares and knows me.
Because of Christ’s death on the cross, I can be forgiven and live a life free in Christ. I no longer turn to temporary things for approval or worth. I know that my worth and identity lie fully in Jesus and what he did for me.
Although I continue to sin daily, I am daily shown God’s grace and reminded of just how much I need Him.
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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