I grew up thinking I was a mistake.
My mom was a teenager when she had me. My father wasn’t around. My grandparents raised me.
When I was 17, my grandmother died of lung cancer and my reaction was to ask God, “How could you do this?”
I became distant and angry with God. I could do life on my own.
One night in college, I missed dinner in the cafeteria and saw a sign for free pizza at a Cru meeting. My growling stomach told me to go, so I did.
As I munched on pizza, I heard an announcement about a spring break trip, called Big Break, in Panama City Beach, Florida.
Florida beach weather or temperatures in the 50s? My 20-year-old self knew it was a no-brainer.
At Big Break, I immediately noticed people were different. They had joy, and it wasn’t because of the beaches or the temperature. They talked about the One who gave them life. They said nothing could take Christ away.
I prayed God would show me how to find the joy I was seeing.
The next morning, I met a new friend for a walk on the beach. I began crying as I shared my story with her.
She asked me, “If you were to die tonight, what would happen?”
I thought I was a pretty decent person. I’d never stolen, I was nice to strangers, I hadn’t broken any major laws. I was going to heaven.
But, to my astonishment, I replied, “I'm going to hell.”
My friend explained that Jesus lived a perfect life that I could never live. On the cross, Jesus took my place by willingly dying a death I deserve. All I had to do was accept His gift of forgiveness.
As my tears dripped onto the sand, I asked God to take control of my life.
Beginning a relationship with Christ was like learning how to walk.
There have been many challenges, but God has tended my faith. I've learned to forgive and not harbor bitterness toward my family.
I am not a mistake. I was made for Him.
Nikki lives in Charlotte, N.C. She works for the American Red Cross as a lab technologist in the Nucleic Acid Testing Lab. Nikki loves being around friends and the families from her church. She enjoys working with children and teaching the 4-to-6-year-old Bible class on Sunday mornings.
“... instead of having [people] accept me for who I was, I tried to change into the person I thought they wanted me to be.”
When we put words to the hard parts of our stories, we can give those around us a new picture of who Jesus is.
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