Campus Ambassadors @ UAlbany

Alyssa’s Story…

I grew up as a regular church attender with my family. My mom especially encouraged me in faith by instilling a belief in Jesus and a set of moral principles to follow. Despite all this, I was not a particularly well behaved child. Although my acts of mischief were relatively small, they were still sinful rebellions as I often acted with the knowledge that I was doing something wrong.

I was very afraid of being “sent to hell” as a kid, partially because of the “fire and brimstone” preacher who taught at our church but mostly, I think, because I was keenly aware that my life lacked a relationship with Jesus as a father and redeemer. I knew he was God’s son, that he was perfect and good and that he died for my sins but he was still a distant figure.

Over the summer before I turned 10, I went to a Christian camp where the gospel was of central focus, there I became a true follower of Christ. I had previously used Christianity as a sort of safety net for my fear; I didn’t want to change anything in my life, I certainly had no understanding of the incredible grace of Christ, I simply wanted to avoid hell. Yet Scripture teaches us that God loves us with a perfect love that casts out all fear.

When I truly began to follow Christ, I finally learned that salvation has nothing to do with my attempts to be “good” and everything to do with God’s amazing love. It was through this that Jesus became not the impersonal embodiment of a horrifying and holy standard but instead a friend whose unconditional acceptance I could rely on. I began reading the Bible daily after that. I used to find scripture dull, but I soon had a strong desire to read God’s word [the Bible] and learn from it. I also began to pray daily, and not just for simple requests as before; I began to thank God and praise him. I asked forgiveness for my sins, not out of some fear that I would be pushed away from his presence but out of a repentant heart that longed to please the friend I loved.

Unfortunately, as I grew older I began to lose interest in faith. As my church experienced trials through the loss of a pastor and no ready replacement I drifted away. Instead, I focused on school, various arts and my friends. None of these things were inherently bad but they weren’t my Savior. I hung out with people who challenged my faith and instead of growing stronger, or being a witness I was influenced by them and made some very poor decisions. After my senior year I was very lonely, and I again began to turn to God as the essence and source of life.

Renewed with a sense of purpose I entered college looking for other Christians to befriend and learn from. I was blessed to attend UAlbany, where there are many strong believers. I feel as if I’ve learned so much in the past two years, much of it related to the distressing reality of my own sin. However, I’ve also seen God’s amazing love for me, and all people, and am invigorated just thinking of it. The decision to follow Christ changes your life irrevocably, it is guaranteed to bring hardship ( as any other walk of life is bound to) but the troubles one faces as a Christian are met with the knowledge that Christ has gone before you, and walks with you as well. Christ offers this life of freedom to everyone, regardless of their past, with the all-encompassing love that only a perfect God could offer.

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Posted in Leader Stories, by Steve Bugler, 6 years, 11 months ago at 5:15 pm.

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