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Sheylah - Montana

I grew up in a Christian home that talked about following Christ, but really never let Him have control of our actions. Our family had surface level relationships, with no real connection to each other. I studied God’s Word for six years, and God showed me what life should look like if we actually follow Him. I didn’t know how to carry it out though. I didn’t know what it looks like to live out Christianity in a practical daily lifestyle. I prayed that God would send someone who could show me… and He answered, but not necessarily in the way I expected, or even wanted at the time.

I began going to a Bible college for a year, and during that time, our parents filed for divorce. Jon heard about our situation and ended up coming up and working with us through his break free workshop. I dreaded every minute of it. He asked what I considered to be vulnerable questions that I hated answering because I didn't trust my family, especially my parents, enough to feel comfortable sharing my heart with them. He reached the part of forgiveness in his workshop, and asked me if I wanted to forgive. I didn't want to place myself in a position of vulnerability, so I said no. I was torn over all of it because I knew God commands us to forgive, but I really did not want to. All I could think about was the worst case scenario of entrusting myself, my feelings and emotions and thoughts and everything I'd been keeping to myself, to people I had zero trust for, and that was the scariest thought to me at that time.

After Jon did the first part of his workshop with us, I wrestled in prayer a lot the next couple of days. I pleaded with God, asking Him to go about it a different way because I wanted to do anything but work through all of this with my family. A professor at the Bible college told me that if I couldn't get past this point with my family, it would limit my spiritual growth. That was the worst threat anyone could ever give me because my relationship with Christ is the most valuable thing to me. I didn't want to obey God, but I was more scared to find out what would happen if I didn't do what God commanded me to do, and even exemplified for me through his Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus tells us in John 13, after he washes his disciples feet, that a servant isn't above his master. Jesus Christ showed us what it looks like to forgive people in the worst possible circumstances. As followers of Jesus Christ, we have no right to do anything but what He has done and commanded us to do. He isn't telling us to do something He Himself has never done before. He commands us to follow His example.

I finally reached a point in which I did not want me to be in the way of my relationship with Christ. People and circumstances couldn't hinder me; only my choices on how to respond had that power. When the opportunity presented itself, I forgave and reconciled with my parents. Suddenly that Mount Everest fear became an anthill. One step of obedience showed me what it looks like to die to myself daily. It's doing what makes you uncomfortable if God commands it. Since God's Word is true and His character wholly trustworthy, I can know and trust that what He says is better than what I think or feel no matter how much I don't feel like it. Letting go of that fear and pain took away a huge weight and left me with an unexplainable peace and freedom. I am able to live life to the fullest because God's love in me isn't hindered by fear or hurt!

God answered my prayer and sent Jon to help our family. Through him, God has been showing me how to walk out my faith. God has changed my standard of living from comfort to purposefully choosing uncomfortable situations so that I may grow closer to Him more and more!

God's Word is the foundation of the Christian walk, but application of it is the building: it's the last piece of the puzzle. When you combine knowledge of Christianity with lifestyle, you get the most fulfilling life centered around Christ, our Cornerstone. He is so good, and so faithful! Praise God for all He is and does!

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