Hi everyone! I guess I’ll start off with a little about myself before I go into my testimony. My full name is Linda Sierra Smith but I go by my middle name. I am 23 years old, a senior at Liberty University, and majoring in crisis counseling with a minor in Christian counseling. I am an avid lover of all dogs, knitting, and photography. With that being said, I will start getting into what this post is meant to be about.
This isn’t my testimony in its entirety (my testimony grows each day), but what God has led me share today and I am sure he will lead me to share more as I move forward with this blog.
I was raised in church; I even learned how to walk by hobbling up and down the aisles of my church and holding the pews for support. I was saved when I was 5 years old and in kindergarten when my teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I replied “missionary” with zero hesitation. In middle and high school I was known as the “church girl” and people came to me whenever they wanted prayer or needed to just talk. The point of everything I just said… or typed… is to show that I knew the truth, I knew God and I still went astray.
When you’re told that you will never see the people you went to high school with after you graduate, that’s pretty much the truth. When I started college, I knew no one and I felt completely and utterly alone (you will see that loneliness is the root of most of my troubles and something that Satan uses against me frequently.) However, I connected with a girl from a sorority we were both considering joining and we quickly became close friends. I knew from the beginning that she was not a Christian but I honestly thought that it wouldn’t be a big deal. She never pressured me to do anything I didn’t want to (drink, curse, smoke etc.) and she never said anything negative about my belief in God. It did matter though. When you’re told that you are who your friends are, it’s also pretty much the truth. I told myself that I was strong enough in my faith that the actions of the people around me would have no effect on me, but I was wrong. It was gradual, so slow that I didn’t notice it for a long time, but it did affect me.
I want to clarify that I in no way blame this friend for anything. I was lonely and wanted a friend and Satan saw this as an opportunity to attack. Unfortunately, I did not put up much of a fight.
The closer I got to this person the more I began to act like her because I wanted to fit in. Before this time, I had never had any alcohol but because she drank, I began to drink on occasion, I began cursing and I stopped talking about my faith because honestly I felt to0 guilty about my behavior to even mention it.
I started distancing myself from God and the further I pulled away from him, the lonelier I felt and the more lonely I felt, the more I turned to other worldly things to feel better about myself. Naive me thought that a man could fix the loneliness I was feeling, so I began looking for a boyfriend. I pretty much did anything I could to get a man’s attention, including some things that I am not proud of, but no matter what I did I still felt completely and utterly alone.
But even though I had abandoned God, He never abandoned me. The things I got myself into were bad, but they could of have been much worse. While I started drinking, I never got drunk. Even though I was exposed to them, I never did drugs. Though I was desperate for a man’s attention, I never lost my purity. God was still there, pressing at the back of my mind and keeping me from going too far.
Then one morning I woke up and I realized that I couldn’t feel God’s presence anymore. I could pretend to be following Christ and fool pretty much everyone around me but I couldn’t hide the truth from myself or God. I would like to say that I immediately repented but that is not the case. I was so ashamed that I convinced myself, or rather, Satan convinced me that God could never forgive me and I went on trying to bury the guilt and shame on my own.
Eventually, I realized that I couldn’t carry my guilt and shame around with me anymore and I poured my heart out to God. The amount of relief and peace I felt afterwards is honestly indescribable. As soon as I finished praying I realized how crazy I was for thinking that God couldn’t forgive me; couldn’t love me. I’m not going to lie and say that things have been easy, breezy since because they haven’t. My relationship with God is something that I am still working on building back up to what it used to be. I still struggle with feelings of guilt and shame (something that Satan often uses against me), sometimes I still get lonely and I still face temptations from my past. However, I’ve learned that these are things that I cannot face on my own and if I try to I will just end up in the same boat I was in before. I’ve learned to trust God, to not let me guard down, and not to put faith in my own strength.
As far as the girl I was friends with, we’ve went out separate ways. It was a hard but I honestly felt like I couldn’t move forward in my relationship with her because I would have ended up falling into my past behavior again. I also transferred from my local college and started taking online courses through Liberty University which provides a much better environment learn and grow. And last of all, I am not dating; I am embracing my relationship with God, making Him my priority, and trusting He will lead me to who I am supposed to be with.
Last of all, I would like to thank you for reading this because I have never shared this with anyone. I am looking forward to getting to know my brothers and sisters in Christ!