"You're right where you need to be...You are. Just keep pressing into community. You're at the right place for that because we're going to love you here." That's what my new family member Jolie whispered to me right before I climbed into the baptism pool. I knew that she was so right, and I could feel it deep down in my soul.
Having grown up with Christian parents, I was raised in the church; I believed that it was about being my best for God so that I could earn His love. It was always religion but never relationship, so I constantly tried to impress Him and those around me with the perfect grades, the perfect body, etc. None of it was ever "good enough." By the time I finished my second year of college, I was exhausted and just couldn't put on a show of perfection anymore. So I started partying and turning to boys to fulfill me. I put my religion to the side and said, "If God can't satisfy me, then maybe this other stuff can." And it did for awhile, but then it became this cycle of feeling empty so I'd go out with friends to get drunk, go home with a guy I'd just met that night to receive that feeling of acceptance and being wanted. Then the next day would come and the emptiness would return. Always.
I thought I came up to NYC just to pursue acting but God had different plans... A friend invited me to C3 Brooklyn, and when I came for the first time, I was welcomed by people that truly showed me the love of Jesus. God reminded me that I was made for more than just seeking temporary satisfaction and earthly love. My heart was hesitant because I was scared that God wouldn't be enough to satisfy me. Yet, something within me wanted so badly to surrender to Him, so I did and recommitted my life. I heard that baptisms were the following week and felt that was what my next step needed to be. I was astounded by the response of love and excitement from people that I had just met at C3. The night of baptisms I literally felt the Holy Spirit whispering to my soul, restoring and refreshing me. In the pool Pastor Josh asked me if I was ready to turn from my old ways and receive forgiveness... yes, my answer was YES! I came up from the water a new person. As cliche as it sounds, it's so true! I know this is not some spiritual high. This is real, and for the first time ever, I feel what it's like to be in a relationship with Jesus versus having a manmade religion. I am so unbelievably humbled and grateful that, even though I had forsaken Jesus to gain the world, He never once abandoned me or quit pursuing me with His relentless love. Never. Coming to NYC I felt hopeless and fearful, but now I have joy and confidence for the journey ahead!
// Addi Limehouse