Meet Katie - The awesome girl behind the first chapter of our Story Collection. The post below was written by Katie herself in order for you to get the details straight from the source. Her bravery, candidness and trust in God is encouraging and uplifting and we hope that you will feel encouraged yourself after reading this. Be sure to check out the design that was inspired by her story by visiting the Story Collection.
What does being chosen mean? Kind of depends on the context, doesn’t it? Being chosen first in an elementary school game of kickball is the best feeling ever, yet being chosen last can ruin the rest of the day. And how does someone choose between people or items in the first place? Do factors such as good looks, humor, strength, intelligence, kindness, and others drive the choice? Does someone pick a person based on the principle of worthiness? How do you know if you are worthy enough to be chosen at all?
Growing up, I didn’t really know who God was. Sure, my family went to church and I knew that Jesus had been put on a huge plus sign for a reason. But I sat in the pews wishing to be anywhere but the “old people’s service” as I called it. Eventually my dad stopped wanting to go to church, which in turn made me and my brother not want to go either. My mom got tired of trying to make us go, so we all stopped. Soon after that, when I was 8, my family moved to the house we live in now. The move was truly where my journey began.
I was starting the third grade when we moved. New place, new people. All of the new overwhelmed me. Then out of the blue, a girl on my school bus turned around in her seat and introduced herself as Mikayla. Ever since that day, she and I sat together on the bus every morning and every afternoon. Mikayla was the first real friend that I made, and suddenly all the new became manageable. Years passed before I would figure out why God chose to put Mikayla in my life.
Eighth grade was when God starting putting my purpose in motion. At that time, I wasn’t even sure if I believed in Him.
I became best friends with this girl in the eighth grade. We did everything together, and we even considered ourselves sisters. One day, she came in and showed me this scratch on her stomach. When I asked her what happened, she told me that she had scratched herself. I had no idea what to think. Days passed, and her scratches had become deep cuts not only on her stomach, but on her thighs and wrists too. She said that she felt better when she hurt herself, and that I should hurt myself too. I mean, this girl was my best friend. We did everything together, and now she was doing something by herself? No way. So, like the ignorant eighth grader I was, I started cutting myself. This “one time thing” that I told myself the cutting would be turned into an addiction that I would end up battling for 6 years.
Sophomore year of high school was by far the hardest year of my life so far. At that time Mikayla had moved away, and my other “friends” began to show their true colors.
The girl started hanging out with another one of our friends a lot, and would almost rub the things they would do in my face. I finally got up the nerve to tell her how much that hurt me during my sophomore year of high school. That turned into a huge mess that included them spreading rumors about me. These rumors made most of my “friends” at the time stop talking to me. I was completely alone. The bullying continued for all of that year but during that year, my mental state continually worsened. Not only was I cutting myself more and more, but I also stopped eating and sleeping. Life was a nightmare.
Junior year of high school was the year of new. Mikayla was back, and I was starting to make quality friendships again.
Beginning of my junior year started off normal. But things started changing very quickly. There were a lot more people around me talking about God. God, this idea that was hard to wrap my head around. God, this magical man in the sky who was listening to everyone’s thoughts and giving them what they wanted. Yeah, sure. I remember having a conversation with my mom about God, and I distinctly remember how quickly she changed the subject when I told her that I didn’t believe in God.
Late September of that year, my school’s FCA, or Fellowship of Christian Athletes (my high school was very small, so we called it Fellowship of Christian Anybodies) was advertising Fields of Faith, an event for the FCA’s from the schools around us to come together and worship. Mikayla, being a leader in the FCA, asked me if I wanted to come. She told me that I didn’t have to be a hardcore believer, or a believer at all. I felt like I needed to go to this event.
October 7th, 2015. Fields of Faith had finally arrived. The bus ride was honestly terrifying. I had no idea what to expect, or if I was supposed to expect anything at all. All of the people that were going had accepted Christ long ago, but there I was at 16, not even believing in God. That all changed that night. Around the middle of the event, my heart started stirring in my chest, and my eyes started welling up with tears. I had never felt such peace. I had never felt so whole in my life. Towards the end, they asked if anyone wanted to come to the front of the stage and pray with someone, or if anyone wanted to give their life for the first time. I turned to Mikayla, and she smiled at me. We got up, both crying at this point, and I gave my life to Christ.
Since then, so much has changed for me. I became a leader at a local youth group, got baptized, and had the honor of bringing Jesus back into my home. But, this journey hasn’t been all smiles. I have made friends and lost them, I have been in situations where I have lost trust in the people who have been with me since third grade, and I have been diagnosed with a hormonal mood disorder. But God has guided me through each and every one of these lows, and has chosen me to be there for people around me who have gone through the same things I have. He has shown me that I can wallow in self pity, or I can get up and choose joy.
God had chosen me since birth, even though I was sure that He would either never choose me, or He would choose me last. I would have never expected all the doors that have been opened to me through the love of God.
I thought that I was unworthy of God’s love that night at Fields of Faith. I was ashamed that I hadn’t believed before, and I was ashamed of the harm I had caused myself. But God chose me and left the ninety-nine.