My name is Lauren Woody. I'm currently 23 years old and it is a pleasure to be able to share my testimony with you. To be able to explain what my life was like before I accepted Christ and how he has developed me into a new person.
Life before Christ was a life that always seemed to be going in different directions, nothing ever felt promising or permanent. Life before Christ was like trying to find yourself all over again every single day and never attempting to get it right, to have hundred of questions with no solutions. It was like trying to fill a need for love and acceptance in all the wrong areas. Life before Christ felt so empty and I had no idea why.
As a kid I grew up in a home which God wasn't a part of. I guess that can explain all the horrible actions, words and choices seen. My family was very distant from one another. My room felt like my only comfort zone. It was like we were just a couple people who lived together. Never did it feel like we were a family and never did it feel like I was at home. I'm not saying my parents didn't provide because they surely did but we were all so oblivious on how to treat one another, especially the ones closest to us.
For the majority of my childhood I hung around my friends, I was rarely ever home and when I was they were always with me. As I grew older life got more confusing. The boyfriends and drinking started at such a young age and continued for many years after. It was within the next five years I truly lost myself. If you could imagine all the crazy and wild things that come along with the party life style I had done each one over and over again. At first it was all fun and games, my best friend Amanda and I became the party girls of our high school and everyone seemed to love us. When we had a party, tons of people came, hundreds even at times. It was the high of my life, but to my surprise a lifestyle like that has it cons and trust me I started to experience all of them. I woke up not remembering what I had done the night before and I’m not just talking every now and then, it was an every weekend event. Drinking wasn't the only drug I was consuming and people were always stealing from me. This lifestyle was starting to affect my everyday life. My relationships with people began to fall apart and my motivation was crumbling more and more as the months went on. It hit me one morning when I woke up in a jail cell after getting a DUI. I asked myself what happened to my life. I had a job a good relationship with my boyfriend at the time plus a good head on my shoulders and now three years later it only feels like I've taken steps back in life. It was the first time I felt pure emptiness. Problem was I had no idea how to fix the feeling, the high of the party life was gone and it had taken my soul along with it. I continued to drink to drown the pain to try and numb the empty feelings I had bundled up over the years. As you can guess it only sunk me more. I fell into a serious depression, popping Xanax any chance I got. I hated who I had became but didn't know how to come back from this. I didn't have the strength.
Through the stage of my party life I had lost my childhood best friend Lacey. She left for her own reasons and I can't be upset with her choices. The road I was on headed down wasn't one you'd want to be a part of. It was in that moment I had hit rock bottom. If life wasn't confusing enough I had lost the one person who understood me outside of the destruction I had become. A year passed, I was out doing what I did best, as she continued to find herself through the Lord, in my opinion she couldn't have me around to do so. My influence was too much to bear, and that to me is now clear. She is now back in my life and I truly believe god sent her back into my life to save me. I consider her my guardian angel. She came back with a warm heart and was so patient and understanding in my ways that sadly hadn't changed. She showed me by example what it was like to live a life for God and I was so amazed at how she changed.
Our friendship fell right back into place as if it never fell apart. She started taking me to church with her and sharing all the good news she had learned about Jesus Christ and what he had done for us. It was different being around this surrounding; it was out of my comfort zone and definitely took some adjusting. About a year ago she took me down to her aunt’s house by the beach, without knowing she had a friend staying with her, who actually ended up prophesying over all of us. To my amazement this lady knew everything that was causing me pain and how empty I had become over the years. She knew things you wouldn't know unless I had personally told you. She had also told me the plans god had for my life which happened to be some of my actual goals. I couldn't believe she knew all these things the feeling was indescribable. I had always been a believer but I was now certain that god could do miracles. She then asked me if I had accepted god into my heart and at the time I had not but with no hesitation we all prayed and I had asked God into my life. It all felt so real and the tears justified that, as to I had no control holding them back.
Life didn't change over night but I can tell you one thing I felt a sense of hope. I couldn't remember the last time I felt that way. I continued going to church and focusing on the things in my life that needed to disappear and most importantly listening to what God was telling me. The enemy wasn't going to just lose me like that though, not without a fight, for months I fell back into temptation, fell back to the things that made me feel so empty inside. Although something always reminded me that God was there and I was stronger now that I had the Holy Spirit within me. “What shall we say then to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31 .So regardless of how many times I took that step back I was determined that wasn't the life for me anymore.
I'll never forget the day I was sitting on my couch reading my bible, so many thoughts ran through my head and I broke down. Setting down my bible I began to pray, telling God I was so sorry with how distant I was becoming, and explained how far I had felt from him. I felt a feeling of assurance and it came to me. God had told me the doors to him are always open you just need to walk through them; some would say it was the wind but at that very moment my backdoor flung open and I immediately started crying. It was that day that I knew I was going to walk through the doors to God the father and commit to my faith. How could you run from something so promising and forgiving? How could I have lived a life without him for so long?
Some people tend to think that when you give your life to God everything becomes easy and everything is perfect. God has granted me the wisdom to understand that is not true. Life is going to be just as hard but I will have the love of God guiding me every step of the way and with that I am now strong. I am now a child of the father. It's amazing how many things he opens your eyes too, that you were blinded from before. I have such a stronger sense between right and wrong. Doing things for others doesn't seem like such a burden and watching good things happen to people melts your heart. It's like he forms you to think in a way he would, to act in a way he would. Everything starts making sense even the bad days and moments that occur. God reassures us these are all things that were put in our story he created for us. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
The more God and I build our relationship the more I understand everything. I'm not always happy 100 percent of the time but that's not what life is. But I am now a Christian, I am now a follower of Jesus Christ and I am now complete. I know I'm going to encounter challenges in my future and life to come but I'm so blessed I have God to walk with on this journey called life. This is to the future and the new plans God has for me. “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:9-10