I met Jesus at the well in a church bathroom.
This is my story.
I grew up in church. In my house, the question was not, “Are you going to church?,” It was, “What are you going to wear?” Because of all the activities available to me as a child and then as a student, I was usually at church five out of seven days a week. Church, and everything it entailed, was just a way of life for me.
When I was twelve, I gave my life to Christ. As a young Christian, God blessed me with an amazing group of people who helped me create a very strong foundation. They helped me grow and were there to answer my questions with patience and guidance.
But like many other young adults, when I turned 18 I began to tune into the world around me and tune God out. Suddenly I found myself wondering how the faith of my childhood could possibly translate to my life as an adult.
At 20, I transferred to another college away from home. For the first time in my life, I got a taste of “no limits” freedom and was easily swayed by others’ opinions. That was the year that I turned my back on everything I knew…
…and walked away.
I was convinced I was making the right choice by exploring what else was out there. A little voice in my head told me that I would be missing out if I didn’t go out and try new things. And I believed that voice. I believed that lie. I made some pretty big mistakes, and I’m not proud of my actions during those years.
But life went on and at 24, I met my husband and we were married two years later. Looking back now, I can see that even though neither of us were walking with God, God never turned His back on me.
He answered my tearful cry when I lost my first child to a miscarriage.
He infused me with peace when I desperately asked Him to hold my premature second child in His hands until he was safe in mine.
Every time I cried out to God, He never failed me. But I’m ashamed to say that once the crisis was over, I stood up and continued to walk on my own.
I was in my 40s when my father was diagnosed with cancer. We found out in July and just four months later, on November 3rd, he went home to Heaven.
I was wrecked.
My heart shattered in a million tiny pieces. My one true rock—the person that I had depended on all my life—was gone. In my despair, I returned to the one place where I had last felt peace.
I returned to church.
I needed to be around people who were following God. Eventually, I became a member of that church and threw myself into serving where I could. But even though I was doing all the “right things” on the outside, I still had this nagging feeling on the inside.
I felt like an imposter. I was so afraid that everyone would figure out who I really was and my house of cards would come tumbling down.
You see, I was listening to the wrong voice—one who was whispering lies in my head.
“You turned your back on Him. You can’t come back once you walk away.”
“You’re not worthy to call yourself a child of God.”
“You should just walk away now before anyone finds out who you really are.”
“Save yourself the embarrassment and get out with your dignity while you still can.”
It was torture.
Then, one Sunday during church, something pierced my heart and I had to leave the service before anyone saw my breakdown. I hid in a stall in the ladies’ room until the bathroom was empty.
When I came out and saw myself in the mirror over the sink, I HATED what I saw. What a fraud! In tearful frustration, I yelled at God.
“I get it, okay? I know that I blew it all those years ago. You don’t have to keep throwing that in my face! I don’t know what you want from me! WHAT DO YOU WANT?”
Quietly, in a calm and soothing voice, I felt these words wash over me:
“You, child. Still you.”
With those four words, God filled the hole that I had created in my soul. My knees buckled in overwhelming gratitude. The scales fell away from my eyes, and I understood that I had been listening to the wrong voice.
My God, my Father, waited for me and would have waited until my last breath. He watched over me even as my back was turned. When I turned back to Him, His arms were wide open. My story was still waiting.
God met me at the well.
Someone once wrote, “If you think you’ve blown God’s plan for your life, rest in this: You, my beautiful friend, are not that powerful.” Let the truth of that statement infuse your soul with peace. There is nothing you have done that God cannot use to His glory. He will ALWAYS take you back with open arms. All you have to do is turn around and go home.