Hello, lovely hearters! Happy Thursday! I thought I would change it up a bit today. I've done a lot of #TheSmileProject articles lately, which I love writing, but I need to write articles of my own away from the project from time to time. Today, I will be doing my first ever storytime. So, I hope you enjoy this article. :)

Storytime: How I Found My Faith

I'm twenty-years-old. For as long as I can remember, I have grown up in church, maybe a little more than others. My dad is a worship pastor and has been for almost my entire life. You would think that being a pastor's kid and living half my life at church would guarantee me a strong faith, but I quickly learned that's not the case. It has to be your own personal decision, not a decision based on a lifestyle.

As a kid, I loved going to church. The songs were amazing, I made great friends, and attended a great church. I believed in God. But I didn't have much of a relationship with him. For me, being a kid, it was just something I knew, something I grew up in. Every night (or almost every night), we would have a devotion from none other than VeggieTales. Those were the happiest moments of my life.

But I would soon realize I never really knew God. I knew the stories, but I didn't know him. Not personally. With being a worship pastor's daughter, moves have been a huge part of my life. I have lived in four states my whole life. I've been to several churches. But it wasn't until high school where I gained a serious relationship with God and found my faith.

In middle school, I only went to church because I knew my parents wanted me to. I didn't really enjoy it. I also went through difficult periods in my life where I felt God wasn't there. I didn't understand what I did wrong for this domino effect of negativity to overpower me. I simply started losing faith in him.

After eighth grade, before moving to where I live now, God shook my world. My parents were looking at a house for us to live in while my siblings and I were with our aunt, uncle, and cousins. I will never forget the domino effect of this event. It changed my world.

At their church, on a Wednesday night, they were having a water night for the kids. Water gun fights, water balloons, you name it. I left my phone in my uncle's car so I wouldn't get it wet. It turned out that my brother and I were too old to be part of their game night (I have 3 younger siblings; the two younger ones and my cousins were able to participate). This was a slight change of plans, but it didn't phase us. So me, my brother, and my uncle went to the youth night. Not much happened there. The last ten minutes, we decided to leave. And that's when it changed.

My two younger siblings and cousins came running out of the building, drenched. They were smiling nonstop. We were all happy. It was Wednesday, we had a good night, and we didn't know it would come to a halt. I remember looking at my phone after what was maybe almost two hours and realized I had two texts. One was from my best friend, which said "Do you remember so and so?" Another friend's text read "So and so died." My heart dropped.

A girl I went to school with, who was in some of my classes, and was nice to me, died from a brain injury after an ATV crash. I remember the laughter quickly ceasing once I read it out loud. I started to cry. My uncle was talking to a pastor inside and knew nothing about what was going on. He didn't know that the world had seemed to stop turning in his own car. When he got in the car, he was speechless.

I remember him praying while on our way back to their house. I remember crying the whole time. I remember my aunt hugging me when we walked in. I remember calling my mom and talking to her. One of the worst parts about it was I was in one state over. I wasn't there to be supportive. I couldn't talk to my friends beyond the screen.

When I went to her memorial almost two weeks later, I found out she was a Christian. She was beautiful inside and out. She had a great heart and a great love for her friends and for animals. It hurt to see her friends, people I knew and spent three years with, talking at her memorial. We were all too young. We were all only 14. During the service, I kept seeing this one blue bird flying overhead. It never left. Not even once. I smiled at the bird, thinking it was her way of saying she's okay. I'm not sure if anyone else noticed the bird or not.

I remember thinking about my life. How I don't have much time left. I will never know when my time will be up. And I hated how I was living my life. It felt pointless. It was then had I decided I needed to change how I lived. While I hated the circumstance, being at this memorial was a huge wake up call for me.

When my family moved, it was perfect timing, honestly. I went to a great church where I immediately felt connected. It felt like I had been there forever and it was only week one. I made amazing friends. And most importantly, my faith grew stronger each year. I had more opportunities learning about God in high school than I ever did in middle school.

I'm still working on my faith now. Since then, I've accepted God into my life. I've been baptised in front of those I love. I've been blessed with amazing friends. I found Bible journaling, which helped me grow closer to God in such a personal and artistic way. I've also had my share of ups and downs, but in those storms, I never lost my faith. It's not just something you stop working on once you're happy. Through this, I was also reminded of God's perfect timing. It was something so sad that led me back God. I am sad that the girl I knew in middle school died and I wish I had the chance to talk to her more, but I know she's much happier with God than she was here. She was a very happy person, but happiness can only go so far here on earth.

That's the story of how I found my faith. I hope you guys enjoyed this and were able to learn more about me. I hope to share more stories like these in the future. Let me know which storytime you want me to do next (use reactions to vote):
My first tornado (crying emoji), events from high school (scared emoji), or how I knew I wanted to be a writer (heart-eyed emoji).

Like always, I hope you have an amazing rest of your day and week.



Follow me on Twitter: @kayleeee97
Cover photo by @vicBug7


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