Via La Cannella Frago
First and foremost, I am a sinner saved by grace.
I am blessed with faithful parents and was brought up in a loving, Christian home. I was taught by example how to live one's life with a passionate love for the Lord. As missionaries, my parents taught me of the hope to be found in the Lord and how to love, honor and serve Him day by day. From an early age, I observed my parents' devotion to the Lord's calling and the ministry He set forth for our family. I was taught of God and how the Bible is His word. How often I sang "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so!" I knew this to be true, though it was not until adolescence that I began to grasp the truth of the gospel and my personal relationship with the Lord.
In middle school, my life resembled that of most pre-adolescent girls. I followed the older girls in school, mimicking their words and dressing as they did. I so longed to have friends in my new school and to be socially accepted. This was the beginning of a long struggle with perfectionism and the insecurity that inevitably follows when perfection is not recognized. Throughout my high school years, I was often broken by insecurity. My heart would ache at the thought of leaving for school where I would most certainly fail either socially, academically or both. Such fear intensified to the point that my tears of fear would keep my home from school on some days. Often, during these times of self-conflict, I would retreat to writing my struggles down in my journal. Little did I know at the time, but this was the beginning of my habit of writing every thought and prayer down on paper as I means of documenting my journey.
Through high school I continued to write, gently placing my struggles on paper and praying for freedom from my fears and insecurity.
Then, at the age of 15, in the stillness of my dorm room at Black Forest Academy, my life was changed by words I felt were written in answer to my heart.
"The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." (Psalm 34: 17-18)
Though I had certainly heard these words before, I had yet to grasp the truth of the Lord's love for me, Kelsey. Before that Tuesday night, my life felt overshadowed by my fears of social rejection and imperfection. Though I am indeed a sinner, I am a sinner saved by grace. The joy that swept over me at this realization is a moment in time forever etched in my memory. The truth was made clear to me. As I opened my eyes to my surroundings in the days that followed, I saw for the first time, the beautiful joy with which the people in my Christian community worshipped the Lord and lived to serve Him. I was blessed to have such faithful, godly women, such as my Mama, Loralee, Mari Ellen, Cathy, Lois, Mary, Betsy, Julia, Gena, Bethany and Suzanne, present in my life, there to mentor and guide me. I longed for my life of faith to resemble theirs.
Though the outward change developed slowly, I knew my heart was forever transformed. I began to scribble away in my journal, with praises unto the Lord, rather than writing tear stained pages of frustration and pain.
As I left my home in Kandern, Germany to attend college in Texas, once more I would face my fears of rejection and imperfection. My weaknesses would be recognized day after day and many nights I would remain under the covers in my dorm room for fear of facing new people and a new place. Recalling the Lord's words to me and His steadfast love, I would repeat the following verse to myself time and time again.
"Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him." (Psalm 34:8)
Today, I strive to live by this verse, no longer shrinking from life for fear of the world, but rather, boldly proclaiming His love and goodness. God is good, and His love for me beats steadfast and strong. I pray for confidence and strength as I seek to honor Him with my life and follow His calling, wherever He should lead.