In starting a blog, one of my missions is for you all to know me a little bit better. Being truly known is something that I really strive for in my relationships (as many of us do I’m sure) and I hope to let you all in a little bit more and more with each blog post.
One of the things I think is important for you all to know about me is how and when I became a Christian.
I grew up going to church with my family most sundays and attended sunday school where I sang, prayed and learned about God and the stories of the Bible. I participated in the church youth choir, christmas pageants and services. I was confirmed in 9th grade and at that point, my parents gave us the choice of our involvement in church. Being confirmed meant that we were adults in the church and our parents felt that we were now able to make our own decisions about going to church and what our involvement (if any) would look like.
To this point church had been something of a routine for me. A place where I could see some friends and participate in activities like lights off capture the flag. But when it came to church and the service, I was kind of bored and didn’t really feel like I needed to be at church (I considered myself a pretty good, moral person) or really even wanted to be there. So I decided that I would stay home from church except for major holidays when my whole family gathered at church.
During middle school and freshman year of highschool, I had two best friends. The three of us did virtually everything together. We did typical teenage girls stuff– we went shopping, had sleepovers, talked about boys. Out of the three of us, I was probably the most shy and reserved when it came to boys. One of my best friends was very outgoing, fun, confident and spontaneous. Anything that she wanted to do, we typically would do. Even if I was nervous about it or wouldn’t typically do it myself. I saw the affect she had on the people around her– very popular, boys liked her, etc.– and I wanted what she had. I spent a lot of time trying to be like her, mimic how she acted, present myself as she did, etc. I can remember times when she suggested something to do or told me of something she had done and I would internally think about how awkward that was or how uncomfortable I would be in that situation. I spent a lot of time internally debating about if I would do those same things had I been in the situation or not.
Freshman year, this friend and I had gym class together and we met a girl named Monique. The three of us would hang out in gym class, but past that we didn’t spend time with Monique much, if at all, outside of school. My friend did go hang out with Monique once or twice at her house and was offered to attend Monique’s youth group on wednesday nights. Up to this point, I had never heard of my friend going to church or ever had conversations about God with her. But she accepted the invitation. After attending the youth group, my friend became really excited about the group and seemed to want to be a part of it. She claimed that in this group she had accepted Christ and became a Christian. I could see some things change with her that made it appear that she was different and that maybe she did really become a Christian. At the same time, she was doing things that I had learned from growing up were “not things that Christians do”.
After some time because of some various events, this friend stopped going to church all together. Her behavior was back to where it was before church and youth group. But I couldn’t shake that I had seen some changes in her that I viewed as good changes. And at this point in our lives, we were starting to get into some activities that I never felt right about.
Sophomore year of high school, I would pass Monique in the hallways between classes. We would nod to each other or say hi as we passed sometimes. One day, I remember thinking that I wanted to see what this youth group was all about. It was interesting to me the changes that I saw in my friend as well as knowing someone (Monique) that was genuinely excited about being a part of youth group and going to church. So, one day during passing time I stopped Monique in the hall and asked her if I could go to church with her. You guys— her face LIT UP! I don’t think I had ever seen someone so genuinely and deeply happy. Monique eagerly accepted my request and invited me to her house wednesday after school and then youth group after that.
That wednesday, I went to Moniques house and spent time with her and her family. When I tell you that I have never felt so welcomed and loved by a group of people before as I did with the Cyr family I am not lying. Being in their home and spending time with them made me feel so relaxed and I just felt like I fit there. Their genuine love for people is such a good representation of God’s love for others. They are a huge part of my coming to Christ and I am so beyond blessed by them.
Walking into the youth group was like no other experience I had ever had. We had to go to church early because Monique was a part of the worship team for the youth group and needed to practice for that night’s set. I was kind of nervous about sitting on my own while she practiced. Meeting people by myself was not (and still is not) my favorite thing to do. Being a twin I never really had to do anything on my own. I don’t remember who I met first or conversations that I had, but I do remember meeting people and feeling really calm and welcomed. Everyone seemed really happy to be there and to be around friends.
The worship was different than I was used to. Growing up we sang hymns to organ music. Here, there was a drum kit, electric guitar, base guitar and regular guitar. People were clapping and raising their hands. Thinking about this, I probably should have found that weird….. People raising their hands in the air with their eyes closed… but I didn’t. It just felt right to me- like something I could get used to doing and would enjoy.
After that night, I continued going to Monique’s house on wednesday afternoons with youth group to follow. I started making friends and one night, said a prayer for God to forgive me for my sins and asked Him to truly come into my life. As soon as I opened my eyes from praying, Monique had turned to me and was staring with wide-eyed anticipation. I just shook my head yes, acknowledging that I had accepted Christ and she threw me into the biggest hug you could imagine! I smiled for days after that.
During this transition time of my life, my old friends and I were starting to drift apart. They didn’t like that I wasn’t spending as much time with them as before and thought that I was choosing Monique and church over them. I remember meeting with them at Starbucks one day for what seemed like an intervention for me, and trying to explain to them what was going on in my life and the choices that I made. I remember being mad at the fact that when my other friend started going to church, we all accepted it willingly and thought nothing of it. But when I did the same thing, it was no longer acceptable. This kind of gives you an idea of the hierarchy of our friend group.
I came to the realization that the relationship I had with my best friend was the relationship that I wanted with Christ. I wanted to be like Christ, modeling myself after Him. I always felt like a moral person and I knew that becoming like Christ would fit how I had always felt. I didn’t need to compromise myself for the decision of Christ (at least, not compromise myself in a bad way, but in a way that would change me for the better.) So, I went for a walk with my best friend and told her that I wanted a true relationship with Christ and that we would likely not be spending as much time together anymore. To my face she told me she understood and assured me that she was okay with this decision and that we were okay. But the next day, she went behind my back and bashed me to any of our friends that would listen. She began to alienate me from our friend group. Some of our friends would share with me what was being said and our friendship was deteriorating rapidly. Monique and Jamie were there for me through this time, comforting me in my tears and assuring me that they were there for me.
Right of the bat, God was teaching me that the relationship I had with my best friend was the relationship that He desired for me to have with him. Even though it was a difficult time of losing friends and gaining others, it taught me to trust in God and his plans for me. It taught me to rely on Him and His promises. And it caused me to really dig into my decision to be His and pursue a life of following Him. I have been a Christian for for eight years now and while it hasn’t always been easy, I know 100%, without a doubt, that the decision I made from Christ was the best decision I have ever made in my life. It has shaped me into a person that I always wanted to be (but didn’t have the courage to be), brought me a wonderful Christian husband and the best friends that I have ever known in my 23 years of life. I have a wonderful church family that support me and Brandon and is always there for us. And, I have a relationship with the one whose love is unconditional and unfailing.
If you have not had the opportunity to learn about this amazing relationship with Christ, I would love to talk to you. Feel free to reach out 🙂