Alyssa is a first year Physiological science major whose hobbies include collecting stationery, doing crafts, and playing soccer. She also enjoys eating ice cream and going on boba runs.
God has blessed me tremendously throughout my entire life—none of my words or praises could ever amount to the glory and honor He deserves. Nonetheless, I am so thankful for His sovereign hand and providence! I was born and raised in a Christian family, and I was even more blessed to attend a Christian school for thirteen years. Looking back, I believe God placed these little details in my life for a specific reason: to redeem a soul lost to sin by the power of His love and grace.
One of my earliest memories hearing about the Gospel was from Preschool. My three-year-old self didn’t understand what it meant when Jesus Christ came down to Earth to die on the cross and save mankind from sin. Puzzled, I went home to ask my mom what this whole ordeal was about. She explained to me that we are sinners who do all sorts of bad things and deserve to be punished, but because of God’s love, He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross to bear the punishment on our behalf. That as long as we confess our sins and accept Christ as our Savior, we can be saved and become Christians. My mom asked if I wanted to become a Christian, and by God’s grace, I accepted Christ as my Savior and prayed with my mom to receive salvation.
Growing up, I constantly heard God’s Word preached and did my best to behave well like every good and little Christian girl should. My parents brought me to fellowship every Saturday night and church every Sunday morning during my childhood, but I didn’t understand why we had to go every week. In fact, I dreaded going to fellowship and church because I felt like a foreigner around people who were supposed to be my spiritual family. I thought to myself, “Why is it so important to go to church every week? Why can’t I read the Bible and learn from it on my own? As long as I uphold Christian morals and behave, isn’t that enough?”
My family stopped going to church when I was in 4th grade, and to be honest, I felt relieved knowing I wouldn’t have to spend my Saturday nights and Sunday mornings sitting by myself at youth group. However, by God’s goodness and grace, His Word was still prevalent in my life—all because I was attending a Christian school! God was very faithful to me. By placing me at a Christian school and giving me Christian friends who constantly encouraged me to go back to church, He began to soften my heart and grow in me a desire to seek Him more.
I don’t think I fully understood the weight of my sins or the greatness of God’s grace until the end of 8th grade. I thought I was doing a pretty good job at being a Christian—obeying my parents, caring for and loving my friends, memorizing Bible verses for class, paying attention to the speakers at chapel—and even secretly took pride in that. Romans 3:10 says, “None is righteous, no, not one.” How foolish of it was of me to think that my works secured my salvation! When a teacher asked me what I was doing to grow in my faith, I couldn’t give an answer. Yes, I became a Christian with a childlike faith, but I was living a life of childish faith. What was I doing to grow in my faith? Nothing. Not even reading the Bible on my own. Was I even truly saved? I felt convicted by the Holy Spirit and for the first time, I realized I was responsible for my own faith. I didn’t want to be the person in Matthew 7:22-23 who claimed to be working for the kingdom of God but was never actually saved. I cried out to God, asking Him to forgive my ignorance, to save me from my wretched state, to give me the grace to fully commit my life to Him, and this became the turning point of my Christian walk.
From then, God opened my heart and ears for His Word, and I began to understand and appreciate the profound beauty of the Gospel: Jesus Christ, holy and without sin, “humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” for sinners like me who constantly rebel against Him, in order to save us from eternal separation from God (Philippians 2:8)! What did I ever do to earn the precious gift of salvation? Absolutely nothing, yet out of His great love, God still chose to save me (Ephesians 2:8). At the end of my sophomore year of high school, He presented the opportunity for me to go back to church. Initially, I was scared because the haunting fear of loneliness crept upon me, but praise God for showing me His love through the people! The church taught me what it looked like to love and to hunger for God’s Word, and it also taught me what it looked like to love and care for one another. I rejoice that God brought me back to see a glimpse of my eternal home—heaven.
Even though I’ve been a Christian for so long, I still find myself stumbling over my sins, and I admit that I’m not always a good steward of the gifts God has given me. But God is so, so good and by Christ’s blood and sacrifice, I am justified. I believe that God will continue to sanctify me and bring His work in me to completion (Philippians 1:6).