Joyce is a second year computer science major with a love for consuming authentic pumpkin flavored foods, reveling in the beauty of gloomy days with pouring rain, attempting to lift heavy items, and listening to acoustic mellow music and hymns.
I grew up in a Christian home and was consequently exposed to the Gospel very early on by my parents, who always graciously and readily displayed a deep love for God through their actions, the Christian school I attended until eighth grade, and the church that I’ve attended for almost my whole life. According to my parents, I raised my hand to accept Christ at Vacation Bible School when I was two years old. Obviously, at such a young age, I couldn’t consciously comprehend the weight of that decision, and in Kindergarten, I accepted Christ into my heart again, yet with only little more understanding. Initially, this decision was most likely motivated by a desire just to escape hell and go to heaven. I was also influenced by those around me, who clearly demonstrated a faith that I thought was normal. Everything made sense to me in a childlike acceptance of the truth I heard, yet I didn’t fully comprehend the true meaning of grace. Though I believed in Christ as my Savior and Redeemer, I can remember multiple times where I asked to accept Christ into my heart again, worrying I hadn’t been sincere enough the times before, or that perhaps I hadn’t fully understood last time, not truly comprehending that there is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).
As I grew older, however, this decision became more of a conviction, and my reasons for believing had changed. Instead of merely saying a few prayers and going to church every Sunday, I began to see that because I had confessed with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believed in my heart that God raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9) I had received salvation, and that meant a true recognition of God as King over my life and a relationship with Him that involved more than just praying to Him whenever I needed comfort. I began to see how I constantly fell short of God’s righteous standard, yet also His grace that covered my sin. Even though I saw Jesus as my Savior, someone who loved and forgave me, it wasn’t until 6th grade that I started developing these convictions on my own through reading God’s Word. Through daily devotions, the Lord revealed to me more about His holy, righteous character, and I saw a side of Him who loved me beyond all my comprehension, whose love nothing can separate me from (Romans 8:38-39). I also learned more about my duty as God’s ambassador, and a vessel for His glory alone.
God has graciously placed me somewhere that I have been able to witness so many others living faithfully and hearing His Word also being faithfully preached. Now that I look back, I can see how God has worked in me throughout the years and I am increasingly grateful for the work He continues to do and will bring to completion (Philippians 1:6). Since entering college, my eyes have been opened further to see the depths of my wretched sin and the countless ways that I fall short, and I am even more thankful for Jesus’ perfect sacrifice, the grace I am constantly in need of as in imperfect human being, and the blessed assurance that He gives me.
During my freshman year, on the morning of my first midterm, I had either a syncope (fainting that mimics seizure-like movements) or a seizure, but thankfully the tests all came back clear. However, the experience and the questions from my small group leader prompted me to reflect more on the great abundance of blessings He’s given me and the encouraging support within the body of Christ. It also prompted me to confront some of my deepest fears. Throughout the past year and a half, He’s continually challenged me to take the fear of man, fear of uncertainty, and fear of all that is not God Himself and instead, reflect on His sovereignty. He has shown and continues to show me how to rejoice in the God of my salvation (Habakkuk 3:17-19) through every uncertainty and every circumstance. As a fallible human being, this is something I’ve struggled with and still struggle with as my short-sighted vision focuses on my circumstances and what’s in front of me. But through His Word, He’s challenged me to reflect instead on His goodness, righteousness, and perfect character. Though I’m continually working through my fears and uncertainties, I pray that I would only grow to trust in Him more fully, grow to love the Author and Perfecter (Hebrews 12:1-2) of my faith more completely, and give Him the glory that is rightly due. This is the truth that I hope to share with others about the Creator that deserves all of our praise.