When I was 7 I was baptized, and I truly believe that I understood the commitment I made. What I didn't understand that with age, the devil throws bigger rocks at you that seem harder to dodge.
Before I dive into my testimony, I want to tell you a little bit about myself and my family. I sing and play guitar. I'm a Junior at Florida State University (GO NOLES!). Before moving to Tallahassee, I lived with my mom, dad, and two siblings. My parents are have been married for 25th years, my brother is in 11th grade, and my sister is in 9th grade.
I grew up in a church that I give a lot of credit for shaping me and my faith. My mom attended the church in its original location when she was in high school, and my siblings and I practically grew up there. Once I moved to Tallahassee I joined a great church that I call home.
I was really strong in my faith as a little girl, as strong and knowledgeable I could be anyway. It was Jesus and me against the world and I was not ashamed of that. When I was in middle school, however, things got bumpy. Not that I've ever been ashamed of being a Christian or believing that God is my heavenly Father, but I could feel that I was drifting from what I used to be.
It started out with boys and my strange desire to have a "boyfriend" at age 13. I was totally obsessed, for its almost all I would ever talk about. Most of my conversations something with friends started something like "wow, I really like this boy" or "I talked to him today!" I knew it was annoying, but I felt like I couldn't stop. In 8th grade, I started talking to this boy. Long story short, I got way too attached, and I got hurt.
Entering 9th grade, I carried a lot of baggage. At this point, Jesus was just this figure that I could go to when I needed something or when something really good happened. What really separated me from Him was one little word with a whole lot of meaning: depression. I didn't feel good about myself. I felt that I was unlovable and that I messed up everything I touched. To sum it up, I felt worthless, and I was trapped in this giant pit of despair and self-pity.
At the time, I still believed in God, I just didn't believe His truths. I wasn't praying to Him, I wasn't reading His Word and I wasn't living in His light. I hated myself, and I had little desire to make an effort to talk to Him or get to know Him more. There were times, typically after church camps in the summer or moving Sunday sermons, where I did start praying more, and I did read His word, but it never lasted long.
Starting college was rocky. I was in a new place with new people and new surroundings. I was 4 hours away from my boyfriend at the time and I didn't have any friends. I eventually rushed a Christian sorority and joined a church, but I was still having trouble adjusting.
Just when things started to get better, everything turned sour. My relationship became toxic and verbally abusive. I was clinging onto someone that couldn't care less about me or my well-being. I sank to the lowest point I had ever reached and I even contemplated ending it all.
Thankfully I didn't. Jesus spoke to me (quite literally, if you want to read more about that I wrote a blog post about it) and picked me up off my feet. I slowly began to heal from the abuse, my friendships strengthened, and I became more involved in my church.
This leads me to where I am now. I've created this blog because I feel compelled to strengthen my faith and relationship with God. I have made so many great Christian friends who I know are there for me. I am now the Vice President of the christian sorority I rushed. I have a loving boyfriend who pushes me to grow in my faith. As a result of all these blessings, I've opened my heart up to Jesus again. I am working towards becoming my child-like self, always eager to learn more about her Heavenly Father. I know now, however, that life can be hard, and that I'll experience ups and downs. But, if that weren't the case, then why would I need a Savior in the first place?
About My Name
In the spirit of rebranding, I’ve decided to change my “pen name” if you will. I wanted to make the title of my blog to read as the story of a relationship two individuals: Joy (being me) and Jesus (being Jesus, obviously).
For those of you who don’t know, Joy is actually my middle name. My middle name has a lot of significance to me for two main reasons:
1. It was given to me because my grandparents always wanted to name their little girl Joy, except they never had a little girl, so my parents gave me the name instead.
2. When I was younger, I had always disliked the name Abigail, and so I went by Abby. In contrast, I’ve never had a problem with my middle name, I’ve always quite liked it.
Therefore, I'm now going to go by Joy Bruecks on this page (Bruecks being pronounced “brooks” - it’s a shortened version of my last name for those who were wondering why the heck it’s spelled so weirdly).
Of course, you can still call me Abigail or Abby or whatever, I won’t be offended or anything crazy like that.