Sometimes, just hearing a story of someone’s journey of coming to faith is more encouraging and uplifting than anything else. We hope the following testimony will encourage you and build your faith in Jesus Christ and his sure Word today.
The Early Years
Growing up in an Adventist but otherwise very troubled and broken home, had painted for me a very confusing and twisted picture of reality and a God who supposedly “loved us” and was “in control” of everything.
At 12 years old I had decided to be baptized at a summer camp. I did not fully understand the commitment I was making but I knew I wanted to make a stand for something. I would have my devotions daily and tried to be a good influence to the friends that I made at the camp.
Being home schooled until 6th grade I can say I was pretty sheltered from the youth and families around me. After attending summer camp and attending a church school in 8th grade I started to make friends of all kinds. My first few weeks at the school people thought of me as very sweet, somewhat shy and obedient. As the school year progressed, the friends that I had chosen influenced a huge change in me. I started listening to rap, hip-hop, and R&B. My attitude changed. I became angry, defiant, rebellious, and every other sentence that came out of my mouth had to have a swear word.
My home situation did not help me at all. My family was growing farther and farther apart and all I heard was yelling at fighting. I didn’t realize how much it affected me until I started cutting my wrist and legs. At first I just wanted to try it and I wanted something to show my friends at school. I then started to turn to it any time I was upset or hurt. I also felt that it gave me some kind of identity and made me unique. I didn’t know that it would soon turn into an addiction that I would be battling for years to come.
Needless to say my new attitude did not allow me to finish my 8th grade year at that school and eventually I was expelled. I was so confused because I didn’t realize how much the music that I listened to was really affecting me. I had no idea why I was the way I was and quite frankly I liked it and didn’t plan on changing.
My freshman year in high school I was accepted at Ouchita Hills Academy. Most of the students and staff there were really spiritual and at first I really made an effort to change. I tried to stop cussing and cutting and giving my teachers and deans an attitude. I even got re-baptized the first semester. But I think we all know that in our own strength we always fail. I started cutting again and my attitude got worse. On the outside I was hard headed and defiant but on the inside I was in such despair with so many questions but even more pride. I didn’t want to admit to anyone that I needed help.
After being suspended twice, my pride and attitude had made it impossible to remain at the academy. I felt horrible but I never once admitted that it was my own fault. I blamed the academy and accused them of being unfair and thus hardened my heart against these so-called “Christians”.
I spent my sophomore year at Heritage Academy where the whole year went fairly well. My only struggle was of course cutting. Even though my attitude had become less angry and rebellious and my hate for Christians had died down, I started struggling with myself. I started to hate who I was and fell into the low self esteem struggle that so many of my peers had themselves fallen into. I started to get this idea into my head that I needed to hurt myself whether it was mentally or physically.
Into my junior year I entered into a relationship with one of my classmates. I was in no way ready for a relationship. Instead of building up my self esteem and security like I thought it would, it ended up trashing every bit of self worth I had ever had. My idea of self inflicted pain grew worse. I started cutting more and when that didn’t seam to be enough I would beat my legs and head with my fists as hard as I could. If I felt that my boyfriend was looking at another girl I would leave class to go the bathroom to beat my head against the wall and beat myself. I felt so trapped in this mindset and I couldn’t get out. I started secluding myself from my friends and eventually fell deep into depression. I tried to cry out to God but I heard no answer. I knew that if I could only find Him that He would help me but it seemed that He must not care because nothing ever changed. I would feel better for a few minutes or maybe even a day but would crash back down into this utter blackness.
My parents at this time were going through a separation and soon I felt like I didn’t even have a home. There was no way I could tell my family what I was going through because they already had so many horrible things going on how could they possibly deal with what I was going through?
On top of my depression, my family falling apart, and my constant addiction to hurting myself, my relationship with my boyfriend got us both expelled from the academy. I was devastated. I looked at myself and thought wow, you can’t do anything right! Then the voice in my head started speaking; look at what you’ve done, everyone is so annoyed and fed up with you, all you do is ruin people’s lives, you’re so ugly and worthless, your friends don’t even like you anymore, your boyfriend doesn’t love you, God is tired of you messing up, you can never do anything right. Maybe it would have been better if you were never born. At least your parents wouldn’t have to deal with you then. Why don’t you just kill yourself? These first thoughts especially of suicide I mostly ignored and tried to push the rest away but I could never get rid of them.
The summer before my senior year I decided to go canvassing. I thought it would really help me to find God. Boy was I wrong! After that summer I was done with God! Canvassing was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life and I resented God even more after it.
Two weeks after canvassing I started my senior year at Fletcher Academy. As soon as I pulled onto campus I burst into tears. By this time my self worth and confidence was so far gone that I knew I was going to suffer in this new place where I didn’t know anyone. For the first few weeks of school any free time I had I would run to my room, lay on my bed and cry. Some people had tried to be friendly to me but I didn’t give them a chance to get to know me because I knew that if they found out who I really was they would hate me. Only 3 people were able to get past my walls that year. I was so quiet and to myself that eventually hardly anyone ever tried talking to me. I felt so alone and trapped in my own fears.
Hitting Rock Bottom
My parents had just divorced and I began to hate God. Anytime I was left alone with my own thoughts I would go insane with hate and questions and doubt of who God was and if He even really existed. I tried having my devotions a couple times but it all seemed useless. I started cutting again and beating myself. Every time I looked in the mirror I would hear a constant voice saying, “You need to kill yourself. Everyone around you would be better off and most of them won’t even care.” It got to where all day was a constant thought of, “Ok, I’m ready to end this. But how?”
As soon as I would come at peace with the thought of dying, someone would come and let me know that they needed me in some way in their lives. Even though this would make me feel good, I also hated it because it would delay my plans.
Eventually I got so sick of not being able to do it that one afternoon in my dorm room I got on my knees and I prayed to the God who was keeping me from ending everything. I said, “God, I hate you and I want to die and I don’t want you to prevent it. I want you to let Satan kill me. Stop keeping me alive just to torture me!”
The following two weeks after I prayed this prayer were the worst in my life. I was not in control of my own body. I felt trapped inside of myself. I couldn’t make eye contact with anyone or laugh or smile. I could barely speak and if I did it was nothing but a mumble. Every time I was alone in my room I knew I was going to die. Every time I would take a shower I would take my washcloth and hold it tightly to my face so I couldn’t breath. In my mind I was screaming “NO!” but I couldn’t pull the washcloth away from my face no matter how much I tried. I knew I would die if I didn’t cry out to God. This happened so many times but He saved me each time. Other times I would take my senior night out when everyone was at chapel. I would have everything planned but each time God sent someone to my door.
The Turning Point
Eventually someone was able to get me to talk and I broke down and told them everything. They were truly God-sent. Every minute they could they would come check on me and make sure I was ok. Even though I knew God had saved me from the deathly grip of Satan, I still did not give myself to Him.
After my graduation I flew to Honduras for a 6 month mission trip. For the first few weeks the place made me sick. Everyone was talking about God and how much they loved Him and they were always praying! I hated it so much but that hate turned into jealousy. I wanted that kind of love for God. I wanted to be happy like these people who were dirt poor. I decided to stop running from Jesus and eventually I started falling in love with Him. It was here that He silenced the voice in my head. The sentences that had for so long haunted me with “You are worthless, you are the most ugly girl that anyone has ever seen, you need to kill yourself, you always ruin everything, etc” slowly were taken over by the beautiful voice of the Spirit of God saying “You are beautiful because I made you, you are worth the life of My Son, I want you to live and love the life that I have given you, I have a perfect plan for you, if you give your life to Me you can become so much and have eternal life with Me.”
Once I realized and accepted that He was the only Way, I decided to give myself to Him. I woke up at 4:30 on a Friday morning and all I could hear was “Kaiti, you need to get baptized tomorrow.” I said, “God that’s crazy! I’ve already been baptized twice! I can’t get RErebaptized! That’s just embarrassing!”
But I could not push the voice away and so that Sabbath I was baptized in a little pool of water in Honduras. I was so happy! I knew this was the beginning of something new and I would never go back!
The Battle Wasn’t Over
I came back to the States on December 17, 2012. As soon as I got back I was hurled into the constant stream of media that plagues this world and especially this country. I started downloading all my old music thinking that maybe this time it wouldn’t affect me since I had Jesus now. Wrong. In just a couple weeks I was heading downhill very quickly. I started a teaching job in The Middle of Nowhere, VA and I was living by myself. I got extremely lonely and started depending on the TV to keep me company. I stopped spending time with God and started listening to darker and darker music.
I started falling into my old sins and the voice came back. All I could think about was suicide. But it was different this time. This time I KNEW that there was a God because I had just found Him in Honduras and I KNEW that He was the only way and I KNEW He could help me. So this time I was making a decision to go against a God that I had seen and felt and knew from a personal experience. The summer of 2013 I had completely left God even though I knew this time exactly what I was leaving.
That summer I also moved in with my grandparents at Hartland College where they work. If you know anything about Hartland College you will know exactly why I hated the idea of even being on campus especially if I had decided to leave God. I stayed in the house the whole summer and refused to go near the college. Of course God had a master plan. He always does.
The school had just started a CNA training program and it would only be 10 weeks and my grandmother really encouraged me to do it. I thought “well ok I guess I can handle 10 weeks but I’m not letting any of these fanatics get near me and try to convert me.”
At orientation all I could do was roll my eyes at all the students who were constantly involving God in every part of their activities and conversation. It made me sick! I thought “ugh all these self righteous people! They’re probably all hypocrites!”
Needless to say I fell in love with these people. I saw that they weren’t hypocrites! I had never met people like this! They loved God and no matter what things I would say or how many times I would tell them that I wasn’t really into the whole God thing anymore they still loved me and treated me so nicely and never judged me! In just a few weeks because of the people that God had brought me to be around who were letting Him shine through them, I fell on my knees and said “Lord forgive me. I am yours, this time for good.”
I got rid of all my music that was not of God, I started spending time with Him every morning, I started being happy again. I started to see my prayers both big and small being answered right before my eyes. So many blessings started piling up, almost too many! On the bad days all I had to do was get on my knees and pray for God to give me the strength to get through it and He did! I started reading my Bible in a different way and the Spirit of Prophecy became so beautiful and interesting! All I wanted to do was talk about God and His love and how He had changed me! I was able to give up so many of the things keeping my from Him because this time I actually asked for the strength every day and moment until I finally overcame. I was happy, oh so genuinely happy! When I looked in the mirror I didn’t see someone beautiful for the clothes they were wearing, how they did their makeup or how much weight they had lost, I saw someone beautiful because my Maker had made them. Every inch of who I am He made.
The Bible says, “Seek and ye shall find.” I sought, I found, and unfortunately I chose to throw that treasure away at one point. But once again I have sought, I have found, and I have made a life-long commitment to cling to the God I have found, no matter what. Even on the days that I feel like giving up, I look back and see how wondrously He has spared my life and the blessings He has bestowed on such a sinner as me and I get on my knees and I recommit.
I have realized that dying daily is the key. Every day you wake up, get on your knees and ask God to reveal your sins, to give you the strength to overcome them, forgiveness for where you have fallen and the strength to get back up, ask him to give you a burning desire in your heart for Him and wisdom and understanding to know His will for your life.
Study the Word of God and the Spirit of Prophecy with a desire to learn and with a humble and open heart. Make sure you live up to the light that God has already shown you and ask for strength to make changes in your life when He gives you even more insight on the things He wants you to do and not to do.
It’s not always easy to let God lead your life or even to give up things that He asks us to give up but I can tell you that I haven’t regretted it yet and I never will. Trust Him and He will be the best thing that has ever happened in your life!