There's a deeper story here that I'd love for you to know. Though I love sharing a meal together and creating with food and flavors in the kitchen, that is just one of many fruits that have sprung up from a tree whose roots were planted years ago. Saying "yes" to a life with Jesus Christ has radically changed me and I would be remiss if I didn't let you know that it is everything and by far the only reason why this website or company exists. He is all and all is in grateful praise to Him.

Before I knew Christ, I would have told anyone that I was a Christian because I went to church. I grew up going to church and as I got older, I became very involved. By the time I graduated from high school, my faith had become a social outlet more than anything else. Although I heard truth, my heart was hard, and I never absorbed this truth from those who tried to mentor me. 

I stepped onto campus for my first week as a college freshman, and found myself with no foundation. My goal at that time was just to have the fun college experience I had always heard about. I wanted to break free from being a "church girl" and sought to do this any way I could. I joined a sorority and looked for my identity in parties, a boyfriend, and being accepted by the people I met on campus. To be honest, my life seemed pretty good..... for the first 6 months. Then things started to really spiral. But even in the midst of growing chaos, I still didn't see that I was hurting myself with the choices I was making. Suddenly I found myself moving in with my boyfriend, getting myself into an abusive and unhealthy situation. Life continued to spiral, so I tried my best to do the only thing I knew how: escape. I attempted to run from my reality by turning to alcohol to mask and erase what was happening. But not even the alcohol could erase the consequences of my decisions. Although I laughed at the party, I wasn’t happy, and even though I would not have admitted it, I felt like I had lost myself. I was searching for my worth in the approval of one person and it just didn't hold up. By God's grace I was able to break free from this relationship. But by that time, I was at the lowest point of my life. I remember sitting in my bedroom, thinking: if I continue down this road.....well, I didn't want to think about what would happen to me. I knew at that moment that I had to change, while simultaneously becoming overwhelmed that I couldn't change a thing. I knew that everything I had tried had failed, and knew I had no where else to go. I sat on my bed and thought: "If God is so great, He will help me, and if He is real, now is His only chance to rescue me from this hell and show me who He is."

I reached far back into my book shelf and pulled out a Bible, one that I had not touched since high school. Searching for answers, I started reading in Romans. Answers I looked for, and to my amazement, answers I received. Through His words, God revealed how much He loved me despite my sins, despite years of running away from Him, and that He had forgiveness for me if I would just turn to Him and ask for His forgiveness. I was struck by Romans 2:1-4, and immediately felt the weight of my sin. There I was, shifting blame on others for the pain I felt, when I had done the same things to God! And yet, His kindness is what was leading me toward repentance....... I kept reading and Romans 5:6-8 hit me like a ton of bricks. That He forgave me while I was still a sinner and at my lowest point, blew my mind. I had to look up from the page, so many thoughts rushing through my mind and heart. I knew I had run from God, and made a mess of my life, losing pieces of myself along the way. But yet, in the midst of this, God sent His only Son to die for me. For me? I was completely blown away. Why would anyone, least of all the Creator of this Universe, die for me? In overwhelming gratitude for the reality that I didn't have to carry the burden anymore, because He had already paid the price for my burdens, I accepted the free gift of grace He was offering me by His death and resurrection, bringing me from a life of brokenness that deserved death to a life of wholeness in Christ that brings joy and freedom. 

In life after saying "yes" to Jesus, I am not perfect, nor is my life perfect. I struggle, and have to give over my selfish desires daily, asking God to replace them with His goodness. I have to daily agree with God on my sin and ask Him to give me His characteristics instead of my own. The difference in my life now is that I have a firm foundation to lay my hope in for my life and my future. Out of gratitude for what He's done to redeem my life do I want to tell others about Him. So what does it mean to be redeemed? I think this is a perfect explanation: 

redeem \ri-ˈdēm\: 1a: to buy back: 2: to free from what distresses or harms: 2a: to free from captivity by payment of ransom 2b: to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental 2c: to release from blame or debt: 2d: to free from the consequences of sin 3: to reform 4: to restore 5a:to remove the obligation of payment 5b: to exchange for something of value 6a: to atone for 6b: to offset the bad effect of.

Jesus has released me from the chains of bondage I once felt. Out of gratitude for what He's done for me, I want to live my life for Him. To put it into better words:

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.

Psalm 116:1-2

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