Before I found Christ, my life felt pretty hopeless. I had problems with my dad, and a lot of people I had been closest to had turned their backs on me. I struggled with severe anxiety and depression.

After high school, I started going to Cleveland State University. At the time, I had very few friends left, due to different circumstances. I knew of a couple of people who went to the Campus Bible Fellowship (CBF) group there, so I decided to try it. I was not a very outgoing person and was terrified of being in a group of people I didn’t really know. I had met the then vice president of CBF at CSU, McKenzie, the previous summer, and she befriended me.

A month or so into the semester, life got even worse at home, and I had no one to turn to. I loosely knew McKenzie, so I reached out to her and we met up for lunch. I poured out everything to her, and she immediately drew things back to God and the gospel. At the time, I thought I was a Christian. I had said a prayer when I was four and had gone to church occasionally my whole life. One Sunday at church, the pastor preached a sermon on how people change after they’ve been saved. I was completely confused, so I asked McKenzie if we could talk about it.

I realized I had never actually surrendered to God. McKenzie challenged me to count the cost and to decide if I was willing to surrender. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for several days. God was calling me to give my heart to Him, and I wanted to. So Saturday night, October 29, 2016, I surrendered and gave my heart to Jesus. Shortly afterwards, I told McKenzie, who was thrilled with my decision. Unbeknownst to me, McKenzie told our CBF leader, Mary, that I had gotten saved. On my first time back to CBF, Mary was literally jumping up and down when she saw me.

I had a lot to learn as a baby Christian, so Mary started discipling me one-on-one every week, and my understanding grew rapidly. I continued to get more and more involved in ministry both at my church and through CBF, and I am now the CBF vice president (McKenzie graduated).

My life has a lot of hope now, no matter what I go through, because I know I can trust God. With God’s help and strength, I’ve overcome a lot of my anxiety and depression since being saved. Before, I was the quiet kid who never spoke to anyone unless I had to. I’ve since become more outgoing and have happily fulfilled my roles as vice president, even when it scares me, because I know my God is bigger than my fears.

Photo: Sarah (center) with friends who have influenced her Christian life—McKenzie (left) and Julia (right)