I grew up in a home where it was evident that my father loved Jesus, but my mother didn’t. My family was very dysfunctional. My parents never acted like they were married and it was often hard to even tell if they loved each other. I grew up being confused about what love really was since I never saw a good example of it in my childhood.

My parents were gone most of the time working, so it was mainly me and my brother. My Abuelita would spend a lot of time with us and we grew into a relationship where I saw her as a motherly-figure. When I was in sixth grade, she had a brain aneurysm and was put into a nursing home for 7 years until she passed away. During this time, I grew very hurt and angry because I was confused as to why God would take away one of the only stable relationships I had in my life.

My hurt turned into bitterness and I began to live a life of rebellion. After my Abuelita passed away, my parents got a divorce and it fueled my rebellion even more. I began to seek out love and affection by the world's standards and got into a toxic relationship. Trying to escape from the reality of my life, I tried to fill the void in my life with drugs and alcohol. Though I thought these things would fill me they never did. I often was left feeling empty. It was becoming very evident in my life that I needed to be set free and stop chasing things that would never satisfy me.

When I entered my freshman year of college I got invited to a Chi Alpha service. I got plugged into a small group where I saw girls that were truly satisfied in God. This is what I wanted and something that I needed! While being a part of this community that loved God, I began to realize the consequences of my sin and how it separated me from God. Like a sheep, I obeyed and followed the voice of the world, but I no longer wanted it to be my master.

It wasn’t until I saw the love that God had for me that I was led to surrender my life to Him. I became a new creation and Christ became the only voice I listen to. I became a sheep that followed the Good Shepherd. My identity and purpose is now found in Jesus and my desire is to choose to listen to His voice daily. I am fully satisfied in Christ and the life that He gives me. My life is filled with joy and love that I never thought I could have, but now have through Jesus!

-Mekeila Velez