Monday, June 11, 2018

Who Am I

8:59 AM 0

             Guest Blogger, Kristian Ward
My name is Kristian Ward. I am 23 years old. First and Foremost, I am a woman who strives to love the Lord with all of my soul, mind, and strength.  I am also the wife of Brandon Ward. Although we are young and far from perfect, we are comitted to serving the Lord and helping others to be transformed by the power of Jesus Christ.

Yes, I have had a hard life. My mom and dad divorced when I was 9 months old. He left the picture. My mom struggled to find her self-worth, and it always ended up coming from a man. She had more partners than I could count. She dropped out of school and could not keep a steady job; therefore, we were constantly moving. I went to 9 or 10 different schools, and I lived in 5 different states.

When I was 5, my mom dated a man who I thought was good enough to call dad. He was not good. He was depraved. He would have outbursts of anger, and he would beat my mom and I. One day while my mom was away, he raped me and continued to do so whenever she was not home. I can’t accurately describe the fear, hurt, and shame I felt at 5 years old. We got free of him, but the constant partners did not stop. My sister lived with her dad most of our young life, and then my mom had my brother, my world. Because my mom was working, I took care of my brother. I fed him, bathed him, and made sure he was taken care of. I raised him.

This way of life kept on until high school. Somehow, I was a junior in high school, and I’ve never had a boyfriend or done anything inappropriate with a boy. (That was only because of my father in heaven protecting me.) I met Brandon Ward my junior year. He was cute and funny, and he swept me off of my feet. We were obsessed with each other. We spent every possible second we could together. I put him on the highest pedestal. He was everything to me. Because he had an equally hard life and his own insecurities, he had no clue how to be a man or how to treat women. Neither of us knew real love. He eventually dumped me. I was shattered. I had put all of my value into what he thought of me. I was so hurt and lost. This life I had been given left me feeling worthless. All the pain and shame from my entire life compounded until I felt as though I had no value at all.

A few months before this, a friend of his invited us to go to church at WFR. I went to appease him, but I didn’t buy this God stuff. I had never really given God a thought until I was so broken and lost. After Brandon broke up with me, I had nothing and no one else to turn to. I decided to give prayer a try. I broke down on the floor sobbing and asked God to help me. If this was all there was to life, then what’s the point? Was I put on this earth only to suffer? Did my life have any value? Who is God, and what does that mean for me?

That was the day I gained a father; not just any father, the perfect father. A father who has an infinite amount of love and grace for me. A father who loves me so much he sent his son to die to save me, even though I spent my whole life not caring about him.

Yes, I have had a hard life. Psalm 71:20-21, "You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again." God is so much bigger than any past, present, or future hardship. God has done so much more than comfort me; God has completely transformed my life. God has blessed me with an amazing family. He’s blessed me with people who love me no matter how broken I am. These people love me for who I am, not what I can do for them. God has most certainly blessed me with a husband; the same broken boy who dumped me, is now a man who loves God and pursues him daily. A man who leads by serving. A man who leads me towards God. Above all, God has given me absolute value. I am a daughter of the king of kings. God has molded me and shaped me so much that I do not recognize the old Kristian who was defined by the hard life she was given.

Why would I choose to be a Christian? Isn’t that just a bunch of rules and regulations of what not to do? Being a Christian has nothing to do with following rules and being perfect; if it did, I would be thrown out. Psalm 71:15, "I will tell everyone about your righteousness. All day long I will proclaim your saving power, though I am not skilled with words. I will praise your mighty deeds, O Sovereign Lord. I will tell everyone that you alone are just." This speaks directly to my heart. Trying to be perfect and trying to make myself do everything right does not work and it leaves me with nothing but failure and emptiness.

1 Peter 1:8-9, "Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving an end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls." This is not a weak faith. This a faith knowing that even though Jesus is not here in flesh, his holy spirit dwells within me; the Holy Spirit is powerful. The Holy Spirit sets us free from the law and allows us to grow infinitely in truth and love with the Lord. True Christianity is about being madly in love with God and because of that, he changes every part of you and your life. "Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness." Colossians 2:7. I do not want to live a life trying to, in vain, pay for my salvation; I want my life to reflect how thankful I am for what God has done for me and who He is. I want to live my life trusting that God is exactly who he says he is.

Pursuing God, letting him move through me, and letting him change my desires to match his not only fulfills me but makes my spirit overflow with joy and passion and love. The difference between the life I’m living now and the life ruled by pain and fear is nothing I have done; the difference is also not a hard life and an easy life. I still go through trials and hardships. I still mess up and sin. God has made us in His image. God has made us to glorify His name. The difference between my old life and the new is God. I now have a hope and a peace that passes all understanding. I now know who I am. I have been fearfully and wonderfully made by the Creator of all things. I now know what I’m worth, an infinite price. Giving my life to God and praising him through all things is who I was always meant to be. God is restoring me with his love and grace daily. This is what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.

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