2MiMyCastillobiopic-2I’ve been a Christian my whole life. I was born into a Christian family and have never really strayed from my faith. I thought I had no testimony until I realized that is exactly  what the enemy wants me to think. A couple of months after my 21st birthday my heart got broken. I had dedicated an incredible amount of my time and energy to a relationship which almost ended in marriage.

Almost. I still remember the way my heart felt, it was a stinging pain, one I could not stand. Because I had given my sense of worth and identity to this relationship once that ended; my sense of worth and identity also ended. I was in the worst place I could think of. But to God, I was in the perfect place.

He used my brokenness to bring me back. He did whatever it took to have me back. But this breakup was not enough for my flesh to finally admit I needed God and God only. I had to go through another heartbreak. In that summer when I turned 22, I went through a crisis at home.

Just when I thought my heart was starting to heal from the breakup, things got ugly with my family. I will not go into detail but just know that I was feeling even worse than before. I felt like I had no one. I had my mom, but I didn’t want to burden her with my problems as she was facing her own. I started going out and looked for a place of comfort in the world. I thought in my head I was doing alright because my mom knew where I was and I wasn’t getting drunk. I was designated driver and my love for sleep would not let me be out past 2am.

Still, I was looking for comfort, attention, and love in all the wrong places. I tried so hard to justify online dating. I said if I’m careful enough I have nothing to lose. So I tried online dating for a few months. I met a couple of nice guys thankfully my experience was not traumatizing but it was an experience that left me emptier than I was before. Deep down in my heart I knew this was not for me. I know the enemy wanted to distract me from finding my true identity in Christ. I was attending church, I never stopped going to church. And the enemy was alright with that. Because I was not a threat, he knew he had me where he wanted me because my identity was so movable. I could go from happy to sad in one hour. My emotions dictated my life.

I believe it was a mix of the breakup, family issues, and entering adulthood that when all put together left me in a place I never thought I would be at 22. I was so desperate to finding meaning, to know who I truly am. I started attending a church by myself and stopped going to my family church. I remember I would get there after worship, sit on the second floor, and with my soul thirsty to know truth, open my Bible and little by little my life was found. One night, I was talking to God, (crying really) when I felt something I had never felt before. It’s very hard to explain but I felt a lot like a wave had hit me.

A huge wave, one of those waves that don’t let you go; the kind of wave that hits you and hits you again, and again, and again until you come back to the shore and you can hardly get back up. I felt this way, on my knees, in my room, by myself. God met me that night at the right time, and I heard his voice call me by name. He called me by name and told me what I longed to hear, He said I love you, I have always loved you, you are mine, I will never let you go. And I felt peace; I went to bed that night and things had changed. By now it was around the holiday season and things were not perfect. See, just because I had a beautiful life changing encounter with God my problems didn’t go away, the pain I felt was still there but something was different.

I started studying the Bible, I wanted to know everything God had to say to me and about me. I found an online Christian shop and ordered a study on Hebrews. I started studying in depth of what Jesus did for me on the cross and I was amazed. I finally understood what it really meant, why I was alive and well and it was only because of Jesus. Verse by verse my heart was pointed to Jesus and suddenly I was able to face my problems in a different way. I was able to bring the peace of Christ to my family regardless of what our situation was.

When I got to Hebrews 6:19, I spent days on that one verse. I drew an anchor, I colored it, I memorized it, took pictures of it, meditated on it. “We have this a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain” (Hebrews 6:19 ESV). It quickly became my comfort place I no longer seemed for attention or comfort or live somewhere else because my soul had found the true source of love. And day by day, night by night I started cultivating a relationship with Christ.

One Sunday morning the pastor at my church made an altar call, he said come and surrender all areas of your life to the Lord, even your dreams, your goals, your desires. At that point I had not given my all to Christ, there were things I was still holding onto. But when I stepped up to the front and I got on my knees everything suddenly fell off my back and I gave it all to Christ and I understood that His will is way better than mine.

All areas of my life are entrusted to the One who gave it all to have me back. This is not a story of perfection, I have not reached the ultimate version of me that God intended me to be but each day I get closer because He is molding me. This is a story of redemption. My identity and sense of worth are no longer movable. I am deeply anchored in Jesus Christ. He is my hope and in Him there is nothing I shall lack or desire outside of Him. This is something the Lord did in my life once I let go of everything and held tight unto Him.

 

Ms. Andrea Castillo

Ms. Andrea Castillo

"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful" (James 10:23 ESV).