Got Joy?

Heading into my final year of middle school, I expected it to be just like any other but with more privileges. Thinking this would be an easy year, despite having to endure harder classes, I assumed I wouldn’t have to change any of my acquired middle school habits.

I thought I knew exactly how God wanted me to serve Him throughout the year. I figured I would continue to proclaim His name through the medical struggles I was facing. I was diagnosed with scoliosis in the sixth grade and had already faced many challenges because of it. Pushing through the pain, I continued to play soccer and cheer because I have a passion and love for both.

As I began sharing my story, people started telling me how strong I am and how inspiring it is that I continue to play soccer with the physical challenges. It did require a lot of strength to play through the pain, but I knew it was not my own strength that allowed me to play, it was Christ’s strength in me.

As the season progressed, I started to lose sight of the fact that Christ was the power in me to push through the pain. I thought I had my situation under control when, in reality, I had no control over it at all.

I thought I had my life together. God became the One I called on when I was in trouble rather than being the One who I was in a spiritual relationship with. I wasn’t spending time studying the Bible. I pushed the prompting of the Holy Spirit away and continued to live life the way I wanted despite the guilt I was feeling. I was running further away from God every day, and my heart was getting heavier as the weeks passed.

I had trouble focusing during this time, and I was not sleeping well at all. I was wrestling with God and running from Him on a daily basis. All of it was mentally draining, physically exhausting, and left me emotionally empty.

As my sin grew stronger, I continued trying harder to control my life. I stood face to face with many struggles throughout the year often wondering which way to turn.

I knew in my heart I should run into God's arms, but my sin was so overpowering life seemed to be spinning out of control. 

Each school day, the clock seemed to move more slowly. One day, I came home completely broken. I grabbed my headphones and sat outside with the song “Great Are You Lord” blaring into my ears as tears ran down my face like a waterfall. My dad came bursting through the door to check on me. Since I don’t normally sit outside crying, he knew something serious had happened. Since we’ve always been extremely close, He always knows when something is wrong without even asking me. It’s one of my favorite things about our relationship: he knows me and loves me no matter what.

That evening we talked for over three hours about my crisis. We talked about how dark life had become because I was not fostering my relationship with Christ. He explained that not spending time in the Word kept me from knowing and loving Christ well. My dad helped me in every way possible. He forgave me for the mistakes I had made and he pointed me to Christ in everything he said and did.

I ran to my earthly father when I was broken. Later that night, I ran into the arms of my Heavenly Father and asked Him to forgive me for trying to live life on my own. Apart from Christ there is no hope or joy. I cried out to God in all of my brokenness. I realized and confessed that I am a sinner with a desperate, daily need for Christ.

Since then, I’ve continued to grow in my relationship with Christ. My love for Him has deepened, and reading His Word has helped to keep my mind focused on Him more than the things of this world. I’m experiencing a greater amount of joy now that Christ is at the center of my life. I thank God for breaking me. In my brokenness, He refines me, and I become more like who He wants me to be.

Originally published in 2013.

Allie Paige Thornton

is a 2019 Brookland Cayce High School graduate and spent her summer serving at the South Carolina Baptist Convention’s youth and children’s camps - SummerSalt and KidSalt. Allie Paige is currently a nursing student at Anderson University in SC.


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