My story starts out with growing up in church. Every Sunday as a little kid I went to kids church. As I grew up there seemed to be a point where we stopped going to church but when we did go it seemed almost like a chore I didn't want to do. Once I hit middle school age I began to do things I shouldn't be doing watching things I shouldn't be watching and so on. When I did go to church I would sit with my mom and never go to youth group because I felt like I didn't know anyone and I didn't want to be that kid that sat in the back all alone. Eventually I stopped even being a part of the youth group. I dint go to church camp for years because I didn't want to be alone. Meanwhile I'm still doing all these sinful things, wishing I could stop but I was to addicted to them. Once I hit high school church became less of a chore and I got more excited to go. I'd still sit with my mom unless my friend asked me to go to youth group with her. Throughout the week I would do these things and tell myself oh it's okay you have church on Sunday and you can start new. Every week it was the same thing over and over and over again. Finally going into my junior year I decided to go to church camp, however I didn't go to the same one as my youth group. At camp I remember the 2nd to last day we had a very intense night tons of tears were cried and it felt like I was finally able to let these sins go. I was ready to get baptized but I felt like my parents would be mad at me so I told my self no. Another year of doing these sinful things went by going into my senior year my church youth group decided to go to CIY I signed up with at the time was my "only friend" in youth group. That week was absolutely life changing or so I thought. The week ended and I can happily say I now have more friends in youth group. We came home and it seemed that the only thing that really changed in me is I felt more comfortable going to youth group on Sunday, the one thing that didn't change were my sinful actions. That week of camp however did spark something in me and I finally felt it was the right time to get baptized, so on July 30th, 2017 my brother and I both got baptized. I had hoped that this would help me free my self of these shackles but I still went back to the same sins. Another year went by. This year I became a little more involved with the youth group, I went to CIY rally, I went to the senior lunch and on the senior trip, and I went to CIY again. Leading up to that week satan was defiantly taking over my life. So much happened that week at CIY. On the second day at camp they had this lights set up so when you step under the light it represents walking into the light and out of the darkness. As soon as the music began to play I started to bawl my eyes out and these were tears of regret, self hate, and shame. I knew at that moment I was ready to get rid of it, so I went and stood under the light. As soon as I soon as I stepped out of the light I stopped crying and it was that I forced myself to I just did. I was very quickly met with hugs from many people in my youth group at that point I began to cry but this time it was tears of happiness and freedom. As the next couple days went by I felt "free" but I still felt like something was holding me back. I could feel like God wanted me to tell my story but I was so ashamed of what I Had done and I didn't want anyone else to know because I feared what they would think of me. On the second to last day each person was given two black bracelets that we had to wear all day these represented our shackles. At the evening session we were given another one which tied the two together. It became very annoying, it was hard to take notes, it was hard to worship, and much more. At the end of the session the person next to us told us a prayer and broke our shackles. My best friend got to break mine which meant a lot to me and I got to break my small group leaders. Once again I had began to cry tears of happiness and freedom because the shackles were gone, but again there was a little part on me still feeling horrible for what I had done. There were some doors set up for us for us to walk through if we felt like our shackles hadn't fully been broken, so I stepped through the door feeling more free, still a small part of me felt ashamed. Later that night after youth group time all of the girls got together and talked about the week, people had shared there stories and as I sat there a listened to one persons story I was getting nervous I knew God wanted me to share my story but I didn't want to. As soon as the one persons story was over I knew I had to tell my story because that was what was holding me back from fully feeling free. Before this point I had never told anyone. As soon as I was done I had finally felt free and I finally felt like I could forget about what I have done. One of the most amazing feelings was the feeling of love that surrounded me which was the opposite of what I thought it would be. As the came to an end it was hard to leave because I felt like all of the friendships made were gonna disappear and I was gonna go back to the same old me. Its only been a few days since we have been back home from camp and I know I have all these people by my side that will hold me accountable. I cant wait to see how God uses me now that I am in the light!
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