Kennedy W.

from KS
Story #652
Hello! My name is Kennedy Wiltshire and this is my salvation story!

I grew up in a household where God wasn't talked about. It wasn't like I heard that God was bad but I just never heard anything about Him. I was told to be kind and try my very best in life.I grew up very angry. I never felt understood and I had a lot of emotions that I couldn't or really didn't know how to process. I felt like something was missing but I just didn't know what it was. I spent my days feeling like I never stood out and that if I could find something I was really good at I would feel this peace inside of me.

The search continued for me to find that inner peace and to work through my anger. Going into my 8th-grade year my brother and I were invited to a church event by a friend. We both enjoyed it so very much and decided that we wanted to go on a regular basis. A couple of months later my brother accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior and wanted to get baptized. And I always wanted to do what my brother did. I told the youth pastor that I also accepted Christ and wanted to get baptized. So I got baptized but nothing in my life changed. I still lived for myself, gossiping about people, filled with an anger I didn't feel like I had any control over, and still felt like I didn't have a purpose or inner peace. My life continued this way for a couple more years... attending Church but leaving that building living for myself.

My junior year of high school my brother left for college. I stopped attending church regularly. I would go with him when he was in town and pretend I had been there every week before (I later found out I didn't have him fooled). That junior year was filled with a lot of sin and confusion as I sought how I best thought my life should look. I indulged in sin and spent a lot of time doing things that made me feel "good." But I still felt angry and lost. I felt misunderstood and like I was never enough for those around me. I so badly wanted to be loved for who I was but had no idea who I was nor did I surrounded myself with people who would love me unconditionally. Luckily, my brother and those friends I made at church didn't give up hope for me. They continued to pray and encourage me. My brother told me I needed to go to church camp with our church because he was a staff member at that camp. I agreed because I did have fun the year before and because I didn't want to go 7 weeks without seeing my brother. I remember the feelings I had the day before, I had no desire to attend but I knew that I needed to go because my parents had already paid for me to go. The first night I remember after the message bawling and I decided that night I was going to "tear" down the wall I built between God and I. The second night I remember bawling after the message and I was confused because I decided the night before to tear down the wall I built so I did what most of us do which is stuff the feelings down and ignore them. But on the third night, I remember the speaker talking about believing in your heart and confessing with your mouth that Jesus is Lord. And I realized that I had never done that.

I remember feeling that weight of all my sins upon my shoulder and then praying and asking God to forgive me and come into my life and peace flooded into my life. My heart became as light as a feather and joy filled me. My life drastically changed after that. I finally had a purpose and felt unconditional love. I still struggle with my anger and my identity but I now can turn to Christ and His word to help me in those times. There are a few things I would like you to know about my testimony. 1. Going to church does not save you. 2. Being baptized does not save you. 3. Just because someone in your family believes in God doesn't mean you are saved. It's only through you making a personal decision to follow God and repenting of your sins that you can spend eternal life with God. Life hasn't been perfect and I still have my struggles but I now can turn to God's word and lean on Him in those hard times. I continuously experience the unconditional love God has for me and that continues to shock me.

Through all my past, current, and future sin and struggles God still looks at me and says He loves me. Jesus Christ came to die on the cross for our sins and rose 3 days later to defeat death so that you and I can have a relationship with God the Father. I am forever thankful for that and will spend my days serving and following God.

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