Journey to Freedom: My Story
by Taylor Garms
She sat side-saddle on the fallen log, her blonde hair tossed in the slight breeze, her blue eyes turned toward the book in her hands. Her young, growing form was slightly pudgy, her face dotted with acne, her movements sometimes clumsy, but she dreamed of being beautiful, graceful, like a princess. The 14-year old was beginning a new adventure that had just barely commenced the year before. It was the journey of true womanhood and discovering what God wanted for her life.
She held a challenging book about being a godly young woman. The concepts presented in the book intrigued the girl and she found herself wishing to live them out. Purity and modesty weren't new to her, but being a daughter thriving at home, cultivating a servant heart, and submission were slightly foreign. Giving her heart to her parents? That too was difficult to imagine. But she wondered, Was it all possible?
As she read these ideas, taken straight from God's Word, she felt a desire to share these same concepts. She soon after started a website to encourage Christian young women to be tomorrow’s godly wives and mothers.
The website was filled with articles, poetry, recipes and more. The girl wrote with conviction, but her articles were unpolished and filled with typos. Even so, young women and mothers seemed to benefit from her writings.
But as the years went by, the girl was bothered by the growing unrest in her heart. She fought her temper, lies that dominated her thinking, impatience with her siblings, disrespect toward her parents, doubt and confusion about God, and hidden sin in her heart. Each time she wrote a blog about purity and crushes, her conscience was stung. She would write an article about helping mothers and then, the next day found her not helping her own mom. Her heart was in doing good and living for the Lord, but she kept messing up. She didn’t feel worthy to be maintaining a website about godly girlhood.
She struggled with idols erected in her heart: guys, lies, wrong attitudes, and at the center, herself. The young woman knew they had to go if she was to be a true follower of Christ. They would only hinder her in her journey of true womanhood, but it was so hard to get rid of the idols that had ruled her life so long. God was calling the young woman, and she knew what He offered, but the passing pleasures called louder.
Toward the end of her 17th year, the young woman was sinking into a depression. She had clutched so tightly at the things she thought satisfied, but now their gleam was dimming. It did not feel good to always wonder if the next guy was the “right one“. It did not feel good to tell herself the old lies: "Nobody loves me. I'm not good enough. I'm always causing problems. The world would be better without me." It did not feel good to rebel and be distant from her parents. It did not feel good to be distant from God. What was wrong?
The young woman’s inner anger and disillusionment with herself began to show in intense rebellion against her parents and outbursts in her family. She planned to run away on a cold, dark night, never to see her family again and to throw away life as she knew it. She later changed her mind, but still the emptiness grew and the hidden sin gnawed at her heart. Satan had a stronghold, and the young woman was trapped. But, there was something she could do, and it was the only thing she could do: to start tearing down the walls.
The young woman knew the great distance between her and God, and her and her parents, had come about because of the secret idols in her heart. She had been trapped in a secret fantasy life, mastered by lies, and had been self-serving for many years. The young woman realized, with dread and shame, she had to confess her idols and sin to her parents. It was the only way to overcome the distance.
Through notes, long talks, and many tears, the story came out to her parents. They forgave her, encouraged her to delve into her Bible, reminded her of God’s promises, and supported her. This began a path of healing for her heart.
The young woman took steps to purge her heart of idols. The only thing to conquer her thoughts was to put new thoughts into her mind: God’s thoughts and words. She had to keep reminding herself that she was God’s child, a follower of Jesus Christ, and couldn’t go back to her former ways.
The young woman is me. This is my journey into freedom.
Some days I have victory, other days I relapse. But I have learned to live in God's grace and forgiveness daily. God teaches me new lessons in life and my relationship with my parents and siblings is growing. I am learning to be a servant and that life is not about me. I am learning to treat young men as "brothers" and cultivating "singleness of heart". I am learning to tell myself the truth always. I am grateful to Lord for showing me mercy and bearing with me through the years. He is continually smoothing the rough spots in my heart and making me a young woman of God.
I have embraced Ephesians 5:1-2 to be my life verse: "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."
Sisters, never give up hope. If you let God take total control of your life, you will see amazing things happen in your personal life and the lives of those around you. I can look back and see how the Lord has been changing my life. God is faithful. I wish for all of you to experience the peace I know now. I am praying for you and know God is working on your hearts. What's your journey to freedom? I'd love to hear how God has transformed your life!
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.