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My life was all about drinking and going to parties. I had actually tried smoking, but then I decided to stop when I realized how horrible it was. My life was centered around being cool and funny and looking great in guy's opinions. I had dated several guys, but I could never fully attach myself, mostly because I was afraid that I would end up with someone like my father.

I started hanging out with this one girl. There was just something about her. She wasn't fake or shallow, like most of my other friends. She was sincere.

For weeks we would hang out everyday after school. One day she invited me to go to church with her. I didn't think anything of it really, I mean, I had grown up going to church with neighbors and such. I went to her youth group that night and had the most fun I had in a long time. It was better than any party, and the people there were so awesome! They weren't "religious stuck-ups." They were actually a lot like me. A lot of them were so funny and kinda weird, like me.

That night put a spark into my heart. I wanted more of what the kids at the youth group had. I didn't know what it was yet, but whatever it was, I wanted it, and bad!

For the next couple of weeks I attended that youth group with my friend. I was invited to go on a retreat with the youth group. It was to Acquire the Fire. I went.

That weekend, at Acquire the Fire, God touched my heart. I realized what those kids had, and what I didn't. It was God in their lives. They had God's love. God's forgiveness. Jesus' sacrifice was embedded in their hearts, something that they lived for!

I let God into my life on the first night of Acquire the Fire. I believed that Jesus, God's perfect Son, died a horrible death on the cross just for my faults and mistakes. My sins. He didn't even deserve that death, but received it, for me ... for us, because He loves us. But then He rose, He came back alive! He defeated death, proving He really was God's Son! I didn't know Jesus was the only way you could get into heaven, and all I had to do was have faith, believe that He did all that for me, and accept it.

I fell in love, for the first time, on that first night of Acquire the Fire. Forgiveness was something I had never experienced a lot of. I felt everything I had ever done wrong, my drinking, my smoking, my bad behavior and attitude, being lifted off my back and taken out of my heart. All of my sorrow was taken. My heart was replaced with God's great love. I could feel it! It was amazing!

That was two years ago. It is kind of hard to imagine that it was that long ago, and that recent at the same time. I can't even begin to describe how much God has changed my life around. I have purpose in my life. I know why I am here, and that is to live for God and His kingdom. It isn't an easy road I've been traveling. I think it is more challenging, trying to live out God's will for me. Through temptation I can grow and it is sometimes hard to defeat it. Through Jesus' example on the cross, I have been able to forgive and love everyone that has hurt me. The boys I dated, my lousy friends, my father, myself. It is an awesome feeling to have forgiveness and love. I am so thankful.