Stories are powerful and when you share the story of how God transformed your life, it can transform other people’s lives and can impact where they spend eternity. That’s why at Candlewood Church in Omaha, Nebraska, we encourage people to write out their personal faith story as a way to share their faith with others.
Jesus transformed Zach’s life in a powerful way. Read his full personal faith story below:
Zach’s Personal Faith Story
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28 NLT
It was a chilly October evening in 1995. My mom was only fifteen. She was crashing at a friend’s house. She woke up to a boy raping her. A few weeks later, she found out she was pregnant with me.
My great aunt and uncle, who I refer to as mom and dad, took me in. They became addicted to meth a few years after I was born. This led to us having our lights shut off, water and heat turned off, and an eviction notice hanging on the door of our house. I thought this was all normal.
Easter Sunday of 2002, my mom was invited to Candlewood Church. I won a prize during the Easter Egg Hunt, so I wanted to come back every week. The kids were nice. The young adults there were super cool! It was one of the first times in my life I felt authentic, unconditional love.
We started going to Candlewood regularly. From a young age, I had a tender heart for the Lord. I tried reading my KJV Bible and attempted to make sense of at least one verse every day. I wanted to read the Bible like my pastors did.
When I was 8, some of the leaders helped my parents get off meth. We moved in with my grandparents. Shortly after, I remember driving by our old duplex. CPS was taking my best friends, who lived next door. When we arrived home that night, I prayed to God because I felt so alone. A fan blew into my face as I lied on the carpet in the living room underneath a comforter because I didn’t have a bed. I prayed, “God, could you send someone who loves me.” I prayed that prayer almost daily throughout my childhood.
And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that please him. 1 John 5:14 NLT
My parents stopped going to church a few years later. God let me go down a path of abusive friendships, bad relationships, and depression. I kept begging God to send down someone who truly loved me, but it felt like God wasn’t listening. I didn’t realize I was looking in the wrong place. The void in my heart I felt couldn’t be filled up by a relationship, friendships, or even success.
On August 31st, 2013, I was sitting in my bedroom crying out of anguish. I gave up on life. I was ready to drive into the middle of Dodge Street and wait for the biggest semi. My friend started to tell me about Jesus’ love. He said he prayed for me at the Bible Camp he went to. I was trying to ignore him, but then he asked the most important question of my life: “When was the last time you felt loved?”
All of a sudden, flashbacks flooded my head. I remembered my Sunday school teachers. The college kids who would play basketball with me even though I was half their height. That was when I realized Christ’s love. I committed that night to Christ and going back to church.
I showed up a few weeks later in torn-up black jeans. I was instantly embraced. People showed me the unconditional love of Christ regardless of the baggage I carried.
My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 NLT
Over the past five years, God has taught me how to be bold in him. When I joined the Rock at UNO, I learned how to read my Bible daily, to go on prayer walks, to share the Gospel, and how to love people unconditionally. God mended the wounds in my family, and we have never been closer.
God has taught me I do not need the approval of other people. I know my purpose in life is to help build His Kingdom. God has carried me through several trials and continues to grow me.
As a child, I felt unlovable, and I hated myself for it. So, I prayed for God to send someone to love me. And He did. His name is Jesus Christ.
Learn More About Candlewood Church
We are happy that God radically transformed Zach’s life and that Zach is able to share his personal faith story with others for God’s glory!
If you are interested in learning more about the love of Jesus Christ, connect with us today at 402.991.5152 or firstname.lastname@example.org. At Candlewood Church, we know that it can be intimidating going any new place, let alone a new church. Yet, we hope that you choose to join us! You are welcome regardless of where you may be at on your journey.