As someone on the Autism Spectrum, I can definitely say that my teen and young adult years were not an enjoyable period of my life. Since academics have never been a strength of mine, things got particularly rough during college.
I struggled to learn the material being taught in my classes since I have a learning disability. I wasn't motivated, was always stressed and had no idea where I was headed since I was studying for a Liberal Arts degree (a very non-specific Major).
It got so bad that I started getting stressed about my finances. I always feared failure, often gave into anger and lashed out at my family, and was eventually prescribed benzodiazepines to cope with the stress. I was also a slave to lust and developed an addiction to it as another coping mechanism.
I was angry with God, continually asking, "why me!?" and "Where are you?" but I never felt his presence. I adopted the mindset of, "If God isn't going to help me, maybe we should just stay out of each other's way."
That began to change on February 2nd, 2019.
I was spending the weekend at my grandparents' house (they are very strong believers and pray for my family and me every day, God bless them). On Sunday morning, my grandma and I were having a casual conversation, and somehow, we got into the topic of God.
She asked, "Has your brother accepted Christ yet?" I told her that both my brother and I did it when we were kids, but that in my opinion, since we weren't technically accountable, we probably didn't really know what we were saying when our dad led us in the sinner's prayer.
Although I don't remember the rest of the conversation, I know it ended with me saying, "I'm going to go do it now." I decided to make the conscious decision, as an adult, to accept Christ as my Lord and Savior.
I prayed, in my own words, and confessed to the Lord that I was a sinner and needed forgiveness, asked Jesus Christ to wash me in the blood of the Lamb, and asked Him to come into my life.
To those who are reading this, if you don't feel anything different right away after you accept the Lord Jesus, that doesn't mean that nothing has changed or that your prayer wasn't genuine. I had the same experience.
Think of it this way: when you plant a seed, you don't expect it to grow into a mature plant right away. It takes time, needs to be watered, and taken care of so that it can bear fruit. Likewise, when you accept Christ, the Holy Spirit begins to work within you as you grow in your faith and your relationship with the Lord grows stronger.
Since that day, I began to see the Fruit of the Spirit growing within myself. I feel joy when I open my bible and study the Word of God, I have a desire to study and spread the Gospel to others (as well as testify the changes in my own life), I want to strengthen my relationship with the Lord, and when I need guidance, I turn to scripture and prayer. Also, my addiction to lust gradually decayed, and it became rare that I ever needed to take a stress-reliever. I now look at things I used to do, such as using foul language, lash out in anger, and willfully give into lustful temptations with contempt if not disgust. If I did any of these things, I would feel a conviction that wouldn't go away until I confessed my sin to God.
These are all things that assured me that the Holy Spirit is alive and well within me. My message to everyone who reads this is that God loves you more than you can possibly imagine, He wants the best for you, and wants an intimate relationship with you, his child.
Andrew: United States