Written by: Nichole Stern
I spent my life drawing lines in the sand. I might do this bad thing, but I wouldn’t cross my imaginary line and do “that” worse thing. And because I wouldn’t do “that,” I believed I was better than those who did.
Terribly backward thinking, I know.
But a sinner will tell themselves all kinds of lies to justify their sin.
I’m just a small town girl from South Georgia who was determined to be somebody one day. I come from a great home. My parents are amazing and I’ve never doubted their love for me. They taught me right from wrong, and I became really good at choosing “right” when people were watching, but doing “wrong” every chance I got.
In my single-minded pursuit of fulfillment, I spent years chasing the things this world had to offer and it wasn’t long before the road I had chosen became a battlefield littered with the relationships and dreams I had sacrificed in the name of success.
Although I’d said a prayer as a child and thought I knew who God was, I was far from Him, and each step up the ladder of success led me further and further away.
I remember congratulating myself and pridefully thinking I’d finally made it when I found myself working in a corner office with a view of the Statue of Liberty.
Success tasted so sweet in the daylight.
But later that night, after working another twelve hour day, as I stood in the pouring rain waiting for a cab, I was overcome with a heart wrenching loneliness and a soul emptiness I feared would never be filled. Thinking I could shake these feelings, I continued to chase my dreams, always believing I’d be satisfied by just a little bit more.
Still seeking to find my worth in the things of this world, I moved to South Florida for a guy. I left all the familiar things behind and even took an entry level job to follow him. Once there, it seemed the loneliness and emptiness I’d been battling only intensified. My guy was traveling for work 95% of the time and when he was home, we argued. A lot.
During this time, I passed a little church on my way to work every day, and like a moth to a flame, I was drawn to eventually attend Sunday services. The Pastor passionately spoke truth in love and he along with others from the church truly lived their lives to honor God. They loved me in spite of myself. I’d never experienced anything like it before. God used the Truth I learned there to change my heart.
One Sunday morning in 2006, after hearing a message from Luke 18 where Jesus compares the prayers of the Pharisee and the tax collector, God showed me my Pharisee heart. My prideful drive to be better than everyone else and my refusal to see beyond myself had kept me from Him. He allowed me to come to the end of myself, because when I found myself surrounded by all my failures and brokenness, I found Him. He showed me all the ways I’d tried and failed to fill the void in my soul, and in His great grace, mercy and forgiveness, I finally saw He was what I’d been searching for all those years.
When Love found me eleven years ago, all those lines I had drawn in the sand were washed away by amazing grace.
He wrecked me in the best way, and I’m committed to spend my life following hard after Him, because now I understand the somebody I am meant to be is the Daughter of the King.
Nichole is a grateful Jesus girl saved by grace who has been called to live out Psalm 107:2 “…let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story.”
She serves on the Teaching Team with Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies. She is a writer and speaker who finds great joy in mentoring young women and helping others learn more about God through studying His word.
Nichole and her husband, Todd live on a little slice of awesomeness outside Raleigh, NC they call Manna Homestead. They share this space with rabbits, goats, chickens, bees, and their two dogs, Maverick and Charleigh.
Facebook: Nichole Stern