Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2


My parents are believers so I grew up in the church. I learned about Jesus from both of their influences. I also started playing softball when I was 6. I'd say my life leading up to college could be described by the word 'good'. I had good friends, made good grades, was good at sports, and was a good girl. People told me I was good and I believed them. I also felt like I was good with Jesus.

Then I got to college.

I can remember telling God, "I still love you and all but I want to do my own thing for a while." I wanted to make a name for myself, so that's what I did. On the outside I wouldn't say I was ruining my life or anything but the choices I was making were not honoring to God and little by little they were tearing me up inside.

Once I realized I didn't want to be hurting inside I knew I needed God but I tried to earn his love and redemption by 'being good'. But it didn't work. This was all happening my sophomore year and I remember being very frustrated and weary about it all.

That summer I did a bible study with an old coach from high school. For the first time I was reading God's Word and He was speaking to me, telling me who He is and who I am in Him. I knew a lot about Jesus but for the first time I was beginning to know Him like I would a friend. It was amazing. Surrendering to Him was better than living for myself. From there my desire to know God has grown so much. Over the past two years God has answered so many prayers, given me such a wonderful community of believers and changed my heart to be more like His every day.

When I look back at my life when things were 'good' I realize I had no idea how truly good and joyful life could be fully surrendered to Jesus Christ. And I believe the best is yet to come!

Alysha Rudnik