I was born in a Christian home. I lived with my family, including my mom, cousins, and grandparents. My dad, however, abandoned my mom and I, and sparked my fear of abandonment, that has followed me through the years. My grandpa was a missionary and constantly encouraged me by explaining that God was my Father, and by reading Psalm 23 with me every night. I had the knowledge that God was my Father, but deep down, I struggled with believing that God actually loved me and cared about me.

One day God brought me into Summit Church, and that’s where He showed me that He has been my Father my entire life. Over time, God started to show me more about Himself and who I was made to be as his servant. Thats when God softened my heart and made me realize that I needed to forgive my father. When I turned 18, I arranged a meeting with him. It was a conversation that I had fantasized about a hundred times in my childhood, but when the conversation actually happened, it was different. I no longer felt the need to hurt him or tell him how terrible he is. Though there was and still is a lot of hurt toward him, I found that I could truly forgive him for leaving me; not because of my own strength, but because of God’s strength in me. Even then any form of relationship with him still felt impossible. A few months later I was brought into Recovery at Summit and was able to go much deeper into the hurts and fears in my life, including the feelings surrounding my father. As I learned new things, and grew more and more, I was finally able to have a speaking relationship with my dad. I still struggle with a lot of the same fears, but thanks to God, and thanks to the people and teaching he has provided me through Summit, I can take the next steps forward knowing that God is greater than my fears.

- J.