by Rachel Schenk

Every Sunday I went to church but I had no idea who Jesus was and what He did for me. I just went with my mind preoccupied and I sat there half asleep.

I was in 4th grade when my parents got divorced and up until that moment I had put my entire identity in who they were and what it meant to be a part of that family. With a super athletic dad and a rocket scientist mom, my family seemed perfect, but we were far from it. My identity was shattered, I didn’t know who I was when they got divorced, and so I moved on to putting my identity in friends. I did everything in middle school and high school, from drama, to soccer and track, to student council and chorus. I just wanted to have as many friends as I could to make me feel like I was somebody, like I was worth something. 

I ended up getting into a bad group of friends, where I was drinking all the time… before school, after school, and even during school. I skipped school and my grades fell. My parents moved me an hour away with no car and no way to see my friends. Once again my identity felt shattered.

This pattern of trying to find myself and trying to find a family continued in work, school, and in dating. Then once all of those things ended, like they always do, I again didn’t know who I was. Finally my sister came to me and shared the Gospel with me, she shared a love that I had never heard of or experienced. I searched the Bible looking for answers and looking for life. I stumbled upon  2 Timothy 4:16-17:

 At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them!  But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.”

I realized then that Jesus was standing by me all along and my identity is found in Him. He was the family I was searching for.  He was the one I was searching for. I gave Jesus my heart, my soul and my mind and I started praying that my life would reflect Acts 20:24. 

Jesus became everything, and He showed me that first I was looking for Him, but also I was looking for a life giving community as opposed to the life taking communities I was used to. I found my community in Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) and at Grace Family Church where I now call home.

This past semester at Beautiful, I was surrounded by women who love the Lord so much and who have overcome the darkness of life by the strength of Jesus. I learned that no matter where someone is, like my mom, or some of my best friends, they too could come to know the Lord.

My mom isn’t a Christian and it is hard knowing that if she died today she wouldn’t go to heaven. She doesn’t support me going into full time ministry with Cru and it breaks my heart, but I know there is hope in Christ and Christ alone.  Something I try to focus on is that no matter what darkness surrounds her, no matter how far from the Lord she seems, I was there once too, and Jesus rescued me from the Lion’s mouth. 

What scriptures have helped you stay strong in your faith when you needed to be rescued? How can you support others who may be struggling with their faith? Please share your thoughts in a comment below!  

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  1. Thank you Rachel for this special message. I too had difficulties as a child. My mother was abusive (physically and verbally), and my father allowed it. I grew up not trusting anyone and believing I was unimportant and pretty much useless. This continues on today, but in a much, much lesser degree-due to finding Christ and knowing HE loves me as I am. I still have a difficult time loving people and trusting, but Jesus is with me on that journey and helping me every day. Thank you again for sharing this message.

  2. Rachel, words cannot express how grateful I am to our Lord that he placed us in the same family and that we now have a bond greater than sisters by blood, namely, sisters in Christ. How I wish, every time I hear your story, that I could have bore the burden from our childhood for you. Praise God that He didn’t allow that to happen but instead led you to the one who could not only relate to you in your suffering and bear your burden but heal you as well. How glorious it has been to see you grow in your relationship with Christ. I cant tell you how many tears of joy have been shed because of Christ’s mercy in our lives together- reconciling us both to the Father. You have a story that will touch many people’s lives. I encourage you to share it all the more! I am also thankful to have you to labor in prayer with on behalf of our family and the salvation of their souls. I love you.

    • Lauren, your words and relationship with your sister are inspiring! Thank you for sharing that you are laboring together for the salvation of your family and I am believing with you!

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