Life Stories

Everything This High School Senior Needed

Is the next generation fully surrendering their lives to God?

They are, and we are seeing it over and over again! It’s why we do what we do. It’s why there are environments like Fall Retreat 2019 where 521 middle and high school students were led by 131 small group leaders, served by 73 volunteers, and welcomed by 57 host homes. This is all about Reaching People and Building Lives.

Vanessa is a senior in high school who came to know Jesus and developed a close relationship with Him this year. It’s been a transformational year for her, and today, she is sharing all that God has done.

“After being invited by a friend to Prepare 2019 and then to Elevate the week after, my life really began to change. I began to see something that I hadn’t before and to seek out a relationship with God. It wasn’t my normal, go to church every once in a while, and live two different lives – one when I was at church and then another life everywhere else.

Before coming to Milestone Church in January and accepting Jesus into my life in February, I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone, even including God, because I would be judged.

I felt very alone.

I was only willing to give God a small part of my life, and I knew that wasn’t right, but it was hard for me to give everything to Him. I wanted to have control. As I’ve come to know Jesus more over the last 11 months, I’ve seen Him in a new light. But at Fall Retreat, I really started to surrender my life.

I needed to go ALL in with God.

I felt like God was reaching out His hands to me. I knew that I wasn’t alone, and He was there to help me because I was struggling… because that’s exactly what He sent His Son to do. He sent Jesus to live and die for us. Because God loved us so much,

Jesus died so our sins would be forgiven.
Jesus died so that we don’t have to be alone or hide in the dark.
Jesus died so that we could be in His family.

Because He did that, and He was moving in my heart, I just feel like He brought me back into the light. I felt like I could take that next step of faith in my relationship with God. Before Fall Retreat, I just didn’t want to take that step, but I definitely did after that weekend.

Since then, my life has looked so different. Because I know how much God loves us, I do everything I can to help others experience what I have and come to build a strong, genuine relationship with Him.

Life with God is everything I’ve needed; it’s everything we all have needed.

I’ve had setbacks and made mistakes, but I am pursuing a relationship with God each and every day.”


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  • Mike Banas
    December 5, 2019 at 10:17 am

    Way to go Vanessa! I love that He revealed to you the importance of going ALL in. He went ALL in for us and it is the least we can do as followers of our Lord.

  • Jesse Wagner
    December 6, 2019 at 11:37 am

    So proud of Vanessa and excited for what God is doing in her life!