So….I’ll start off by saying I love Jesus, and His love is far better than what the world has to offer. But I didn’t always feel this way. In fact, it wasn’t until I was 30 years old, with a ring on my finger after my girlfriend (yes, girlfriend) proposed to me, that I realized something was off. And that is how I will start my story with you..I’m a sucker for romance… a true hopeless romantic. My whole life, I searched high and low for love, from men to women, from drugs to the occult…right over to the ice cream aisle in the supermarket.
When I was 15 years old, I fell in love with Jesus. I met him in the basement of an old Catholic Church in the heart of Buffalo. He was my everything. I would sit in my classroom and daydream about Jesus. I know… a bit of an emotional child. But it felt good to be accepted and loved. I wanted to be the best Christian girl out there. Then I met a boy. My first boyfriend! How exciting! Someone liked me. This chubby ugly girl who had her prom dress specially made because she couldn’t fit into any of the dresses at the mall. I think I was ready to walk down the aisle. I was a little delusional living in a dreamland… but I also couldn’t understand why he liked me. I didn’t even like myself. All I saw was a chubby girl with braces longing to be accepted and loved. My life took a turn when we slept together. This decision sent me down a path of believing God would never forgive me for what I did. I lost trust in men and God…and ran into the arms of my best friend in high school. A girl who I believed loved and accepted me exactly the way I was.
This led me into a life of homosexuality for 15 years. The more I accepted this as my life, the more I spiraled into a deeper and darker world. I ended up heavily involved in the occult, studying to be a psychic; praising the gods of the universe, dabbling in the underground club world and seeing things that I wish I never saw.
But while I was busy being my own god, I was secretly searching for the God I once knew when I was an child. The one I used to daydream about in my classroom. In Job 12:22, he talks about how God reveals the deep things of darkness, and brings darkness into the light. It was through my darkest moments I started seeing this flicker of light. He was revealing Himself to me.
I’m not proud of many decisions I’ve made in my life… except one. 8 years ago, I stood at a crossroad. I was faced with the choice to accept my girlfriends marriage proposal or walk away. I felt trapped. Walking away meant giving up everything that I’ve known and everything I stood for. I was torn. I called out to God for help. Little did I know, that uneasiness was God’s voice drawing me back to Him. That day I decided to walk away from the life I was living and trust in something bigger than myself.
8 years ago, at the biggest crossroad of my life, I stood in the face of Jesus with my heavy, over-packed bags of luggage. Jesus looked me in the eye and said…”choose me, Keri.” Instantly, I felt this unexplainable love and dropped my baggage. I chose Him. The most intimate moment I have ever and will ever experience.
This is the love I have always longed for. Jesus picked me up, cleaned me off, renewed my mind and re-wired my desires. He has put a new song in my mouth. His love is better than life. That is why my lips will forever praise Him…and only Him.
All photography provided by Sarah Bridgeman