After one honest prayer and years of doing her own thing, Sarah Morganti vividly recalls the "great day" when her life shifted from doubt to freedom in her heart and mind.
"It physically felt like I had been unlocked and a weight had lifted from myself and my mind," Sarah remembers of that day in 2011.
"I felt lighter and free, I had never felt so free in my life. I felt so many things at once – love, motivation, commitment, and forgiveness."
Three years earlier, at age 16, Sarah says her life began to spiral downward.
"I was trying to satisfy myself with attention, knowing lots of people, going clubbing, doing the wrong things so people would think I was fun," Sarah explains.
Yet these things only brought further hurt into her life.
"I blamed God for the situations I was in, even though it was my bad decisions that had led me there."
A few years on Sarah remembers her world came unstuck and this forced her to realistically assess her life.
"I suddenly saw my life, my heart and my mind for what they were: hurtful and wrong to others, myself and God."
These thoughts brought Sarah back to the published journal of Rachel Scott, a bold Christian who at age 17 was unafraid of declaring her faith and being the first murder victim of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre.
In a book written by Rachel's parents, 12-year-old Sarah read what Rachel wrote in her journal: "Go after God. Whatever it takes, do it. And don't give the excuse 'I'll do that later'. God wants to know you now!"
"I never acted on that advice," Sarah says. "I thought I could hold off on knowing God until later."
After a few years of living for herself Sarah realized at age 19 that she could no longer hold off on knowing God.
"I thought God would be better off without me because of what I had done."
Later that year in 2011 Sarah went to church solely to catch up with her visiting grandparents.
Afterwards a man inquired if she was a Christian, to which Sarah said, "I don't really know."
Something changed inside her that day.
"I went home and gave my life to Jesus, every part of me. I asked Jesus to take control of my life and fill me with the Holy Spirit."
After that honest prayer Sarah says God transformed her heart.
"Jesus did not just forgive me for my sins, He unlocked me from the self-orientated desires of my heart, thoughts of my mind and the focus of my life."
Now Sarah has a relationship with Jesus she does not want to return to that broken lifestyle.
"Jesus has stabilized my mind and made it healthy. My heart is no longer bitter or having sinful desires.
"Jesus showed me how much He loves me. He died for me when I least deserved it and He forgave me after the many years when I ignored Him.
Now that she knows Jesus' love, Sarah adds, "I don't have to hide or live in shame from past mistakes I have made. I am a new person in Jesus Christ and I want to follow where He leads and do what He wants me to do."
Sarah also says that Jesus has shown her the world in a different light.
"This world is no longer something I have to fit into or the only option of satisfaction. I now see a world filled with people that Jesus loves and filled with people who Jesus died for.
"As one of my favorite songs says about Jesus, 'I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind'. Jesus saved my life and my soul and He will continue to work in me until I join Him in heaven." •