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John Ramos
New Orleans,

I could not change my past.
Being raised by a single mother in Southern California, I was the youngest of three kids and often found myself in a lot of trouble. My mother raised us in the Christian faith and did the best she could with what she had to provide for us. But during this time and into my teen years, I remember feeling lost, angry and hopeless.
I was frustrated with my life and sought answers in alcohol, drugs and immorality. Enjoying the love of the world, I thought I found the answers but instead found conviction and guilt. Instead of turning to God for grace and forgiveness, I ran.
I ran into the military thinking I could escape the pain of my guilt and lifestyle. Again, I found comfort in the love of the world. Yet, the hand of God was upon me, breaking my heart through the conviction of my disobedience to His Law.
I knew what the Bible said about such living and I knew the consequences of such living but I realized that I had no power to stop this destructive behavior. Feeling like a worthless prisoner of sin, I gave up hope.
Then I found my value in Jesus.
After I hit “rock bottom” in my life, I realized that there was nothing I could do to change my circumstances, but change could only come through the power of Jesus, God’s only son.
As I read the Bible and began to truly place my faith in those precious words, I began to understand that the acceptance, worth and value I passionately pursued in my young adult life were always to be found in God’s love for me. I knew that nothing I could ever do would earn the grace of God. I also knew that I could not change my past and the decisions made that affected my life and those I loved.
Arriving at this realization allowed me to let go of my past, along with all the hurt and pain, and grab hold of God's mercy. Knowing that when God looks upon me now, He sees the righteousness of His son and nothing of my own.
This truth is humbling and comforting because I know that my soul is secured and sealed by the sacrifice of Jesus and his glorious resurrection! I know that I am a sinner, but I am a sinner saved by grace. To truly feel accepted, find your value in Jesus.