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Growing up, my parents would take me to church almost every Sunday.

When my family moved to Florida, my parents got divorced and my mom stopped going to church. I still went to church with my dad, but it was less frequent because I wasn’t with him every weekend. After a few months I didn’t want to go to church at all anymore because I felt like I did not belong there. I felt disconnected from God. I still acknowledged that there was a God but I knew that I wasn’t living the life that He had planned for me.

I was always striving to get the best grades in school, to be the best musician in the band, or to be the best at work. I derived my value from trying to please my parents and how well I was doing . I struggled with thinking that I might never rise to their expectations of me or that I was good enough. Throughout my senior year of high school, I would go and visit my older brother who was already attending USF. He kept sharing with me all of the good things that God was doing in his life. After a couple times of meeting up with him, I felt convicted about the life that I was living. I decided to come to USF and I wanted to get connected to a church before I got myself mixed up in anything bad. So, on June 15th, my older brother invited me to church with him at Cornerstone and I decided to go. I felt the presence of God in my heart and after church one of the girls that I met that day asked me if I wanted to give my life to the Lord. At that moment I realized that it was exactly what I wanted to do. I did not want to be in control of my own life anymore, I wanted to live for God.

A week later I got baptized and started meeting for Bible studies. While going through the Bible studies, I really got to see and know that God loves me and has a plan for my life and that through Him anything is possible. I felt a desire in my heart to find my value in the Lord instead of through the world. Now, I have complete trust in God and know that He’ll provide for me. Where I used to struggle with anger, I’m able to love people like God loves me. I’m growing in sharing my faith with other girls on campus, and even at work. I’m so excited to see all God has planned for me! ~Hattie

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