As a little girl growing up in a Christian home, Melissa Secchiaroli attended church and Bible studies on a regular basis. “When I was younger my Dad stopped going to church, but my Mom, she always kept us going, and kept us around God and Bible studies and everything.” But, as she got older and felt as though she was just being forced to go, she developed a feeling of animosity towards God.

While in high school, Melissa stopped going to church altogether. “I just thought that the idea of God, the idea of someone up there controlling our lives was really foolish.” It was at that point she started to see the internal struggle that was taking place. “Despite all that, I started to struggle with a lot of different things - depression, loneliness and worthlessness. I was living my life, going about my days, and there was such emptiness within me, and just literally feeling like a waste of space. I looked at all the people around me. Everybody seemed like there was something they were good at, a niche or a clique, or they knew what they wanted to do with their life. And here I was, and I had so many questions. Why am I on this earth? Why am I even living? I have nothing going for me; I have no talents or gifts that I know about. So, I felt worthless.”

Asking all these questions about her purpose in life and coming up with no answers brought her to a spot where she contemplated suicide.

Not knowing where to turn, Melissa started praying and reading her Bible. She started going with her friends to youth group and even began to attend Vintage, the college-age ministry here at The Chapel. One night during her senior year, Melissa was reading her Bible and something changed. “I was reading my Bible one night, and all of the sudden something clicked. You can't really explain it until it happens to you, but as I was praying the light bulb went on, and I was like "God you are real". I really believe that that's when I got saved.”

After making a decision to follow Christ, Melissa still held on to things she wanted. There were bumps in the road along the way and she realized that she wasn’t giving God all she had. Melissa then prayed, “Lord do whatever you want with me.” It was at that point that God radically changed her life.

He filled every void in my heart. He has given me hope and a purpose.

“God has taken me on such a journey these past five years. It’s really amazing at how real and sovereign He is. He filled every empty void in my heart. He has given me hope and a purpose. He can change you. I went from someone wanting to become an atheist to someone who is so thankful for what Jesus has done for me.”

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