When Kelsey Sommer thought of church, all she could picture was bowing in a pew each Sunday morning and reciting the same prayers over and over as fast as she could. Growing up, Kelsey often felt confused about God and what the church stood for. “Did I really know what it meant to be in the presence of God when I was shrugging Him away every opportunity that I received to be with Him?”
As a young adult Kelsey recalls waking up in the morning dreading each day because the burdens cast upon her felt so heavy. Looking back now, she says, “One may ask what possible burdens could engulf a child living in the suburbs of The United States?”
However, Kelsey said, like a lot of her peers, anxiety and depression devoured her and ultimately left her feeling empty and alone. “To not know that the presence of The Lord is eternal and unfailing is a crushing weight. My life was overshadowed by longing—a longing to be loved by everyone I encountered each day.”
Things didn’t get easier for Kelsey. She ended up switching high schools three times before finally ending up at one that would carry her through graduation. “It was rather difficult for me to make friends. I so desperately sought for attention and to feel like I had a place in the social rankings of my high school. I gossiped frequently about others at my school in order to gain the approval of my peers and though that made me feel shallow on the inside, I knew that I was being accepted on the outside.”
To not know that the presence of The Lord is eternal and unfailing is a crushing weight. My life was overshadowed by longing—a longing to be loved by everyone I encountered each day.
As this continued, so did the anxiety. “I was still held prisoner to many forms of anxiety that would keep me up at night causing me both mental and physical pain and I remember just feeling so helpless and alone. I was so frightened that the anxiety in my life would completely annihilate me and that I would just end up dying of exhaustion. I didn’t realize that I was fighting a battle that was already won.”
One day during her Junior year of high school, Kelsey was invited by a friend to go to Movi, the High School ministry at The Chapel. “I had been attending The Chapel since I was a freshman in high school and I respected the way that The Word was presented, but once I walked out of The Chapel on a Sunday morning, my anxiety came flooding back.”
“After a few weeks of speculation, I decided to join my friend at Movi. I became involved in a small group and after attending Movi on a week-to-week basis, I started to become really close to the girls in my group. I was slowly learning what it meant to be a real follower of Christ and how a Christian is able to exhibit the love of The Spirit.”
After graduating high school Kelsey then went on to start attending Vintage, the college age and young adult ministry at The Chapel. “I can’t place my finger on the exact moment when I would call myself a surrendered Christian, because it was such a steady, growing process for me, but I can say that I became fired up by the words that The Lord put into Wes Aram’s mouth and I felt as though each message was being spoken directly to me.”
I was slowly learning what it meant to be a real follower of Christ and how a Christian is able to exhibit the love of The Spirit.
“I committed to reading The Bible every single day starting when I was a sophomore in high school and at the time I didn’t understand why I was doing it, but I knew that it had to be done. Today, I can honestly say as a freshman in college that I yearn for the time that I am able to spend with The Lord each day. God is my entire life and my absolute all and without Him I am nothing, but with Him I am able to be a light in the midst of the dark world.”