The only part of church I really remember from growing up is getting donuts and juice at the end. I can still see the tables on the side porch, all set up and ready for me! At first, going to church was a family event, something my mom, my brother and sister, and I did together. My sister stopped attending, followed by my brother, then it was just my mom and I. Eventually, laundry and household chores took priority, staying home became the new Sunday norm. Aside from a childhood without Jesus, I have to say I had a very stable and loving home environment. However, like many, I didn’t realize how good it was until I was much older. We had our share of fighting and arguing, but I knew my mom and dad, and even my siblings loved me.
Once I entered middle school, I was hit with the struggle of knowing who I really was. My peers were meeting and making new friends, but I spent my time trying to actually be other people. I found myself without true friends and further from any semblance of identity- of who Abi was. Depression set in and I became consumed with the feeling I had no control over my own life. Depression gave way to suicidal thoughts. Eventually, I developed a false sense of control and satisfaction through an eating disorder. Needles to say, the empty satisfaction didn’t last long and I ended up right where I started. Thankfully, I realized I was in a place I didn’t want to be. My parents supported me in getting the help I needed. Though I felt better, I still lacked the control and identity I craved.
This feeling lingered for the next 9 years. After graduating High School, I was still searching for who I was in all the wrong places. I “found” myself in a relationship built around partying, drinking, and drugs. Things changed when I became pregnant. I know now, getting pregnant set me on my path to finding what Ihad needed for so many years. My boyfriend and I began to clean up our lives. We built a relationship on a real foundation, a relationship worth fighting for. Slowly but surely, we grew closer and stronger, and I am proud to say this man is now my husband.
This healthy lifestyle took hold. Our baby boy grew up and was soon playing on local sports teams. We met several families through our son’s league, but only one in particular developed into friendship. We went from being people we saw through sports, to true friends. It was through this family God would open a door for the gospel to walk right into our lives! They invited us to church, to Apex, on a Saturday night. It was at this Saturday night church service I found who I was. I found what I needed. I found where I needed to be. I was baptized in 2014 and have been on fire for the Lord ever since! Of course I still struggle with my appearance and the idea of trying to be a certain way. What is the difference now? I have Jesus in my corner giving me the hope that even my biggest struggle isn’t as big as the hands which now hold me.
Abi has been a member of our Welcome Team here at Apex for some time now. Next time you see her welcoming you with a smile, be sure to thank her for sharing her story so God’s story may be heard.
Author: Abi Scholz
Photographer: Mike Ellis