Freedom in Christ

Today we hear from rising sophomore Mackenzie Vining. I’m humbled to share her story of finding freedom in Christ. Enjoy!

In the Bible, Jesus talks quite a bit about the freedom He brought to earth.  This freedom is not the ability to tell God goodbye and live our lives however we want.  Instead, it is the ability to pick up our cross every day and tell Jesus we are going to follow His leadings.  Definitely not the definition of freedom found in Merriam Webster.  

Although it is not an “attractive” definition to our flesh or to the world it is Christ’s way.  In my personal life, Christ has given me a new perspective on life and showed me a relationship with Him is better than anything the world has to offer.  Let me explain.  

Mackenzie on the left

When I was 12, my parents separated and eventually divorced; causing my family to be alienated at times in our church and I felt the rug had been pulled out from under me.  While that was painful, the most difficult part was still to come: the emotional and mental abuse from someone I trusted deeply.  Their choices to harm my family and not to care for the ones closest to them tore me apart as a sensitive little introvert.  Many nights were spent in tears, handfuls of meals were missed because I had no drive to do anything; I would lay on my floor reeling from the abuse.  I was numb to love or any feeling except pain.  The relationship crashed and burned and by high school graduation I stopped seeing, talking more than necessary, or sharing any life details with this individual.  There were also legal matters which I couldn’t discuss with others and often I allowed to devil to take over and bind me with anxiety.  I was broken in pretty much every place possible.  I was anxious, prideful, jealous, deeply afraid that I would become just like my abuser and hurt my family, scared of dying, angry, bitter, rigid, and much more. 

Those chains held me tighter than my grandma did on Christmas morning.  Jesus saw them and my absolute filth and broke them – in half.  The devil is powerless when Jesus takes action.  Even when I didn’t realize how often I lived in the shadows, afraid to get close to people, afraid to try new things, afraid to stay home alone, afraid to be alone, you get the gist.  Here’s one example:   

The devil is powerless when Jesus takes action. 

Mackenzie Vining

I clearly remember Jesus freeing me from anxiety the summer before coming to Tech (2019 AKA pre COVID).  My family and I went to Colorado to celebrate and we decided to tour Mesa Verde National Park, complete with high ladders and narrow tunnels.  Needless to say, I was terrified to do that but I wanted to enjoy the park and not let my family down, I was sick of being afraid of everything.  The night after I scaled the high ladders and crawled through the tunnels, I was listening to the worship song, “No Longer Slaves” by Bethel Music.  I clearly remember a weight lifted off my shoulders mid song and I could almost hear the chains falling off of me as the Holy Spirit broke them; releasing the Devil’s tight hold.  After that night I am not bound by anxiety, I have struggled with it, but I know Jesus Himself personally has called me to live a different life.  

       Mesa Verde National Park

During COVID, Jesus has freed me from so much more, such as my pride, my selfish ideas that I have to participate in Christian events to be loved by Him, that I have to be in a relationship with a guy to be special, that I have to work to be loved by the King.  In His gentle leadings Christ shows me the way; with Him.  As a single college student living in a broken home post abuse, still dealing with harmful individuals, a sinner through and through, I am free.  Absolutely free.  Let me tell you, it is amazing, and I can not describe the feeling except being on a cloud floating with Jesus.  (Please hold all judgement I’m not an engineer) I do not have to impress anyone, show off my personality, run 10 marathons, save the world, or be perfect because frankly, I am not (phew).  Only Jesus is perfect and there is a reason for that.  He came to set everyone free on the cross, not only from eternal hell, but also in our daily lives.  He’s got those spiritual bolt cutters anytime you need.

As a single college student living in a broken home post abuse, still dealing with harmful individuals, a sinner through and through, I am free.  Absolutely free. 

Mackenzie Vining

“Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.  The slave does not remain in the house forever.  So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.’”   John 8:34-36

Thoughts?  Questions?  Concerns?  Email me: macborn2ride@vt.edu

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