At least this is my story…
I grew up in a Christian home; born to hardworking immigrants from Taiwan. My parents adamantly believed in good work ethic, duty, and doing the right thing, just as they were taught by their parents. My father was extremely poor and often had to crouch by a small heater with his brother and sister during the winter months just to keep warm. My mother started working at a very young age to help provide for the family. They both never got a taste of a free, fun, loving childhood.
When they each came to know the Lord, they were thrust into a religion of service, duty, and a list of rules and regulations.
Fast-forward to many years later, my brother and I entered the picture. Like good Christian parents, they demanded that we follow suit in conforming to Christianity. I heard every Bible story, went to church every Sunday, was taught all the ‘right’ things. But God was just a distant and emotionless being who didn’t care about me.
As I got older, I desperately searched for love and acceptance in all the wrong places. “Jesus loves you” became nothing more than a religious catchphrase. But I couldn’t understand why there was this screaming void of loneliness and emptiness that I tried to fill with anything that I could find.
Have you ever felt like life was so painfully disappointing and meaningless that you’d do anything to escape it?
My escape started with smoking weed, drinking a little here and there. Smoking cigarettes to calm my anxiety. But every time I came down from a high, the pain resurfaced. So I spent every waking moment doing whatever drug I could get my hands on. This was my desperate attempt to never have to FEEL the pain of an unloved and unnoticed existence.
Suicidal thoughts plagued my mind. I’d spend hours thinking up ways to kill myself. Maybe I’d jump off of a bridge or off of the roof of my dorm….the possibilities were endless.
Then…one moment in time hijacked the narrative of my spiraling depression and set me on a journey of healing and identity.
I’ll never forget the first time I felt the love of God. I had reached the end of myself and had nowhere to turn.
Through a series of divine events, I found myself in a little prayer room in Kansas City, Missouri. As worship music and prayer enveloped me, my cold yet desperate heart began to soften. The most overwhelming sense of love and acceptance washed over me. Years of pain and self-hatred began to release. The tears started, and the love of God began a work of healing that only he could do. Years of lies, shame, anger, and pain began to fall off of me in a way that I can only explain as weights being lifted off of my shoulders. Jesus showed himself on the cross: bloody, beaten, bruised. He shouted in my soul, “I did this for you! I did this because I love you!”
The love and worth that I had been searching for my whole life had found me. Love found me. Jesus found me. The emptiness that plagued me for so many years was filled with this love. The shame that condemned me to the point of wanting to kill myself was chased away by this love. The rejection that always kept others at a distance was overcome by this love. My addictions, depression, and fear was gone.
I didn’t say a prayer, I didn’t promise God anything. I just knew that I couldn’t live without this love. Shortly after this first beautiful encounter, my life took a monumental turn for the better. I learned that I was able to have a real life relationship with God. This relationship wasn’t built on rules and regulations, but on the foundation of love.
Fast forward to now, I am a music artist and worship leader. I’ve had the opportunity to be a blessing globally through my music and my story of redemption and transformation. I am happily married to a godly man and have 2 beautiful children.
I would have never dreamed that I’d be where I am today. Anyone else would have given up on me, but God saw something different.
God is in the business of taking the ashes of broken lives and bringing about the most beautiful masterpieces. I realized that I rejected religion because I was longing for a relationship. The God that I rejected wasn’t real. He was a projection of rules and regulations. The God I’ve come to know and love is a real person.
Christina Reynolds is a singer, songwriter, and international worship leader. Christina stands out with her intimate vocals and hints of soul and jazz that is relatable to all listeners. Fans describer her as a breath of fresh air in the normal christian genre. Her music is most noted for bringing healing and comfort. She has been featured on a number of albums and her debut album “Songs for the Journey” was released July 2013 and has had international success. Christina’s sophomore album “On The Other Side” was released in 2015. Christina is passionate about creating not only honest and beautiful music, but also music that empowers and heals the soul. Check out her website at www.christinareynoldsmusic.com