After searching for years for the truth about God and his love for her, MTSU soccer player Taylor Hatch, a junior from Ft. Myers, Fla., says in January 2019, she finally found the answers she's been looking for.
My whole life I believed there was a God and a Heaven. I even remember saving myself for marriage at a pretty young age when I was in 6th grade. But even from a very young age, my idea of God and heaven was distorted. I don’t think it was anyone’s fault. No one taught me in a wrong way, but I wasn’t ever taught the right way either. Right around 7th or 8th grade, I lost my 19-year-old cousin in a pretty bad car accident. A year ago, I would have said my testimony of finding God would’ve started right there. I would’ve said I found God in those dark times. But, looking back on it now, I had no clue what it looked like to know God, let alone Jesus. As best as I can remember, my idea of God and Heaven were this: God lived in Heaven and Heaven is where dead people went. At that point I remember thinking that dead people were the ones guiding us through life with signs from above. Crazy, I know. So, when I thought I had found God, I was really “praying” to my cousin for “signs” and comfort. I believed that God was just the overseer and had nothing to do with my life.
Fast forward a few years, I hadn’t read a bible apart from Psalm 23 a few times which was highlighted as my cousin’s favorite verse in her bible which was gifted to me after she passed. It was sort of a security blanket for me for all the wrong reasons. It was one of the only things of her I had left. So, I held tight to it but never felt the need to open it. It was basically a sentimental paper weight for me. Little did I know that the words inside were the security blanket of all security blankets. I got baptized my senior year of high school with a slightly better idea of God and Heaven and I knew a little more about who Jesus was, but my idea of faith was still nowhere near the status of what baptism represents. I got baptized anyway. I remember thinking “I’m going to college in a few months, better get it done now” which is the most ridiculous thing I could’ve thought now that I think about it. My decision was clearly for the wrong reasons and motives and getting into the swing of the college life definitely proved it. Just a few short months after publicly “dedicating my life to following Jesus,” I so easily got swept into the party life. I would go out with my teammates on the weekends and I completely ran away from the rule-following, motivated, “goody two shoes” I’ve been my entire life. I never stopped believing in God, but I did put Him on the bottom of my list of things to do. I quickly fell out of the routine of going out and realized how much I disliked it. I found it was much more my style to sit at home and hang with myself. I started to pray more and grow closer to God. Fast forward about a year and I found myself in a new relationship. It’s always been a struggle for me to find relationships due to my early dedication to save myself for marriage in the middle of a sex-driven world. I prayed a lot for a man who accepted me for my beliefs and didn’t try to change me. This relationship was that. I immediately saw it as an answered prayer. So, I started to pray more. I prayed a lot of those “risky” prayers. You know, the ones like, “Lord, break my heart for what breaks yours.” I’ve heard my pastor say that, so it had to be good, right? It sounded good that’s for sure. Or what about “God, why don’t I have a cool testimony? Everyone around me seems to have one, where’s mine?” Let me tell you, He answered those prayers in the radical fashion only God could pull off. He killed two prayers with one stone. And that’s where I believe my true testimony of finding and knowing Jesus comes into play. I was cheated on by the man I loved. But the Holy Spirit quickly showed me why in Ezekiel 16:8-39. When I prayed “Jesus, break my heart for what breaks yours,” I didn’t even know why I was praying it at the time. Probably because it sounded good. Or it even might have been that I knew I wanted something more with Him and that simple sentence seemed like the way to do it. I don’t know. However, I know now that He answered that prayer in a way that I would’ve never have asked for at the time I prayed it. You see, Jesus’ heart was broken by how I treated our relationship. I was unfaithful, I was putting our relationship on the backburner to everything else in my life. I placed my trust and love in my earthly relationship, soccer, and being accepted. All the while, still pretending to be a faithful follower. I went to church most weekends I could, I read my bible here and there, I stayed away from the party scene and sexual immorality. I was putting on a show for the people around me so that I looked good on the outside. And just like he said he would, He broke my heart for what broke His. He showed me the same pain He felt while I was off loving all those other things above Him. He gave my boyfriend the power to show me exactly how He felt. I was cheating on the Lord with my boyfriend. And as soon as I prayed that prayer, my boyfriend started cheating on me. My boyfriend started to look for things outside of our relationship that I couldn’t give him. He started to tell me that I didn’t love him enough and that I didn’t love him the right way. I would try to love him better, but he only saw it as a temporary high. That’s how I was treating Jesus. I would try to read my bible to find any kind of love that Jesus had left for me for a temporary “check it off the list” moment to make myself feel better. Jesus would show me all the love he had but I was too blinded by my crumbling relationship to see any of it. Jesus was me. Trying everything He could to reel me back in. Forgiving me when I shouldn’t have been forgiven, loving me even when my eyes were fixed on things that didn’t deserve my love. I was and still am so hurt. I was hurt by what was done to me, but now I’m even more hurt by what I did to Jesus. Jesus vowed to be mine forever. And I cheated. And now, that He’s broken my heart for what broke His (his children turning away from Him and His love only to love other things), I never want Him to feel that way again. The start of January 2019. I truly saw for the first time what it meant to be surrounded and loved by the love of Jesus. I threw my hands up and gave all my heart break and fear to Him that day. He’s loved me and guided me every day and has given me an indescribable peace that I will never turn away from. On February 24th, 2019, I decided to get baptized again. This time it was for all the right reasons. I don’t know everything there is to know just yet, but I know Jesus and that is enough for me.