As a young girl, Rebecca Organ was a memory whiz. She figured out quickly that even though she struggled academically, she could memorize scripture and things from catechism easily and because of that, win the approval of her parents and maybe even God. Competition and winning was a way of life for her family. Everything was rewarded based on academic status and this was hard for Rebecca. She would find out later that she had ADHD but at the time it didn’t matter. After years of what felt like losing over and over, bitterness had already set in towards her siblings and her parents and her life was engulfed in depression, anger, and darkness.

“When I was young, I was more interested in church and not out of a love for God,” Rebecca shared. “I wasn’t tested on it so I didn’t dread it. I knew my memory verses, but I didn’t understand the basic Christian principles like repentance. No matter how much I heard that it wasn’t works based, I was still trying, still wanting to do better than everyone.”

When Rebecca entered her teen years, she started to lose interest in church. Her freshman year in high school her family moved to South Africa. Rebecca’s dad was in the military and for the first time, she went to a secular school where none of her classmates were Christian. Rebecca wanted to fit in with her friends. Her friends would talk about sneaking out and having fun and Rebecca was drawn to that rebelliousness. After a few years, her family moved to Omaha and chose to homeschool but also took advantage of the band elective at the local public high school. Very quickly, Rebecca found herself in a group of friends that were making bad choices again. Rebecca wanted to fit in so she started drinking, smoking, and sexual sin.

“I still went to church and youth group during this time, but it was a front,” Rebecca stated with sadness. “I kept up the appearance because I didn’t want the confrontation and I wanted my parents to like me and accept me. But I was off in my own world... I was accepted and invited to things, so I didn’t see an issue. My parents thought I was a genuine believer so I got baptized. I was embarrassed. I felt it was a silly ritual. I thought it was just a whole bunch of people cheering on a girl they didn’t know. My mom got the feeling that the church we were at was not the best fit for me and that was around the time my whole family moved to Citylight Omaha's West location.”

After high school, life was neither good nor bad. When Rebecca turned 22, her parents moved to the East Coast and for the first time in her life, she was on her own. She had her own place and no one checking in on her to see if she was going to church or doing things that she shouldn’t. It was also during the pandemic and everything was locked down.

“The City Group I had been attending wasn’t meeting at the time and sermons were only online,” Rebecca revealed. “So I stopped everything. I didn’t do school because it was too difficult. I didn’t have the best connections with the people in my City Group so I dropped out. And then there was no one checking in on me. I swung wildly to the rebellious side and did what I wanted.”

Rebecca’s world was either home alone, or out with her co-workers from the restaurant she waitressed. Drinking, smoking, drugs, promiscuity and hangovers made up most of Rebecca's life. And then the anger. So much anger that she would have to drink more just to get through. Then there was the one night she was driving under the influence of several things and she saw the lights in her rear-view mirror.

“I went out with friends one night,” Rebecca described with regret. “We decided to drive ourselves to a restaurant and the car behind me flipped their police lights on and I became terrified. I thought I was going to be pulled over but a few seconds later, that same car pulled around and drove off for another emergency. It was at that moment I asked myself ‘what am I doing?’ I could have killed or hurt someone or myself being that intoxicated. I got to the restaurant, and I just sat there. I sat there and thought about what I had done with my life. I was so stupid.”

Rebecca was aware just how messed up and in ruins her life was but didn’t know what to do next. For five months she lived in that entrapment. She knew her habits were bad but felt powerless to break them. Nothing could break them.

“I said at the time ‘If there is a God, the biblical God, if He exists then it would be fair to not make me wake up in the morning,” Rebecca said describing her lowest moment. “But I did wake up and questioned why I was living when I was doing such stupid things. I was completely aware that I had made a dumpster fire of my life but didn’t know how to get out of it.”

The next Sunday morning Rebecca had off from work so she decided to go to a church gathering at Citylight's Midtown location. It was uncomfortable only because she hadn’t been in a church for over a year. It kind of felt like a walk of shame and everyone would see right through her. She quickly got a seat and sat through a sermon on Ephesians where the Pastor talked about slaves and masters.

Rebecca sat through the sermon, half paying attention and the other half trying to figure out why she was there.

“At the end of the sermon as we were all praying, I asked God would you send someone to talk to me. I prayed ‘Lord, please, would you send someone.’ I felt silly saying that. I mean there are more than 7 billion people in this world and there are things more pressing. I didn’t want to have an emotional breakdown so I started to walk towards the door.”

Right before Rebecca reached the door, a girl intercepted her and introduced herself. She then offered to talk and then she prayed for Rebecca. And the flood gates opened. Rebecca told her her story, what her life had been like for a year and a half, how she’s been out of church...and the girl just listened and empathized and prayed for Rebecca. She then offered to get coffee later in the week.

“She actually shared the Gospel with me,” Rebecca said with a smile. “Until that point, I didn’t know how much I didn’t know. I knew verses but I didn’t know what repentance was. I knew you were to ask for forgiveness, but having to repent, and turning away from your sin, was new to me. She walked me through the actual Gospel and then invited me to her City Group.”

For the next few months, Rebecca experienced a Gospel-centered community for the first time. When she would miss a week, she had texts from three people checking in on her. She went regularly, met more people, and started learning about God.

“There was still some hesitance only because I leaned more legalistic,” Rebecca replied, “I always felt like surely there was a missing piece. It seemed like the Gospel was too simple and too good to be true. It can’t be that easy. I wouldn’t take communion for the longest time because I knew I was too bad of a person. I had sinned too much that week. What really broke the lies in my head down was at City Group. We separated into gender specific discussions. The girls would share how their faith walk was, what they were reading in the Bible, and confess sin with one another. And it wasn’t surface level. It was a deep and genuine confession. They wanted accountability and the other girls weren’t judging or shying away from one another. I was met with love and advice. I was seeing that these girls weren’t perfect and they weren’t trying to be, but instead it was God’s love. God’s love was not dependent on my behavior or being a better person.”

Easter last year is when it clicked for Rebecca. She understood that one can’t earn salvation, but for whatever reason she was still trying to. She didn’t have to and that is not how it works. No one would be a Christian if that were that case. So, Rebecca became a Christian.

“I accepted Jesus and I felt so free and so much joy,” Rebecca beamed while describing that day. “I felt freed from a lot of fear from how I would be perceived by people. It wasn’t overnight, but quickly that fear fell away. It didn’t matter what others thought about me or God or the Gospel, if God was approving, it didn’t matter what they thought. I had a fear of dying and of hell most of my life. I thought I would be in a plane or car crash, something tragic and sudden that I didn’t see coming, and I thought I would die because I wasn’t a good enough person. I knew I would end up in hell. After accepting Christ, that fear went away and was replaced with peace. Everything is in God’s hands, and I don’t have to be afraid. I won’t die a second before God’s will. There’s so much joy in that truth.”

Last month, one year after she walked into Citylight by herself and was introduced to the Gospel and real friendship, Rebecca got baptized at Midtown. It was a highlight and a memory she will never forget.

Rebecca has experienced from God a gentler and kinder spirit and now, she is free from her depression and anger. People used to annoy her and now, not so much. If she starts to feel those old feelings, Rebecca prays and asks God to calm her down so she can show love to the person. Also, life is a lot nicer when you are not angry at the world all the time. Since a life with Christ, there hasn’t been a desire to drink and no sexual sin and temptation. One of the best gifts she has received this past year from God has to do with her family.

“My family has always had short tempers,” Rebecca shared. “In the past, during our short tempers and loud opinions there would be threats made, yelling, sometimes trips made shorter because someone would leave. But now, my faith can’t impact their behavior, but it has with mine. The past two times going back home since I became a Christian, I was able to be more peaceful and patient. My dad is the biggest hot head being from a Long Island, New York, non-believing family. When he would yell, I would yell back. It’s been hard to keep a lid on my temper with him. But, with the help of God, I’ve been able to keep my own when we don’t see eye to eye. If it’s a misunderstanding, I don’t yell but patiently explain. It’s been a lot more peaceful. I love him.”

Rebecca’s heart towards her entire family has changed. Now, she just wants to show them the love of Christ and hopes they understand one day how sorry she is for the past.

“I want them to know I am sorry how I acted out,” Rebecca confessed with tears in her eyes. “I wasn’t the easiest person to live with and be around. I put them through a fair bit and lots of temper. I want them to know I have regrets. Now, I am just so thankful for them. I used to see the flaws of my dad with his temper, sometimes I thought my mom had favorites...and that would be all I could see from them. Now, I can see all of the positives and there are so dad’s willingness to stand up for what he believes no matter what others think, how deeply he loves my mother and his kids, and how hard he worked to provide and take care of us. Now, I can see my mom’s heart to serve others, how deeply she cares for everyone around kids, random neighbors and inviting them to Christmas parties...and how she talks about Jesus to them. It has really been special to see my parents in that light now.”

Rebecca also hopes her siblings will understand some day how much she loves them. For her older they couldn’t stand each other and never got along. They were both so angry, everyone was. Rebecca would break his things and they were at each other’s throats. Now, Rebecca feels like they are total strangers but also so much closer. He also accepted Christ and got baptized last year.

“We don’t argue with our parents and now the house is peaceful when we go back,” Rebecca described. “We both were the main cause. Last year, I got to see him baptized along with my dad and grandparents.”

Rebecca also has a younger sister and younger twins...a brother and a sister and prays for them and for the chances to grow close with each of them.

“My sister and I were close until my teenage years,” Rebecca replied, “now, I want to know her. I want her to know I love her very much. I want her to know I am sorry and want to make it all up to her. I want to know her, and I have hope.”

For Rebecca’s younger twins she shared this

“I would say to my brother that I love him, and I want to see him and the same to my sister. I’m moving next month to Virginia where my family lives. I’ve considered it awhile, prayed about it, and the logistics living in Omaha was getting harder but mostly, God is telling me to move. The Wednesday after Easter, my parents are driving back with me.”

Instead of being her rivals, Rebecca's family is her treasure. Life is valuable and after living for so long feeling like she was losing, Rebecca is now living a life won by Christ.

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