"I struggled with anxiety and depression during school, but that drew me to God."
I see teenagers face a lot of challenges, like dealing with social media and having to worry about the way society sees you. Being a Christian isn't necessarily appealing to a lot of teenagers because it gives you a label, and it's different to what society says.
Because there is so much pressure, I was never really happy with who I was. I struggled with anxiety and depression during school, but that drew me to God. [...] My entire extended family and immediate family are Christians, so every Sunday growing up I attended church and youth group. I had amazing cousins who helped me through my struggles.
I found out about Leading The Way through one of my cousins. She provided me with a few CDs that I listened to on the way to college, and she told me about the Leading The Way app. I use the app at night to listen to Dr. Michael Youssef's sermons. He directs teenagers to God through topics such as temptation, loss, love, or heartache, but he also talks about how to know that you are doing what the Lord wants you to do. He has a lot of messages to help you strengthen your relationship with God.
Through his teaching Seven Awesome Statements from the Cross, Dr. Youssef really helped me understand what each statement meant and why they were such bold things for Jesus to say [in His final hours]. My relationship with Jesus is a lot closer now because I can see what He really meant when He said each statement. And I love how, because Dr. Youssef's sermons are so short, I can to listen to them again and again. They're more convenient for me to listen to, so I'm able to really learn more about God in everyday life and grow in faith.
Everything that I've gone through, God has allowed that to happen for a purpose and a reason. And now, He's helping me grow because each struggle I go through, I know that He's still there with me. I know I will look back on it in a few years' time and say, "Look at how God actually helped me through that." It's building my character for the future.