Dauntless Deepen, Day 13

Hello, my name is Preston Folchert, I am an 18-year-old  teen Christian from Casper, Wyoming and have been a Christian ever since I can remember. Nonetheless, my life has not been easy. My parents are big influencers on my faith and I got saved when I was 9 years old.

 I hadn’t had many hardships but then I moved to another state; didn’t see many of my friends, had a few loved ones pass away, and had trouble in school. 

When it came to my sophomore year of high school I had many friends and family leave my life and it was a hard blow that drove me to suicidal thoughts and actions.

I had 14 failed suicide attempts in just one year and cut a lot. I tell you all this to tell you how I overcame the lie I believed that my life had no meaning. The first thing I did and would recommend anyone who has similar thoughts is to tell someone. 

It can be a parent, a close friend, a trusted adult mentor, or anyone else you feel most comfortable telling. I told my youth pastor and he and another friend of his helped me talk through what I was feeling and ultimately stop the feeling of nothingness. I had trapped inside me and revealed God’s truth that he has for everyone which is you are loved and cared for by him and many others.

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”John 15:13, the greatest love is sacrifice and that’s exactly what is shown in John 3:16 it says “for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”He gave His only son Jesus, the person who meant the most to Him in the entire universe, to a place filled with sinful people to be tortured, beaten, made fun of, and tormented all to save the lost human race.”

In 1 John 4:10 it says “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” God didn't just send Jesus because we all love God and deserved to be saved but rather God loved us so much he showed mercy and sent Jesus to redeem us when we were not worthy. 

Now I say all of this just to give you a little hint of all the love God has shown for you, your friends, and all the other people of the world. Jesus went through the most painful experiences most people could ever think of. Just to save you and all the other people of the world then he must have some giant wonderful plan for you! I don’t know what it is; you may not know what it is, but God does and he is smiling down on you with a love that cannot be explained.

I also know that many people are scared that they’ll go back to their old ways after their suicidal thoughts/actions stop. Keep talking to others about your feelings and pray a lot to God,“I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.” ‭‭Mark‬ ‭11:24, the power of prayer is immeasurable and if you ask for no more suicidal thoughts and you believe you’ve received it then you have; the same goes for anything else you pray for and believe you’ve received. 

I asked God for peace from my suicidal feelings/actions and haven’t had any problems with it since.‬ ‭I hope you had fun at camp and that you’ll continue your faith through your years. 

Romans 8:38-39, Ephesians 5:28, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, John 16:33, 1 Peter 5-7, Philippians 4:6, Romans 12:12, Revelation 21:4, Jeremiah 1:5, and 1 John 4:18.

—Preston Folchert, Casper PHASED IN student—

Dauntless Deepen, Day 12

Jesus, what do you think about me? 

I spent 10 months in India for an internship/missions trip. While there I faced some of the toughest times of my life. Some of them were due to circumstances outside of my control, and some were caused by my own choices and actions. 

When I got back to the states I was filled with such despair it was crippling. I was a shell of a person, almost unrecognizable to my friends who welcomed me back. It was a drastically different sight compared to the person I was at the beginning of the trip. 

I remember being so pumped! Before the trip I was ready to take on the challenge and win the country of India for Jesus! (I still believe saving India is God’s mighty plan). I wasn’t fooling myself. I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy. I knew the devil was going to try everything he could to stop me from being successful for the kingdom of God in India, but I was excited to take on that fight.

Up until this trip I had never had an experience that forced me to really rely on Jesus. I had never been in a situation where Jesus was my only option. But moving alone, across the world, to a culture you know nothing about, your security and safety are pretty much gone. 

The issue was, because I had never practiced relying on Jesus in the little things of life, once the pressure was on I was not trained or disciplined enough to rely on Him to handle the big things. I didn’t know that he was enough, that he would be with me through it all, because I had never looked for him to be there in that way. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t there. I just wasn’t looking. 

So instead of relying on Jesus when things got tough (and I mean really tough), I relied on my own strength. This resulted in me not talking to Jesus anymore, making poor decisions that damaged my integrity, and ultimately left me in a place of despair. I remember that I started to self identify as a failure. The enemy would feed me lies like “you are the biggest screw up,” “you are the embodiment of shame,” and “no one could ever be proud of you,” and I believed every word of them. My actions confirmed my belief in those lies. I made poor decisions and mistakes. I was proving the devil right, and that made it all that much worse. 

I had never really had a conversation with God. Like, I never sat down and asked Him a question and then quietly waited for his answer. When I got back to the states it was evident that I needed some MAJOR healing. I met with some older ladies at my church and I asked if they would meet and pray with me for healing. There was a lot of praying and a lot of crying on my part, but then something profound happened. One of the ladies asked me to ask Jesus what he thinks about me. So I meekly said, with a shaky voice, “Jesus, what do you think about me?” and I heard his answer so clearly in my spirit. So firm. So undeniably true. He said, “I’m PROUD of you my precious one.” I immediately started weeping, and I remember thinking, how?? How could you possibly be proud of me?! And He said, “because you are mine. I made you. And I’m proud of the masterpiece I have made.” 

I realized then that God doesn’t love with human love which is conditional and inconsistent. No, God’s love is pure, unconditional, and quite frankly incomprehensible. It wasn’t really important to understand the “how.” behind His pride for me. What was most important was to believe that it was true. God doesn’t lie. What he says is true, to the deepest definition of the word. So I have faith, and I do believe what He said. He is proud of me. 

Before that moment, I had never really asked Jesus what he thought about me. I knew what the bible said about me, and that is amazing! But there is something profound about hearing a truth directly from the King himself. He desires intimacy with you. He wants to let you know about the thousands of thoughts he has for you. He is waiting for you to ask: 

Jesus, what do you think about me? 

—Autumn Tarango, New Life Laramie—