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It was about a month and a half before I came to do a Discipleship Training School (DTS) at YWAM Tyler in 2015. I had already applied and visited the YWAM Tyler campus from New York! I decided to do a training school for two sole reasons: I wanted to find God and find myself.

So, until I planned to come in September, I was still hanging out with my friends and living the normal life that I knew. I had always been a believer, since as long as I can remember. I believed in Jesus and the things He said in the Bible. I knew He was real and His word was the truth, and I knew heaven and hell were real too. I even regularly prayed for my family, but a personal relationship with God...I never knew of such thing.

As I look back on my life, I see how God kept me the entire time. Throughout all the years I was living, fully in the world, God truly was with me. I see that now. You know how on a pinball machine, the gravity from the tilt just causes the ball to roll down. The ball is rolling and then it hits a wall and is forced to go another way. Well similarly, life took me to too many places where I might have, could have fallen or gotten in too deep, but God always seemed to show up and lead me in another way. Just like that ball, unknowingly yet naturally having to go a different way.

At the time, I never knew that it was God, but now I do. Even in my sin and worldly ways, God kept me safe. He watched over me because He knew what He was doing and knew He was leading me somewhere bigger than I could imagine. He knew that lifestyle I had wouldn't always be my life. He knew the plans He had in store for me. I didn't know it then, but He was guiding and protecting me. What a God!

One late night after hanging at a friends house, I got out of my car to head inside my house when instead I decided to sit. I was sitting on my front steps at about 12 o'clock at night. New York skies aren't as starry like some Texas skies, so there weren't that many in the sky. I sat and looked up and started talking to God. I started saying "God, I know you're real, I know you hear my voice. If you really hear my voice and are with me right now, let me know." And in my mind I was thinking about a shooting star.

I waited expectantly for a moment on this quiet, still night with just me and the sky. And what do you know, a shooting star flew across the sky above me. It was the realest moment ever. I knew without a doubt that God just let me know He heard my voice and was with me right then and there. I started smiling and crying at the same time because it was such a raw, genuine, encounter. And it changed everything. I jokingly have said that it was like He texted me back. It was like that though, a mind-blowing, real response.

The next days after were different. Remember, I never knew of a real relationship with God up to this point, but after that shooting star moment, I began every day talking to Him. I was declaring thankfulness, truth about who He is, who I am, and how good He is. I was fueled. I never had done this before, and supernaturally all these declarations of truth and scripture were coming out of my mouth. I quickly lost all interest in a lot of things I had been doing, I knew exactly what I was missing out on, but I had no desire for them. I was consumed with wanting to read my Bible and go on walks where I felt on top of the world because I was becoming involved with God, and all I had in me was a desire to be with Him.

During this time I also stopped wearing makeup and began to genuinely look in the mirror and like who I saw. For the first time, I felt self-love. My relationships at work changed because I was so joyful, which caused me to have more listening ears and care for others. I started praying behind the counter that the Holy Spirit would fill the place I worked, that's how much love I felt inside of me! I felt Jesus so present with me during this time. This was my first month with Jesus. It was wonderful. This is how it started. This is when the journey began.

This August will be three years now that I've been walking with the Lord. It has been a journey, and I see how God and I have grown deeper and deeper in relationship. I look back on my whole life from early ages until now and know that it was God's plan to meet me that night and change my life forever.

My heart desire to find God and myself became a reality at YWAM Tyler. If you're longing for relationship with God, come do a DTS and discover anew God's love for you!

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Daria Faith Eckhoff

Author: Daria Faith Eckhoff

My name is Daria. I’m from New York, and I serve full time at YWAM Tyler. God has captured my heart, and I want to spend the rest of my life bringing him joy. I’m a lover of mountains, flowers, dogs, exploring, and journaling.