Ali Puthoff came to college at Washington State University with a deal for God.
Either He would show her an undeniable sign that He was there, and He was good, or she would walk away. When nothing satisfied her idea of a ‘sign,’ Ali no longer wanted to follow Jesus as her Savior, as she had when she was younger. Instead, she fell into a deeply unsatisfying life of partying, drinking, and pursuing acceptance in the most temporary and shallow kind of way.
“I think I was searching for attention and acceptance and love in a sense. I wanted to be appreciated, and that was a place where I felt immediately on the inside, but never in a deep or significant way. The people I was spending my time with didn’t truly care who I was or where I came from.”
Even in the midst of what seemed like acceptance, Ali began to realize how unsatisfying her life had become. What started a whirlwind of change in Ali’s heart was a sign from God – but not in the way she had anticipated.
“After a while, the aftermath of the way I was living finally caught up to me. I realized what I was doing, and around Halloween I hit rock bottom. I felt God intervene saying ‘this isn’t you.’ It’s hard to explain how it happened because it didn’t really feel like my choice. I was exhausted with my lifestyle and I felt God pulling me back.”
Attending Resonate Church allowed Ali to hear the gospel in a way she never had before.
“I never knew what it meant to have a personal relationship with Jesus. I could hardly comprehend that He has the power to forgive me for everything I had done. He loved me when I was at my worst, and He still reached out to me and pursued me. Knowing that changed everything.”
Slowly, Ali began to let go of who she was, and surrender her plans, her future, and her lifestyle to whatever would bring God glory.
“I can see how His glory has affected my life and now I want to live towards that and for that. When you can see sin and it disgusts you, that is a true demonstration of where you are now. I look back and I don’t know who that person was, because that’s not who I am anymore. I’m someone completely different. I’ve started to surrender a lot of things to God, and that’s a new step for me.”
The community Ali found at Resonate has played a significant part in her pursuit of God, because her friends are all fighting for holiness and a true understanding of who Jesus is, just like she is.
“I used to be surrounded by people who partied and did not pursue the Lord at all. I spent my entire social life with them, even though I didn’t find happiness with them. They never asked me how I really was or what was really going on. But at Resonate, I look around and see the people closest to me who are pursuing Christ and really know me.”
God has been faithful to give Ali new desires, and a new heart.
“My life now is so different – I want to show others that I’m not choosing the things that I used to choose anymore. I’m choosing the Lord. I always knew it was truth, but I walked away because I wasn’t getting a sign. At the time I thought that’s what I needed. But now I’m continually surprised by God, because He reveals Himself differently than I used to think. I’ve learned to trust God on His terms. I know that He will be faithful to reveal truth to me even if it’s not the way I expect.”
Trusting God is still a struggle for Ali. She still worries; she still freaks out. But when she prays she tells Him that she trusts Him, and she recognizes His work in her life.
“Things have happened in my life that I can’t take credit for. It’s only Him. I thank Him for what He’s done in my life, because I know that nothing else is more powerful than that. Even though I hit rock bottom, I’m thankful for that because it brought me here.”
Looking back, Ali is still brokenhearted over the friends she once spent all her time with, and she prays that they, too, will one day know the love of God.
“I want to tell them, ‘He loves you now, even in your brokenness, and if you turn to Him He’ll forgive you. You don’t have to live in guilt and emptiness, because He can take that away. The hardest thing is forgiving yourself, but He will give you strength.’”
Though she is still growing, as each of us will always be, Ali has truly allowed Christ to take control of the life she now holds with open hands and a trusting heart. She recognizes her imperfection, but knowing that Jesus still chooses her every day has given her the greatest peace she has ever known.
“He has captured my heart, wiped my slate clean, and given me a new life. Remembering that is beautiful. I could never do it on my own, but He has allowed me to let go of who I used to be.”