God was never a welcome topic in Brandi’s house as she grew up.
Brandi Zieber was raised in a prominently atheist household and was taught not to talk about anything to do with faith. She and her younger siblings were told that Christianity was something that society used to create order and uniformity among people - to control them. She also thought it was something people talked themselves into to cope with their fear of their mortality. Brandi harbored resentment towards the Christians that she knew at school, because she thought they were “perfect” and they would always try to do the right thing to maintain a good reputation.
Underneath her resentment, Brandi felt jealousy of the way they were brought up, because it seemed like they had families who cared more than hers.
“I was an angry person, defining myself by my emotion. I thought I could find what I was missing in relationships and was constantly looking for attention from guys. Even though I still didn’t feel satisfied in the relationships I pursued, I thought that if I became more devoted to them, they would eventually fulfill me.”
Brandi dealt with all of these things until she came to school at WSU. Her roommate freshman year invited her to Village through Resonate Church. Brandi decided she didn’t have really anything to lose, so she went. At Village that night, Brandi’s roommate introduced her to Jessica Sears.
“I noticed quickly that Jessica and everyone in Village were so welcoming and friendly. That night, I gave Jessica my phone number.”
A few weeks later, Jessica took Brandi to get coffee, and invited Brandi to go to church with her that Sunday.
“The thing that convinced me to go to church with her was that I finally felt like someone was interested in getting to know me genuinely. After my first time in church, we went out to brunch and Jessica asked me what my beliefs were. Jessica listened to me, and then shared the Gospel with me.”
That was the first time Brandi had ever heard the truth about who Jesus was, and what He had done for her.
“Hearing the Gospel completely changed my perspective. I felt like I needed to respond. It was the truest thing I had ever heard.”
Within an hour of hearing the Gospel for the first time, Brandi made the decision to break up with the boyfriend she was dating long distance. She knew that the relationship wasn’t healthy and she wanted to be free of her old ways. The truth motivated her to let go of things that had defined her for so long.
A few months after Brandi first heard the truth of Jesus, Jessica asked how her relationship with the Lord was doing. Brandi didn’t know, because she didn’t understand that a personal relationship with Jesus was a possibility. When she learned that we are offered communion with Jesus all the time because of His love for us, Brandi decided to commit her life to a relationship with Him.
Brandi is still learning that she is covered by the grace of Jesus and that her mistakes don’t define her.
“I’ve started to understand that I can embrace who I am, and not feel like I have to hide my personality and conform. My straight forward and sassy nature can be used to connect in conversation with others, instead of building up bitterness.”
When Brandi was baptized in May 2013 at Resonate Church, she was nervous to tell her story of redemption out of fear of being judged by those who heard. However, what she experienced was the complete opposite - a few girls approached her after the service telling her that they had been motivated to change because of her story.
Brandi soon experienced a whole summer learning to share the Gospel through Resonate’s summer project, Elevate. It was here that Brandi rode a city bus for the first time to get to her job in San Diego.
“Just experiencing a new environment was a big step for me in breaking down my walls, which were rooted in pride. I was very uneasy at first, used to the comfort of my own car, and initially I just wanted to isolate myself from everyone on the bus. After all, it’s a socially accepted behavior.”
But Brandi found that in the places she was most uncomfortable, God began to open opportunities to break out of her cycle of being silent when alone. She started to experience small promptings in her heart to talk to homeless people and strangers on the city bus.
“Whenever I made the decision to obey what I felt like God was prompting me to do, I was always blessed by experiencing kind words and interesting conversations. He is faithful.”
Jesus has continued to change and challenge Brandi ever since she first heard the truth of Christ’s sacrifice for us. While she used to do everything she could to control her life, she now feels content in trusting God’s plans. She used to be motivated by selfishness and pride, but now has been given a servant’s heart. She is enjoying every opportunity that comes along to follow Jesus and is optimistic about the present and what is to come.