“It wasn’t until I got to college that I realized I needed God.”

Ever since Tori Dittmer was little, she would have said she was a Christian.

“I told God I was His as soon as I thought I understood what it meant. I checked the ‘Christian’ box on my facebook page, I went to church every Sunday, I went to private school for years, I prayed before dinner… I had the motions down.”

But that entire time, Tori was keeping God in a box – a box she only opened on Sundays or when she needed something from Him. But still, she never really thought she needed God.

“I was never presented with any challenges that I thought required His help. So He stayed in the box.”

The first few weeks of her freshman year at Washington State University, Tori spent her time indulging in the world.

“Five days a week you would have seen me walking down Greek row and on Sunday mornings you’d find me sleeping away whatever substances I consumed the night before. I was the typical college student, and I was absolutely not following Jesus.”

After continuing to try to fill the hole in her heart with the average college lifestyle, Tori realized that the world would never satisfy her. She started to get fed up with the activities on Greek row and therefore stopped attending them.

“I just sat in my dorm instead. All the people I had met since I’d moved to Pullman were the people I went out with, so I felt like I didn’t have anyone. I sat in my room for two weeks, crying every day, calling my parents to tell them I had to leave this place—until one day my parents said, ‘Tori, pray about it. Turn to God.’”

Her parents had said things like that before, but this time Tori listened. That day she cried out to God from the midst of her sorrow.

“In that moment, God showed me a verse that I had memorized in fourth grade: ‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may become mature and complete, not lacking anything.’”

God used that passage to grab Tori’s heart in a way that she had never experienced before. This time, she felt confident that she could commit to God and never look back.

Following the Lord isn’t always an easy road, however.

“I’d love to say that my life has been perfect since that very moment, but it hasn’t. It’s been better, a lot better, but it’s been a constant battle. Every day I struggle with issues ranging from homesickness to loneliness. It seems so easy to crawl back into my dorm and cry all day, but God has given me the power to get up in the morning and live that day for Him.”

In all of this, the Lord has shown Tori the strength of His love.

“He never gave up on me, no matter how hard I resisted Him or how far I strayed. The Lord showed me how truly unconditional His love is and that He is always there for me. The reassurance of knowing that God always loves me and always has a plan for me is enough to give me peace even when everything around me seems to be crumbling.”

During recent months, the Lord has has been teaching Tori patience, faithfulness, and joy. She now knows that everything happens a certain way for a reason.

“He has shown me joy in heartache and brokenness. He has shown me joy when I was at the lowest place I’ve ever been. Through all of this, I know the Lord loves me and that is enough.”