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I was raised by numerous family members on a small farm in the middle of Washington that belongs to my grandpa. I have grown to appreciate simplicity and hard work, and am in love with harvest sunsets. I am a little obsessed with continuously updating my Spotify playlists, discovering the latest scent of Bath and Body Works products, and receiving constant notifications from my favorite sports teams.

Growing up with my aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and more, I quickly learned how to love and love well. My family reminded me daily that this kind of love comes from Jesus. My family took me to church as well as the additional activities and showed me how to enjoy those things. But I eventually realized I was simply going through the motions. I liked everything involving Jesus, but I didn’t want to surrender my entire life to him. I believed I was good enough because I followed the rules. When my “perfect” world began to shatter I realized that following the rules wasn’t enough. 

Coming into college, I became unsure of my identity. When I arrived at Washington State University, I realized I was now in a place where no one knew my name. After 18 years of being known by everyone in my small town, I felt lost. I didn’t have my sports stats or my accomplishments to back me up. At the same time, my family was experiencing a lot of heart-breaking changes that I distanced myself from. I had no idea what this new life of mine looked like, who I was supposed to be, or what I was supposed to do.

The fall of my freshman year at WSU, I was trying to “find myself,” but in hindsight I can see I was looking for my identity—someone or something to tell me who to be. I joined a sorority hoping to find something there. Kappa Alpha Theta gave me family when I needed it most, determination to perform well in school, and memories with my best friends that will last a lifetime. But all of those things still weren’t enough; I was still searching.

Over time, I realized how much disappointment I was experiencing in my own little world. Everything I had worked for in high school no longer mattered, my family was no longer “picture perfect,” my 5-year relationship had completely ended, my sorority only brought short-term happiness—I could go on and on. I suddenly recognized that the one thing that had been constant in my life was Jesus.  

After years of thinking I had already known him, I found Jesus my sophomore year of college. All along He was the one who could love me most, not my family, or my sorority. He was the one who wanted to be my best friend. He was the one who I was looking for, not my own self.  

Throughout my life, I had heard endless stories of Jesus, I had started a personal relationship with Him, but I had never surrendered my life to His control. I realized how selfish I was being. I had known of Jesus for years; I knew He paid the price for my sins, but I couldn’t even pay Him back by handing over my personal control to the God of the universe. I stopped putting my trust in things of this world after they had all let me down and decided to put my complete trust in the one person who had never failed me. I publicly declared I was giving everything in my life to God by getting baptized in front of all of my peers. Since then my life has been nothing less of a challenge, but it also has been filled with nothing less than joy.

I have found my identity in Jesus—He has become my source of truth and love. He has humbled me when I was living in self-righteousness. He has proved that His plan is far better than anything I have ever planned. These are things I long to share with people. I desire for my sorority and for other Greek women to experience Jesus like I do. There is nothing more beautiful than seeing women who have found short-term happiness in the things our culture tells us will fulfill and satisfy, begin to find long-term joy in Jesus.  

It is my honor to devote my life to glorify God’s kingdom by making it less about me and more about Him every day. I know God doesn’t need me, but He chooses me; therefore, I will invest my life in women within the Greek community in hope that His name will be praised across Greek Row and the WSU campus.

Contact Taylor: taylorbarnes@resonate.net

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