Finding God: Sydney Heinold - the God who loves
Sydney Heinold came to know Christ as a young girl but continued to grow through the ups and downs of a “spiritual rollercoaster” until having a profound encounter with the love of Christ in the summer of 2020. Feeling weary and unworthy, she came face to face in a powerful emotional encounter with Jesus Christ, that not only changed her testimony, but her entire outlook on life.
“I was really overcome with Jesus and I have been pursuing Him ever since,” Sydney said, “it came out of a place of numbness and emptiness when I felt such an intense emotion of God’s love pouring out on me. I’ve never felt anything like that even in an earthly sense, like I have never felt anything so strongly. It was really overwhelming in a good way. At that moment, I knew that God is the only one I wanted to pursue.”
Sydney continued to elaborate, “Coming out of that harder phase in life is really difficult, I felt so empty and broken in this world and then I experienced this amazing God moment and said to myself like, ‘that’s it, I have to be close to Him.’” Sydney continued, “I wish I could say that instantly my life was so much better after that moment, and it was not, but even still, I knew I wanted Jesus and grew closer to Him. I just did my best and focused on His love.”
Reflecting on how she grew and changed as her faith developed, Sydney said, “As I became more stable in my faith over the summer, I got to dive deeper into how Jesus loves people. I was just thinking about the ways that He loved. He was on Earth and He experienced pain, had fun with His friends, had bodily urges and felt everything that’s human, but He loved others in such profound ways. That just made me fall in love with Jesus.”
Regarding that mindset of love that Jesus had, she discussed her renewed outlook of Eastern Christian High School, “I think in the past I viewed EC as just another hierarchy of people trying to manage our way through teenage years. It feels more of a mission now. Less of an obligation and more of a, ‘wow, I’m here in this moment because He created me for such a time as this for a reason.’”
In encouragement to fellow students at Eastern Christian High School, Sydney said, “I think I always put so much pressure on myself for being like the perfect Christian, or I felt like I couldn’t experience God because ‘that’s only for that group of friends and I’m not like that’ so I didn’t really go out of my way at EC to experience God, like in paying attention in chapel and worship nights. I wasn’t that person,” Sydney continued, “I would really encourage people to look past earthly boundaries. That’s really easily said and not really easily done and that’s why a lot of it comes with time. But when I was in my place of pain I felt like it wasn’t really worth trying to follow those boundaries anymore and it sort of leveled the playing field for me. We’re all created in God’s image, we’re all the same, we’re all loved the same and all equal.”