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How my vision of Christ in Iran led me from suicide to salvation

I’ve heard stories about Jesus appearing to people in the Middle East. I can tell you those stories are true. I am living proof.

The words “the moment that changed my entire life” carry heavy weight. They have to be earned. They are not merely stumbled upon or borrowed for entertainment purposes. These words should be accompanied with impact, with truth.

I’m about to tell you about the moment that changed my life entirely. Put simply — it was a miracle.

In the summer of 2016, while on vacation in my hometown of Tehran, Iran, my life took an unexpected turn.

I lay in bed in a cold room inside my family’s house. I was alone, on purpose. The isolation was my sole comfort as panic and anxiety gripped me, as self-loathing and angst got the better of me.

I couldn’t find the motivation to get up or talk to my family that I was supposed to love. Having not seen them in over a year, I should have missed them and treasured the little moments we had together. But for some reason, I felt like I couldn’t breathe.

Blinds shut, I cried out to whatever was out there. I remember saying “I can’t take this anymore.” In my head, I couldn’t survive a single moment longer of my emotional pain. Suicide was, to me, the only solution.

I closed my eyes for a moment and it was then saw an image. My eyelids flew open, and I questioned if I just saw something real. I quickly closed them back up, and a smile slowly spread across my face.

Before me in my darkness, Jesus stood. I heard him say the words: “follow me.”

Vaguely, I remember his dark brown hair reaching toward his shoulders. His blue robe appeared long and velvety.

His face seems like a blurry, distant memory now, but I can remember his expression. It said to me, “I am true.” His gaze was strong and steady. I recall a kaleidoscope of colors shining behind him. He spoke many words to me in a single image and a single message. Again, it was “follow me.”

My body froze in bafflement. The idea that Jesus would appear to me was the last thing I would have ever imagined.

Yet an unexplainable peace settled over me. A calm I couldn’t explain. The panic that had gripped me moments ago seemed to dissipate.

After the vision faded, I grabbed my cell phone and Googled “Jesus.”

I scrolled through photo after photo of him — all artistic renditions. There was a deep familiarity to the images. I knew in my spirit that this was him. I began to trust.

In my excitement, I wondered what Christianity was like. Did people mime an imaginary cross over themselves to worship? Were Christians the “better” people?

I hadn’t given Christ or Christianity much thought before that moment. Having been raised Muslim, I assumed Christianity was a fake religion, that people worshipped a “false God.” I was taught there was no way God would have a son. I had dismissed the religion altogether.

However, my vision had rocked me, changed me somehow. That night, I confessed to my grandfather I wanted to learn more about this Jesus. I had a bite. I needed to taste more.

When I returned to Southern California, where I have lived since age seven, I started to seek. And thankfully, I started dating someone who took me to church and introduce me to a whole new family.

The beginning of my journey was rough, like taking off a bandaid really hard and really fast and then sitting in a burning hot sauna as the wound stung.

With full surrender and a desperate need for him, I started to fall on my knees day after day, week after week. On February 5 of this year, I was baptized.

I now regularly go to church on Sundays. I now walk with grace and confidence, no longer struggling with social anxiety or suicidal tendencies. This is because I was gifted his love for me, allowing grace to cover all of the sin I had let get in the way of my relationship with God.

My conversion has not been met with acceptance from my family. But I have figured out that no man on Earth can truly hurt me or cause me to give up my faith.

People are surprised when I tell them my story. I think a part of them is shocked that a head-strong, passionate girl like me escaped from such oppression.

Yes, I am healed and loved by Jesus. He is the reason I can undergo trials and walk out that much stronger and wiser. My story shows that anyone can be saved from the valley of death through his overwhelming grace.

More recently I’ve heard stories about Jesus appearing to people in the Middle East. I can tell you those stories are true. I am living proof.

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About the Author
Nikki Tayebian -- University of California Riverside