For the first time since I’ve begun blogging, I’m not sure how to begin. I guess starting at the beginning is as good a place as any.
Growing up I was one of three children. The unexpected and unplanned last child to a 37 year old mother and a 41 year old father. When my mother was pregnant with me, she didn’t know. She was feeling ill and didn’t understand why. Naturally, she went to the doctor and they did the usual rundown of possible causes, but a pregnancy never crossed my mother’s mind. In fact, she insisted that she was not. The doctor checked her out and told her that she had a lump in her abdomen that was growing at an alarming rate. It looked like a tumor and she would have to undergo radiation. The doctor asked again if my mother might be pregnant. Again, my mother said no it isn’t possible. The doctor decided to give her a pregnancy test just in case. The test was positive. My mother was indeed pregnant. I was not a tumor, thank God! My sister was 10 and my brother was 13 when, nine months later, I was born.
Growing up, my family attended church. Every Sunday we got dressed up and went to the Baptist Church for three hours. This continued until my brother moved away and my sister got married. We didn’t go to church anymore and I didn’t question why. Either way the foundation was laid. I believe in God, heaven, and Jesus Christ. I believed in the Bible and wanted to be a good person. I didn’t have to go to church for that, right?
At 13, things changed when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She woke me up one Saturday morning and said she wanted to go to her church. My 13 year old brain said, “Saturday???” Then it said, “Wait a second! You aren’t Baptist like dad?” No, she was not. While dad was raised Baptist, mom was raised Seventh Day Adventist. This meant we had to go to church on a Saturday. It also meant not wearing jewelry or make up. Hmmm, this is different. For a 13 year old this was a confusing and hard transition to grow accustomed to. Also, the church was different from the Baptist one. It was two hours and the music was different…..traditional hymns. I went along with the changes because it was for my mom and I loved her. Eventually, her cancer went into remission and she was okay. We continued going to her church however. There were many mornings that I didn’t want to go and rebelled against my mom. By the time I hit 14, she finally let the choice be mine. I chose to be young and carefree. I developed my own philosophy. Believing in God and having spirituality was enough for me. I didn’t even see the point of organized religion.
I kept this mindset through college and sometime after. When I started my career as a School Counselor I began to struggle with many things. I was stressed out. I was frustrated. I was happy occasionally, but sad most of the time. My life was not what I thought it should be. Eventually, I realized I wasn’t who I wanted to be. I met many different people from different religions and churches. They would invite me to attend and I would, but it just never felt right to me. My mother started going to different Seventh Day Adventist churches and I would go with her, but those didn’t feel right either. Then one day she invited me to go to a church she found that was closer to home. I said okay. I went to this particular Seventh Day Adventist church and found myself going back week after week. Life was still spiraling down, but I found relief in the sermons that were preached by the Adventist pastor. Then one day I went to church and there was a female in the pulpit. A female Adventist pastor? This was definitely a change to the ultra conservative religion I’d always known.
As I listened to this new assistant pastor, I liked what she had to say. She presented the sermon in a way that I could completely relate to it. She had all the attributes of the pastor I liked with some added benefits that I could appreciate. Then one day while my pastor was preaching he asked the question, “What are you waiting for?” I started to ask myself this same question. I’m not a teenager or a young adult anymore. I realized that, for me, religion is an important connection to God. Prayer wasn’t enough. I needed more. So the next Sabbath I asked to prepare for bible study and baptism.
I was baptized on November 2, 2010. I was happy and excited. But, the work was just beginning. While I was and am happy for the choice I made, I still had a long way to go. Just like everyone else I’m still a work in progress. Being baptized made me no less a sinner and no more a saint than anyone else. I still have bad habits like swearing. I still get upset and frustrated. I still have sadness. The one thing I have now that I didn’t have nearly enough before is faith. My faith in God is what keeps me going despite any and every negative in my life. It is my faith that makes me want to be a little bit greater and stronger every day.
This is my personal journey and while I’ve covered a lot of time there is still much more to go. Ultimately, I just hope to make my Heavenly Father proud.