My first recollection of being in church was…
A: My first recollection of being in church was at a very young age. I’m not sure how old I was, but I went to pre-k through the church we went to as I was growing up so I was no more than 3 or 4.
Q: The closest I have felt to God in my life was…
A: The closest I have felt to God in my life was probably while giving birth to my son. I did it naturally in a birthing center against what most people in my life wanted me to do, but I knew I did not want to bring my son into this world in a hospital. But I also knew I was taking the painful route. After 17 hours of labor I wanted to give up, but I knew I had to follow through with the plan. I couldn’t quit no matter how bad it hurt. I finally cried out to Jesus and minutes later my son was born, perfectly healthy. As hard as it was, I would do it that way again. I can’t help but get a glimpse of what was going through Jesus’ mind as he went to the cross, taking the painful route, even after the people around him said he shouldn’t take it. The situations may be different, but the pain in both was worth it. Now that understanding makes me feel closer to him on a daily basis.
Q: The time I have felt the greatest doubt or distance from God was…
A: The time I have felt the greatest doubt or distance from God was throughout my teen years. I went through something pretty traumatic when I was 12 and it turned my world upside down. I spent years angry at God for things I couldn’t understand. I even decided he didn’t actually exist at one point.
Q: If I could thank God for just one incident in my life it would be ______ and why?
A: If I could thank God for just one incident in my life it would be the one that wrecked my world mentioned above. It took years, but I finally came to the realization of why it happened. For one, I would be a much different person than I am today, in a much different place, and I’m convinced that (even though I wouldn’t have had to experience what I did) it might not have been the best for me in the long run. Once you come to the realization as to why something happened in your life, you start seeing everything that happens after that in a different way. Rather than getting angry at God, I now ask what I could possibly learn from the situation, no matter how bad it is. Joy does come in the morning.
Q: If I could thank God for just one person in my faith journey it would be _______ and why?
A: If I could thank God for just one person in my faith journey it would be my husband. When I wanted nothing to do with God, he didn’t care. He didn’t put me down or push God on me. He simply went about his life, going to church on Sundays and doing what he believed was right. I eventually started going to church with him, and now we play worship music together.
Q: If I could name a turning point in my life for my relationship with God it would be ________ and why?
A: If I could name a turning point in my life for my relationship with God it would be when I learned how fear opens the doorway to places I didn’t want to go. I spent years with sleep paralysis. Not all the time, but on occasion I would experience terrifying nightmares where I couldn’t move with various horrifying things happening and no matter how hard I tried to scream out for help, I couldn’t. I originally started trying to call out for my husband, and when I told him about it, he said “try calling for Jesus, not me.” So I tried, but I couldn’t ever get even a small sound out. It got really bad when we moved into our new house, but when it would happen, even though I couldn’t scream out for help, I began to try to pray in my mind because I was desperate for any kind of escape. It wasn’t always easy, but I would surface from sleep faster while praying than I would thrashing around in my mind trying to fight it myself. I began to become fearful of going to sleep even with praying, so then the nightmares became more frequent. The realization hit me square up-side the head one day that it was my fear of them that was bringing them on. I had to replace that fear with faith by changing the way I approached the situation when it happened. It took a few go-rounds, but the sleep paralysis hasn’t been back, and if it tries to creep in, I can spot it and deal with it before it overtakes me.
Q: If I had to tell someone why I am a Christian I would have to say…
A: If I had to tell someone why I am a Christian I would have to say it’s because life sucks sometimes, but even in the loneliest times I know that I am never actually alone. There is a hope that comes with that knowing which makes the mess of life a little easier to bear.