The Childhood Journey:
My spiritual journey has been a long and bumpy road. I was born into a Pastor’s family and grew up on the front row….literally. The fish bowl lifestyle that comes with that can be rough, but as a whole, I think we made the best of it. To give you a glimpse, people would voice their opinions and tattle every little thing to my parents about my life. Even as a small child from what I wore to church, to not closing my eyes during prayer. During High school, I had friends of mine upset with me because their parents would use my name during arguments with them….”I bet Cynthia doesn’t speak like this to her parents”, and “I bet Pastor Randy doesn’t have to deal with this from his kids”. You can only imagine the pressure as well as the frustration that comes along with that. And just imagine when those same people saw you mess up or make a mistake. Yup. Good times. Luckily I was blessed with amazing parents who never encouraged or allowed that pressure to get to me and always put things in perspective. Through it all I had a good relationship with the Lord and was strong in my faith. Thank the Lord for great family.
Passion in the Midst:
I’ve always had a huge heart for missions. I was blessed enough to travel starting in Jr High to Mexico, Trinidad, Ecuador and Aruba, all on missions trips ministering to children and families with little to nothing. I never wanted to come home. I got very involved with Royal Family Kids Camp as well which is an incredible ministry to abused and neglected kids in the Foster Care system, and I did that for about 7 years. At one point, I also got my Foster Care license and went through all of the training for that as well. I have missed being involved in those ministries for a long time. There is so much going on in the world outside of our cushy lives, and it feels good to be a part of the bigger picture.
The Adult Journey:
I got married the month after I turned 22 and within a couple months of turning 25, my husband had left me. No reason, no explanation, no regard to the 6 years together, no questions asked. As you would imagine, that challenged my faith. I spent the first few months leaning on the Lord and praying for him to heal the hurt and bring my husband back to me. After a few months of the pain not getting better and my depression worsening, I gave up. I thought that this “God” I had believed in either doesn’t exist, or was a horrible ‘Being’ that was perfectly fine with my misery. I believed that for a couple of years….not just a couple of minutes. Even when he came back a year later and said he made the biggest mistake of his life by leaving me, it didn’t matter. I decided to distract myself from reality in any way possible in very unhealthy ways. It took me about 2 years before I found my faith again, through therapy and my amazing family and friends. I have been in one more long term relationship but faith was not at the center. I was alone in my relationship with God and wouldn’t leave my relationship. God removed me from that relationship this last November.
The Recent Journey:
At the start of a new job position in April of this year, my friend Camille invited me to a church service that both of our parents were attending in Anaheim. The sermon was directed towards Pastors and people in full time ministry which I am not, but it was a good service. I would categorize it as a motivational service, versus an emotionally touching one. The pastor was speaking about his church in Chicago I think, and how they are powering through the recession and not slowing down on God’s calling for their church. I am not used to church services at all these days, not to mention motivational ones. I haven’t been involved in a church since I moved away from my home town in 2005. I have attended sporadic churches when I had a Sunday off but never found one that I loved. Unfortunately my work schedule wasn’t flexible in allowing me to attend regularly anyhow. When the Pastor finished speaking I leaned over to my Dad and said I’m so tired of living without a purpose and I began to weep. I know that we all have a purpose and I have seen the ways that God has used me in my work environments and with acquaintances, but I long for more. I have always felt that I am called to go and do more but I have always had a relationship or job that kept me from listening and responding to that calling.
That following Sunday, my brother was leading worship at his church in Los Angeles so I went up to visit his service. They had a guest speaker that day and the service changed my life. The man spoke on our call and responsibility to serve the poor. About it not being an option, but its a requirement of being a follower of Christ. The entire message was burnt into my heart and I cried through the entire thing. It just confirmed everything that God had already been working on in my spirit. At the end of the service he asked for people to stand up if they felt God calling them to give “sanctuary” to others and I couldn’t stand up fast enough. I received prayer from an elder in the church and I drove an hour home to Orange County. I spent the entire drive pondering how God was going to use me and wondering what that would look like. I immediately told my family about it and asked them to pray for this journey to come.
The Current Journey:
This is not the first time I have felt this call on my life. The past few years I have even tried to work for local non-profit organizations so that I can serve while remaining in my comfort zone and relationships. I’ve worked for years to build the life that I have, to pay for the things I have, to accomplish the things I have. There is no way that God would make me give up those things in order to help others!!
Of course, God had a different plan.
And this is where I believe my journey is just beginning….