***The following is taken from my unedited testimony shared with my church on May 18th, and now I’m sharing it with you.***
I’ve always been a pretty stubborn person. Having been showered with love and coddled as the baby, I usually got what I wanted. When I didn’t, it was easy to figure out that a tantrum or guilt trip would get me what I wanted. That’s easy to pull when you’re 5 years old and adorable. Not so adorable or easy when you’re 27, selfish, and throwing things like a child. Needless to say, I require a lot of patience from those that love me.
I’m not all completely irrational. Having been raised in a loving Catholic church, I knew that God was watching me make a fool of myself and treat my parents and family badly. Treat boyfriends badly. Treat friends badly. Treat myself badly. Knowing that He was everywhere and probably thinking I was a drunk mess disappointment only made me more frustrated.
There were several times in my life when my own self-loathing for how I have treated people got me black out drunk in a hospital with my parents hovering over me stricken with panic. They did not deserve that. At first, I would get scolded. “How can you do that?? What is wrong with you?? Don’t you think about us?? Don’t you care about yourself??” After years of this, and more and more destructive behavior (drugs, stealing, promiscuity, lying) their anger and disbelief turned into surrender and hope that things would change. I don’t want to say that my parents gave up on me, but I felt them give it up to God. And I felt as though I was on my own.
Nothing in my life was going as planned. I let drinking interfere with great job opportunities, I totaled 4 cars in the matter of 3 years because of drunk driving, gotten in accidents where very easily I or the other person could have died, accumulated debt due to legal costs, I was alienated from all of my friends, I had no direction in life, I began to think that my Christ on a cross had forgotten about me or maybe he didn’t like me anymore because I didn’t go to church or because I was too much of a jerk or I was cheating on Him with other religions as I looked for spiritual satisfaction.
I delved into existentialism, convincing myself that my life was worthless and that I am only here as some organism in this habitat to live for a period of time and disappear with no real worth or impact of any kind of anyone or anything.
I got tired. With life, with myself, with everything.
After a stint in rehab, I mustered up enough energy to go to a job interview. I remember so vividly driving to the interview and clutching the steering wheel and saying out loud , “GOD, I need your help. Set me on the right path. Let me say the right things to get this job. If this is where I am supposed to be, give me the opportunity to prove to you I can do it. I will do it.” I got the job and stayed there happily for two years. In that time, I moved out, got my own apartment, got a newer car, began paying down some debt.
Then I began to let drinking overcome my life, again. I showed up drunk to work. I got into arguments with my boss and the direction of the company. I became frustrated with my living situation. I quit and moved back in with my parents. Found another job, loved it for two years, got another apartment, fell in love with my boyfriend, then let depression wander back in with the alcohol and the lack of self worth. Got into disagreements with coworkers and managers, exacerbated a volatile and unhealthy relationship, began drinking, became reclusive, hated everything.
At this point, I knew I had to leave my job but did not know how to and did not want to leave it like I had with other jobs. I wanted to get out of my city and experience a new environment. I lost the love I had for my job and I lost my relationship with someone I was in love with. Again, I felt like I had nothing. I went on a 3 day drinking binge and woke up in my apartment feeling worse than ever. It was a Sunday morning and my apartment was freezing but the sun was out and my heater was broken and I was coming down with a cold to compliment the terrible hangover I had acquired. I felt alone and lost. I did not want to continue repeating this for the rest of my life.
I asked God quietly, in my head, for help.
Then a lightbulb went on in my head. I needed to go to church. But I felt sick so I couldn’t leave, but I remembered that my boyfriend would tell me about the Rock Church in San Diego that I could watch online. In Pastor Mile’s service, he talked about God loving all and granting forgiveness to those who want it. He talked about stepping out in faith, being led by it and not by sight. He asked those who wish to surrender their life to Christ to do so, and in one of the first of many times since accepting Christ, my legs did the walking and I did the following. I got on my knees and prayed and asked for forgiveness and dedicated my life to Christ on the cold wood floors of my sunny but lonely studio apartment, my eyes shut tight and tears flowing down my face. That was in November of last year.
Since that day, miracles abound. I reconciled with my boyfriend Zach and his parents, I moved to San Diego without a place to live but quickly found ideal roommates, I quit my job without another job offer and got blessed with an amazing opportunity at a great company, I finally was able to get a new dependable working car, and my friends and family supported me through it all.
My life is not without its struggles, but my faith is rooted in the foundation of a loving relationship with Christ. I read the Bible and learn about Christ as much as I can so that I can be more prepared to be a reflection of him in my daily life. In all relationships, at work, with friends, with family, with strangers, with my boyfriend, I try to remember the person that I was that mistreated so many people and the forgiveness and blessings that Christ gave me anyway, and how the only way I can repay that debt is to represent him and his love by telling people what Christ has done for me and how he has done it for everyone, however low we think we are, we are loved anyway.