My faith journey is exactly that, a journey. It is not finite. There is no end to this journey. It is an ever-evolving process, and I am actually really excited to document this because I think it will be really interesting to read this one year from now.
To start, I want to give you a little bit of a background. I grew up in the Lutheran Church. I went to a private Lutheran school from kindergarten through eighth grade. I then attended a private Lutheran high school. My family went to church every Sunday. So, as you can see, religion was very much a part of my life growing up.
Once I graduated from high school, I decided to venture out on my own and began attending services at a local non-denomonational church. It was very contemporary, and nothing like the Lutheran church I had attended my whole life. There was singing and a live band and, honestly, I loved it. Prior to this, I felt like going to church was just a habit. I wasn’t invested in it, rather I was simply going through the motions. Once I switched churches, I felt like my faith began to grow, but then I moved to Florida.
Once moving to Florida, I never found a church. It was not a priority for me. In fact, I was doing all the things I had been told not to do. I was rebelling against a strict upbringing. I was rebelling against the perfect child that everyone thought I was. And in the process, my faith began to fade or even moreso become non-existent.
Over the years, I would toy with the idea of going to church, but I never committed to it. I would go to Christmas Eve services once every couple years, but that was about it.
Many years later, I got accepted into a faith-based physical therapy school, specifically a Seventh Day Adventist school. I knew nothing about the Adventist faith, but becoming a physical therapist meant going to AdventHealth University. I was not sure what to expect from a Seventh Day Adventist School, but AdventHealth is one of the most recognized hospital systems in Orlando, Florida so I figured it was worth the risk.
Very quickly I knew this was the right place for me to be. The Adventist religion was never forced on us, and not all the professors are Seventh Day Adventists. I also came to realize that I really enjoyed attending a faith-based institution again, and one that emphasized whole person care. Being accepted into and attending this school, was incremental in my faith journey. It didn’t make sense at the time, but God was making some big moves in my life.
After starting physical therapy school in 2017, it really took about two years for me to really embrace the idea of returning to church. You see, I was conflicted about a lot of things, and I think a lot of people feel the same way. This specific conversation is to be saved for another post. But at the end of the day, I was craving church.
Through a lot of self-reflection, I realized that I was longing for something more out of my life, and don’t get me wrong, I have a good life. I have a wonderful husband. I am graduating from physical therapy school in April 2020. I travel with my husband. I have a nice place to live and a car to drive. I have my education. Trust me, I have a lot of good things going for me. But at the end of the day I wasn’t feeling fulfilled, and I knew something was missing in my life. And something was pulling at my heart.
In September 2019, I was invited to join an online bible study by a woman that I had met through my job at Pure Barre, but due to my clinic schedule I was not able to participate. I did, however, buy the book that the bible study group was reading. It is called, The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst. Simultaneously, I had to read Gray Matter by David Levy for one of my classes. So, I started reading two faith-based books, and this was the last straw, so to say. God had come back into my life just like that. Some may say, he never left, and yes, that is true. So maybe I should say, I welcomed God back in my life, and after a lot of self reflection, I finally took the leap and went to church.
That first experience was like nothing I had ever felt before. You hear people say they were moved by the Holy Spirit, but that is hard to understand or imagine if you have never felt it before. Well, I am certain I was moved. It was so powerful. I was watching the people around me in awe. You see, I went to a very conservative church growing up. I never saw people put their hands up while singing or close their eyes. I never heard people yell in agreeance when the pastor is preaching. And some people may not prefer those things, but let me tell you, I needed it. I needed to see and hear what other people were experiencing during their time of worship. I literally had to hold back tears because it felt as if I finally found somewhere where I belong, even if it is only for one hour increments each week.
2019 was hard for me. I was challenged in so many different way, but I truly believe God had me go through the things that I went through in order for me to find my way back to Him.
It may sound cliche and people may not understand, but I am being transformed through Christ. I feel better equipped to handle anything that comes my way. I feel excited about going to church every Sunday. I now see all he has done to get me to exactly where I am today. It is just the beginning, but I know that God has big things in store for me.