My Journey to Faith

colleen Blog, Ministry 1 Comment

I’ve been asked several times of the past few weeks in private emails why I haven’t yet shared how I got to faith on my blog and honestly I didn’t have a good answer other than I’ve been scared, to put my past out there so publicly, but I think it’s high time I share my journey to faith with you.

If you’ve read my bio you know that I have a history… I come from a background of abuse, and abandonment, my church background consisted of church on Sundays, church sometimes on Wednesdays and then the rest of the week my family lived like the world. My father was an alcoholic, abusive, addicted to drugs etc. My mother was essentially a single mom, even though married raising four kids essentially alone. At the age of seven I “accepted” Christ at a private Christian school I attended because it’s what everyone else was doing. But even at that age I didn’t understand if this God everyone told me about was so wonderful then why on earth was my life so hard and scary? Why didn’t my daddy love me?

By the time I was 11 my mother had finally decided to leave my father and off my siblings and I went to live with my grandparents, so not only did I feel like my dad didn’t love me, I now struggled with the fact that my mom was leaving too. Again, I wanted to know if this God everyone was talking about was so wonderful then why in the world was my life in shambles? We were not exposed to church anymore after I was about 10 years old, other than if a friend invited us to VBS in the summer or if we stayed the night with a friend.

By the time I got to college, I had began to wreck my life, I became dependent on food, the first taste of freedom I had was filled with parties, drinking and finding my value and self worth in men. I needed to be validated and “loved” and so I longed for and welcomed any attention I got. As time passed I became more rebellious, I moved home for a transitional period, spent every moment fighting with my mom who had resurfaced in our lives, held a job, but still found my validation in men, drinking with friends and food, I would meet random men and give them more of myself then I should have, I became reckless with my heart, my mind and my body.

Finally at 21 years old I realized I could not continue down this path, and I need a quick and easy escape, so I began to look for nanny jobs, thinking that if I ran away from my problems that they would all disappear and I could return home in a year, and life would be fabulous! Boy was I EVER wrong I didn’t even know what the future would hold for me! However in a matter of days after deciding to leave, I was packing my things up and moving off to Maryland, to live with a family I had never met, knowing NO one in Maryland and not even really telling my family of my plans other than I was moving across the country to be a nanny.

I actually moved in with a beautiful Jewish family who helped me so much to get where I am today, they were the most loving family I had ever met, I moved into their home and they agreed to help me get healthy, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually, while allowing me to care for their children. When we talked about faith, they told I need to find some, however Judaism was not an option so the first Sunday I was there they dropped me off at the closest church and thus began my journey to faith… after a few months I began to long for something more I began to long for Christian friends, for people who could answer my questions, people who could help me explore more about what it meant to know Jesus, and I wasn’t finding that connection in this church, so I did a little internet research and found a local church with a young adult group and decided to give it a go. Little did I know that this was the place I would find Christ, I would flourish in my faith and be pushed on to greater things.

Several months and many prayers later, I accepted Christ when I was 22 years old on a youth retreat, I decided in that moment it was time to surrender my life to Christ. I wish I could say it was an easy road after that and I woke up the next day and life was perfect, but it wasn’t, I was still struggling with the things that had become my idols (food, sex, love, alcohol) and while I was suddenly surrounded by brothers and sisters in Christ I didn’t feel like I could share these struggles with anyone else. So I continued to live in two different worlds, I kept my worldly friends and still partied, had sex and pretended to be someone I didn’t want to be, while also keeping my newfound Christian friends and pretending to be someone I longed to be.

It took a long time for me to realize that I could not continue to live this way and there was going to come a day when I would need to surrender my everything to Christ I would need to give him all of me, I would need to let go of the ways of the world, I wanted 1 John 2:15-17 to become my life I didn’t want to live the ways of the world anymore, I wanted to love my Father in heaven more than the world. I will not forget the day I made the bold move to ask someone who I loved with everything in me to walk away from my life because I was ready to let go of my wicked ways, and I will also never forget that night walking into a group of women that I loved, confessing my sins, and asking for them to pray with me that I would have the strength to let go of the world, and allow Jesus to be my everything. It was a long hard road after that everything I knew was becoming more and more foreign to me, but the love of Jesus was becoming more comforting to me, the people God surrounded my life were loving me exactly where I was, through the drunken phone calls, through the heartbreaks, through the eating disorders, through the flashbacks of trauma. I was beginning more and more to understand what having a church family meant, I was beginning to understand what it meant to have a daddy who loves me unconditionally in my weakest and my strongest moments. That night when I decided that it was time to surrender my entire life over to Christ, it became one of the most favorite life time moments…the women who were in that room are my forever friends, no matter where God takes us, no matter how far apart we go, those women will always have a piece of my heart.

These are the women who walked (and some still walk) beside me as I explored my faith, these are the women who encouraged me, and stood next to me when I finally decided I need to take the next step in my faith and be baptized. As believer’s baptism is a public testimony of our faith and represents life, death and resurrection, we are washed of our sins and can begin a new life. Because of a traumatic water experience I put off baptism, it scared me to death to think that I would have to be dunked in water by my Pastor who was a man, but for years I couldn’t stop thinking about how this step of my journey was left untouched. Finally when I was 6.5 years after I accepted Christ I was ready to take the step and so when I was 28 I decided it was time to be baptized. It was one of the most amazing feelings and I was surrounded by people who love me, to celebrate this amazing step in my faith.

I wish I could tell you that every day is a walk in the park, but trust me there are days when I am filled with doubt, there are days when food and the thought of someone loving me control my mind, there are days when I think about my life and wonder how in the world I got here, but what’s different these days is that I a surrounded by friends, a church family, a pastor and most importantly the love of my heavenly father. I am comforted in knowing as I previously mentioned God loves me exactly where I am. I am comforted in knowing that my every need is going to be met, as God sees fit, I am comforted in knowing that in my loneliest moments, and most broken moments I am loved.

There’s so much more to my journey, and that’s why I keep this blog, God has brought me through some of the roughest points in my life, to get where I am today, but He’s also given me great big DREAMS, ambitions and callings and He fulfills every need and desire of my heart.

My prayer as I close this blog is that if you don’t know the love of our Father in Heaven, that you would send me an email, leave me a comment, or seek out someone in your life to talk to you about Jesus, and that you would find the comfort I have found in the love of my heavenly father.

Comments 1

  1. Colleen, Thank you for sharing your testimony with us! God’s amazing Grace. It never ceases to amaze me. I so appreciate your investing your life into the people around you there in MD. May God continue to shine His love through you to this community. My family is committing to praying for you and this vital ministry. Thank you for your joyful spirity and willingness to serve our Lord!! Look in the mail. Something is coming to you soon!! God bless you!!!

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