My earliest experiences with God was going to church with my parents and grandmother in North Carolina. I was baptized at age 12 and went through confirmation. Those events felt special, but as soon as I started high school, I walked away from the Lord.
In my junior year, I began dating someone who talked to me about God and urged me to have a relationship with Him by praying to receive Christ into my heart. He didn’t want to continue dating unless I prayed that prayer. When I prayed, I felt different, but I was also pressured. I started going to church and then I began having a nagging doubt or something seemed to be missing; I couldn’t figure it out.
I graduated high school in 1993, married in ‘96 and had four children. My family went to church for a while, but between 2001 and 2007, I had many life changing events and started to fall deep into depression.
Sometime in 2017, I began longing for God. In my mind I was saying “God, I miss you. I miss worshiping you and going to church. Help me find my way back. God heard my prayer and started to move. In January 2018, I was involved in a rollover car accident. No doubt God and my seat belt saved my life and I have no lingering injuries. He had my attention.
In October, I lost all hearing. I was at work one morning and while my manager was talking to me, I couldn’t hear anything; I just saw her mouth moving. I left early that day and went to urgent care. The nurse said that the tube (surgically inserted at age 15) had fallen out. I was given a strong antibiotic that had a very unpleasant side effect. My eyes felt so heavy that I couldn’t keep them open and I had to quit working. So, for several weeks, I was both blind and deaf. I sat on my couch in darkness and silence. All I could rely on was prayer. So, I asked God to please heal me and when I feel better, I’m going right to church. I want to love you with all my heart. Help me find a church. And then, I thought about Peñasquitos Lutheran Church, because it’s close to my house and I had been to a couple of services in 2017.
Just before Thanksgiving, the antibiotic started to wear off and I began opening my eyes. I also got some ear drops that cleared out my ear almost all the way. On Thanksgiving Day, I finally felt normal and went to church that Sunday. I felt like a prodigal daughter because when I stepped into the Sanctuary, it was like God picked me up and gave me a big welcome home hug.
A couple of weeks later I filled out a Connection Card and asked about membership. Pastor Sean responded and recommended that I attend The Alpha Course. I decided to give it a try. I expected Alpha to be a Bible study like others I have attended. It is actually a truthful, but gentle and respectful way to help people draw nearer to God. The first week I was very nervous, but having dinner, watching a video, and breaking up into small groups each week made me want to keep coming back. I will forever cherish the people I met there!
About the fourth week into Alpha, the author, Nicky Gumbel, at the end of the video, provided an opportunity to accept Christ as Lord and Savior. I decided to pray along and I rededicated my life to the Lord. This time, there was no pressure from another human. This time, I meant it from my heart. I now understand it was the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
On March 2nd (that I call my new spiritual birthday), we had an Alpha Day Away where Pastor Sean gave in depth talks on the Holy Spirit. He was very thorough and showed us scriptures throughout the entire Bible. During that day, there was a time when we could ask for prayer. I went up to Dana Kloo who helped me to receive the Holy Spirit. That moment was so powerful. Dana said she saw my face light up. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. I never thought this could happen to me. The presence of the Holy Spirit is in me and I know he will never leave me. That nagging doubt that began when I was a youth was finally gone and God is healing 12 years of depression. The same power that raised Jesus to life is now alive in me. I will be forever grateful for the Alpha Course. I’m giving the same recommendation with all my heart. Go!