Every person has a story about when they developed a powerful personal connection to the Almighty God. Some experiences are dramatic, others powerful, and some are just ordinary stories. But everyone has a story, which is special and unique to them.
Mine is one of those ordinary stories. I was born in India to a hard-working middle-class Christian family with very limited means. Life was extremely tough but we were taught to keep God first. I was a good student all throughout school. Eventually, I got a good job and married a wonderful man. We moved to the United States and God blessed us with 2 beautiful daughters. Everything seemed picture perfect.
Throughout my life, Jesus was not a stranger to me. I would say, I had a “good relationship” with Him, but it was intermittent and seasonal. Basically, I reached out to Him when there was a need. I never got too close to Him, God forbid!
My husband and I worked hard to achieve our version of the American dream. A good home, nice car, nice vacations, promotions and stock options! Any of these significant events were like a dopamine shot to me. It kept me happy for a while, and I hoped the next shot would come along soon before the effect from previous one wore off. But soon I realized that these dopamine shots were few and far between.
In between the ups and downs, all I had was a lot of anxiety and worry. For example: Was I a good enough wife and a mother? Will my kids turn out fine? Was I even a good enough employee? I wondered why was I unable to handle stress as well as the other women at work who had it all together and seemed so successful. Was I a good enough Christian? And then I would worry about what about our retirement savings would look like…..the list goes on!
Additionally, any setbacks or issues I encountered in my daily routine were a trigger. I would have temper outbursts and total inability to control my emotions. This lack of self-control had an extremely negative effect on my relationships at work, with family and friends. My older daughter and I clashed frequently and our relationship was on an exponential decline. I felt insufficient, incapable, guilty, frustrated, powerless. The only shots that helped me these days were many, many, tequila shots. This was a temporary fix of course, until the next morning when reality set back in.
While this downward spiral was happening, I stopped going to church. I felt alone and that no one cared enough to save me. But I knew something had to change before everything in my life spiraled completely out of control. So I turned to the only Savior I knew. I began to resuscitate my relationship with the Lord. From this point on, any free time I had I would meditate and talk to Jesus. I read my Bible a lot! I listened to many podcasts of Pastors and Evangelists for inspiration. I felt Jesus begin to console me, saying ‘everything would be alright’.
There are so many verses in the Bible that talk about living a good life but I want to share one in particular: “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalms 37: 3-4)
I felt God telling me to trust His plan for me. I could hear him telling me to keep Him first place and He will fulfill all my desires. He taught me to be 100% present in the NOW and enjoy the simpler things in life. To give my daughters guidance, but at the same time not to try and solve every problem they encountered. I learned to let go, and let God keep guard of my family and show them the light.
I had been praying for 6 months — by this time God had answered my prayers by breaking my addiction to anger and any kind of shot whether of dopamine or tequila. I also asked God to find my family a new church that will make us feel at home. A few months later, surprisingly, I bumped into Raquel & Ed Mendoza at a grocery store. I had not seen her in years. I wondered if God designed it for us to have this chance encounter in the summer of 2016. Raquel told me all about how she learned to trust God when she had a brain aneurysm, and how she came back to life. She invited me to Every Nation New Jersey and I took her offer right away.
The rest is history! I was welcomed by the ‘hugging machine’, our own loving Pastor Dottie. I was also moved by the powerful & charismatic leadership of Pastor Adam and Pastor Shino. I have made so many lovely friends in my Connect Group. I also have the opportunity to work with Marge & Jayson Garcia in the Children’s Ministry. My children absolutely love this church and we feel part of one big happy family.
Since rededicating myself to the Lord, my relationship with my kids is more wonderful. My daughter did very well in her junior and senior years of High School, which resulted in her acceptance into many colleges. She chose Seton Hall-Business School, with an excellent scholarship program.
Being in a consistent and close relationship with Jesus has given me a sense of humility and added meaning to my life. I have stopped questioning God on what could have or should have been. Instead, God has opened my eyes to experience the simplest joys in life; an evening walk, nature’s beauty, the fun moments with my kids discussing their daily routine, to be thankful for all the small and the big blessings, and to be genuinely happy for others as they progress to bigger and better opportunities in life. I even let my husband win some of our arguments and still be happy in defeat. (Though my husband would disagree on that point. He would say that he is a good husband, one who says sorry even when he is right!)
With everything said, I must honestly tell you all, not every day is perfect or a walk in the park. I am fully aware that life is a journey with ups and downs. But no matter what, I have made a lifelong commitment to have a personal connection with Jesus Christ and to let the Holy Spirit guide me and my family.
I would like to end with this verse: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22)
May God bless each one of us with His Holy Spirit of happiness, good health and prosperity.