Welcome to the God Moments Series. To learn more about the series, please check out our Introduction.
For the past 10 years, I have seen God transform my world beyond what I would have ever imagined possible. I have seen His work from as far back as I can remember. I have seen Him in the heartbreaks and pain that served a purpose that, initially, wasn't so clear. Reflecting back on those 10 years, I have seen Him in the everyday moments of my life. These moments I classify as "God Moments"; moments in which God was an ever-present being even when I didn't know it at the time.
Before I delve into my story, you need to know that my story is not a unique story. It is not one that's filled with great tragedy after tragedy that will leave you in awe of my survival. On the contrary, mine is a story that many of you may relate too. A story of a child that always knew of God, but didn’t really follow Him. The kind of belief that would have you say “sure I believe in God and as long as you’re a good person, you’ll get to heaven."
My story is a story of a girl who thought being "good" would be enough, but somehow never managed to become "enough." So let me take you on my journey of how I came to know and love God.
In the Beginning
Interesting enough, I started to see God more when I became involved with my now husband. David and I started dating in a very unconventional manner. We had been friends all throughout college and were very adamant that we would never be anything more. I was a "Catholic" Puerto Rican from inner-city Cleveland who carried a little too much weight, and he was a "general Baptist" skinny white boy from a suburban area off Interstate 71. Who we were/who we identified as did not seem to fit your stereotypical relationship. We couldn’t have been more opposite.
For years (three to be exact), we fought any feelings that resembled a romantic relationship until fighting became too challenging and we decided to give us a chance. For three months we fell in a sort of love that we both had never experienced before. A love that wasn't necessarily based on physical attraction or lust as it was on personality and friendship.
We dreamed of a future together and quickly found ourselves discussing marriage. Unfortunately, this is when our trials began. Remember, I told you I was Catholic. I was baptized and confirmed in the Catholic Church; David was very much a Baptist who adamantly disagreed with much of the Catholic religion. Our religious difference drove a wedge in our relationship that would cause a lot of issues for years to come.
Know What You Believe
At the beginning of any relationship, you never really know a person. It takes years to understand their history and more importantly who they really are. Here we were, 3 months into a relationship and David thought I was going to require him to convert to Catholicism. What he didn't know was that although I identified as Catholic, I struggled with the religion for a very long time. I was in a stage of my life where I didn't know who God was. I felt distant from Him and confused. I didn't think I could be Catholic anymore and I felt guilt-ridden because of this.
Needless to say, David and I broke up, mainly because of our perceived religious differences. I had never felt so broken in my life than when I believed my future was over (I know its dramatic but I was young and in love.) I had started dreaming of a future with David and now could no longer erase those visions. Without him, there seemed to be no future.
Then one night, I lay in my bed weeping like never before when something within me changed. In my heart, I instantly knew that I would be okay. I knew that my future would be okay, with or without David. The sobbing rapidly stopped, my breathing slowed to normal, and my body relaxed as if a loving friend was embracing me.
Inexplicably, I knew that God was present in the moment with me. I was no longer alone. This was my first recognizable and in your face "God Moment."
Looking back, the breakup highlighted the fact that I had no idea what I genuinely believed in regards to God. I felt the Catholic Church wasn't the right place for me, but I didn't want to convert to another religion for the sake of a boy. I wanted to find out the truth, and hopefully that truth would help me realize whether David and I were supposed to be together. And so, this sparked the beginning of a new chapter in my life where I began searching for what it was that I genuinely believed. The painful, dreadful, never want to repeat breakup was redeemed in order to bring me closer to God.