Transforming Hope… and Me.

October 19, 2011·

To be fair to you, whomever you are, I must preface this post with two things:

1. It may not make total sense.
2. It’s a complete stream of consciousness because there’s a lot running through my mind right now.

There. Now, if you’re still around reading this, here we go.

The last year and a half has been a transformative year for me. It’s really been a year where, for really the first time in my life, I’ve been able to have honest heart-to-hearts with myself about what I want in life, who I really am, what my beliefs are, what I see myself doing in 2, 3, 10, 40 years, etc. I’ve had to make extremely tough decisions, I’ve come into my own skin, I’ve lost friends, I’ve gained friends, but in the end, I can honestly say that at this moment, I am the happiest I have been in a long, long, LONG time.

I could go on and on about a lot of that stuff and delve into the details. And perhaps I will. But that’s not what this particular post is about.

And some might even be thinking, “Well, what IS this post about? This blog sure has switched topics and awful lot over the years.”

And to that I say, yes. It has. And I wouldn’t change a thing.

Quick digression: You see, my whole life I tried to write in journals. I love to write and I love pretty bound journals from Barnes & Noble or some craft fair, but I am terrible at committing to writing in them. I think it actually has more to do with the fact that I’m left handed and my hand always cramps and/or gets a whole bunch of ink smeared on it. I’d start writing in a journal and be good for a week and then BAM, stop writing in it because it bored me or whatever. So, needless to say, writing in journals is not my thing. Therefore, blogging over the last 5-6 years has become my journaling. I can look back and see where I was at that time, what my goals were, what my focus was on at that time, etc. It’s amazing. I wish blogging existed when I was younger because I’d love to see what I would have written.

Back to the topic at hand. Where was I? See? I told you this would be all over the place.

Okay, so the main thing that has been huge for me in the last year and a half has been the strengthening of my faith. My faith in myself, my faith in those close to me, but most importantly, my faith in Christ.

This is not some religion post. This is a honest account of the true impact God has had on me.

Here’s my story, my very long story, the condensed version:

I grew up Catholic. Well, my parents both grew up Catholic, but were adamant about not forcing beliefs on me. They let me make my own decisions. But I was christened as a baby and attended Catholic mass with family and friends growing up. I never really understood why, but it just felt like that was what I was supposed to do.

In middle school, I started attending a non-denominational Christian church with a friend and eventually got connected with a group that wanted to start a youth worship band. Thus began the Doubting Thomas era. Yea, best Christian band name EVER.

But still, I knew the words I sang when I led worship, but I didn’t know the meaning.

Middle school and high school were really challenging years personally. I went through some really serious depression, a self-esteem crushing relationship, other major life crisis, and my mom’s health continued to deteriorate. God was not someone I trusted.

As I continued to watch my mom struggle with her health and I watched how hurt she was when her side of the family turned their back on her, it broke my heart. When she finally passed away in November of 2002 after almost 10 years of battling her illness, I hit a point at which I was angry with God. I was mad. Really mad.

Why would someone like MY mom, someone who was selfless, caring, and unbelievably loving be treated that way and ultimately die before her time? Excuses, excuses on my part. I needed something to blame. And God was my scapegoat.

Fast forward to college – I started attending InterVarsity Christian Fellowship with my roommate in college and I participated in my sorority’s bible study – all in the hopes that I could somehow reconcile my relationship with God. And, of course, there He was. He didn’t leave, I just wasn’t fully ready to admit that I needed Him more than He needed me.

Fast forward to Molly is out of college. I stopped going to church. Didn’t participate in a bible study. Just went about my business. Often not even admitting that I was ever a believer in the first place… just to fit in. I call that period my almost-quarter-life-crisis.

But the whole time, I knew, deep down inside, there was this thing that kept tugging at me to go back to God.

Fast forward to a year and a half ago. My fiance, John, and I started dating. At the time I didn’t want to admit it, but I knew within me that this guy was different. The whole thing felt different. And I knew, really early on, that I loved him and I was probably going to marry this guy. I also knew he was a Christian.

Well, one Saturday, he mentioned he was going to check out a church he used to go to that moved to a new location, newhope church. That voice inside me that had been talking to me for quite sometime spoke yet again and said, go. Go with him. So, I selfishly invited myself to go with him to church that Sunday.

And I haven’t missed a Sunday at newhope since.

I am who I am and I can honestly say I’m confident in that now because of Christ.
I’ve met an unbelievably amazing man who loves me and who is my best friend. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with him. And I know I owe it all to Him.
I’ve reconciled old relationships that I missed so dearly, and I wouldn’t have had the courage to do that without the strength and courage that God has given me.
I went to Kenya and gained the experience of a lifetime and learned more about myself than I ever thought possible. But most importantly, my eyes were opened to the beauty that lies in the world.

I got baptized. And it was my decision. I did it for me. No one else.

I could continue to go on and on… but I won’t right now.

I do, however, want to make a few things clear.

I’m not religious. I’m faithful. I know, first hand, the impact that God has had on my life over the past 26 year and especially the past 18 months. My life has done a 180. In more ways than I can EVEN begin to write.

Another quick digression: What frustrates me so much about “religion” is that people that don’t know Christ lump Christians into a group among awful, hateful groups like the Westboro Baptist Church. That, to me, is not Christianity. That, to me, is not what real love is about.

Christ was about love, acceptance, encouragement, support, growth, faith, and again, LOVE. No matter the race, gender, creed, sexual orientation, age, whatever. It doesn’t matter. Christ didn’t see people for who they are on the outside. Period.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” -1 Samuel 16:7

I want to be just like that. I want to be that person that shows others that it’s not about what you are but WHO you are. No judgement, no prejudice, just love. Unconditional love.

Well, this whole post… all of this stream of consciousness was spurred because of the Transforming Hope ministries launch that happened tonight at newhope. It’s a ministry that is aiming at raising awareness and bringing a solution to the child sex trafficking epidemic that is honestly getting out of control. (You can find out more about the ministry here). I had the honor of serving on the Worship Arts Ministry team that led worship tonight, and I can honestly say that tonight was unbelievably powerful. This is a ministry that is going to change lives. As I listened to Dee, a survivor of human trafficking, give her testimony, I was overwhelmed and humbled. This is something, that once people are educated, can be tangible and have an immediate impact on our community. Right here.

That’s what it’s about.

It’s about bringing the broken, the lost, the weary, the tired, the strong, the bold, the brave, the men, the women, the children, the seniors, anyone to Christ and showing them that no matter what they have hope.

Okay, I’m going to stop there, because I could write forever, and it’s getting late.

I have more thoughts, of course… because honestly, this isn’t exactly a topic that can be resolved in a single blog post. But anyway.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Either way. Any way.

All for now and much love.