I come from a broken family. I was emotionally neglected through my formative years. There was a short time when I knew God in my childhood, one sad Christmas spent alone playing Christmas songs on piano while everyone else in my family was absorbed in their problems, but I lost Him through my teenage years. I wasted a lot of time with no purpose in my life and not really knowing who I was. At the age of 15 I suddenly had a stroke, but miraculously God spared my life and I wasn’t even thankful for it. When I found an interest in music and the music scene, I was exposed to a hedonistic lifestyle and self-destruction. Even in this low state of my life, God blessed me by bringing my husband into my life.
Our first years of our marriage were wrought with many trials. My health failing, we struggled to pull through, but God always blessed us with new opportunities and chances to turn our lives around, although I didn’t realize it at the time. Desperate for some spiritual consolation, I turned to occult philosophy, which brought me down dark, spiraling roads. At some point though, it led me to a charlatan, whose lectures caused me to read the Bible – although I read it with a “higher criticism,” from a dry, intellectual viewpoint.
Then I was led to a regular study of Scripture with a protestant friend. I found myself defending the truth revealed by Christ without accepting Christ as my Savior. My friend made me realize I was being inconsistent and hypocritical. Finally, in all my embarrassing stumbling, I decided to fully accept Christ. But at this point I was “afloat” with my faith alone.
Thankfully, Christ gave us a Church to keep us tethered to Him! History itself is a testament to the verity of the apostolic Orthodox Church. Everything from the Holy Sacraments, the iconography, the lives of the Saints, and the prayers and liturgy itself all point to Christ. This is the fullness of the Orthodox Christian faith. In its entirety, the Orthodox worldview is strong and coherent. This coherence bleeds out into every aspect of life. It turned my life around in understanding that all this time, the struggle in my life was meant to bring me closer to God.
We are now blessed with a one year old daughter, who I was baptized with into the Orthodox church. There is so much in Orthodoxy for me to immerse myself in and learn, and so much room for me to grow spiritually. I thank God for eventually leading us to Father Ninos of Saints Constantine & Helen Church, who has warmly welcomed my family into this community and has given me lots to do to stay connected to Christ!