God has been extremely faithful to me over my lifetime. He has brought me through many challenging seasons and revealed his faithfulness in countless ways. My journey to faith isn’t a dramatic one but rather filled with triumph in the midst of tragedy.
I was born into a Christian home with God-fearing parents who displayed the love of Christ to me early on. I knew who Jesus was growing up but I never really knew him personally. It sometimes felt like emphasis in my church was on doing the right things and keeping appearances, so my understanding of faith was that if I did the right things, I would make it to heaven one day. I had a legalistic mindset and over time, I recognized that I was struggling to measure up.
In 2007, my family moved to Texas. Around this time, I was 13 and beginning to understand more about salvation and the grace of God. Though I already knew that Jesus had died for my sins, at this time I was slowly developing a personal relationship with God at this time. I read my Bible on a regular basis and prayed for transformation by the power of the Holy Spirit. I began to see my need for Christ. I recognized how flawed I was as a person and simultaneously recognized the grace that God was showing me in the midst of all this.
I also slowly became involved in a ministry called YG Church. This was a vibrant ministry for young adults featuring a contemporary worship service each week and small groups. Here I learned how to fall in love in Jesus through the messages and how to worship freely through song and my life. Soon after this, I was baptized. I officially began my new life in Christ and made a public declaration of this!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; The old has gone, the new is here!
-2 Corinthians 5:17
This ministry came at an opportune time in my life when the Lord was slowly speaking to me. My dad enjoyed attending YG with my sisters and I occasionally. Around this time, however, he was diagnosed with stomach cancer.
My dad was diagnosed with stomach cancer in summer of 2010 and this rocked my family to the core. We were fearful, confused, and saddened. I began to pray earnestly that God would heal my dad somehow. God did answer that prayer in his own way. My dad underwent surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation and eventually after all this, began to regain some strength and normalcy. He was even able to go back to work as an emergency room nurse after some time. Throughout this time, I never saw my dad sad or discouraged. He continued to rely on God and remained hopeful. His resilient faith led him to have a positive attitude, which came as a shock to many people around him and served as a testament to God’s power.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
In the summer of 2011, I graduated from high school! This was such a great occasion that I will always cherish. Many family members and friends joined my family to celebrate and it meant all the more because of everything we had been through. We even traveled as a family to the east coast that summer for my cousin’s wedding. Unfortunately, toward the end of 2011 things took a turn for the worse. My dad’s health worsened and he was told that his cancer had spread and was terminal. All we knew was that he had a short time left.
The cancer eventually spread causing my dad to slowly deteriorate. Throughout this entire process, he was encouraging everyone around him. He had strong faith that somehow God would take care of us in his absence and that we would all meet again in heaven one day. As we cried sitting next to him on his deathbed, he just hugged us and shared a joke or two. I didn’t realize it at that time, but in hindsight, these moments built my faith tremendously. God was working in the midst of a dark situation.
On February 5th, 2012, my dad fell asleep in the Lord and now awaits the day when Jesus will call him by name and welcome him into heaven. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever been through, but it encouraged me so much to see my dad’s faith in his last days. A huge part of my testimony is that losing my dad drew me closer to God. I still have unanswered questions. And it was and still is hard to have lost my dad. But God has provided strength, healing, and restoration in ways I could have never imagined in the aftermath of loss.
Seven years later, and I’m still walking with the Lord. It isn’t easy but I know that it’s worth it. Great is His faithfulness! His mercies are new each day. I look forward to heaven one day and all the joy of seeing both my earthly father and my heavenly father.
Think back to where you were ten years ago. #10YearChallenge
For me, I was in finishing my sophomore year of high school and starting my junior year. I got my braces off and I had just gotten my driver’s license. What a great year!
I’m willing to bet that if you really look back, you’ll realize that you’ve come a very long way. Physically, we all change over time and glow up, but in what other ways have you grown? Perhaps you’ve grown mentally and are more in control of your emotions and mind. Or maybe you have grown closer to God and your faith is increasing. Or it could be that you have achieved many professional goals and are on your way to having the career of your dreams. There are so many ways to grow but what’s important in the midst of all this success is to stop and celebrate how far you’ve come.
People sometimes spend more time looking forward to what will happen next than they do appreciating the momentary achievements and little victories in life. It’s important to celebrate these achievements because they are all milestones along the journey. And if you never see the beauty in what is happening currently, it can facilitate an attitude of discontent. Discontentment is a disease that plagues many, and it can rob you of your joy. I think that a big part of being thankful is celebrating the ways God has been good and helped you succeed year after year.
And by celebrate, I don’t mean throwing a party every time something good happens. I mean, allowing yourself to be joyful and thankful for the little victories. It’s a matter of intentionally reflecting on what has happened and being proud of yourself for what you’ve accomplished. For me, one thing I love to celebrate, especially in this last semester of dental school, is the fact that I’m finally so close to achieving my dream of becoming a dentist. In 2009 as a junior in high school, I decided that I wanted to become a dentist. At that time, it seemed so unachievable and far away. Now in 2019, a full ten years later, I am just three months away from that dream. God has been so faithful to me. Through the ups and down of my last semester, I’m celebrating how far I’ve come.
So celebrate how far you’ve come. Celebrate the small and big successes in life. Celebrate that you know more today than you did yesterday and that you’re still growing as a person. Celebrate each time you overcome a challenge or difficulty. Celebrate that you’re another step closer to achieving your dreams. Celebrate how far you’ve come.
Author - Beryl
Beryl has a passion for writing pieces that uplift, inspire, and encourage you to bloom. She's been blogging since October 2018.