Hi my name is Maritza and this is my story. Before I came to Jesus, I felt alone. My life felt very depressing and I kept looking for people to connect with that would be able to understand me. I had grown up in a Catholic household and witnessed domestic abuse on a regular basis. I continued to find and connect with other broken people. For the majority of my life, I’ve understood who Jesus Christ was, including his role in releasing me from my sins. And for this reason, I never felt “good enough” to have a personal relationship with Christ. I’d experienced feeling the light and warmth of the Holy Spirit in my heart multiple times throughout my life. But I still felt this apprehension, this barrier that prevented me from fully feeling like a child of God.
I met my friend Franklin. He was able to answer some questions and guide me towards a place that would welcome me and support my journey back to Christ. We met on the 2nd day of school, one week after one of my students had been found dead in her bed by her dad. She’d had a history of health problems but no one anticipated her life would end so quickly and suddenly. In my grief, I questioned God’s plan. I questioned my role in His plan. I questioned my soul’s destination along with that of my student.
I knew I needed change. My first big transition was no longer participating in Catholic services and practices. I needed to find a more welcoming and accepting path to Christ. It was suggested I research and attend a non-denominational Christian church. I came to InsideOut the day of its one-year anniversary and one month later made the decision to be baptized.
Since the first time I came to InsideOut, the pain inside my chest started becoming less and less heavy. The tightening grip on my heart started to loosen up. I was no longer as insistent on holding onto past injuries caused by the people I love nor to the injuries I’ve caused them. I was being freed.
At InsideOut, I’ve found a group of brothers and sisters that embrace and encourage me to feel part of God’s family again. I feel like I’ve found a group of people that have their own brokenness but don’t let that interfere with strengthening their faith and commitment to God.
Since I came to Jesus, I feel calmer at work. I pray for my students now rather than just complaining about them. When I once had a strained relationship with my parents, I’ve been able to forgive them for their sins and continue to work on bringing their lives back to Christ. I feel more confident in God’s undying love for me. I’ve abstained from past activities that did not feed my soul and prevented me from getting closer to Christ. I feel more confident in the role God has provided for me and continue to pray for patience and greater understanding of His divine plan.
I’ve started to spend more time with my family. In our conversations, I try to steer them back towards conversations about their relationships with Christ and the level of their faith. It hasn’t been the easiest but I know it will take time. I know it’s worth the effort to bring His people back to Him.
In the future, I look forward to bringing more individuals to Christ through interactions at work or being a mentor. I look forward to seeing people be involved in impacting their communities positively and strengthening their relationships to God.
I pray I may open my own school that allows these type of conversations to occur in the classroom without preaching any specific domination. Allowing, guiding, structuring conversations with our youth about God and His eternal love will help build our youth’s confidence in His commandments and feel supported in their beliefs and rejection of popular media. It will help build hope and redirect their behavior and attitude toward honoring themselves and following the Gospel.
I also look forward to being allowed the honor of having my own family that I will be able to educate and guide. I look forward to the interactions and experiences that will help strengthen my faith in God and marvel at His mercy and glory.
Peace and Love,