CC Photo Credit: Ian Muttoo
You wouldn’t know by looking at me, but I’ve got hot Hispanic blood flowing through my veins. With skin as white as snow, not many people would guess that I was raised in a traditional Mexican household with the sounds of novelas playing on the television and smells of homemade tortillas filling the air.
My father was Mexican; my mom a mix of just about everything. My mom had never been one for religion, while my dad adhered closely to Catholic tradition. As a child I attended St. Joseph’s, one of the many catholic churches located in my hometown only 5 minutes from the border into Mexicali. I experienced the ups and downs of Catholicism (literally, the ups and downs — sitting and standing, sitting and standing, for hours on end) like any other child in my town. Living in a predominantly Hispanic town, it was rare to see anything other than children running to and from catechism on Wednesday evenings.
I never thought as I was growing up that I would eventually be faced with the decision of going against the norm of my culture by choosing a life of Christian faith over Catholicism.
Battling with My Faith
Around the age of 12, a series of extremely unfortunate events resulted in my parent’s divorce. That time was a very dark period in my life—anxiety, depression, and pain overcame me—and I was desperately searching for some glimmer of hope.
I was angry. I was angry with my parents, angry with life, and angry with my faith. I had never viewed my faith as a means to get me what I want, until that moment. It was then that I realized that I had been looking at my faith as if it guaranteed me a life of bliss, a life where bad things never happened and the good always won. But that wasn’t the case. In that instance I realized that it was time to make decisions about my faith for myself, rather than based off of what my parents, or my culture, expected of me. It was time for a change.
That’s when I found Turning Point Life Center, a small new church on the edge of town with a congregation size of 30. I slowly began to leave my Catholic traditions behind and gained a new way of thinking, one that I actually believed made sense for me, not for my parents.
I walked around blissfully, happy with the new way of thinking that I had chosen. Christianity was beautiful and new and exciting, and I had gotten so wrapped up in learning more about it that I had forgotten how this would affect my relationship with my family. Family gatherings became awkward and everyone glared at me as if I had betrayed them in some way.
I always thought that my parent’s divorce would be the roughest time of my life, but I was wrong. The roughest time of my life was then, in that moment, with my family looking at me like some kind of monster. I was always so proud of my culture, and the last thing I ever wanted to do was lead my family to believe that I had put it on the back burner.
So this was the predicament I faced: Stay true to my culture, and my family, and go back to the Catholic church, or “leave” my culture behind and take on a new life as a Christian woman.
God’s Sovereign Hand
This is me now, roughly 8 years later, a Hispanic woman and a Christian woman. I realized that I never had to choose one or the other. I only had to put the situation in God’s hands and allow Him to do His work.
It took much time, but the majority of my family are now Christians. I thank God for using me as His seed everyday. I feel so blessed–blessed by the change in my family and blessed that my story turned out the way I had hoped. What I learned through it all is that God is sovereign. His hand is in every situation, good or bad, and He will provide the way He sees fit.
“And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28