Ever since I was little, I was always taught to pray. I remember my parents bought me and my siblings a….. children's prayer book, and every night we would read the prayers out loud. We would say, "Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God's love commits me here, ever this day, be at my side, to light, to guard, to rule and guide. Amen." That was my earliest memory of my faith as a child. But of course as I grew older, my faith grew and changed with me. It's just as in 1 Corninthians 13: 11: When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
So as I grew older, my faith grew with me. I no longer said prayers out of a book. My prayers became morelike conversations with God. I would tell him I was sorry for my sins, and who I wanted to pray for, and what I wanted to pray for. I said prayers every night. But after a while, I didn't get as much out of them as I had before, and I didn't put as much into them as I had before. I went to mass with my family and I was involved with events at my church like Vacation Bible Camp and the Passion Play, but I didn't really know why. I had always said I had believed in God. But it never went any further than that. I said that I had faith, but I never really knew what it meant. My faith sort of plateaued, and I didn't think it would improve or that the fire would ever be rekindled.
It was my parents who first got involved with the Light of Jesus Community. As they had introduced me to prayers, and to God and to my faith, of course they would also introduce me to this new prayer community. I had never been in a prayer group before, and when you're introduced to new things, sometimes you tend to be a little apprehensive. I was a little shy at first, to introduce myself to complete strangers, and then tell them about my personal feelings and my faith with God. I felt that they would judge me. In fact, the exact opposite happened. They listened and sympathized with me and told me that they would pray for me. It was such a surprise. They had just met me, and yet they told me that I would be in their prayers. Complete strangers! I was baffled, and I felt such a warmth in my heart towards them. Through their openness and acceptance of me, I was able to become more open to them, and I was able to accept others around me.
They reminded me of God's love. A love which I had forgotten had felt like. I had forgotten that God was always there and he always accepted and loved me no matter what. I had forgotten that there was always someone there that I could open up to and tell all of my feelings to. And more than that, that he had a plan for my life.
God works in ways you would never imagine. I had imagined a life for myself, the types of friends I would have, the type of person I would be. And as I examine my life now, I never would have imagined that I would be where I am today. I never imagined that I would be a part of such a wonderfully accepting community, I never would have imagined that I, who was so shy before, would now be called upon to be a leader and speak out to other people, I never would have imagined that I would have been given as many wonderful opportunities and have met as many wonderful people as I have now. In retrospect, my life now is not a all the way I had pictured it would be; it is so much more, so much, so much fuller now. God's plan is always greater.
I've learned now, that faith is something you can rely on. I no longer just say prayers. I really believe them and that God will answer them, though often in an unexpected, much different but ultimately more fulfilling way.
My faith is by no means perfect. So what's the difference between my faith now and what it was before? The difference is that now I try to improve on my prayer life and my faith. I try not let it plateau. Though sometimes things don't go as I've planned, as He has shown me in they're going according to His plan. And I believe and trust in it one hundred percent.
When you have come to the edge of all the light you have known, and step into the darkness of the unknown, Faith is believing that one of the two will happen to you: Either you'll find something solid to stand on, Or you'll be taught how to fly.
A member of our Youth Inspired! And daughter of Bro Ernie/Sis Maricel Urquico