Archive for August, 2013

August 28, 2013

my new big faith

Over the course of writing in my blog and over the thirty-two months of living in San Francisco, I have learned insurmountable lessons about myself, life, and about living. The point of my blog has been to tell stories of my fun adventures in the Bay Area, around the country and even the world; aiming to capture certain moments of ‘living’ to inspire – well, anyone really – and exuding that life is worth soaking up every bit of every single minute. I write to tell tid-bits of happiness and hope, and I share within my personal realm to offer honesty and to keep my promise of always delivering words that speak true to my heart.

The words I would like to share today have come from a place in my heart truer than ever before.

Thirty-two months ago I moved to San Francisco for a fun adventure, seeking new and different experiences. I had the perfect opportunity present itself to me in shape of a job, a boyfriend, and a desire to be open to whatever life threw at me. I had foundation and I had faith. In fact, I thought I had BIG faith. I was willing to leave home, move across state lines to a city I knew less people than fingers on my right hand, live independently, work for a national organization, and pretend to be some twenty-two year old dream catcher. I had no idea what lay ahead of me but I was soaking up every single second. It only took a few months before I was single again, but I still knew that living in this city was exactly where I was supposed to be. I didn’t know it at the time, I actually had no idea, but God was working on me.

I grew up in church with my family, very involved with my youth group, the worship band, and serving on mission trips. And then over the years, like most awkward and rebellious teenagers do, nearing the end of high school and in college I slipped away from my closeness to God. I questioned everything. I doubted a lot. Instead of actually having faith, I used my faith as an expression, and a fallback when things went crummy and I got to say “everything happens for a reason.”

I moved to San Francisco in search of new; new experiences, new people, new hobbies. Thirty-two months later, I can now say that I am new.

Not too long after moving, my friend and I started talking about perhaps finding a church to go to on Easter Sunday. We had every intention of going, too. But Easter morning came too early and I didn’t get out of bed in time. The Sunday after Easter was our first time at Epic Church, and everyone was so welcoming and kind. Even more so, Pastor Ben was so relatable that I felt he was speaking his message directly at me as if no one else was in the room. Pastor Ben and his launch squad planted Epic Church in SF one year before I moved. They were new. They had moved from the mid-west to open a church with one mission; to see an increasing amount of San Franciscans orient their entire lives around Jesus.

Very quickly I found myself enjoying and embracing every aspect of Epic. I thoroughly loved the various volunteer opportunities in the city, and even joined a small group. In no time at all, I grew closer to God as if I hadn’t doubted Him for all those years. He was present, He was with me, and He was making me into the person He always intended me to be.

The past six months have been extremely telling of my desire to grow my faith. I began to write more, to pray more, read the Bible, talk more about what I was feeling and ask questions in small groups. I then went on an unexpected mission trip to the Czech Republic in May with a church in Arizona. I came back different, and I just knew. I knew that my old vision of faith had died, and I was meant to live a life following Jesus as my Savior, God as my King, and the Holy Spirit as my light.

I knew I needed to make anew, and I wanted to publically declare the weight of my new BIG faith. On August 25th, 2013 at Epic Church, I was baptized again. I wanted to be baptized as a marking of the season that I made my own decision to live for Him. I wanted to be baptized as a symbol of my seriousness and significance of being created new through Christ.

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There are several people who influenced and helped me during this journey. Pastor Ben, Tim, Will and Lindsey at Epic have been examples and mentors without even knowing their influence on me.  My friends – some Christians, some not – have all supported me in my decision and have witnessed the transformation in my passion, thoughts, and habits. I reached out to my former Youth Pastor and we caught up as if no time had passed at all. I’ve been blessed to have met a man who has absolutely nothing in life but an awe-inspiring faith and devotion to God. I’m also inspired and encouraged daily by a wonderful boyfriend who has oriented his entire life around Jesus despite any and many obstacles he has faced. My parents continue to be my rock and flew in from Arizona to be there with me on Sunday, and family and friends from all over the world sent texts, calls, and messages to support and congratulate me. I feel new. I feel overwhelmed and entirely appreciative; for Epic, for my family and friends, and most certainly for God continually working and moving in me so that I may be made new.

I thank you for letting me share the journey of my new big faith. As my readers know, my blog was not necessarily created to convert souls, but also know that I didn’t even know mine was in need of saving. I ask only that you continue to seek the best in people, yearn for something greater than you, let nothing dim your light, and always remember to just, love life.

Love,
Chianne
2 Corinthians 5:17

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