Deviously pushing a pot of spaghetti to the ground and reaching my hand toward a scorching stove top, my mother belted NO as she tossed her salad bowl to the side and rushed toward me. This memory is the first time I can remember hearing no, a word that defined part of my childhood. As I sat in Saddleback Hospital’s emergency room, it was the start of a realization that sometimes no is said for a reason and that my initial instinct is not always right. As I grew from toddler to fifth grader to high school junior to college sophomore I seemingly questioned this notion that my way was not always the right way.
As the church bells echoed through the air, I remember staring at the sky and wondering why on earth my parents were dragging me once again to this cold building full of supposed Christians. It was a weekly battle against my parents to try to skip church to stay home and either study for the SAT or AP tests or hang out with friends. It seemed like church was the biggest waste of time and energy possible, even at sixteen years of age when life seems endless.
That same year I stubbornly gazed out the window at pine tree after pine tree as the youth group’s retreat bus made its way up the San Bernardino Mountains. Questions kept racing through my head like, “Why do I have to be around these B and C students,” and “How could someone as popular as me get stuck doing this instead of partying this weekend.” I didn’t know, this weekend would change my life and by the second night I was crying at the realization of my selfish attitude and need for Christ. I realized the thing I had always felt but suppressed- that I feel broken and incomplete. My life had been spent making up for this brokenness by rebelling against the values my parents taught me. A relationship with God became a personal and independent decision and has been with me since. I’m broken, but redeemed due to the love of my God.

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