Growing up, my family attended mass regularly. I was baptized as a baby and I later attended catechism with my younger sister. I had my first communion and then confirmation. I prayed to God almost every night as I laid in bed waiting for sleep to come.
Somewhere along the way my adolescent self, along with my siblings, were enrolled in a missionary kids' school in Kenya. That was my first exposure to living in an evangelical Christian community, and my first real Scriptural understanding of the person of Jesus began to take shape.
I spent a treasured semester in college studying Christianity in the post-modern world at an institute founded by the late John Stott. There I discovered that my budding journey in following Jesus had been saturated in the quick-paced, western culture of entitlement, self-reliance, and obsession with control. And it was effectively diminishing any true semblance to the life and the person I was claiming to follow.
From there I picked up my parched soul and went through a “dark night of the soul” type of experience. The large, firm walls that had securely held me safe in my faith turned out to be nothing more than paper-thin plastic. I felt embarrassed, ashamed. I felt foolish for being duped. And then I felt betrayed, lied to. Angry that no one else seemed to see or care that the poisonous grip of western culture and values was choking the life out of this thing we call "christianity."
I felt like I had fallen into a dark, cold, miry, slippery pit. And I was stuck. Night turned into day, and day into night. And I sat there, shivering. My mind willing the body to get up. Spring turned into summer, and summer into Fall. Winter came ferociously and I buried myself deeper into that pit.
Then, there was a glimmer that caught my eye and eventually I looked up. Light awaited in the distance. I could almost feel its welcoming warmth. With borrowed strength and courage I stood back up and reached toward that flicker of hope.
Healing has and continues to come in many forms and I am grateful that Jesus can often be found in those dim, dank, broken places, waiting with us. Always ready to redeem.