For as long as I can remember I always felt in my heart that God exists, but my thoughts of who He is changed throughout the years.
My first experience of God’s answered prayers was when I was five years old. We were locked out of our house and as my Dad went to try to find the way of getting the spare key, it started to rain. As we were all standing underneath the eave outside in the rain, I felt a push to pray for it to stop raining so I looked up to the sky and I asked God to make it stop raining. Shortly after, it did. That could’ve been a coincidence, but interestingly, I can never forget about that moment.
My parents were Catholic and forced my siblings and I to go to church. I felt like it was a waste of my time, as I could be at home watching my favorite cartoon TV show, the Simpsons. Eventually I was forced to go to Saturday school at church for classes that would lead to being “confirmed.” I went religiously, but instead of learning, I slept in class. I never got confirmed. Actually, I stopped going. Somehow I convinced my parents to stop bringing me.
Even if I stoped and my “confirmation” didn’t happen, I still reached out to God, but not with repeated prayers or what I read from a book. It was a normal conversation. It didn’t make sense to pray in repetition it’s like talking to someone repetitively…that’s annoying, that’s not a real conversation. I kept on having conversations with the Lord for years until my freshman year in college when I started an anthropology class. I didn’t realize that my faith was dwindling and I wasn’t praying much. That same semester I met a girl named, Yanni who asked me if I know what the meaning of life was. She invited me to church and from there, I met other women and studied the Bible with them. I was so surprised at the words in the Bible. I’ve always read the King James Versions and never understood the old English, but studying with others helped make the meaning behind the words clear to me & started to gain an understanding of it.
They seemed to emphasize sin and confession and to me it seemed like I needed to submit my life to Him because I was too weak to stop myself from sinning. I started to hide myself from theses women as I felt they were pushing bible studies on me without even asking if I wanted to or not. So I ran away from them and as I continued to read the Bible, I kept seeing contradictions. I made an attempt to not turn my life over to God but looking for words that I can use to justify not following Him. Living for God in my perspective was about living a tight path with dos and don’t rules. I didn’t want to live like that. I wanted to stick to the idea that I have full control over my life, but not too long after, I realized that I don’t.
I went to University in the South Bay, but lived in the mid-Bay Area. My commute to school took about 30 minutes. For two weeks I felt that I was going to get into an accident. Every time I felt that I would pray for God to protect me. Then one morning I woke up to take a placement test at school. As I was getting ready to go, I felt a push to dress with sturdy clothes so I wore my denim jeans, a hooded sweater and most importantly, my boots with a thick sole.
As I merged into the freeway, there we’re a few cars closely surrounding me. As I turned the wheel back and forth, my car spun around with each turn. It wasn’t raining but somehow, I seemed to have lost control of my car no matter how I turned the wheel. There I was, thinking I had full control over my life. When I realized that I didn’t have any control over my car, I reached out to God, surrendered control to Him and put the protection of my life into His hands. I saw my car going straight to the tail end of a van and letting go, I prayed, “God, please protect me,” then shut my eyes.
I don’t remember feeling much after that except my car tumbling around and a heavenly embrace. All sounds disappeared around me except for the sound of chimes. When my car stopped tumbling , it landed upside down and when it stopped moving, the sounds around me came back, the traffic and everything else. I opened my eyes to shattered glass everywhere and hanging from my seatbelt upside down. I moved my legs to step on all the shattered glass on floor of the freeway. With sturdy boots, my feet were heavily protected. As soon as my feet touched the ground, I was able to release the seat belt I was hanging from.
Shortly after I got out of the car, there were people that came asking if I was ok. A man put a blanket over me to help with the shock. Eventually the paramedics came and the people that were there to help me disappeared. I don’t even remember them leaving, but as soon as the paramedics arrived, they were nowhere to be seen. I still wonder from this day if some or all where angels.
I remember being in the back of the paramedic van. There was one man in there, telling me how my condition was a miracle, that car accidents similar to the one I’ve just been in, usually result in death or in critical condition, usually an eyeball or brain left behind on the freeway.
When I got to the hospital, they tested my urine for internal bleeding. The results showed that I was completely fine. The only marks I had were tiny red dots on my hand from the broken glass and small bruises on my knee that hit the steering wheel. The doctor said it was a miracle, as did many other people involved. My car was totaled. The van that my car hit flipped to the side. The couple inside was perfectly fine. Thank God!
This was a turning point in my life. While I was on the freeway being interviewed by highway patrol, that was my first proclamation that I was going to follow Christ from now on. That moment helped me to realize that God does not want me to surrender to Him so I can live a life of do and do not, but the truth that was made clear was that He loves me and that I don’t know what’s best for me. My surrender meant God taking my hand at times I’ve gotten off the wrong path and leading me back to the path leading to life, joy, peace and love. Who am I to doubt the one that created me. He knows me more than I know myself.
Several months later, I gave my life to God through baptism & I’ve never been the same. After I got baptized, I see, feel and hear the Lord with me. I’ll never forget sitting at the park the day after and instead of my mind being filled with life’s troubles, all I could hear around me was nature: the birds singing, the water moving and the leaves swaying in the wind. That was the first time I felt God’s peace and when I stepped out of the totaled car that day, that was the first time I felt God’s love for me & my faith came that day as I realized that what the Bible says about His love for us…is the truth. His love is as a Father to His child in a pure and incorruptible way.