Written by Kim on the occasion of her election to serve as a Deacon beginning in August 2012
I’m glad to have the opportunity to tell you a bit about my faith journey. God has been a part of my life for a long time, and it was really hard to pick which people and events to share with you – so I settled on a few that have meant the most to me.
I grew up in the Methodist church, and was taught about God from a very young age. My faith became personal at a summer camp I went to as a child. Renee was a 21-year-old counselor there who took me under her wing, cared for me and loved me. I was 13 and thought she was pretty cool! We laughed a lot and played together, and she talked to me about God. She told me about how much God valued and loved me, and would always be there for me, no matter what. And I believed her – I think maybe because she was valuing me, and loving me, and there for me herself. I didn’t recognize it at the time, but she was a living example of the very Love she was telling me about.
Renee’s faith was genuine and contagious, and it stirred something deep inside of me. I was curious and asked her lots of questions about God and Jesus. We read the Bible, sang, and talked to God together every day, and I loved it. God became real to me and grabbed hold of my heart that summer, and to this day, has not once let go.
I was a shy and serious adolescent, and spent a lot of time alone in my room. That’s where I started getting to know and love Jesus. I had this intense hunger and curiosity about Him, and just couldn’t seem to learn enough. For hours at a time, I’d read the Bible and talk with Him. And I’d sing, and write things to Him. It was the beginning of a real, interactive relationship, and it was wonderful. I loved those alone times with Jesus then, and I still do today.
As a young adult, I went on 3 mission trips to an orphanage and work camps in Mexico, and each time, came back a different person.
I’ve been actively involved with 4 churches over the last 25 years: a mega-church, a Vineyard church, a Catholic church, and now a Baptist church. All have really different worship styles, but all are Spirit-filled and vibrant, and all have been huge blessings to me.
I struggled for a long time coming to terms with my sexual orientation. That process and my coming out process were both very difficult and hurtful, and significantly challenged my faith, and my trust in others. During that time, I started going to spiritual direction, and met regularly with an elderly Catholic nun. From day one, Helen loved and accepted me. And like Renee had done, so many years before at summer camp – Helen, too, reminded me of my value and worth in God’s eyes. And I believed her, because not only was she saying the words, she was also living them out. Helen became a living expression of God’s Unconditional Love for me, at a time when I desperately needed that kind of acceptance.
I’ll never forget what Renee and Helen did for me, and I hold them up as examples of the way I want to love people, and live my life.
About three years ago, I attended Friday Church here for the first time. I had seen the Friday Church sign out on Grinstead Rd, and kept feeling this tug to attend. When I finally got up the courage to try it, I immediately felt at home. I loved the simple and real Spirit of Friday Church. I loved Joe’s preaching. But most of all, I loved the people: so honest and open…many struggling…and all so grateful for each day…much like the people I had met in Mexico.
After a short time, I began attending Fridays regularly, then branched out to Sundays and Wednesdays, and today, still consider Friday night my service of choice. I’ve been involved with the Friday Church Ministry Group for most of my time at Highland, and am humbled to now have the opportunity to also serve as a deacon.
I have come to know and love many of you, and I’m excited to begin new relationships, and deepen existing ones in the coming years. I look forward to serving with this amazing group, and being a part of the work of Love God is doing at, and through, Highland Baptist Church. Thanks be to God!