It took me a while to find what had been missing in my life. I always had a sensing that there was more. I never understood why I was full but still hungry; why I would drink and remain thirsty; why that new thing that made most people happy, bored me once the newness faded. I was pretty open to trying what felt right. You could say I was pretty liberal, even entertaining the thought that all paths led to God. Oprah and I could have been besties.
I had done my share of searching, especially having landed in LaLa Land, which has been called the land of the fruits and nuts. I arrived in Los Angeles as a curious Catholic. I found an amazing “loud” Catholic church on the verge of being charasmatic and coming from a loud, feisty family I rather enjoyed the freedom of almost raising my hands in worship. I loved the guitars and the contemporary songs and there was even a clap or two during a few. The priest was young and firey just like me…and then just like that he was moved to another parish and the guitars were silenced and we were back to the organ and the elderly priest. I was gone too, but my search continued…
Next, I tried an Apostolic church whenever my husband was home from out of town and again, I really liked the music and the people seemed pretty free..well I was a little scared at times when they jumped and I couldn’t understand what all the falling was about and could someone please explain to me how it was okay for people to talk out loud in church? I enjoyed the sermons as I called them. They were always positive and I loved how the pastor spoke so eloquently…there was something about him. The people scared me so I never visited without my husband..and my search continued.
I clearly recall my husband and I going to a baby naming ceremony where we gathered in a circle as drums were being played. I surveyed the people in the circle and was intrigued by them. I loved how they swayed to the music, eyes closed, arms waving and the words they each spoke…a blessing for the baby…so deep…so finger snappin’ deep and then it was my turn. Now why did I have to bring God into the mix and ruin the vibe? (At least that was the message I got when every eye opened, every head turned and faced my direction) and somehow the drums weren’t as noticeable to me above the loudness of my thumping heart. I kept my head bowed to shield my red face praying that the next person would assume the baton quickly. Ah yes, I hear the drums again and yes, the search continued…
Oh well, next we were invited to a hotel where someone called “The Master” was speaking. Ever the curious one, I gladly went although I wasn’t too happy about removing my shoes. I obeyed my husband after the third time when he said through clenched teeth, “honey, please just take them off…do it for me.” The Master spoke, but I didn’t hear a thing. Afterwards, he made his way towards us. We were easy to spot, being the only two in the crowd not wearing white robes and turbans. He
stood before me and stared into my eyes, lifted his hand and slapped me. Oh, no he didn’t! Yes he did and our host told me that it was an honor to be slapped by the Master. Not if you’re Puerto Rican, it isn’t!! Umm…the search continued.
My husband, ever the caring one was concerned about my lack of friends when we first arrived in California, so he set out to find me some. Honey, you have to get out and fellowship. Okay, so I accepted an invitation to a house party given by a stylist. It was to be a gathering of women. I arrived and was met by a rather serious man who instructed me to not only remove my shoes, (here we go again) but I had to hand them over too. Huh? I walked right into a Buddhist fellowship and I tell you when they began chanting (as I sat on the couch refusing to kneel with everyone) I decided there was no way I was gonna take part in this party. I got up and got loud when the host would not hand over my shoes. I ran outta there and the search continued.
My search ended, not at a church, hotel or house party, but in my bedroom when at the end of my rope, a life line was thrown as I knelt next to my bed (although He would have said yes had I been standing on my head) and I asked Jesus to be the Lord of my life. I just knew that my search had ended and my journey with Him was about to begin.
Months later, I was in San Francisco at a hair salon opening. I was having a conversation with a non believer. The conversation turned to religion and he explained that he had studied religions and settled with Buddhism. He asked if I had tried it. No way was I going to tell him of my experience, but I did tell him that I had been a seeker, but my search had ended when I became a born again Christian. He had a lot to say about Christianity and I listened…(the baby Christian that I was), not being well versed in the word; not a scholar…just a believer…I listened and told him that I was not moved to search any more because I found what I had been searching for. Bless his heart, he went on to tell me that I was close minded, like most Christians he knew. I laughed to myself knowing that I had been anything but that. When I asked him if he had ever read the bible himself, he said he hadn’t and had no intention to do so. I asked him as politely as I could….Who’s being close minded now? “Touche,” he said.
Never will I leave my first love. My beloved is mine and I am His! I have been sealed (branded as His own, secured) set apart just for Him. No more searching…no more drumming, slapping or chanting…Just give me Jesus!!
“Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.” Isaiah 55:6
“I love those who love me. And those who seek me diligently will find me.” Proverbs 8:17