(Photo by Natalie Baugh)
Stepping Into A Journey of Faith
By Zelda Dominguez
Have you ever been to another country that you weren’t familiar with or didn’t speak the language? And that the only thing you knew was it was somewhere you always had longed to go, in spite of not knowing the ins and outs of living there?
This story is about a girl named Camille and her friend Jade. They were both very much tired of the party scene and feelings of emptiness. They seemed to have influence on each other and were so done with meaningless relationships and searching for love in all the wrong places. Both women were raised in a denomination, so they had knowledge of God, but only went to church out of obligation and because that was the religion of their parents. The ironic thing about that though was their parents didn’t even go to church but sent them. Growing up, the girls had to attend religious classes and, therefore, learned the traditions of the church while not ever learning the Bible.
On a normal weekend, Camille would go to church on Saturday to get it over with because she knew she’d be out until early morning and would be sleeping all day Sunday. As long as she covered her bases, she felt she was good with God. Jade wasn’t too different.
One day, they were invited to go to a non-denominational church by a friend whose fiancé had just died. Out of respect to her, they went. Upon entering into the church, which was really an old super market building, it all seemed very foreign. First off, they noticed the people were dressed casually and rather than they had to be in their church. People seemed very friendly and greeted them, welcoming them to the church. They thought that was odd. As they were ushered to their seat, it was close up to the front. Oh no, what if they wanted to slip out early? Now everyone would see them walk out. Where were the padded kneelers to kneel down on or the statues? It all felt a little uncomfortable, but as the pastor spoke, he made sense and talked from the Word of God. As he explained what it meant, the preacher made the Bible seem relevant to what was happening now. It all made sense, even though heir mind kept saying she didn’t need this because she believed in God already. she felt like leaving, but as she looked over at their friend crying throughout the service, she couldn’t.
Camille’s heart was beating so fast. She couldn’t deny the truth that was being spoken at the pulpit. He spoke of God’s love and how she didn’t have to change because He loved her as she was. It was in fact speaking to her. Unraveling tradition and her religion.
The invitation was given to all who wanted to receive Christ to come up to the alter. Jade who once thought this is all very weird had been listening. She listened and believed what and who was calling her into the wild and adventurous unknown. The first step being down the church aisle. Camille kept trying to justify in her head how she was already a Christian since she went to her own church, did all of their rules, and believed in God. But her heart kept pounding as if it were pulling her in the opposite direction away from religion and tradition.
Suddenly a very foreign place felt more like home. She and Jade were beginning to understand the language translated on the inside of their hearts. Could this be what they were both looking for? Camille could not help but make her way down to the front of the church with Jade not far behind. Like little girls, they ran to The Father and He brought them home.
In a moment, what once was remote, was now not far off. She never had to wonder if she was accepted. She no longer had to wish to travel to this place. She and Jade were there, together, skipping in the greenery, basking in the sun. Overjoyed. Free.