Finding Hope - Erica
From her earliest days in the work force, Erica was a dynamic employee. She approached her personal and religious life with the same degree of excellence. When a romantic relationship expanded into an engagement, she planned all the details of this most special day. Wedding planning can include potholes, but she never thought a church wedding would be one of them. Erica and her husband were the same religion, so the church service should have been a routine matter of going over the procedures and picking a date. That did not happen.
Erica was told she couldn't get married in her church due to a registration technicality and her husband's church leader made her feel very uncomfortable using his church. The same unwelcoming feeling went past their marriage vows and into the Baptism of her first child.
It doesn't take too many hints that you don't belong before your confidence is shattered. If the church leaders made her feel this way, maybe she wasn't worthy of God's love. Her increasing absence from church wasn't questioned. Unfortunately she was slipping away from not only organized worship but her faith.
The learning curve of every first time parent is steep. In Erica's case it meant balancing motherhood, high travel times for work and the unusual illnesses that hit her little one. In one of the multiple visits to the hospital, Erica seriously thought that she may lose this miracle of her life. The medical professionals bedside manner was just as stifling as her church elders. Late one night she hit rock bottom. In the confines of her thoughts she prayed " I need help. Someone has to help me. I don't know where to turn."
Just then a specialist came in the room to see her. This visit was spontaneous and totally unscheduled. He appeared just like an angelic appearance in the bible. Assuredly he said "I have examined your son and prescribed a new treatment. I'm on my way to Colorado, but trust me, you son will be fine." And so he was. Erica said the moment was surreal. She felt like she was living a storyline from a movie.
We live in an instant society. We expect conclusions to come in minutes. In this storyline, the happy ending wasn't close. God promises to be with us, but we must be patient with the timetable. Four years passed in Erica's life. Her first son's health improved, and he gained a brother. She couldn't justify the demands of a working mom with children so she became a stay at home mom. The loss of income wasn't as devastating as the loss of collegial discussion and support.
A friend invited her to explore the MOPS group at Hope Church. It was her first experience at Hope, and turned out to be a turning point in her life. The mentors were welcoming, informative and comforting. She now had a support system and a path towards spiritual growth. All her feelings of inadequacy, generated by her former church, disappeared. Erica knows how much she is admired by others and loved by God. She is using her dynamic talents to help others at Hope as she continues to feed her soul spiritually.
God created a perfect world. Man's sin tainted it and despite the salvation of Jesus, mankind continues to make a mess of many things. Luckily people of faith continue to influence others and throw a lifeline to people like Erica. In turn good people like Erica understand the command to turnkey the love offered to help others.
- Jim Randazzo
Finding Hope within a Community of Faith
Never give up on God even when it seems hopeless