Sandra's Faith Story
Though I have always believed in God, I haven’t always been a Christian. I started my journey of being a Christian the day I found myself on my knees asking God why my Dad completed suicide. He died on September 10, 2007, ironically known as National Day of Suicide Prevention. I had been baptized just the year before when I was pregnant with my first child. But God used the journey of dealing with my dad’s death, to stir my heart and teach me there was more to life.
Two years after losing my dad, I started attending a new church. Sitting in the pew, I heard my new Pastor read Colossians 2: 5, “Though I am absent in the flesh, I am with you in spirit rejoicing to see your steadfastness in your faith in Christ.” The pastor went on to say though God is always near, we have to actually go to Him to see Him. That moment hit me! For the last 2 years I was angry with God because I could never feel him near as I grieved my dad and had the many questions of why. I questioned why God took my dad from me. If He knew Dad was hurting bad enough to take his own life, why didn’t God help somehow. It made me wonder if Dad ever went to God asking for that help. Having that thought while hearing the verse from Colossians, I realized I never leaned on God to help me with my grief. I allowed my anger to get in the way. It was after that moment I decided I didn’t want to continue my life without God beside me. I then started attending church regularly. I soon learned the more I was in God’s word learning about Him, the closer to Him I felt. It took me sometime after to ask for forgiveness for being angry with both God and my Dad. It was amazing to see God's hand in my life once that forgiveness took place. In 2012, God lead me to the local Suicide Coalition Prevention in my area where I learned about the LOSS team (Local Outreach for Survivors of Suicide). I instantly knew that it was God’s plan for me to be a member of that team and I have been a volunteer ever since. As a LOSS team volunteer and first responder to a suicide, we offer hope to the newly bereaved. After my years of healing, I can walk into a families home once a suicide has taken place and say, “I can understand how you might feel right now. I can empathize their feelings of shock, but I can be a lighthouse for them letting them realize there is help available when they are ready. God leading me to the LOSS team allowed me not only to heal from my loss, but to give God the glory only he deserved in the process! I soon realized that my purpose in life was not what I thought it had been for the last many years. I did good in school, graduated college, felt I was doing decent in raising a family, but I ALWAYS found myself yearning for more. The journey God had for me with losing my dad and the grief I would face with that loss, lead me to a journey of healing in which only He could orchestrate. It led me to realizing the ‘more’ I was yearning for was the very need God put in my heart from the day I was born, the same need he put in yours. The need to fulfill not our purpose but His purpose for us.
I learned that my purpose was simple. Our purpose in life is to live a Godly life and lead others to God. That’s it! Though we all have our roles in this life, what we do day in and day out to lead others to Him is our only true purpose. God took my grief of losing my dad and used it to help others in their darkest days. That is how I became the Christian I am today.
He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.’ Mark 16: 15