My story is insignificant, but I do want to point to the amazing Author of all of life who has made Himself known in every aspect of my life.
I was born and raised by two immigrant believers in Mesquite, TX. I grew up in the church and even went to a Christian school, but I recall merely going through the motions because my parents and teachers told me to. When I was about six or seven, I woke up one day, and my leg was hurting. It was so bothersome that I actually limped. My mom tried massaging it with oil, placed heating pads, and even gave me extra warm baths. Unfortunately, these things only brought temporary relief. While I continued to be in pain and limp, my dad didn’t believe me. He thought I was just doing this to bring attention to myself because I had a younger sister and a baby brother on the way. I was so frustrated that I became desperate. I prayed my first genuine prayer, but I did it in a very unique way. I wrote it as a love letter. It was short and straight to the point:
“Deer Jesus, pleese heal my leg. Luv, Sheba.”
Then I proceeded to draw multiple hearts all over the page. The next morning, I woke up feeling different. I immediately flung my covers off and swung my legs over the side of the bed. When I bore weight, there was no pain and no limp. This was the moment, my faith was born. I personally believed in God, and I knew that Jesus was very real in my life! It was not until one Sunday in November 1997 when my Sunday school teacher was teaching us about John 3 and asked us all if we knew what being “born again” was. I had heard of “being saved,” but “born again” was a completely new concept. After she explained what it meant, I knew it was what I needed. This was the missing puzzle piece. I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior that day.
The next few years were quiet. As I was trying to get through the awkwardness of adolescence as quickly and painlessly as possible, I also found myself diving deeper in God’s Word. Consequently, I obeyed the Bible by getting baptized near the end of 7th grade as a public proclamation of my faith in Christ as my personal Savior. In high school, I finally had a solid group of friends and had easy A’s, but I was incredibly sheltered and introverted.
When I went to Texas A&M for college, I was immediately slapped with reality. For the first time, I had to deal with incredibly difficult classes and being a tiny fish in a huge ocean. I was barely passing. This was when my faith really came into focus. I truly had to rely on the Lord. Even during times that I felt incredibly alone, I could hear the sweet whisper of His voice comforting my heart. Things were going great in my relationship with Christ, when my world was flipped on its axis – one of my best friends from high school was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Aloud, I constantly prayed for God’s will to be done, but in my heart I begged God for healing. At one point, I even tried to bargain with God by trading my life dreams for his healing. Eventually, my friend was in critical condition – the cancer had spread to so many organs.
On my 20th birthday, I remember weeping so hard that I couldn’t even pray out loud. Instead, I did something similar to what I did when I was 7, I wrote out a letter to God. I laid it all on the table, completely vulnerable. I asked—No! I demanded that either God heal my friend completely or that He take my friend home to heaven where he would no longer suffer or be in pain. I’ll never forget what happened the next day. As I was sitting on the bus I saw that I had 2 missed calls on my cell phone from two of my friends. I knew in my heart before I called back, but hearing that my dear friend had passed that morning completely shattered my heart. It took time to get those pieces back together, but God is so faithful and He was able to open my eyes to the realization that my friend was in Paradise. God used that incredibly painful experience to turn my eyes to heaven. My perspective and goals changed from a temporal and worldly focus to one of eternal and heavenly impact.
By God’s grace, I was able to get into PA school, and before I made the decision to be a PA, I knew I wanted to work in oncology. Well, God really did amazing things for me in 2015. I graduated, passed boards, got my dream job, and married the love of my life. My head was spinning from all of the changes. Even though it seemed like everything was going “as planned,” I felt incredibly responsible for many things all at once. There were more questions than answers. I felt like was I just floundering through life. It came to a point that I was starting to struggle internally with anxiety on a regular basis, but I had to hand it all over to God. I had to come to the realization that I personally cannot change a person nor could I save them (spiritually or physically). It was all in God’s hands, and I had to come to terms that I can only live as His instrument.
The older I get, the larger God appears to me. I am so unworthy to call Him mine, but He truly is my greatest treasure and joy! I hope that my life is a reflection of Christ. By His grace, I will run the race that is set before me. I know I’ll trip and stumble along the way, but I know that my Father will help me up each time. By being a part of Come Awake, I hope that I can give some words of understanding, love, and encouragement, but more than that, I hope God receives all the glory!