My spiritual journey has been an interesting one with many chapters. I grew up Catholic and attended catechism twice a week. My hands got slapped with a ruler a few times, and one of the things that harmed me most in that era was being told not to like what I saw when I looked in the mirror. I’m not sure what motivated that. I tried to be a good girl and played the organ at church.
The next chapter of my spiritual journey began after my brother committed suicide. A friend gave us a picture with the “Footprints in the Sand” poem on it. I remember sitting and reading it—surrounded by many people but in a world of my own—wondering what this God was all about. In times of trouble, Jesus walked alongside me, guiding me, but I was only halfway listening. I didn’t know how to do the job he had created for me to do here on earth.
Many years went by with God experiences, but I still wasn’t tapping into all his glory. Then I went to treatment for drugs and alcohol. Alcoholics Anonymous is a spiritually based program, and I learned to trust a Higher Power. After working on that for a while, I still felt like I was missing something—maybe how to listen to God and to truly learn his purpose for me.
When my father passed away a few years ago, I isolated myself for too long! I missed my dad so much and did not know how to live life without him. I knew I needed to do something but was not extremely motivated.
Then, I accepted an invitation to Redemption Church. From my very first visit, I knew the church had something for me. Learning about Jesus and who he is and what he did for me on that cross just blew my mind. The love in his heart must be amazing. One Sunday, as Pastor Christian (Kohs) preached, I realized that I have a new Father who has done so much for me, and I am amazed. God the Father is my new Dad. It feels so good, and I trust it 100 percent.
I am so grateful that I get to live like this with the Lord. My knowledge and love for God has moved from my head to my heart, and I am excited for what God has in store for me. I can see and feel him strengthening me in so many ways. I am grateful for the amazing peace he has given me. I really enjoy how Redemption Church is teaching me to read and understand the Bible. My church family is so important to me. It is about love and commitment to Jesus.
Pastor Christian has taught me to trust, believe and act on my own life here on earth. I have found so many opportunities to grow and teach others how wonderful life can be when you believe and trust in God. His life plans always amaze me, and it is so fun to follow his direction because it seems to work!
Stephanie McCarren attends Redemption Church in Owatonna, Minnesota. She has two adult children and three grandchildren. The most important things in her life are her family, her church community and AA. She is excited to bring the AA program into a local women’s prison. Stephanie enjoys quilting, riding bike and walking her dog, Rosie.