Written by: Sarah Alpar
Writing a blog seemed like such an easy task. However, if you are like me, you have a lot to say, and it wants to come out in many different colors, shapes and sizes, and it goes flying through your mind to paper in random spurts. All in all I was on a tangent expressing 100 different things. One subject turned into another; turned into another…you get the idea. I wanted to begin blogging as a way for people to understand a little more who I am and what I like; a way to get to know me if you don’t already know me. Like a Sarah 411. I decided to start my first blog and talk a little about my faith.
My faith and belief in God isn’t something I generally boast and preach about. Still, I am very passionate and proud that I have found the Holy Spirit, and I hold my faith close to my heart. My faith keeps me going when times are hard. My faith lets me believe there is more to me than I ever thought I could be. I don’t go “bible thumping” around. My faith isn’t the subject of the day every day to every person. But to those who want to talk about it; to share their story and love, I am there to participate in conversation. My faith is important with the path I am on today. It has let me feel good about where I am today. It helps me train and believe I have a purpose. Sometimes it just helps me make it through the day when I really struggle. If my first blog isn’t of interest to you; if you feel differently than I do; I am not offended. To those who will read further down, I hope you enjoy my first blog :).
Religion is a very touchy subject. It’s a piece of the world that’s supposed to be so uplifting, yet it has been so tragic. From being shot down in churches, to being killed by the millions, religion has been something very finicky; very uncomfortable for me. I’m not one to judge what another believes or doesn’t. To each their own. It has taken me 25 years to find what I feel is best for me to believe in. Never the less, my faith is one thing I will hold onto the rest of my life. Through a series of trials and tribulations, I was on a search. I always thought I was chasing God. In reality, he’s been chasing me the entire time.
I had always believed in God. I grew up going to a Catholic elementary, and I would attend church with my Dad on Sundays. However, there was a little minor confusion in my household; my Mom was Jewish. Imagine growing up celebrating Christmas and Hanukah, Passover and Easter, etc.; two opposing religions in one home. One can only imagine the confusion growing up. It didn’t really help that I didn’t have much of a choice when it came to going to church (but like it really mattered because half the time I would fall asleep). Over the years it turned into a routine. I went to church because that is how it has always been. I didn’t really start paying attention until I reached high school. Then I realized: I had no idea what was going on. I tried listening to the sermons. I tried to grasp what the meaning was, and how I will be a better person from it. No matter what, I could not comprehend. After graduating high school, I decided to venture out and expose myself to the Jewish culture.
My freshman year of college I moved to Oklahoma City. Amarillo had never had a huge Jewish community. Moving to Oklahoma gave me more of a chance to see what it was like to be Jewish. I found a Temple down the street from the University I started attending to. I wasn’t really surprised or taken off guard to the people that were there. Every stereotype, every reenactment my Mom had given, the whole scenario was very real. The movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, can relate very well to the Jewish culture. The gossip, the traditional saying, “you look hungry, let’s eat”. It was all true. I even landed myself in a Jewish group in Norman on Fridays. I loved everything about who I was surrounded by, but one thing was still missing. I couldn’t figure out what it was, but I didn’t feel complete. After a year in Oklahoma, I moved back home to Amarillo, and my Jewish journey had come to an end.
For years I struggled with my faith and what it was about. I always felt I was chasing God. I was trying to find him. I landed a position at The Children’s Home when I was 21 years old. The Children’s Home is a non-profit organization who welcome in children who have been placed out of their biological homes for one reason or another. I was assigned as an assistant family teacher. I was supposed to help take care of the children and mentor them one way or another. However, working at the homes, I found they helped me just as much as I them. I was exposed to the same journey of faith as they were. I felt the sense of being lost and confused just as they did. Furthermore, I could relate to some of the hurts and emptiness, lack of self-worth that some of them felt. It was as if we were growing together.
Working at the homes, and being surrounded by people of great faith and love set a foundation for me. It gave me a comfort that God was there and I could talk to him anytime I wanted. It wouldn’t be until I underwent two devastating relationships that I truly found my spiritual path. As hard as it was; as much hurt, betrayal, heartbroken, and numb I had become, I don’t regret anything my life threw at me because I am so much more of a warrior from it. I currently still have my daily struggles. I still ponder once in a while of my purpose in life; what my path is and has to offer. Although these thoughts cross my mind, I then remind and reassure myself that it will be okay. That there is a reason I am here. There is purpose to everything I have gone through. A pastor told me once that God wanted to tell me he saw me as nothing but beautiful. He said he envisioned me in white dress, like a wedding dress, dancing around a fire, smiling ear to ear. I was a warrior. Periodically after that, random people would approach me, and I would hear similar comments. It was a type of reassurance that I needed to help me get to where I am today. I feel for the ones who haven’t received such a blessing of encountering with God like I have. I feel for them because I was that person before. Never the less, when you go seeking for him, you won’t go far because he’s been right there the whole time.
I’m not saying that everything from here will be easy. I have not re-proclaimed my virginity (tried it) and am walking a perfect holy life. Trust me, I am far from perfect. The unholiest has probably come from me at times. I still get anxiety. I fall into such a state of distress sometimes that one won’t even comprehend. That’s the part of being human. However, at the end of the day, if there is one thing I can turn to that will never let me down, it is my faith. I will hold onto it the rest of my life, and I am assured I have purpose. I don’t know my purpose yet, or where I could be tomorrow, but like it is said, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, nothing shall be impossible unto you”- Matthew 17:20