How it Began


My story begins when I was born, December 25th, 1984. It was a Tuesday in Amman, Jordan. My parents, both Muslim-born and raised, brought up my three siblings and I to be kind and loving, and to think of others. We had a great and normal childhood. During my 6th grade year, they decided that it would be in the best interests of me and my siblings to grow up in a country where the opportunities were so much more abundant, as compared with the situation in Jordan. We moved to Texas the summer of my 7th grade year, and I have lived here ever since. We have some family who live here, and some who are still back in Jordan, but we keep in touch during holidays and special events. Not your typical extended family relationships, which is quite common with some immigrant families.

When I was growing up, both in Jordan as well as here in the U.S., Islam was not something that was shoved in my face, per se. My mother is a devout Muslim, who prays 5 times a day, and fasts during Ramadan. She still waits for the opportune time to visit Mecca, a pilgrimage every Muslim should try to make at least once in their lifetime, as permitting. She never forced us to practice our religion, but did expect us to follow the morals, values, and customs. However, this became much more difficult for her as we grew older, and especially because my father, though a Muslim by birth, is not practicing. He does not necessarily identify with any organized religion, but is a more spiritual man, if you must. He believes in God, and in spirituality, and in having a sense of purpose in life.

This is the environment in which I grew up. It was never volatile in regards to religion, and things were always assumed to be handled the way they were. Things drastically changed for me during my sophomore year of high school. I became friends with a sweet girl named Jennifer, who was a year younger than I, but wise beyond her years. Of course, she was a teenager with hormones, so not every moment spent with her was innocent, but whose was? One day, Jennifer invited me to go to Sunday service with her at a church in Hurst. I was a bit hesitant, as is almost an instinctual habit of any person raised by one faith but venturing into another, but I was also…ready…if that makes sense. I NEEDED something…I felt it deep inside and couldn’t explain it. I was always questioning why things were the way they were in Islam, and the only answer I could ever muster out of anyone was “because that is the RIGHT way…that is the way it should be and the way God intended”. This explanation I had also heard from Christian friends of mine, whom I had questioned about their beliefs. It all confused me so much…the answer wasn’t going to be given to me just anyone. Obviously, I was going through some seriously introspective times in my life!

I finally agreed to go with Jennifer, not because of pressure, but because of my fear that I would never truly feel close to God like I wanted to be. I entered the church with a slight unease…unease of what my mother would think (the horror was yet to come!), and anticipation, mixed with curiosity. This was not my first time inside a church. I had been to many funerals, unfortunately, for my age, and I had been to a couple of weddings. However, this was the first time that I CHOSE to go for my own good…for my OWN good. Not my mother’s, not my friend’s, not anyone else’s benefit. This was one of the first times I took control of who I was as a young adult, and as a human being, and I decided to see for myself what else was out there for me, besides what I already knew was not my journey in life.

The service…well I honestly don’t remember what it was about. I was trying to follow, but as most sermons go, following in the Bible is a bit important, and I had never really read the Bible. I tried, but could never find the Book, let alone the Chapter or Verse! So as I am sitting in the pew, listening to the pastor, a tall, lanky bald young man with so much passion in his eyes it almost transfixed you, I couldn’t hear anymore. I felt a strong sense of emotions coarse through me. I know, it sounds cheesy, but I can only explain it as such. I was crying big, fat tear drops, just falling down my cheeks…but it wasn’t from pain, or discomfort, or even sadness…it was just emotion, and it did not feel like my own. I knew. I just knew…I couldn’t tell anyone for a while, because I didn’t know how to explain what had worked within me and changed me, but I felt it and loved it.

I finally opened up to my mother a year later…it was hard but I had to be honest with her. She was not happy in the least. She cried for days and was so hurt by the thought of her daughter not following in hers, and her mother’s, and her grandmother’s footsteps. I did not waiver, and that I am truly proud of. I stayed true to myself and to God, who helped me see what I had been yearning for, for so many years. It became an unspoken thing between my mother and I, for a long time. And now that some years have passed, and I have fallen in love with a great Christian man who loves God and prays daily and is open about his beliefs, my mother has learned to accept what has always been. It is definitely not easy for her, but for now, I am just glad that we can have a good mother-daughter relationship.

This is definitely only the beginning for me. I am someone who is learning what it is to be a Christian without any childhood knowledge, or memories, or intrinsic ideals that have been bred into me. It’s a bit different than others’ journeys to Christ and with Him. But, I am so excited for what’s next! God is Good!

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