Over the past couple of weeks it has become apparent to me that my theme for 2015 is faith.
I started the New Year with a new tattoo. It means “faith” in Greek. Then, I went to church for the first Sunday of 2015, as I listened to the band, one song in particular caught my attention. It’s called “Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace)” by Hillsong Worship. After church, I immediately downloaded the song and have listened to it almost every day since then. It’s a song that I can relate to because of different challenges in my life and the path I have decided to take thus far. I think we are all broken vessels in some way, just regular people that God can use to show others His incredible work.
The Lord has always been known to me but I do not think I really saw Him until I went through some very difficult times in my life. Even afterwards, I still did not have a true relationship with Him. It was not until some friends opened me up to the Lord that I was able to see the love He has for us and how He used my challenges to bring me closer to Him.
There have been many situations in my life that I could have steered off down the wrong path and it came close to that a couple of times. However, I chose to not give up. I could not do it alone though. I had to put a lot of faith into the Lord during those times to help me get through it all. My strength and courage were constantly being tested, but I had the best support system in the world to guide me especially during the difficult periods.
I do not want to preach to you about religion and your choices. Part of what makes us who we are is our individual beliefs. I do think everyone should have something to believe in and should always have faith, hope, and love—faith in what you cannot see, hope for the future, and love for others.
I have a daily reminder in my office now to love people. It can be a struggle to love others especially when they hurt you in some way, but being bitter and negative is so much worse. For me the sources of those three things are my God, my family, and my friends. Without them, I do not know where I would be in my life right now. I know it would probably not be good.
There were many times that I questioned my faith and wondered if it would ever get better. It has not been easy, but every time I thought about giving up I was reminded of what is important in my life and why it is worth living. I know I will face more challenges as I move forward and there are struggles that I am working through even today, but I am not afraid because I have that support system to lean on.
I do not let my past define me, but it is a part of who I am and I am learning how to take those broken pieces and put them back together. I just have to have a little faith that the puzzle will come together even if the pieces don’t always fit perfectly. I hope for those of you who know my story, I have been able to inspire at least one person to not give up in life and to show them God’s love in me.
Many do not know my story, but I hope by reading this you are able to see that no matter how hard life gets, have faith, believe in something, and always persevere. I am far from perfect and I make mistakes every day. Last year, 2014, was filled with some really high highs and really low lows. I feel like the best is yet to come, and I am excited—and nervous—to see what the future holds for me. So I leave you with this quote from Harriet Beecher Stowe: “Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”
Marea Pappas, a native of Bryan, TX, is a graduate student in the Agriculture Economics Department at Texas A&M University. Marea believes AAOP is a great source to document her travels and share with others who have similar interests. Marea’s goals for 2015 are to finish her MA and start her career, hopefully travel a bit, and enjoy all that life has to offer! She Tweets at @MareaPappas.