Those of you that know me know how much I love talking about Jesus! I could talk about Jesus all day, er’ day! And when I am not talking about Jesus, somehow the convo ends up circling back to Jesus. I remember I took my niece home one day and she said, “Tia Maira, all you talk about is Jesus and when you don’t, it ends up being about Jesus!” As I was leaving, I thought about it and realized “She is right!!” I then realized that is who I had become. That is who I am—that is Jesus’ testimony through me. There is no Maira without Jesus!

To understand my spiritual journey and where I am at in my spiritual walk, you have to understand what Jesus has done for me. How He gave me beauty for ashes. Light for darkness. Joy for mourning.

I am originally from LA, but moved to another state when I was a child. I always wanted to go back, but there was always something holding me back. In 2013, I realized there was nothing holding me back. I was single at the time, working at a job I didn’t particularly love and was craving more. Although I did not know what more meant or what it looked like. ~Little did I know that “more” was JESUS!!~ So I moved back to LA.

The first year in LA was really fun and exciting. I was doing the tourist thing; traveling, exploring the city, trying new restaurants, etc. I had also discovered something new—hiking!! I love hiking, especially in LA. And of course, I was partying. My second year in LA reality started sinking in. I moved out of my cousin’s house and got an apartment with a roommate. Our rent was almost $1700 a month plus utilities. I had to get a part-time job in addition to my full-time job in order to support myself. On top of that, I started missing my family like crazy!!! I found myself in this big city without my family. Yes, I have extended family there, but it was not the same! I felt lonely in this big city.

I started dating a guy in 2015. You know, the guy that knows how to sweep a girl off her feet and I fell for him. Nine months into our relationship, he told me he was going to a Christian retreat with his family during Thanksgiving. His family was Christian, but he wasn’t. At this point in my life, I was not saved. I was raised Catholic, believed in God and went to church, almost every Sunday, but was not a Christ follower.

So he went to the retreat and I came to Kentucky to visit my family. I was upset because we barely spoke and I didn’t understand why. Yes, I was having fun with my family, but I missed him and thought he was ignoring me. Yes, I know what you are thinking… but of course, I did not understand because I had never been on a retreat.  

So being the impulsive person I used to be ~ The Lord has been working on that in my life ~ we got into it, rather, I got into it and broke up with him. A few days after I got back to LA, he came to my apartment and we talked outside. He confessed he had lied to me our entire relationship. He had been hiding things from me and I had no clue!! I asked him, “Why now?” Why was he confessing until now? He responded, “Because I have accepted Jesus into my heart and I couldn’t keep lying to you.” Of course, I was still blind and didn’t understand what that meant. But one thing I did know—I could not be with him.

I was depressed for months. Everything just kinda felt like it had piled up. I was homesick, I was going through a breakup, was studying for the LSAT and trying to figure out my career. I hated feeling that way. I would cry all day, every day, even at work. I would hang out with my friends, go visit my family that lived in LA, do things I always loved doing, but nothing would heal the pain. In fact, I felt worse being around people. Every day I would cry out to God and would ask Him to please take the pain I was feeling.

I had a co-worker, which I am 100% positive God placed in my path. She and I were not exactly besties, not going to lie, but I know God used her as a vessel to lead me to Him. She invited me to an event her church had to celebrate women. I heard several of the women’s testimonies, but there was a young lady my age whose testimony really spoke to me and made me rethink my life and spiritual life.

I continued going to my co-worker’s church, however, I was confused because I had been raised Catholic and felt divided between the Catholic Church and the non-denominational church. But I loved going to Metro Valley Church. I found a sense of peace I had never felt before and I felt like every sermon was preached especially for me. I felt a calling to continue going to Metro Valley Church.

A few months later, the church was having a women’s retreat. My co-worker would ask me at least every other day if I was going and if I had purchased my ticket yet. I was honest, I told her I had not purchased my ticket and that I was not sure if I was going to go. She asked why and I told her: 1. I did not have the money, which I wasn’t lying, I lived paycheck to paycheck and did not have the money at the moment and 2. I just wasn’t sure. She told me the church was giving scholarships and that I should apply. I felt compelled to say at the moment that if the church paid for all or almost all of the retreat, then I would go. ~You all know how that turned out. ~ The truth is I knew it too. I knew deep down in my heart that retreat was going to change my life and I was never going to ever be the same—ever again!! And that was exactly the reason why I was not sure if I should go. I was a sinner. And although I was ready to change my lifestyle, I was scared and didn’t know if I was mentally ready—that is I didn’t know if I was going to be able to be a “perfect Christian.” ~Little did I know that God wasn’t asking me to be perfect!~

I applied and they paid for almost everything. I could feel God saying, “I held my end of the bargain, now it’s your turn.” So I went. And boy was I wrong about the way things were going to end. Never in a million years, could I have fathomed how God was going to change my life in one weekend—in an instant. That weekend I surrendered my life to Jesus, invited Him into my heart and made Him my Lord and Savior. It was the best decision I have ever made in my life and I have never been the same since.

I went to that retreat depressed, broken, and a mess. I was so broken I had not even listened to music in over four months and those of you who know me know how much I love music. I came out of that retreat transformed and listening to God’s music! I was no longer depressed and had all this joy!! That joy lasted for months!! There was nothing anyone could do or say that would take that joy away from me!! It was as if I had a light switch inside of me and Jesus had hit the light switch on!!

Two and a half months later, at the end of a church sermon, my pastor announced there would be baptisms the following week. Instantly I felt something in my spirit say, “Get baptized!” So I spoke to my pastor and said I was ready to get baptized. That week, the enemy tried really hard to stop God’s work in my life from happening. I began having doubts and didn’t have peace. A few days later, at Wednesday night service, I spoke to my pastor. I told him I was not sure if I should get baptized. I told him I wasn’t sure if I was going to be a “good Christian.” He asked me the most important question I have ever been asked in my life, “Are you ready to follow Jesus?” He also said, “Maira, the Bible doesn’t tell us that Jesus’ disciples had a manual they followed in order to follow Jesus, they just made the decision to follow Jesus.” At that moment I knew I was ready to follow Jesus and I knew I was making the right decision. I knew that no matter what Jesus was with me and He would help me and guide me into being the person He called me to be.

So I got baptized!! Along with the day I got saved, it has been the best day of my life! And it has been the BEST decision I could have ever made!! My life has not been the same ever since! I could sit here and tell you about the miracles, all the Good things Jesus has done for me and all the wonderful blessings He has given me, but that shall be another blog for another day! 😉

I still stumble, because I am not perfect! No one is or was – except Jesus!! But the truth and the beauty of it is Jesus is not asking me to be perfect. He is simply asking me to pick up my cross and follow Him daily and His Spirit will guide me to live the life Jesus has called me to live.

Friends, that is what Jesus did for me! A sinner who thought I could not be forgiven. But God forgave me and redeemed me. And friends I know He can forgive you and transform your life in ways you have never fathom!