"I'm Never Going to Church Again!"
By Amy Cruz
My name is Amy Cruz. I am a happily married young woman. I have an amazing one-year-old child and
another on the way. I am a youth volunteer in student ministry, and I am on the tech crew for the worship team at The Springs Church in Marana, Arizona. To look at me today, you might think I grew up in church. But, the truth is, if you went back five years ago and told me this is where I would be, I never would have believed it. I grew up attending a very large Roman Catholic church with my family. I usually fell asleep, never made an effort to listen or be involved, and never connected to God or other churchgoers. No one made an effort to say hello to me or to my family, and this made me bitter towards church; eventually I stopped going all together.
During high school, I moved even further away from any idea of God or the church. It was worse than just saying I was an atheist; I was actively looking for other gods or idols to make me feel whole. I struggled with depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. I was always angry, and my behavior was reckless as a result. After high school, I went to college with no idea of what I wanted to do and dropped out after three semesters. Everything in my life was meaningless. I never guessed that God was already working to draw me to Himself. He cared, and I had no idea.
I started working at a telecommunications job and found myself in a mentally and physically abusive relationship. I began to make friends at my job, among whom was a man named Damon. I earned a promotion, which helped boost my low self-esteem. As time went on, I broke away from the bad relationship and started spending more and more time with Damon. His friend and his brother were playing in the worship band at The Springs Church, and they invited us to visit. They were all so into it that I decided to come along. I started going to The Springs Church in 2014. Damon had been baptized when he was young, but I knew nothing about being “saved.”
After the first Sunday, I posted on Facebook that I would never go to church again. But God was softening my heart. I got pregnant, and that was the first time I felt convicted. I had a miscarriage, and that rocked me. All of those old feelings of needing security came flooding back. I wanted to do better for Damon and myself. I kept going with Damon to church. A while later, I got pregnant again and knew I needed to make up my mind about the life I was going to live for my family.
Our daughter was born in June 2015. Shortly after, I was saved in a Sunday morning service. I said yes to the God who had loved me all along. I knew He accepted me, and it made a change in me. I was baptized in September. Damon rededicated his life to Jesus and got baptized again soon after. Pastor Jeff married us in the church, in front of our family and close friends.
I finally understand the feeling of being included and comfortable at church. The anger and bitterness towards God is gone. I’m making the effort to live my life for Christ and for my growing family. It’s not easy! Having God doesn’t make all things stress-free or erase my past, but I finally have the strength to get through the really hard days. I can acknowledge what I have done and finally forgive myself because Christ forgave me.
About the Writer: Amy and Damon Cruz attend The Springs Church in Marana, Arizona, where Jeff Goodman and Josh Bennett are church planters. Learn more: http://thespringschurchmarana.com