“God does not called the qualified, He qualifies the called.” This has been my mantra for the past year. I say it to myself whenever I doubt being where I am. Which is very, very often. If someone told me a year ago that I would be here at C3 Brooklyn serving, building, leading — I would have pulled a Jonah and ran the other way.

I approached coming to Christ like coming home past curfew. I was hesitant but hopeful that I would be welcomed. I was expecting to find a very disappointed parent waiting on the couch, wondering where I’ve been and why I was getting home so late. I approached the throne room covered in my shame and ready to plead my case. But I’m realizing now that that’s not the heart of the Father.

I didn’t grow up planted in a home church. We went from Catholic Mass to Jehovah Witness Kingdom Hall services to non-denominational services. It was hard for me to build a relationship with God when I was presented different versions of Him. And it was even harder because I was made to believe I could only have access to Him through a spiritual leader. I had questions and fears and curiosities about God, but if my spiritual leaders couldn’t answer me or their responses didn't satisfy me, I assumed God couldn’t either.

So I packed up all my “God theories,” and I left. I went out into the world seeking answers to the big looming questions I had: Who am I? And what am I supposed to be doing? I searched for it in family, relationships and my career. I walked into every room carrying the shame of everything I wasn’t because I had no idea who I was.

To be honest, I still can’t say that I do or that I know what I’m supposed to be doing. What I do know is, that after all these years of running away I was welcomed home by God. With all my questions, theories, fears, defenses and doubts, God was still sitting on the couch when I finally arrived. And He’s not the least bit tired, He’s not annoyed, and He’s not ready to punish me. Instead He’s sitting there with a blanket and snacks, excited to show me what He has planned for me. He met me right where I was and has reassured me of His love daily. He gave me a family ready to support and celebrate me. He calls me daughter with pride and joy.

I can’t believe the way God has been working in my life this past year since deciding to follow Jesus. There are days when it is hard to sit on the couch with Him and rest in His love. There are days when I can’t believe I am who He is calling to qualify. On those days I have to remind myself that I am not disqualified from the promises of God because of my past. That those years of missing the mark were actually part of God’s perfect plan for my life. I am one of His masterpieces, and He’s so proud to call me His.