From Darkness To Life – Maria Alvarez

“My heart beating, my soul breathing, I found my life when I laid it down”

As a child I was always terrified of darkness. I would never sleep with the lights off and whenever I turned off the kitchen lights after having a late night snack I would run as fast as my tiny legs would allow me to, in order to avoid being alone in the dark. Most people would argue my fear came from our natural fear of uncertainty, which darkness produces, however, I now know it was a lot more than that.

I was born and raised in a beautiful family who believed in God despite not being fully committed to Him or Church. I was surrounded by love and I always thought I was very “lucky” to have a family like mine. I was always aware of God’s existence, but even at my young age, I knew I didn’t love Him above all things. Even though my parent’s only took me to Church once every few months, I always knew it was important, and I decided to wake up early on Sundays and ask my grandma to pick me up and let me go with her to her mass. I would sleep through nearly eighty percent of the mass, but I would never miss it, and if for any reason I had to, I would feel guilty. I didn’t understand why I went every Sunday when I didn’t even pay attention to what the priest said, but something in me told me I had to go.

When I was about 10 years old my parents went through a tough season in their marriage. The family I was so “lucky” to have was slowly vanishing and I was very scared to lose it. At the time I wasn’t aware of how powerful God is and I definitely didn’t love Him as much as I do now, but I remember how every night I would pray and beg God to save my family, I’d cry and promise I would do anything for Him if He helped me.

Later I learned He didn’t want me to do anything, He simply wanted me. After a few weeks without me fully understanding how or why, my parents solved their issues and we started going to Church every Sunday. I never thought of what happened or why it happened. I just went back to live my childhood with my loving family.

From then on, my relationship with God was a rollercoaster. I loved Him but I wasn’t constant with Him. I would try my best to pray every night and to stay awake at Church but it didn’t always work. I wondered how it would be to have one of those miraculous moments when people just fall in love with God and go from sinning to giving their life to Jesus. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t get one of those moments. My teenage years were very calm compared to others. I thought I was “lucky” my group of friends were not crazy and were “mature”. I thought I was different than others because of my friends and family.

After arriving to Glasgow, I started giving God His place and His time. That is because I started seeing His blessings in a more direct way. He cared about every little detail in my life and now that I could see it, I understood that all the “luck” in my life came from Him. Before I didn’t see Him because His blessings came through my family but when I was alone and He took care of me the way my parents would, I understood how tender and incredible He is, and how little I deserved Him.

My relationship with God started growing and so did my commitment in Church. Despite giving more and more time to God and dedicating more to Church, I still didn’t have that miraculous moment and I still had times where I didn’t feel like going to Church. I could finally say though, that I loved my beautiful God over anything, and that, made me be the happiest I have ever been in my life.

I was told about Accelerate several times, circumstances prevented me to join the course even though I always knew I had to take it. It was in January that something told me to stop the excuses and to commit truly to the God that had done so much for me and for whom I’ve done so little. From the first class I felt so intrigued and thirsty to know more about God, the Bible and us as leaders. From our time management to our Old Testament classes I started applying every single thing in my life. Without seeing it, my heart was going on fire. On fire for The Lord.

I had read the Bible before, but I never really got much revelation from it, I read it every single day, but I didn’t understand what I was reading. After my first day in Accelerate I understood I needed to pray for and believe for revelation, and ever since I started doing so every verse I read was clear to me.

Every time I read the bible I understand so much and get exited about the amazing information that is in it. I understand I need to listen in Church, and to hear. I started taking notes and I never fell asleep again. Everything started making sense. I understood where it all came from and why it all happened. I understood God chose me. He chose me. Before I was even born He knew me, He knew He would use me. Why? I have no idea. I now know I’m not worthy of Him and He doesn’t deserve someone like me. But He still loves me so much, and gave up so much for me. I didn’t need that miraculous moment because it happened way before I could acknowledge it. He miraculously chose me and slowly built my way towards Him.

One night before going to bed I opened my eyes and I saw darkness, and I remembered how it felt when I was a kid. I then realised I was afraid of darkness because it is the opposite to what God is. “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” John 8:12. He chose me before I even knew Him, and before I even understood why, I was afraid of being without Him, in darkness. I wanted to go to Church so badly because I wanted and needed Him. He knew my path, He knew I would need to pray for my family so we would all go to Church. He knew I needed the friends He gave me because otherwise I would’ve given into my flesh. He knew I needed to come to Glasgow to understand Him and what He’s done for me. Even if my flesh wanted to move in different directions He led me through the way He designed for me, that “something” inside of me was Him.

I then understood all my fears were pointless. If such and amazing God would look over and love in such and incredibly way this insignificant being, how could I question His ways and His power? How dared I fear anything? He sent His son to give me victory over my flesh and over the enemy. I stopped fearing the darkness because I finally understood He made me under his image, I finally understood His light lives in me. When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God. (Genesis 5:1); “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14.)

Maria Alvarez 
C7 Accelerate Year 1 Student

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