I was born in Japan, raised bi-culturally in both countries, and
Buddhist by default. My mother is Japanese and my father Native American.
For 12 years I worked with recording artist signed to RCA/Arista Records and the company relocated me to a position in their New York headquarter office. New York – New York! If you can make it here you can make it anywhere! Right?? Well actually, God had other plans for me while in New York. Something more than the limos, working with celebrities, and running my own department from 37thfloors above Times Square. God had plans for me that I knew nothing about.
After over a year of studying the bible with disciples, I was baptized in the Daytimers Ministry of Manhattan. A ministry full of working Broadway performers, choreographers, principle dancers, actors and the like, devoted to putting God first. I needed that motley crew of hearts to relate to my slightly bizarre, right brain leaning, sinful self. The church at that time was 13,000 strong, and it impressed me that that many people were committed to purity, committed to sharing their faith, committed to living as disciples in such a fast paced city. Steve and Lisa Johnson led our region and Lisa was a fireball of inspiration. She recently spoke at Seattle’s Women’s Day event and I was reminded of the foundation she helped me lay for my faith, perseverance and deep-rooted convictions.
The Johnsons taught us 2 Corinthians 6:17 which urges us to be in the world but not of it, to use our performing talents for God yet to be separate, Godly examples. For me, Lisa’s heart for the lost was contagious. I loved the joy I’d receive from sharing my faith and watching people get baptized, serving HOPE in the projects of Harlem, and learning how to deny myself when New York had so many worldly things to offer. Instead of submitting to my drug addiction, the New York Church’s Chemical Recovery program helped me to submit to a spiritual drug-free life. Instead of hating the man that beat and raped me, the Church’s Sexual Abuse group taught me to forgive those who have wronged me. Instead of entertaining my depression, the Emotional Recovery ministry taught me to dig deeper into the scriptures to keep my depression at bay. It took many sisters, many loving long hours to help me. But that is what I am most grateful for. God foremost, yet also the disciples who invested time in me and loved me. They denied themselves time and time again to help me, in many many ways. God prepared me for future challenges that were to come.
Over the years, nothing has broken my heart more than to have cared for both my precious parents and to have watched them slowly, ever so slowly, slip away. Will the pain ever lessen from watching my father pronounced dead? Will the pain ever lessen from watching my mother gasp her last breath? Linda Brumley says it gets better over time. Thank God for Linda Brumley! Thank God for the older, yes, older, disciples! They have lived life and guide us with much wisdom from scripture as well as their invaluable life experiences.
I need disciples. We all need disciples in our lives to help us “get it”. That’s why I am committed to investing my time into others. So many people have invested their time and love into me to help me grow spiritually over the years. I can even name one man who died for me. I am grateful for Jesus’ self denial to give me his gift of grace, and a new life, much more amazing and heaven bound than the path I had originally chose. I encourage us all to invest in others, as Jesus did.