As I grew older, I became more curious which led me more to dangerous situations. I can endlessly tell you a whole list of times I almost died. Every single time I survived every incident, I would think “Why am I still here, alive, in one piece?” With this question always on my mind, I would think about it mostly while at church, I had no idea why but it would just pop up. I almost never paid attention while at church, and I would always get lost. I remember one Thursday the pastor wanted to talk to me. I never had a conversation with the pastor, I mean we had a little chat here and there but not officially at his desk. As I sat down he began to look at me in the eyes as if searching for clues. He talked mostly about me being lost and distant. I was confused and completely lost in the conversation. It’s not that I didn’t care, I just didn’t know what to say. Until, he finally got my attention with a sentence. He said to me, “You do realize the only reason why people tell you that you do things wrong is because they care”. My parents and teachers would constantly bring that up. I thought to myself, I honestly didn’t have to hear it from my pastor also. “You know that to God you are the shiniest of gems.” I thought to myself; great, he went there. He hit me right there, that one weak spot. I knew that to the eyes of the Lord we were all perfect no matter what sin we have committed. I tried to not cry, but yet the tears began to fall. Hot and wet scars are created on my cheeks, it was so embarrassing since it was the pastor, but yet he looked at me with the same determination, ignoring the fact that I was emotionally weak. I hated crying in front of people because it showed my weaknesses and I didn’t need people to know what caused me to act fragile and feel worthless. The pastor looked at me hard and strong, so hard he sneezed. He then told me, “You can go”. I nodded, got up and walked past the altar. A long walk to the big doors that led to the main hallway. I got in the back of the car, my mom looked back and said “I won’t ask”, so all she did was drive and hum to a melody that didn’t exist. When I got home I just layed down, and began to think about what the pastor had said. I ask myself, “Why did I cry?” “What was wrong with me?” That’s when a thought entered my head. “Ashley, the reason why you are still alive is because others need to know that they are gems to the Lord.” I began to meditate on that. All I remembered was me crying tears of joy. I knew they were joyful since they were cold. When I woke up the next day, I looked at my ceiling. I looked at the star stickers and the moon. My room was dark and bright, a mixture of the two. A little dance the night and day were performing for my awakening. I smiled and thanked the Lord for everything. You see, my mother would always tell me, “God talks to us in various ways.” Before, God talked to specific people in person, an example of that was Moses; my favorite Bible story. That night, God talked to me. I learned that God wanted me to tell you that you are important to him no matter what, that no matter what you did and still do he will always love you. But the only way for him to do more than just love you is for you to seek him, find him and love him. He is our only way to salvation, our only way through the golden doors of heaven. Well, that’s all I have to say, I let God take hold of my hands and type away. God bless you all very much, and in the name of Jesus, you have a blessed life!
– Ashley Ramirez-Santos