Before I begin, I would just like to preface my faith story with this: I did not become a believer overnight. There was no miraculous event, no sudden enlightening, no great awakening. There was no single “aha moment” or specific thing that I can attribute to my strong spiritual convictions. The path that led to where I am today was guided by a sense of faith that I had felt and recognized within myself from a very young age and that had flourished due to the numerous ways that Jesus revealed Himself to me over the course of my life.
I was born a part of a wonderful family, whose love for each other was insurmountable, but they did not know Jesus and never instilled a faith in Him in me. I questioned why we did not go to church a few times, and my mother or grandmother would say, “That’s just not how we were raised.”
Around the age of 3, my mother hired a woman named Ginny, to care for my sister and me because both she and my father worked full-time. Ginny had three boys of her own around our age, and so we grew up alongside them. Their family was Christian and frequently went to church. The boys were also given a religious education at their church on a weekly basis for many years. I recall being jealous and having a deep longing for the same opportunity to learn.
The boys, my sister, and I attended Bible camp for years in the summer, and I remember being so completely enthralled by it. I loved learning about the Bible and Jesus and could not get enough. I wanted more.
I lived with that yearning and the envy I felt in regards to Ginny’s family and the numerous friends of mine that were able to attend church and other modalities of religious practice for a long time.
All throughout this time I prayed to God on my own, in secret, even though I had never really been taught to pray. I just felt it in my soul that I needed to, and it always helped me to gain clarity and feel better, especially in hard times.
My life wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, even though I know I have been extremely blessed throughout it.
My whole childhood I knew I was different. I was constantly getting sick and had a multitude of symptoms ranging from chronic intractable migraines, blood sugar imbalances, and constant nausea to issues with my heart rate and blood pressure that would cause me to go unconscious just from changing my position. I also broke numerous bones and had many dislocations. After years of missing 40-60 days of school a year and having no answers from doctors I got even more sick. In high school I was diagnosed with POTS , a disorder of the autonomic nervous system and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a connective tissue disorder. Surrounding the time of my diagnosis, I was placed on home bound from school for the better part of four years.
Even through all of this, I knew God was with me. Through the many doctors appointments and hospital visits I gained a love and appreciation for medicine and a desire to become a medical professional to help others like those who had so graciously helped me. Even while being so sick, I was able to complete training to become an EMT, and I have been so blessed to have been able to help so many people throughout the years.
Through all of the hardship I faced in being sick, something truly great came from it, and I recognize this as God guiding me to my calling and using me to do good in the world. I was given countless opportunities to work in EMS and in the hospital where I always seemed to encounter those spreading God’s Word to me and asking me to pray with them, and consequently my faith continued to grow.
As a teen, I researched and read the Bible using the internet and formed my own understanding of God and His work in the world. The more I learned, the more I believed and continued seek answers. No matter how much I did this, I could not quench my sense of wonder and desire to know Jesus. And through the hard times where others might turn from faith, mine grew stronger.
But, no matter what was going on in my life, I could not shake this feeling that there was something missing.
After a few years of some very deep personal struggles including my illnesses and some other things that very few people know about, my friend had sent me a job listing and told me to apply with him before the deadline that next day. I almost did not go through with it. I already had a lot going on in my life so I was sure that adding more to my plate was a terrible idea. At the last second, and from out of nowhere, I had this overwhelming sense that I absolutely needed to apply, and so I became an EMT at a concert venue.
Little did I know that on my very first day, I would meet my other half. When I say that this man was made for me, it is not an understatement. I could not have picked a more perfect person for me, which really showed that God knew me better than I knew myself. I was a little broken at the time, and Jeff was a little broken too. God had this in His plans all along. Our lives changed course that day, and it did not take long for either of this to realize that this was, as my good friend Olivia would call it a “God thing.”
One of the most amazing things that has come out of our relationship is the ability for our faith to grow together. Jeff’s family is very religious, and one of the first memories I have of meeting them is when his mom very excitedly called me a “new recruit” for their church. We began to go with his family and that is really when the fire was lit in my heart. Jeff and I pray together daily now and each of our respective faiths has grown tremendously.
I’m now a nursing student, and back in March we up and moved to Maryland from New Jersey because Jeffrey landed the career of his dreams as a firefighter for Frederick County. I did not think that life could get sweeter, because God had already blessed me so very much, but little did I know that one of the sweetest surprises on my journey so far was yet to come.
At the family orientation for the fire academy, I was in line for the bathroom when the person behind me started up a conversation. That lady was Julia Harris. Our first encounter was casual and fleeting, the type that one typically would not remember in the slightest. But for some reason every word was burned into my memory, and I just felt this pull. Soon enough I would know why. As I’m sure many of you know, this girl loves Jesus like no other and is the epitome and grace and joy. God really used some of the best of Him when he made Julia, and He knew that I needed her in my life too. From praying together for each other and for our firemen, to Bible studies and heart to hearts, she truly has become like another sister to me and has really catapulted my faith to new heights.
I confided in Julia not too long ago that I had desired to profess and affirm my faith in Jesus, but did not know where to even start.
In typical Julia fashion she was immediately ecstatic and happy to the point of being in tears. She told me that she would speak to her mother who presently coordinates the baptisms here at Grace, and that she could possibly baptize me. In that moment I knew in my bones that this was meant to be and that we were brought into each others lives for a reason and she felt the same. So there we were, in her apartment, bursting into tears.
She is my closest friend and confidant here in Maryland, and I am so incredibly blessed and grateful to have Julia baptize me.
Every single aspect of my life developed under and through God’s guiding hand. And through all of these moments that I have shared with you, and the countless others that there have been, I gained a little faith. As you can see, He didn’t speak to me directly, there was no epic sign, no doves and beacon of light. My faith in Jesus transformed from a seed that was deep within me and through the consistent watering of that seed; through those small moments that I have seen Jesus in, that I have felt His presence, it has grown immensely. All you need in you is that one little seed of faith, and He has something to work with. I am no longer a seeker, I am a believer. But I guess all along He was seeking me, thank you.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5)
— Darian Low, Baptized November 2019
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