My name is Caroline Zorc. I grew up in England, in a typical British family – Mum, Dad, younger brother and younger sister. My parents had us baptized into the Church of England as infants at a local church in my father’s hometown. At about age 10, my family moved to a tiny village with a population of 2500, and we started attending St. Mary’s Parish Church in Chiddingfold. As a young teenager I was involved in the church youth group, Girl Guides (equivalent to Girl Scouts in America), music, and a running club.
Then in July 1986, my Dad’s job was transferred to America, and so we moved from that small English village of 2500 to Ellicott City Maryland. I was 16. I remember hating most all of that experience. My parents and I went to a church in Ellicott City and were promptly visited by the pastor who, from my recollection of Dad recounting the story, wanted our money and didn’t seem to care about us. We never went back to that church, or any other church.
The “Cliff Notes” version of the next chapter of life looks like this: I graduated from high school, went to college for a couple of years, didn’t know what I wanted to do with life, so quit college. I was working as a bartender, living on my own, and thinking I was an adult. I met my husband while working at the local night club. We got married in 1994. Once married, both of us went back to school to finish our degrees, and, after working as an IT Consultant for a few years, I finally quit bartending with the thought of having kids. Ethan was born in February of 1999, and Emma in August of 2000. My husband was still bartending, and I was doing well in my career as an IT consultant.
The thought of God never really entered my mind, and church was not even an option, it was too early on a Sunday and neither I, nor my husband, were remotely interested in sacrificing our lifestyle for that.
Around 2002, I realized life was not what I wanted it to be for my kids, and I started looking for things to make me feel more like a responsible parent. I decided they needed to go to church, that a moral foundation was a good idea. My husband’s Dad and Step-Mom went to Grace, so I asked my them to take me and the kids so I could see what it was all about. I was a self-reliant, working mother and didn’t need this church thing, I was doing this for my kids. Reflecting back, I now see that my life was driven by doing things to fit in with others, to make it look like my life was all together, and I certainly never needed help, everything I did was for everyone else, my job, my kids, my friends, etc… I was driven by pride and the fear of not fitting in.
I don’t really remember my first reaction, the service at Rumsey Road was a far cry from anything I had ever experienced in my small 11th century church in England, but I kept going. The kids were having a great time, and I was enjoying the music. It felt like a positive, responsible, thing to be doing with my time. My husband didn’t attend, was never up on a Sunday morning anyway, and he was certainly not interested.
During September 2004 my world, as I knew it, fell apart. After 10 years of marriage my husband and I separated, which led to divorce. That October, Connections was doing a study by Beth Moore on the Fruits of the Spirit, and my Mother-in-law was one of the leaders, she encouraged me to come, and arranged for her youngest son to babysit for Ethan and Emma. This was really the first time I began to understand what a relationship with God could maybe look like. I remember reading that list of fruits in Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law,” and thinking I really wanted that in my life. In fact, my life looked more like it was full of the list of things in the verses prior to that lovely list, Galatians 5:19-21: “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies and things like these…”
The next two years were very hard. I struggled with severe clinical depression. On good days I would blast Christian music in my car on the way to work and pray and cry and sing, on bad days I would do none of those things – well except the crying bit, and feel completely hopeless. I continued to attend Grace, and tried to learn more about God. I continued to lean on my well practiced “stiff upper lip” Britishness and tried to hold it all together.
In October 2006, I had been having a particularly rough few weeks and I remember one Saturday morning trying to motivate myself to clean the house. The kids were at their Dad’s, and I was listening to music. Casting Crowns’ song “Praise You in the Storm” was playing, I was singing along as usual, and I was completely stopped dead in my tracks by the opening verse:
I was sure by now, God you would have reached down / And wiped our tears away, / Stepped in and saved the day.… / I raise my hands and praise / The God who gives and takes away.”
I knew right then I needed to put all my faith in God and believe that this pain was temporary and that all I needed was His love. I fell to my knees that morning and repented for my sins, for my pride, my attitude toward relationships, for my neglect of my marriage, my selfishness… the list was long. I accepted that all my heart really needed was God’s love, and I needed to relinquish control of my life over to Him. I thanked God for His unimaginable gift of allowing His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross to pay for my sins, so that I might be reborn as His child.
I have not looked back! Jesus is my Lord and Savior, and I believe every day that he brought me through that pain, and I want to use it for His Glory.
Through Jesus’ resurrection, He gave me a new life. By his grace, he brought Tony and me together…
In November 2008, I got remarried to Tony. He had also been through a divorce, and I have the added bonus of being step-mom to two precious girls, Mira (14) and Bella (12). Because of our history, both of us have committed to making our marriage a priority, and, with God’s help, we are continually working to make it a God-honoring marriage.
Grace upon grace. Jesus is using our brokenness and redeeming it for good. This past year, God gave my husband and me the opportunity to lead a marriage study here at Grace, and it has been so clear to me that even in our brokenness God can use us to share his vision for a beautiful marriage, all for His glory! I want more than anything for people to know that a Christ-centered marriage is the best kind of marriage. That each day won’t feel perfect, but that the fruits it bears will bring God glory and walking with Him, allowing the Holy Spirit to be alive in your heart, will bring that list of lovely things from Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
In Rich’s sermon on July 2 he asked if we had ever felt ruined and restored by God’s holiness. My marriage story came immediately to mind.
God allowed me to be ruined through my first marriage and He is allowing me to be restored through my marriage to Tony.
Every day I thank God for this marriage, for the good times, the hard times, the everyday mundane times, but most of all for the growth in my personal relationship with Jesus Christ through this journey of marriage as God designed.
I am forever thankful for the Lord Jesus Christ! So, it is with a grateful heart for Jesus saving me and giving me a beautiful new life, that I am getting baptized to publicly declare my identity in Him!
Baptism at Grace
During all worship gatherings on Baptism Weekends, we celebrate the very reason we exist as a church: Christ’s mission to make disciples, baptizing and teaching in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28: 19-20). We share testimonies of how Jesus changes lives now and for eternity. And the best part… we baptize with a joy that’s out of this world!