What is a blessed life?
I am 36 years old. In 36 years of life I have heard many people’s perspective about what it means to be blessed. I have seen people relate “being blessed” with wealth and possessions, education and status, health and size of family, location and country. Although, all these can be important to live in our broken world, I want to share with you what I believe to be blessed.
I grew up in Sao Paulo, Brazil. My mom was a single mother of three. I was the oldest one. I was my mom helper, babysitter, maid, and best friend. My siblings always looked up to me. They saw me with great admiration. I was raised to be responsible, to protect, and to care for my siblings in a very early age. During that time for me being blessed was having a little to eat every day, a roof over my family’s head, and having my siblings with me. It was a hard life but full of richness. We were healthy children and my mom was a very hardworking woman who tried to love us as best as she could.
So then I reached my teens. I fell in love with basketball. During that time I was so blessed to be able to play ball and help my mom financially. From 12-18, I traveled places, met people, played ball, and financially supported my mom. During that time, I started to think about myself and things I wanted to do.
I went to college at age 20 and started physiotherapy. Back then colleges in Brazil were starting to give full scholarships to athletes and I had the opportunity to transfer to “Universo”, in Rio de Janeiro; where I lived for almost two years. There I was contacted by a coach in Texas asking me to come and play basketball in the US. I did not think twice. It was my dream to come here. I left my family, my friends, my country to pursue a dream.
When I came to US at 23 years old, life was very different, food was different, and culture was different. Athletes were irresponsible with their food, drinks, and their bodies. During that time I forgot about responsibilities, I forgot about my dreams, I forgot that my family looked up to me. Everything became about me. When I was alone I was very unhappy. My world had shifted and I did not know what to do. Being blessed to me during this time was to keep my status before friends. It was hard and most of the time I felt alone it was like I was living a lie. Sometimes I felt shamed, depressed, and lonely.
I made choices that I am not proud during college. I was horrified when I found out about my pregnancy. I lost my scholarship. I was ashamed; then, I really felt alone, all my “friends” left me. I lost the privilege to live on campus, I was homeless and I was hungry. It was the darkest time of my life. I hit rock bottom and the solitude was unbearable. I felt darkness, pain, anger, fear, surrounding me. I was paralyzed. There was nothing I could do. Until God showed up, God is so good that in all things, in every situation God can pull out the good and turn our situation around. In 2005 I asked God to help me; and God heard my prayers; and God touched my heart; and God transformed me. If you believe that God still does miracles, you are looking at a miracle of God. God transformed the way I thought, the way I saw the world, the way I behaved, the way I understood what it is to be blessed.
Think with me, a single mom, without any family support, be offered full scholarship (Full: I did not have to buy a pen during college) to play basketball. I graduated with prestigious awards and finished my first master degree in 2010 at no cost. My son attended a day care at Campbellsville Baptist Church and at age 3 my son could read. God blessed me when He opened my eyes. God blessed me when He touched my heart. Because when God touched my heart it was like a revelation that God exists, that God is with us, that God can heal, and that God can transform. Some people say God’s touch I say God’s Spirit. God’s Spirit is within us and this Spirit connects us forever. God’s Spirit connects us to people who can open doors for you, who can bring comfort, who can bring a word of peace.
My world changed because I learned that my greatest blessing was to know that God is alive and God cares about me; God cares about you. I have discovered that God is good, God is our friend, God is our counselor, God is our source of love that keeps us together and ties us together despise our differences, and that is a blessing for me! God’s Spirit is among us and there is hope for everyone. We can find comfort, we can find healing, and we can have our lives transformed.
Today I am married to a wonderful and understanding man. I have two children. I have been approved to purchase my first house, and I am moving to a state that I don’t know well but because I am blessed with God’s presence I know I will be ok. Thank you Broadway Baptist, for sharing the blessing of knowing God. As I leave this place I want to let you know that I learned a lot from you and that I will also bless those who come on my way.