52 SPOKEN WORDS

29. IDENTITY | with Valerie Redrico

WOMEN+WORDS SERIES

The spoken words of 13 different women I have connected with and the story of their spoken word from God.

These stories are to showcase the power of faith and how God whispered to them and they listened wholeheartedly in His plan.

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I met Valerie on the bus. That is our love story as best friends. (hehe) I decided to take a different route back home and that is how we met. I started the conversation, because we quickly linked eyes and were familiar with each other from the Filipino Club...also because it was Halloween and I was a Pussy Cat Doll, that she knew off the bat. Our conversations on the bus then grew to a relationship that I admire to this day. Our memories from our youth to now being professional women living in our dreams, is truly amazing. She is my introvert creative Rie and I am her extrovert creative Elle. No matter how opposite we can be, I believe we have a balance of our friendship because of our faith. I am so happy to see how God has grown her to be and where he continues to take her. She has always been that artist soul, creative being, and a big heart individual.

Her faith is identified in her own journey...

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I’ve never considered myself as a religious person, but I’ve identified as Catholic my entire life. I was baptized Catholic, my entire family was Catholic, and I attended a Catholic school when I was still living in the Philippines. But probably like most kids, I didn’t know what it truly meant to be a person of faith. At 6, I moved to the US and switched to public schooling. Although my parents still put me in Bible study classes, my family eventually stopped attending church all together, and for a long time I didn’t have a connection with God.

During my adolescence, I went through a phase where I thought God believers were too pushy or fake. I’ve crossed paths with people whose tactic for spreading God’s word was to bombard others with Bible verses. I’ve also crossed paths with people who consistently attended church, but weren’t very nice people outside of church. These types of instances discouraged me from getting in touch with my faith. I used to think, what’s the point?

It wasn’t until only a few years ago that I was able to reconnect with my faith in God. After meeting my best friend Cherelle and my current partner Danny, I started going to church again and I became more open to having conversations about different religions, Catholicism, and the Bible. They shared their stories of finding faith and it helped me realize that my journey didn’t have to be based on other peoples’ practices, beliefs or lack thereof. I was being judgmental and unforgiving of others’ paths and in turn, it was preventing me from starting my own journey.

From that moment, I committed to finding my own identity in my faith in God. It’s clear to me now that there is no one path to finding God. I have my own path to Him, as does everyone else. Looking back, I can pin-point each time I’ve been able to overcome many obstacles through my growing faith. From my struggles with alcoholism, anger, anxiety, depression, and loss, what has gotten me through it all is my identity as a person of faith - my belief that God is love, kindness, patience, peace, sacrifice, and understanding. More importantly, realizing my identity as a person of faith has added so much peace and happiness to my life. It is almost as if I am looking at life through new eyes.