My California Journey
My California journey has been both a physical and a spiritual journey.
The Physical Journey through California
Los Angeles County
What I can remember of my life’s journey began in Bellflower, California over 75 years ago. My brother joined the family when I was ten. He remained in Bellflower when I transferred to UCLA from Cerritos College in 1962. I moved into a dorm on campus. That’s where I met my husband, Kosta, who was born in Serbia. We celebrated our 55th anniversary in 2019. We remained in the Los Angeles area because of Kosta’s job and to attend grad school in Long Beach.
That’s where I got my lifetime teaching credential in English. I taught for a few years before and after we moved to Culver City in 1967. After I quit teaching I stayed home as we tried unsuccessfully to start a family. When a Logos Bookstore opened near UCLA I began to work there. I loved the job and it exposed me to even more Christian literature. One of the fringe benefits was being able to take books home and read them.
By the time we left Culver City to be close to new Kosta’s job in Newbury Park in Ventura County, we had given up being able to have children ourselves. But God provided two children, a brother and sister who needed homes, by moving Jason into a foster home nextdoor. We adopted them in 1984. Jason, who was five when he came to us, died in an accident not long after his fourteenth birthday. Sarah, four years older, died as an adult at the age of 34.
San Luis Obispo County
After Jason died in 1991, we took our grief to San Luis Obispo County and made our home in a small converted barn on 14 acres of land in Templeton. We bought it thinking Jason would share in our homesteading attempt, but he died three days after the papers were signed. We moved anyway because we’d committed and because Kosta needed to be closer to his parents in Carmel Valley so it would be easier to help them. I had lost my dad in 1987, but my mom lived on in Bellflower. I finally convinced her to move to Paso Robles to be closer to me in case she needed the kind of help only a daughter could give. When she died in 2005, I inherited her home, and that’s where we live now.
The future is unknown. We aren’t sure where our journeys will end. We expect to be in California until God calls us home, but only he really knows.
The Spiritual Journey
My Grandmother Prayed for Me
I believe my spiritual journey began before I was born. Scripture says God knew me in the womb. I also had a godly grandmother on my dad’s side who probably started praying for me as soon as she got the news. I know she prayed for me as long as we both were alive. My dad’s sister, Aunt Jane, told me so, and she herself kept praying for me as long as she was alive.
Raised in a Church
My parents attended what was then the Community Presbyterian Church in Bellflower, where I was baptized at the age of three. I attended Sunday School and church regularly when old enough, and joined the church when I was twelve. As a teen I was very active in youth group and became president when I was a senior. I regularly attended our independant campus Christian club in the high school gym every Tuesday and Thursday at lunch. I was totally committed — until I started to doubt. When doubts started I tried to resign as youth group president, but the advisor said I should stay, doubts and all. She said I would not have to pretend anything, but she wanted me to stay in office. Hypocrisy was against my principles, so I did not claim to believe anything I didn’t. I will probably talk more about this doubting period as this blog progresses.
Doubt Resolved, Faith Renewed
The doubts ended during my first semester at UCLA. I started going home more on weekends and I changed churches. The Presbyterian church I grew up in had become very liberal. I always walked, so I decided to walk six blocks in the opposite direction to First Christian Reformed Church in Bellflower. God spoke to my spirit and resolved my doubts on my first visit . The next year in a new dorm I became involved first with Campus Crusade for Christ and then Bruin Christian Fellowship and a dorm Bible study. These groups helped me find Christian friends to encourage me on my spiritual journey . Soon after that I discovered Inter Varsity Press, Revell, Christian Publications, and other Christian publishers. I began to read John Stott, A.W. Tozer, Paul Little, Elisabeth and Jim Elliot, Edith Schaeffer, and other reliable Christian teachers. And I met my husband who was very active in leading Bible studies at UCLA.
Through Many Trials
God has given me a great life. My parents loved each other and loved and supported me. Dad had a strong faith and we could always depend on him to guide us. Mom’s spiritual journey did not lead her to make a commitment to Christ until after I was married. That was part of what led to my own doubts.
We married when I was 21, and then I learned how much growing up we both still had to do. We had to learn how to live together. As all married people know, marriage is not all romance. It takes a lot of adjusting. It requires a lot of I Corinthians 13 love and a lot of grace. There were temptations not resisted, failures, and consequences. But there was also forgiveness and God pulled us through as we repented and returned. He was there for us in our grief after Jason died. He was there when our parents, a very close friend, and then Sarah died. The hardest bereavement for one of us is still ahead, and we are trusting for grace and comfort then, too, when we can no longer finish our journey together.
The End of My Spiritual Journey Is Still Ahead
I expect it will be the hardest. Bodies get more frail, pain increases, and memory and physical strength decrease. We will be called on more and more to care physically for each other as we continue to age. There will be more hospital vigils, and finally a mortuary. One of us will be planning a memorial service. And one of us will learn to live without the other. The one constant will be Jesus. He will still be with us, providing grace, strength, wisdom, and love. He will never leave or forsake us.
Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come. (Psalm 71:18 KJV)
Parts of this post were republished on January 7, 2022 as My Journey to Christian Faith and My Continuing Walk with Christ.