Thursday, September 20, 2012

By Grace I Have Been Saved Through Faith

Editor's Note: All Photographs by Grace Jones

Tell us a little about yourself! 
Katrina, adopted, 20, Barista & Seller-of-all-things electronic, addicted to tea and cuddling, living somewhere in between a cornfield and the backwoods of Ohio.  I own 10+ video game systems, and I enjoy everything from RPG's to extreme sports to first person shooters. I walk around our local Wal-Mart for fun and try to count how many people give me weird looks for my style and body mods. Sushi and Chipotle are two things I can devour at any time of day, oh, and bacon. I spend more money on books than most girls spend on makeup and hair products. I have four tattoos, various piercings that are visible until I get tired of them, and stretched lobes. Lastly, I am a hug addict, and I really really really love cats a lot.

What aspect of your life defines you? What makes you you? 

There are many things in my life that define me, but my faith in God and my desire to not conform to what is popular defines me more than anything. The things that make me who I am, are a love for video games, a desire to listen to and help those who are hurting, books that let me get lost in them, songs that make me want to sing with everything that is in me, my family that supports me no matter what happens, and a love of all things odd, morbid, and creepy. This love includes, but is not limited to, tattoos, piercings, graveyards, mummies, zombies, and serial killers.

How does it define you? 
My faith in God defines me the most because it gives me purpose. It makes me want to keep going when I can barely stand, and it pushes me to reach out to someone who needs help, even when I'm emotionally spent. It fulfills me in a way that I can't explain, and it leaves me satisfied and whole. It is the reason I am still alive, and it is the reason I haven't given up on myself.

Secondly, my desire to not conform to what this world considers popular, has kept me from making some pretty bad decisions. I'm still a virgin at the age of 20, and plan on staying that way until I am married. I don't drink, smoke, or do any kind of drug, and while most people my age may be in college partying or doing whatever suits their fancy, I work at least 50 hours a week between both of my jobs and still find time to do what I love the most. 

What made do this for the first time? Why did you continue? How does it impact your life? How would your life be different if you had never experienced this? I was originally adopted from Ukraine when I was 6 months old and was then basically raised in the church. I spent most of my time there because my father is a prison minister. I was homeschooled my entire life and I learned so much about life and the true sides of the people I would meet. Even though I was brought up in a church, I came to a point in my life when I was around 14, where I questioned everything. I was forever the odd girl out in my youth group because I didn't wear Hollister and I wasn't into pop and rap music. I had hair colors varying from bright pink to black to blue and blonde, and my wardrobe was dark, but attention-getting at the same time. There were kids who made fun of me simply because I wasn't anything like them on a bi-weekly basis, and it sucked. It gave me a small reason to shy away from my beliefs. I rebelled for several years and attempted to find out who I was and what I wanted to believe in or to not believe in. Around the age of 18, after making several mistakes and giving my parents plenty of problems, I finally broke down and became serious about my relationship with God. Questioning everything made me realize how real God is to me, and how much I am blessed. If I could take back the ridiculously stupid choices I made as a teenager, I would want to do that in a heartbeat. If I had never experienced them though, I think I would have just kept riding the fence, unsure of what God meant to me, and I probably would have been more of a wreck at this age than I was when I was 16.

Looking back is there anything about this that you would have avoided? 
As I think about what I did in those few years, I see the areas I could have changed earlier on in my teenage years. Things at my house were rough for awhile, and I didn't have anyone to go to, so I stupidly decided to take matters into my hands, and that put me in some bad situations. However, I am thankful for them because, in a way I learned earlier than most kids about what things to completely stay away from, and what not to do with my time. It also taught me how forgiving my parents are, and how they would do whatever it takes to make sure I was making the right choices in life.

Looking ahead how will you use this to further defining your life? 

I view my past mistakes as things that hurt me then, but taught me so much as time went on. Those experiences have turned into examples that I can use when giving others advice about the stress or hardships they're dealing with, or the decisions they are making. While I wished I had learned all of this without doing things that hurt myself and my family, it showed me that I can help other people going through these same things, and that I'm smart enough to never go back to my old ways. Mind you, I didn't beat any of my emotional issues, my old habits, or my desire to rebel on my own. There were people around me who truly cared for me, prayed for me and talked with me. They didn't force anything on me, they loved me through my stupidity. God is the main reason I haven't put a razor to my skin in nearly four years. He is the force that helped me beat depression and taught me how to survive. I just want to be able to help other people going through depression and self-abuse because I know that situation all too well.

Anything else you’d like to say regarding this aspect of your life? 

My life in general is full of weirdness, craziness, and the most random things, and I'm thankful for all of it. I've been through some crazy things, but I'm still alive and slightly sane for the most part. What I've been through has also kept me from judging people harshly. It's taught me to love others, no matter who they are and what they are doing or have done. One of my favorite song lyrics says, "Hey Unfaithful, Hey Ungraceful, Hey Unloving, I will love you" and I want to live and breathe those words every day of my life, because that is what God has done for me.

(C) 2012, Predicate Attire 

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