Summer Events

Kesley’s Story

I grew up in Brooklyn and was raised by mom and my grandma. When it came to a father figure, it was pretty much nonexistent for a long time and the only father I had was God. But I felt like he let me down.

I saw a lot of people that I love suffer and then when I was in high school, my grandma got killed in a hit and run. She was actually going to church, it was six in the morning. So I was really angry at that point with God. I was just kind of like, “why does this hurt so much? I've been so faithful”, you know? 

I got to a point where I felt like I didn’t really know God at all. I was hurt because I couldn't hear him and for a while I got really comfortable in the nothingness. So I just let go of him.

Struggling with self-worth

This was during my early college years, and when I think about it now at 30, those were the years where I struggled the most.

I think growing up without a dad for a long time made me feel unworthy and led me to find validation from other men. I was always vying for some sort of acceptance and I felt like I had to walk on eggshells around other people to feel loved

It’s such a strange dynamic when your worth is in something that doesn't have the power to give you worth.

I ended up getting into a relationship for 7 years and I did a lot of things just to feel accepted in that relationship - including going to church even though I was rebellious about it.

A reawakening

I remember one day at church I felt the Holy Spirit come over me and I was so emotional because I knew I was so broken and I needed God. It was so obvious, but I resisted it.

There were times where I'd pinch myself, like physically harm myself because I didn't want to show that I was breaking open. I was just like, “don't cry here. What are you doing?”

One day, there was a moment where they said, "if you've never given your life to Christ, this is your chance to do so". I heard that maybe four or five times, and something came over me. I just remember raising my hand and it was so awkward. But I felt like someone was helping me raise my hand. That was the first time I experienced hope and the Holy Spirit in a tangible way.

After that, my relationship with God started to mend because I was going to church and I had community, but I still felt alone in a lot of ways because I wasn't honest with myself about my brokenness.

My identity was still in my partner and I still hadn’t fully accepted God as my father.