A Story of Faith from Ex-LDS and New Believer, Sara Jimenez
How hard is it to trust God? After we leave the thing that was supposed to be our salvation, how do we ever put trust in God again?
Today we are talking to Sara Jimenez.
Sara spent all her time doing everything she could to earn God’s favor in order to make her life better and got nowhere.
She gave up on God and religion.
And when she was angriest with God, the most broken that is when she felt His love.
It is not about earning His favor. It’s about trusting Him to bring peace in hearts even at the hardest times. Trusting Him that those hard times may even be what brings us to Him. Trusting Him with our lives and souls.
This is a story of faith.
Listen to this Episode on the Podcast…
Can we trust God when what we pray for doesn’t work out? When everything seems to fall apart?
“I think a lot of it is the trust thing. It was and is so hard for me. If I want… I can be selfish, and so it’s constantly hard for me to say, if this doesn’t work out, God still has a plan. God is still in control.
And what He wants, in the grand scheme of things, is better than what I could design, what I could come up with.
I have to fall back on all the times that he has been there for me.”~Sara
Advice for Women Finding Faith
“I don’t know how to say this, but I remember when I first started going to Christian church and learning of Jesus, I remember the verse in Psalms, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He’ll give you the desires of your heart.” And I remember thinking this is a trap. He’s probably going to change the size of your heart.
And now, I don’t mind that at all. Now I can go back and be like, Hey, it’s not so bad. Like it’s not so bad to let go. Embrace some things.
Don’t make it so painful to let go.”
How to keep going with your faith…
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Let’s share! Share your creative, God-led story, heal from the old religious junk and make friends while we do it. Support, friendship, and collaboration at the FB group —u003e Christian Women after Religion
More About Sara…
I grew up in a pretty religious household but it was more of a punishment religion. When I was about 21 I joined the Mormon church and then I married a Mormon who later had substance abuse issues. As my marriage was falling apart I kept praying and never received the answer. He didn’t fix it. I ended up getting really mad at God. My Bishop basically told me that if I was more righteous, then God would have answered my prayers. Frustrated, I just put religion on the shelf and stepped away from the church. I started having more and more spiritual experiences away from the church than I had the whole time that I was Mormon.
A series of events led me to Utah where I met a Christian friend who introduced me to a whole new way of knowing God. This led me to read the Bible, and by doing that I realize that Mormonism and Christianity we’re not the same. They both couldn’t be true at the same time. I started looking deeper into doctrine and quotes from the Prophet and accidentally saw Mormon history for what it is. I realized how much I’d been duped.
I gave my life to Jesus about a year and a half ago. And everything has been so much different. My life has taken turns that I didn’t expect it to when I came to Christ. I had been so depressed. I was divorced. I was suicidal living in my car. Now, I’m going to school to get my Master’s degree! My life has done a complete 180.
Day by day, I’m learning how to rely on Jesus more and not lean on my own understanding. I still want my own will in my life and so it’s a continual process for me to surrender that and lay down my ego and just say, “They will be done in my life.” But the more I learn how to fully trust and rely on God the better and happier my life has become.
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Full Transcript of Today’s Episode.
[00:00:00] Shelby: We are here today with Sarah and I am so excited to get into her story and have you guys listened to where she’s come from and how God is working in her life? So thank you so much, Sarah, for being here today.
[00:00:11] Sara: Thank you for having me.
[00:00:13] Shelby: First off stories, they just move people and we never know what somebody needs to hear in order to help them come to Jesus and what people need in order to bring them along this faith journey.
[00:00:24] That can be so complicated for so many of us.
[00:00:26] Shelby: I just wanted to open it up and let you tell us, what you came from, where, what was your background?
[00:00:33] Sara: My family, my parents were very religious, but it was very much like punishment. They would if you were talking about somebody else, they would say like, why they were going to hell.
[00:00:42] Or if we were in trouble, we would have to read the Bible, but it wasn’t part of our lives. And I remember always being afraid, if I messed up or if I died, my son, then I would go to home. And then when I was 15, I moved in with my hand. She had been wicked and I ankle had been alcoholic and then they joined this church.
[00:00:55] And so that was like bringing their marriage together. But the church was
[00:00:58] kind of
[00:00:58] Sara: culty. One of the leaders [00:01:00] ended up sexually assaulting my 12 year old cousin and they were like, oh, it’s your fault? Cause you have a spirit of less on you. And I don’t know, just like some abusive patterns there.
[00:01:06] So then when I was 18, I believe in like a God or whatever, but I was just like in bad relationships, like living with my boyfriend and just not following anything. Cause I was like none of the things that claim to be Christian or
[00:01:16] You know,
[00:01:16] Sara: any of the things that Christianity claims to be.
[00:01:18] And then but I kinda got a little bit, I dunno, I guess a little bit why I grew up where you wear it. And so then I, when I was like 21, I had a friend that was Mormon and she. Like always needed rides. So I ended up taking her to church and we started talking. I think that was just like the first like stable, religious setting I ever found.
[00:01:37] So I ended up being Mormon and I went to BYUI and I like taught Sunday school and I was like, temple worthy, but I always just felt. I was never good enough,
[00:01:45] you know?
[00:01:45] Sara: cause like it’s very much dependent on your personal righteousness and your personal progression. And I was like, self-aware enough to know that I was not righteous.
[00:01:53] I was going to the temple every morning because I was at BYUI and I would just pray cry and be like, God, please just help me be like, good enough for you to love me. Cause I [00:02:00] can’t like I can’t do that. Like I’m not worthy of that. And then I ended up getting married to somebody that I met at BYU, Idaho.
[00:02:06] He had substance abuse issues. And so that was just like really hard. Cause he. The Bishop would be like, cool. Like you can go to the temple and I’d be like he just stole prescription painkillers from like our friends and family, talk like if you like, have the priesthood and you have the spirit of God directly, why are you know that?
[00:02:22] Like, why are you so blind to these things? And so I don’t know that just like unraveled, like being after thing with, addiction and all the things that go along with addictions, like lagging and stealing and all these other things. And so eventually, like I ended up Being like, okay, we just need space. We’re fighting too much. I’m going to go to Alaska. I had a friend there and I was , I’m just going to go there for a couple months. And then we’ll come. We’ll just hard reset and we’ll come back and work on the marriage, all that stuff. And then when I got there, I was just asking my Bishop.
[00:02:47] I sent her everything in my life around this religion. I wear uncomfortable underwear. I don’t drink coffee. I like, you know what I mean? Like I do all these things. I get a large portion of my money to the church and then God can’t answer one prayer. God [00:03:00] can’t even tell me what I’m supposed to do in my marriage.
[00:03:01] And Mormonism, you’re commanded to get married, to reach the cops God had. So I’m like, wait a minute. If you told me to do this, why can’t you help me through it? Why can’t you hop this work? And the Bishop was like, oh, you just need to wake up every day for two weeks at 6:00 AM. Read the book of Mormon for an hour and then pray for 30 minutes.
[00:03:19] And then you’ll have an, your answer. If you do a, B and C. Obligated to give you what you want. And so I did it and I didn’t get an answer. And I was like, wait a minute. And he was just like
[00:03:27] Sara: let’s, it’s your fault. You’re not right to snap or you’re not doing something. I was like, okay this is the best I could be.
[00:03:32] So I’m just going to put religion on the shelf for a little bit. Cause I can’t do anymore. If I am, I’m not good enough to reach God, I needed to just leave it alone until I’m good enough to reach God basically. And so during that time, I just I don’t know, did other things. I don’t know why I really wanted to see like psychedelic drugs.
[00:03:49] Cause my, my husband was always super about them and those are like the least harmful of whatever drugs he is into. And I was like, okay, I’m going to try a bunch of mushrooms and just do all this stuff that is not like approved by the [00:04:00] church. And during that time, when I was the lease, where the, where, whatever, then I started having like more, spiritual experiences.
[00:04:05] And then I was like, wait, like there, there is a God. And He’s not waiting for me to get good enough to get to him. I feel like he’s reaching out to me when I’m doing absolutely nothing to get to him.
[00:04:14] Fast forward I ended up getting divorced and I was like, it’s going to be fine. I’ll be back on my feet in a month. And then that did not work out the way I thought it was. I was overly optimistic. Just being after thing I had to move, from from where I was to Seattle back to Alaska.
[00:04:29] And then when I got to Alaska, my boss was like I hired you cause I really like you and he’d always send me like news and I’d be like, no, but now I’m stuck here. So that was just like a bad situation. And I started having panic attacks, which I’d never had in my life before. And then Somebody I knew in Utah was like, Hey, will you come and work like wilderness therapy for two weeks, just two weeks.
[00:04:49] I’ll pay for your ticket, which is a $600 ticket or whatever. And like just come out here and stay. I cleared it with my boss, but apparently. Another thing. A lot of people in that small [00:05:00] village in Alaska have a lot of cocaine issues just because it’s six months of light that you have to get all your work done.
[00:05:04] And then six months of dark warrior to depress so my boss had some cocaine issue. So anyway, whenever I cleared it with him, he was like really high. And then when he was not high, he was not okay with me going, I guess he just forgot about it.
[00:05:17] And so the day I was leaving, he was like, what do you mean? You’re not going to work. I was like, no, like this is on the calendar. It’s right now, I’m going to be gone for two weeks and not be back. And he was like, okay, no, just don’t come back. So I got fired. Like the day I was leaving, I was like, no, I’m not prepared for this.
[00:05:30] And he owned the house I was living in too. So I was like, crap, this is a very bad situation. But anyway, I got to Utah and started working the wilderness therapy job and I met a Christian and he , I don’t know exactly how it came up, but I was like, oh yeah, like I’m Christian Mormon. And he was like, no, that’s actually not the same thing.
[00:05:49] And I was like what what do you mean. And then he just explained the difference, like different God, different Jesus, different gospel. And I was like, wait, so do you think that I’m going to hell? He was uncomfortable, [00:06:00] but he was like from what I understand yes.
[00:06:02] And I was like, wait a minute. Why? And then I was really mad and started asking more and more questions. And then actually started reading the Bible. Cause I was like, you’re an idiot. what?
[00:06:10] I mean,
[00:06:10] Sara: This is supported by the Bible. Like I can show you this. And then I was reading I don’t, I think it’s Timothy, but it’s our bishops can’t have more than one wife.
[00:06:18] And in Mormonism, like DNC went 32 that’s the new and everlasting covenant is polygamy. All the bishops in the early church had more than one wife. Cause if you, the more righteous that you are, the more wives you get, basically. And if a guy is not righteous, then when he dies and righteous, God gets his wife.
[00:06:32] Very much part of the core doctor. And I was like, wait a minute, like these both this is contradicting us. Maybe Paul is wrong. Maybe Paul, just this was his stupid opinion and he is wrong. And my friend was like, no, the Bible, it says, every word has God-breathed and God protects his word.
[00:06:47] If he can’t protect the simple book, how is he going to be responsible for your salvation? The Bible is all or nothing. And I was like, okay, these both can’t be true at the same time. And so I started looking more into the early Mormon doctrine. I was like, so [00:07:00] against the anti-Mormon limited literature, I wouldn’t read.
[00:07:03] Real church hits three. I only looked on like fair mormon.com and like on the LDS website. And even from that, I was like, oh, this is awful. This is awful. This is racist. This is religious abuse. This was like what I tried to get out of when I was, a teenager. And so that was really confusing.
[00:07:18] Cause I have so many people that I had loved for like the, the past 12 years that I’ve been Mormon and. I guess don’t , I don’t want to lose them basically. And then I was like, where would I go? And so that was really hard. just as I started reading the Bible and really starting to understand how D God’s forgiveness is instead of just oh, you have to work for your repentance.
[00:07:35] God covered it completely. All my sensor, I picking on him. And then I was like, okay, God whatever you want me to do, I’m going to do that. And so then for lack of a better word, gave my heart to Jesus, and started. I don’t know how to say rearranging my life though.
[00:07:49] That was the center. Yeah. It’s that? I don’t know if that answered the question or not.
[00:07:53] Shelby: Yeah, absolutely. Was there like a certain moment in there when it all I call it [00:08:00] my come to Jesus moment when it was like, holy smokes. I need you, God, I’m giving it all to you. Did you have a moment where everything changed or was it more did it come over a slower period of time?
[00:08:14] Sara: I think there was a couple of moments. There is, the moment when I realized that the Bible contradicting Mormonism was the one where I was like, oh, I can’t, I need to not stay in this. The moment where I realized how enveloping God’s love is that I was like, this is the only thing that matters.
[00:08:30] But before that, before I really knew God, when I was still in Alaska, I was still Mormon, but I was just really angry at God. And there was, when I was super drunk and crying. And I was like, I was not prepared for this. I was not prepared for this.
[00:08:41] Point in my life. I just I’m in Alaska. I thought I was going to be in Seattle. I don’t even have socks. Like I just can’t like, I can’t do this. And there’s all this stuff in the Bible about God providing me and I, when people are hungry, we were making waves in the desert.
[00:08:53] I’m like I don’t even have socks. What am I supposed to do? And then I was really sad. I was crying and I was , again, still Mormon. But I just told God, I [00:09:00] hated him like 17 times. And I just I remember having this like very distinct thought and this doesn’t happen a lot, but it was, very, just think
[00:09:07] Sara: remember who you’re talking to you.
[00:09:09] And I was like, I don’t care. Like this, God is not a God. I want to serve. And then I had a friend call and, I was just like, Hey dude I’m , not in a good spot. I just can’t talk to you right now. I gotta go. And she was like, no I need you to know I’ve been thinking about you all day.
[00:09:21] And you just put on my heart that I needed to pray for you. And I just want you to know that God is like aware of you. And then I don’t know I don’t even remember that conversation, but a couple . I don’t know, it’s Alaska, so it takes a while. So like maybe two weeks later, she had sent me socks and that was the thing that was there.
[00:09:36] Sara: And then again, I got that very, just seeing thought , that wasn’t my fault , but,. A lot of people are like,, oh, I heard from God. And sometimes I’m like, that’s just your , emotions, lessons, what you wanted to hear.
[00:09:44] So I’m very skeptical about that, but in my head, , I just had this. . I thought you get to choose. If you want to go to church, you going to choose if you want to drink coffee, but you don’t get to choose whether or not God loves you.
[00:09:54] And then I just had this thought I’m not going to know everything that happens. I’m not going to have all the [00:10:00] answers, but what I have will be enough, I’m going to have that day by date bread. And then a week later, it’s when I went to Utah and got fired from Alaska and that door closed and then that the Christians, and so it was very much like a progression of things, but yeah. Quick enough, in succession that I was like, okay, I can connect the dots here, but I think it was a series of things because I don’t know I had trust issues. So I think that’s part of it is that I need I need like slow things to be like, okay, I can go in this direction.
[00:10:26] I can trust. I don’t think I can do. I don’t think I could have done it. All at once. Like Paul, where he’s okay, boom, there you go.
[00:10:31] Shelby: Yeah. Yeah, no, it’s so beautiful. I think for myself, even my story, I left the church when I was 18 and I spent 20 years looking for him, but not in, in doing my own thing or whatnot.
[00:10:43] And when I look back at it, it’s just so beautiful. How he’s there the whole time, all those moments. When, the, when you’re crying out to him and you’re talking to him, he is listening and it’s so amazing. How in behind all of that and behind. All of [00:11:00] the issues and the problems and everything that life throws at you, he does still love you.
[00:11:04] And he is there. And I think it’s so cool. How hindsight’s more like 2020 though. How you can see that he was there the whole time and how patient he is with us, because he is he’s so patient with us. Cause we just keep mess it up. And he’s still there for us on your journey. You said that, you got to Utah and then you found some good Christians.
[00:11:25] What role did. Having that good Christian community or those people to talk to you, what role did that play in your kind of story of finding Jesus?
[00:11:36] Sara: So when I first became a Christian, the only questions I knew where those two guys. From work. And I think that because everything had changed within, my religion has gone, my marriage has gone.
[00:11:46] Even my political stances had changed and some of this there’s so much, I can’t trust myself cause I thought it is things now I think the opposite. And so they, and they’re very much computer like very much, like I need to know everything about this thing.
[00:11:59] So they knew a [00:12:00] lot about theology. So I think that helps me a lot of just being able to ask questions. Yeah. Having that guidance. And then it wasn’t until maybe four months later that I started going to a church. And then that, was a huge turning point because by the time I got to Utah, everything was so different.
[00:12:17] And then there was started COVID and so many things. And so I was living in my car. I was suicidal. And it was just not not having it. So The four months I had been crashed and it was still , good, but it was still a really hard spot.
[00:12:27] Four months later I started going to a church and the preacher’s wife just really took me under her wing and was I don’t even know how to say she just extended so much love to me. And it just so encouraging. Cause my guy friends, are great people, but they’re just very staunch and this is how it is a care about theology and not as much just the inspiring stuff. Like emotional or whatever. And she was very much no, God loves you when you can trust God and things are going to get better.
[00:12:49] And so within a couple months of going to that church and meeting her, from being homeless and depressed and suicidal. I got a house, I got a different job. I’m in grad school now. And just everything, every aspect of my life [00:13:00] like I started going to the gym, even the things I did, like the way I felt and the way I thought, just completely flipped around.
[00:13:05] I remember reading a couple of weeks ago, readings journal entries. Cause I’m going through like a therapy program. And I was reading the first couple of weeks and
[00:13:11] Sara: oh, I don’t relate to that at all. I don’t even know what that’s like right now.
[00:13:14] Cause I was just like so broken and hopeless, I’m glad I came out of it, but, I almost don’t even recognize the girl that I was, four months ago. I feel like a lot of that has just been having that Christian support system and fellowship and people who , carry you in your week and fall back on you and be there and rejoice with you.
[00:13:28] All those things that God loves you no matter what, but it’s definitely better to not do it alone.
[00:13:34] Shelby: Yeah, for sure. And with trust, God tells us over and over again, put our trust in him. Not in anything else, not in man, not in anything, but our trust in him. And that carries us through.
[00:13:46] And I think a big thing that a lot of times, people. Especially, I feel it coming from the Mormon church where it was very much like you do all the right things and God is going to bless you. But over and over the, in the Bible, it [00:14:00] doesn’t say that it says that he will be the peace within the storm and that there will be hard times and things will get Rocky and it will be tough.
[00:14:09] But. If we trust him to give us that peace, it will work out in his timing with his will and trusting that as is hard when you come from something and you realize it was all a lie and now you’re supposed to go out there and you’re supposed to trust again, it’s hard. That part is really hard. But I do think though, just knowing that he’s there for us and having that ability to lean back on him, it’s just.
[00:14:34] So important and so awesome. And I do think having good Christian women is different than even having a good Christian bed. Who’s going to give you all the theology, but a good,
[00:14:43] you know,
[00:14:44] Shelby: someone who can really help you through it. It’s just, it means so much. So how has Jesus working in your life today?
[00:14:50] How is, how’s your walk going? How’s your journey going?
[00:14:53] Sara: I think a lot of it is the trust thing. Cause I was so hard for me. It was so hard for me. If I want what I want and I’m very. I dunno, [00:15:00] selfish, and so it’s like constantly hard for me to be like, okay, if this doesn’t work out, God still has a plan that God’s still in control.
[00:15:05] And just what he wants is in the grand scheme of things, better than what I could design, what I could come up with and then just falling back on all the times that he has been there for me. And I haven’t I don’t know, like I am about the four month mark of being Christian.
[00:15:17] Like it’s when I stopped, like having panic attacks. They were , so overwhelming my life. And then it was just this realization of oh, I can trust God a little bit more than that. It’s going to be okay. Because I’m not going to I’m not going to allow myself to make space for the devil in my life to be consumed with fear.
[00:15:31] I’m just going to trust God. And so that’s been good. And it’s been a lot of things that I can look back on in my life and be like, okay, God helped me through this. And so even if it doesn’t turn out the way I want it to even if it, like you said Hey, it does hurt and it is hard.
[00:15:43] I’m still going to know that God’s going to be there with me in the story when that God’s going to eventually make a way. And eventually we’re just going to get it wrapped and it’s not going to matter anyway. So I think that has been. His work. And my heart recently is just being able to turn my life [00:16:00] over with him and lay down what I want and just try to seek after him more.
[00:16:04] Shelby: Yeah. Yeah. For sure. If you were, had the opportunity to go back and talk to that girl, months and months, or however long ago, who was just coming to Jesus just at that moment where you were just thinking about it what would you tell her? What advice would you give.
[00:16:22] Sara: I think, I don’t know how to say this, but I remember when I first gas started going to church and stuff. I remember when. It’s a verse in Psalm, delight yourself in the Lord and he’ll give you the desires of your heart. And I remember thinking this is a trap he’s probably going to change the size of your heart.
[00:16:39] And I don’t mind that at all. And I did. And now that I do, it’s gotten through Christianity a little bit more. I can go back and be like, Hey, like it’s not so bad. Like it’s not so bad to let go. Somethings embrace some other things. Don’t make it so painful to let go.
[00:16:53] Cause it’s it’s all right. On the other side.
[00:16:55] Shelby: Yeah. And that letting go. I think that was the biggest moment for me is when I [00:17:00] realized that I had to let it all go in order to get at all that was so hard to do for me though, too, because I think I’d always been in that mindset of it’s all up to me, but then when you realize it’s not up to me, it’s up to God and how beautiful that is when you let that go.
[00:17:16] Oh, I love that. That’s awesome. Thank you so much, Sarah, for coming on and. Yeah. And just being able to tell your story, and like I said, you never know what people need to hear. And I really do pray that this touches somebody’s heart today and that it helps them to trust God, because it’s beautiful when you do
[00:17:36] Shelby: thank you for, come on.