From Restless to “Uncomfortable”… in the best way possible!

I remember vividly an afternoon in my early teens at the park with my best friend. She turned to me and said, “What do you want for the future?” The answer rolled off my tongue without hesitation, “I want a husband that loves me, a picket fence with a dog or two, and an income where I can stay home and raise my kids.” God has provided me with all of those things. But now what? How do I show God I am thankful?

I spent most of my life in Christian school, so I knew the Bible (the regurgitated kind, not the applicable kind); I knew to pray (when things were terrible); I knew to go to church on Sunday; and I knew I should volunteer once in a while to help those in need.  Despite all of this – my blessed life, background, and knowledge of doing the right thing, I still felt like something was missing  –  that I was not wholeheartedly fulfilling the purpose God had for me.

My husband and I finally found Chets Creek Church, a friendly place where I just showed up and was loved and where the Bible is taught in a way that I understood and that related to my life. I learned to pray – pray anytime, anywhere and for anything.

I attended a few Bible studies where I bonded with wonderful people. These people became my friends. They are people who have stories, blessings, and wounds. They get me and I get them. Although these experiences and new friends were helping me grow I still found myself “thirsty” for my calling.

The summer women’s bible study – Restless, caught my attention with that one word and I signed up. I started the study insecure, fearful and shameful of some of my past. Yet through the study I gained the confidence I needed to step outside my “comfort zone”; I learned to take every opportunity to speak openly about Jesus, my faith and the Bible. And I learned to serve…for God’s glory and my good.

Christ Church Food Pantry Registration Table

My first service experience landed me in all sorts of “uncomfortable.” I drove to Christ Church Food Pantry with an uneasy feeling in my stomach. I will admit that I was scared of the kind of people I would encounter.  Once there I decided I would dive in, stay as busy as possible, and hopefully the day would fly by.  A friend from church who regularly served there grabbed me and threw me right into helping with registration. For the next several hours I came face to face with people in need. I smiled and they smiled back. Each and every person was gracious and thankful; many told me that I was a blessing. I loved it and quickly realized I was the one who was blessed to serve them.

Part of the registration process is asking recipients if they would like to pray with someone. A prayer team is ready, just steps away from the registration table. One woman spent several minutes sharing some family history and concerns for those she loved. I listened and asked her if she would like to pray with someone. She responded with “Yes, you! I would like to pray with you!” (If the start of my day wasn’t “uncomfortable” enough, it certainly was now.) In my head I was thinking, “What, me? Now? Okay…I can do this!” I grabbed her hands and we prayed. I prayed for her loved ones and her future. When I was finished we both had tears in our eyes.


Kristen’s first day serving at the pantry.

I left that Saturday smiling from ear to ear. I couldn’t wait to get home and share my day with my family. Since then I have returned to the pantry every Saturday they are open and I leave just as fulfilled as my first time there.

I am so very thankful for my church, Chets Women, and the Restless Bible study, which taught me how to open my heart, use my gifts to embrace new ways to serve God, and to seek out the “uncomfortable!

{This post was written by Kristen Santinga. Kristen grew up, attended college and met her husband Dan of nine years in South Florida. She worked in residential/commercial property management and real estate until God blessed her with a son named Griffin. She enjoys traveling, the outdoors and keeping fit. Kristen and her husband serve the third grade life group on Sunday – the day which happens to be perfect for an afternoon nap!}

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