Today I am featuring something different for #31DaysOfLove. As I was going through my list of all the places I will be featuring over the month of December, I realized that almost everything was either food related or something materialistic. While that is fine, as they are all places I love, I suddenly had a thought. What is the one thing that I look forward to every week? What is the one thing that makes me feel ecstatic not only mentally but spiritually? The answer is simple…Radiant Church. I have been going to Radiant every week since Easter Sunday and only missed on a few occasions when I was out of town or had to work. Located in Britton Plaza in South Tampa, Radiant has been a huge part of my spiritual transformation which has not only helped me with my relationships with friends and family, it has helped me with my professional relationships as well.
Born and raised Catholic, God has always been a part of my life. I went to Catholic school for 7th and 8th grade and then attended an all-girls Catholic High School. While I have such fond memories of Catholic School, as they were some of the best days of my life, I never really felt in love with going to church. Every Sunday my dad would wake us up early to go to church and then to breakfast. While I can’t speak for my brother, the only thing that got me through Catholic Mass was thinking about the food we would enjoy after. Pancakes, waffles, Eggs Benedict, bacon and hot chocolate were always on my mind instead of the gospel. What can I say, I was bored. I would count all the heads in the pews in front of me, I would lip-sync to the choir songs to try and make my brother laugh and I would always try and splash him with holy water as we exited the church on the way to breakfast. As I got older and moved out on my own, I stopped going to church but always had God in my heart.
The last few years have been very tough for me. As a single mom of two, I struggle to always make ends meet. Sometimes I have extra money and sometimes I do not have enough to buy milk. I never seem to be able to save for a rainy day and the last few years have been filled with lots of scary storms. I kept seeing mentions for Radiant Church in South Tampa everywhere. From posts on Facebook to Radiant pens at the local coffee shop, I felt like it was a sign for me to go and check it out. After some encouragement from some friends that were in love with Radiant, I decided to take their advice and attend service on Easter Sunday. I mean, Easter has always symbolized new beginnings for me and I knew I was ready. My kids and I headed to our first service at Radiant and we were all blown away.
My son really surprised me. I thought he would be bored but he was mesmerized by every word from Pastor Aaron Burke. His focus on the service really brought tears to my eyes! My daughter is a little younger and doesn’t quite understand everything, but she is learning. In fact, we all decided to get baptized just a little over a month ago. I was baptized in the Catholic Church as a baby but don’t quite remember it. This time around, it was a decision I made for myself and I could not think of a better way to begin a new chapter in my life.
Last night I attended the 6 pm service at Radiant and it was one of the best services I have ever been to. Pastor Aaron kicked off the Christmas series called “Peace on Earth” and his words brought me to tears last night. I encourage you to watch the video, as I do not want to give too much away. His message really hit home, as one thing I am trying to do in life is to have more faith and trust in God during stormy times. I find myself getting very upset and playing the blame game instead of taking a step back and letting Jesus take the wheel. I left service last night with a new sense of purpose and a different outlook on how to handle difficult times in my life.
Radiant has been a huge blessing in my life and I literally jump out of bed on Sundays to go to service. I am excited to share that they are growing and expanding with a downtown Tampa location in January. I want to give someone the gift of Radiant. I am going to give one lucky reader a beautiful gift basket of homemade Christmas cookies made by yours truly as well as a few other gifts, and all I ask is that you give Radiant a try if you have not yet been. To enter, simply click on the link below. Winner will be chosen December 14th at midnight.[?]