This is a post that I've been both eager and bashful to write. However, if I'm not going to be open and honest about who I am, then I might as well delete this blog right now. My testimony is important here partly because it is what prompted me to start this blog in the first place, and I'm praying that I will find the words to adequately communicate where I've come from and what I believe.

Deep breath. Ready or not, here we go!

necklace : Forever 21    sweater : Ragstock    tee : Target    pants : H&M    shoes : thrifted

Born and raised in a loving Christian home, I accepted Christ at an early age and followed my parents' spiritual example through elementary school. As I got older, I began to have serious doubts about beliefs that I had just accepted for so many years without really considering. I had difficult questions and was frustrated that I couldn't seem to find concrete answers. Slowly, I began distancing myself from the church, at least in my heart. I don't remember a time in my life when I didn't believe in God, but for about six years of my life, a relationship with Him was pretty much the last thing on my list of priorities.

I saw college as an opportunity to put even more distance between myself and the church. For the first few months, I studied hard and tried to make as many friends as possible. It was both a very exhilarating and very lonely time for me, as I'm sure it is for many other college freshmen. I was lost but trying very hard to pretend that I wasn't feeling lost.

A friend of mine had gotten involved in a campus ministry while I was wandering aimlessly and proceeded to invite me to their meetings each week. I always came up with creative excuses such as "I'm tired" or "I have homework." I guess curiosity eventually got the better of me, because in late October or early November of 2010 (I can't remember which) I finally decided to tag along.

To my surprise, it was a positive experience. I had never met so many people my age excited about God and what He was doing in their lives. They weren't pushy with their beliefs and seemed genuinely eager to get to know me, even if I didn't call myself a Christian. I didn't reclaim my faith that night, or at the following meeting, or at the meeting after that. It actually took several months of talking to people and re-examining the bible on my own to see if I could really accept the gospel message as truth. Sometime in the very early stages of 2011, I recommitted my life to Christ.

The journey since has been quite the roller coaster. There is a perfect Christian image out there that needs to be squashed. My faith has brought me a joy and a hope that I've never known before, and it's been amazing in ways that I cannot describe, but loving the Lord does not put an end to my problems or make me holier or better than the next person. I'm just a messed up sinner who cannot express how grateful she is to be loved by a perfect, omniscient and all-powerful God.


I've always been a creative individual, but I think fashion came on my radar in fifth grade. At least, that's when I remember beginning to develop preferences for certain types of clothing. I was intrigued by the history of dress and its artistic elements, and I loved that self-expression could be wearable. Thus began my very slow process of discovering the definition of style. My grandma taught me how to knit when I was five, and by the time I was in eighth grade I was designing knitwear for myself, struggling to learn how to sew, and sketching like crazy. I decided then that I was going to be a fashion designer.

High school was a continuation of this exploration, but I don't think I really found my own sense of style until I went to college and left the days of school uniforms behind me. During my freshman year at the university, I was enrolled as a fashion design major and threw myself into my classes with enthusiasm. I finally polished my skills with a sewing machine, which was exciting, but I found that I didn't like working under limitations that someone else had set, and the deadlines stressed me out. I lost the joy that I used to have when creating things, so I scrambled to switch my major before our portfolio review at the end of the year.

Long story short, I decided to pursue a career in the business side of fashion instead, and design once again became nothing more than a hobby for me. This new arrangement felt like a much better fit and made me feel a lot happier about where I was going.

Faith + Fashion?

Pursuing Christ while pursuing a career in fashion quickly became a struggle for me, and I started to wonder if there was room for both in my life. A career with a focus on monetary gain and material goods hardly seemed like an ideal way to serve God. I had friends considering various forms of ministry and sometimes found myself thinking that they were better Christians than me because of that.

Slowly I began to realize that I was buying into Christian stereotypes and that God sometimes chooses to use us in unexpected ways. He has given each of us unique gifts and desires for a reason.

"For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness."  Romans 12:4-8 (ESV)

In reading these verses in the book of Romans, I took away the message that I don't have to try to be anything other than who God created me to be. If I don't feel like I am being called to traditional ministry, that's okay. God has given me a passion for creativity and fashion, and I felt like He was saying to me, "Maria, I can use Christians in the fashion industry and the business world too." I think that ministry and missionary work are awesome. If that's what you feel called to, then I sincerely applaud you with admiration. But if every Christian went into ministry, then we wouldn't be the body of Christ as the apostle Paul describes it.

And so, in my own way, I can minister to the world of fashion. I can be kind and show the love of Christ. I can work hard and use the creative talents that God has so graciously given me to serve others. I can seek out ways to encourage style while countering materialism. I can set an example. I can be in the world and still strive to live a life set apart, and with God's help that is what I'm hoping to do.

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