How I Came to Restoration Church
July 21, 2015 | by: Angela Karum | 3 Comments
Posted in: Identity
I never considered myself “church-planting team” material.
In early 2008, I had shown up like a refugee on my sister’s doorstep with my two little kids, penniless, jobless, homeless, heartbroken having left a shattered marriage, and feeling like a failure in everything that matters. As I began the hard work of putting my life back together, I was invited to Christ Community Church in Daytona Beach and I started attending.
Preoccupied with my own struggles, I was only mildly interested to hear about a new church they wanted to plant in Port Orange and their excitement about the arrival of the new church-planting pastor and his family, Anthony & Carin Orzo. Not long after the Orzos arrived, they announced the name for this new church – Restoration. “Ha!” I chuckled to myself, “I could be their poster child with all that God has been doing for me.”
But as they invited people to join the launch team, I knew it was not for me. What would they want with a newly single mom, working hard to provide for her kids with no time for ministry? Yet as the months passed, they kept asking for volunteers. I decided it couldn’t hurt to at least pray about it. It was doubtful God would want me to join their team, so not much risk there.
I decided to meet with Anthony Orzo and get more info. As I settled into his office with a cup of coffee, I shared that I had previously been under spiritually abusive church leaders and would not be open to putting myself or my children under that again. I bluntly asked him, “What kind of leader are you? Have you been broken by God?” He completely understood what I meant, and shared some of the tough experiences he’s had as a pastor, how he almost gave up and walked away from it, but God changed his mind. He said he was more interested in equipping people to follow God than with micro-managing them. He wasn’t looking to build a name for himself.
That was reassuring.
Then I asked him what could Restoration Church want with a single mom and her two kids? (Sometimes you don’t know the deeper questions in your heart until God begins to answer them.) As Anthony talked, I heard what the Lord was really saying to me through his words… and I was undone.
See, I had believed that being divorced disqualified me from ever really serving God or having anything to offer. In many ways, I seemed like a failure. Who wants a failure in their big plans? No one.
No one but God.
I realized that everything I had gone through actually qualified me to be a part of God’s work. I had received His love and healing in so many shattered places of my life. Losing a marriage, facing an identity crisis as a woman, experiencing childhood abuse, hitting rock bottom financially, struggling to parent two amazing kids on my own – walking through these hard experiences of Life and discovering the faithfulness of God in all the mess -- this is what has given me hope and confidence in His heart for me.
It’s the grace of our loving Father that invites us in all our failure and imperfection to join Him in loving other broken people. I realized God was inviting me to be a part of Restoration Church to share my story, to encourage other people to know Him and trust His heart, to have hope that they could experience His faithful goodness too.
Angela Karum, mother of two teenagers and Florida resident since 2008, fills her free time hunting treasures in used book stores and sipping Nutella lattes with friends. Her compassionate heart and ready smile belie an adventurous spirit cultivated during her childhood in the Amazon jungle.