My name is Shereen Sharif. I was born in Vancouver, Canada into a Muslim family. Although we participated in a few religious events, my family was not very religious. I am the only Christian in my family and the story that follows is about how I found Jesus.
I have always believed in ''god'' and that, ultimately, all gods are really only one, even if they are worshipped differently. When I was young, my mom took us to churches and temples in addition to mosques. I feel now that the reason my mom went to so many different religious houses was because she was in search of the one true God, which, despite her searches, she still hasn't found. This influenced my life as I started looking for answers in all the wrong places. I started believing in palm readers and astrologers because they seemed to be able to tell me significant things about my life.
I was never a problem child and was never drawn to drugs, alcohol or smoking as a teenager. However, I constantly found myself hanging out with the wrong friends, making choices I'd regret and ending up in trouble. My friends meant well; most of them, like myself, came from dysfunctional families. We were all seeking something more in life.
I've always wanted a real father. I feared mine because he was alcoholic. My mother taught us to love him anyway. I didn't have the courage to talk to him or get to know him because I was seven when my parents separated. When I grew up and actually started taking an interest in my father, he passed away. I was 20 at the time. Even through this event, I didn't find it easy being around my family. I put my friends before my family and spent less and less time at home. I began doing things that led me down a dark and dreary road. I am not proud of the things I did, but I think that it was through those things I was able to find Jesus.
Events in my life made me angry that I was born a Muslim, so I decided to explore Christianity, but I wasn’t sure exactly sure how to proceed. Two weeks after taking this decision, my sister and mother both lost their jobs. We had also just recently purchased a house, which resulted in a very tough situation. My mother sold things at a flee market to bring in income. I couldn’t believe all this bad luck; where was it coming from? I felt broken and alone—like nobody wanted to help me.
I had a friend that had converted to Christianity from Hinduism. She invited me to a Bible study. I went without the knowledge of my mother, and it was there that I accepted Jesus into my life. For the first time, I experienced joy and felt like my life was going somewhere. I realized the significance of my decision after seeing my mom's reaction. I didn't understand because I thought that she would be open to me going to church since we were taken there as kids. She was very angry and even threatened to leave home when I started going to church. I didn’t stop going to church, however. She would get furious every time she caught me reading the Bible; once she picked it up and threw it at me. I thank God for giving me the courage to continue following him. Eventually, my mother came to visit the church. My whole family has been to church, but none have accepted Christ into their lives. Even now I firmly believe God’s promise of salvation for families.
After coming to Christ, job opportunities opened up for me. I wanted a career, and after much prayer and meditation I felt that children and worship were two areas that God was calling me to. I joined the worship team of the church I was attending, and as for my career, God carried me through all those times when I felt so overwhelmed with school work.
I was working while going to school, and there were times when I put work over everything else in my life—including Jesus. I drifted farther and farther, until I felt like my life was going around in circles. It came to a point where I stopped going to church and found myself sinking into depression.
Jesus Christ, in His unconditional love, always comes to the rescue. For me that came in the form of a friend who invited me to a young adult meeting at her church, where God touched me yet again and rejuvenated me. God was reviving my spirits once again. I began to realize that there was so much more to the Christian life than just going to church. As God drew me closer to Him, the desires of my heart were to continue worshipping him, and not just for myself, but also in order to bring others closer to him. In the following weeks, I became a part of a small, worship band, which slowly grew into a decent sized group after much prayer and hard work.
I am so thankful to God for what He has done with my life—for bringing me from where I was, once upon a time, to where I am today and for all the blessings that He, in His great mercy, has showered upon my life. My life is so much more fulfilling. God has truly lifted me from the pit and set my feet upon the Rock, and today I stand firm in Christ.
In Christ, I have found true joy and satisfaction, a life worth living, and a real Father who loves me so much more than I could ever love Him. I thank God for what he has done in my life—and for calling me His daughter.