Catherine Pennell

Written by Becky on Oct 03, 2013
Catherine and John Pennell

“From Perfectly Numb to New Creation”

I spent most of my childhood striving to be “perfect”. I thought that if I was “good” and followed all the traditions of the Catholic Church, I might go to heaven. But I am a sinner, and it was impossible to be perfect like I thought I was supposed to be.

However, on the outside, my life looked perfect. I went from almost perfect grades in grade school and high school, to classical piano competitions, to graduating with an Economics degree from University of Maryland, to a career in Investment Banking and Financial Software with a six-digit income. I had nice cars, nice shoes, world travels, a successful fiancé and achievements to brag about.

But the reality of my life was not as it appeared. Behind closed doors, I often suffered from depression, nightmares and severe stomach aches. No one ever knew. I didn’t even realize that these ailments were the evidence of my buried emotions. The disappointment of never feeling good enough caused me to bury my emotions in partying, men, work, cigarettes, alcohol and drugs, and mask them with a constant smile and intense ambition. At some point along the way, I decided that I could never trust or rely on anyone. This was the driving force that allowed me to build a successful career and build a wall of money around myself, insuring my independence and preventing any chance of being vulnerable.

The constant guilt of not living up to what I was taught God wanted from me, eventually pushed me away from religion. I gave up on being “good” and left the Catholic Church. I gave my life over to my sin, and my life spun out of control. I lived in sin with my fiancé and followed his every sinful command. Eventually, God got a hold of me and I came to my senses for a short period, long enough to break off the engagement and eventually the entire relationship. Two months later, his new girlfriend physically beat me up in a bar, leaving my view of humanity destroyed and shutting me down almost permanently. I was callous and angry after that. I became perfectly numb, all behind a constant smile.

But again, years later, God got a hold of me. He set up the circumstances in my life so that I would open up my heart and get so betrayed and hurt in my sin that partying, men, work, cigarettes, alcohol and drugs were no longer sufficient to cover the pain that I felt. Jesus’s blood was the only solution at this point. I reached for God and gave my life to Him. I always knew Jesus had died on the cross for my sins, but I didn’t know that His blood alone would cover them. The Catholic Church never told me that His blood was sufficient. In attending Calvary Chapel Kaua’i, I started reading the bible and learning about God’s grace and mercies and His love for me. I learned that His death on the cross and His resurrection has saved me and because I have given my life to Him, I am “born again” and a “new creation” in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “For if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new”.

My life is still not perfect and I still have struggles, however, because Jesus has forgiven me of my sins, I can accept His forgiveness and let go of the guilt of my sins. I know now I can never be “perfect”, which is exactly why I need Jesus. I have an answer for my problems and no longer need to reach for anything else but God. I can trust God in ALL things. Since surrendering my life to the Lord, God has given me the desires of my heart, blessing me with a wonderful husband that also loves the Lord. I have also learned that God is faithful and always present in my life. I have Him to lean on, His Word to guide me, His love to comfort me, His promises to give me hope and His blessings to give me joy. I am no longer numb and dead in my trespasses. I am a new creation and born again in Christ. AMEN! Thank You, Jesus!