Updated: Feb 26, 2019
By Kimberly Cruz-Lopez
Purity + Peace participant at the Cornerstone Christian Center hub
Whenever I hear the word purity I immediately think of sex.
Whenever I heard the word purity I used to immediately think of sex.
My perception of that word shifted after my first Purity + Peace session and I believe it will shift yours
This is my story...
My first memories of God, hearing His name and His Word, was in Kindergarten when I was attending a
Catholic school. I remember being amazed by the stained-glass windows and frightened of the crucifixion statue.
I was transferred to a public school a year later...
My next memories of God was attending a (Spanish) Christian church around the age of 10 with my aunt.
We attended pretty regularly: Sunday service, Bible study, volunteering, all that jazz. I’d repeat the
words of prayers, raise my hands and sing, because that’s what I saw everyone else doing. I didn’t
quite understand it yet. Then from one day to the next, we stopped attending and I wouldn’t find out why until later.
All the things I had learned up until that point had just sat there in limbo.
Then, right before my freshman year of high school, I was introduced to another god, another set of gods, and I found myself fully immersed in Santeria.
The next two years I participated in events that required me to wear all white (always skirts, never pants), praying to objects like water and rocks, blowing cigar smoke and spitting white rum onto statues, holding chickens while their heads were cut off then chanting as it was spilled, using seashells to contact different deities — the list can go on.
But my junior year of high school, everything changed.
I met a man, who would become my husband, and he asked a question no one had yet to ask.
He pointed to my beaded necklaces and said:
"Why do you practice Santeria?"
“It’s what we [my family] do,” I said.
The question, although I already answered, lingered.
"Why do you practice Santeria?"
Echoing over and over, louder and louder in the back of my mind.
“What do you practice?,” I asked.
“I’m a Christian. I believe in Jesus,” he said.
I remembered that name. I’d heard it before. More questions started to rise and I started to search for
answers, first by researching Christianity and then researching faith of all forms.
I was overwhelmed with information.
I was overwhelmed with uncertainty.
I thought I knew it all, but instead I was questioning everything.
Right in the midst of my biggest storm of confusion, my future mother-in-law offered to pray for me.
I stood in the corner, phone glued to my ear and reluctantly said, “Sure.”
The moment she began to pray:
my body started to shake,
it was hard to hold myself up,
my chest felt heavy,
I began to weep,
the light in my room flickered
and the beaded necklaces around my neck snapped right off and scattered all over the floor.
Later that year I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. It was a beautiful moment, but the moments after were brutal.
Because the moment I surrendered myself, a painful process had to begin: the process of purifying
myself of my past practices. Although, I was saved, I still had shackles I needed to remove, chains I
needed to break.
That is what purity is about.
Purity is more than just freedom from adulteration.
Purity is also freedom of contamination;
freedom from pollution,
freedom from poison,
freedom from things harming you — physically, emotionally, spiritually.
That is what Purity + Peace teaches us.
I pride myself on being an open book, but only few have read this chapter of my life. Admittedly I was
afraid to share this part of my story and it wasn’t what I intentioned to write about. After reading Truth Untold by Yvette Garcia, I realized that this part of my story is meant to be shared, that this truth will help heal.