Hi, my name is Mia Solberg. I am here today, as a graduating senior, to talk to you all about how Kenilworth Union has played an unforgettable role in my faith journey. I have grown up here, from my Baptism to Joyful Noise Preschool to Confirmation to mission trips and now, Kenilworth Union has been a leading factor in making me who I am today. My license defines me as Mia Victoria Solberg, Female, 5’03, blue eyes, and born on December 19, 1997. But if you really get to know me you’ll learn that my eyes are really more grey than blue, sometimes even green. I enjoy watching movies, especially the classics, I am obsessed with my Newfoundland dogs Lyla and Riggins, I like camping, hiking, skiing, and hanging out with family and friends. I’m an older sister, a younger sister, a daughter, a cousin, a granddaughter, and a friend. You will also learn that one of the most important things in my life that I don’t always have the opportunity to talk about is my faith. My relationship with God is one that will always be a part of my life. I have always been more of a tomboy, and when I was younger, I was a huge tomboy, and so when church came around, that meant dresses and tights, too. I kicked and screamed begging not to go. My frustration had nothing to do with Sunday school, or God, the act of going to Sunday school was only guilty by association, because I had to wear those darn white tights. They were not my style, I wanted to be in shorts and my favorite blue junk food T-shirt with Scooby-Doo. I was continuously forced to attend wearing those itchy garments. I was in the choir from second to fifth grade. My voice was atrocious so my parents slyly encouraged me to start playing sports and soon enough I was only singing in the shower. Finally, I was confirmed and by my freshman year I couldn’t wait to sign up for my first mission trip. I remember writing an essay before being confirmed. I talked about God as a light, that shines through people’s smiles, laughter, tears, and hugs. That was at a very early stage in my faith journey. It was easier for me to think of God and his love like that during a time in my life that I hadn’t experienced very many perspectives in the world. After being confirmed, my faith wavered because it was now up to me to force myself to attend church. I rarely followed through and my relationship with God suffered due to my lack of effort.
On my first mission trip, I remember sitting in a circle with my group, it was our night time devotional and I had been having serious doubts about God. I thought people only believed in God because they needed something, and He was just something to keep them sane through the suffering. But something hit me that night in Panama. I felt a sense of trust and comfort from God. Through mixing cement, painting, dancing, singing, and playing with the kids, I gained a new perspective of the world, one with God in it. I saw people in pain and with so little, praise God, and trust Him to help support them. I have also been lucky enough to be a part of IMPACT trips to the Bahamas and Guatemala, and have been looking forward to this summer’s trip to Jamaica ever since we landed from Guatemala last summer.
I believe that someone’s relationship with God is personal and unique. Your relationship doesn’t have to be like your moms or you dads, it doesn’t have to be like your friends, it is yours and His. It’s only what you make it. God isn’t going to force you to recognize him, it’s a two-way street. I cherish my relationship with God, He is a Father and a friend. I believe He has so much love for us, we are his children, and no matter what happens, he will still love us. Faith is taking that leap and believing without proof. Trust in your faith. And know that it is okay to have doubts. Although it’s hard to understand how He can love us all so much, my mom always says “Mia, you’ll never know how much I love you until you have your own kids” and that is the kind of love God has for us. We are all his children, and through thick and thin he will love us. But what is love? Something I will always remember is when my dad said “lf I could write love as an equation, it would be love=caring” and in that moment it really hit me. I always saw God’s love as light, but it is so much more than that. Love is caring, and proving you care through actions more than words.
One of the most important things in our lives is forgiveness. To forgive takes strength. When you ask God for forgiveness, know that it is granted, and even if others do not ask you for your forgiveness, forgive them. We aren’t accepting what happened and saying it was okay, we’re just acknowledging the fact that it happened. Forgiving is the willingness to see the person in the light of love and not in the action of what occurred.
“Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven” —Luke 6:37
As my faith has grown stronger, I have been lucky enough to actually want to attend church. I love the music and will never forget the “Letters from Prison” sermons I was blessed to listen to. Even if I am sitting alone in the corner, I cherish this beautiful place. But my relationship with God is not perfect, I didn’t wake up one morning and suddenly have faith. It has been a journey, one that wouldn’t have grown this much without Kenilworth Union Church. So thank you for being a part of this incredible community here at Kenilworth Union Church, it wouldn’t be such a warm place in so many people’s hearts if it wasn’t for everyone here.