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My name is Vicki Romanski. I was raised Catholic and part of a loving family. We had our challenges, but we always looked out for one another. Today, my parents are still married after 46 years and have been a good example of what loving parents should be. However, we weren’t a very religious family and even talking about religion was kind of taboo.
I attended a private grade school in Chicago and then went to a Catholic high school and College. During that time I completed the sacraments mandatory to Catholicism but didn’t have a personal relationship with the Lord. I was a determined person with a lot of favor on my life even before I was born again, but still didn’t have that personal relationship.
I excelled in grade school both academically and physically. I was involved in sports and was the salutatorian. I was even voted most well liked by my peers in eight grade. Things just seemed to come easily for me. Even though I didn’t have a personal relationship with God, I attended church regularly up until about 3rd grade. This was right around the time when Catholics make their holy communion. After the pressure from my parents and peers to attend church, I waffled and didn’t resume attending the Catholic church regularly until into my mid 30’s.
In the meantime, I led a normal life. I attended a Catholic High School named Queen of Peace and went to DePaul University, a Catholic College. However, a relationship with Jesus wasn’t a priority. I dated, hung out with friends, and pursued my career with vigor.
At the age of 19, I got engaged and left home while still in college. However, I never felt the desire to get married. Like most women who want a husband and children, I desired to have a successful career. So in my early 20’s, after graduating from College, I obtained an entry-level position with a company in Oakbrook as a recruiter. I loved the job and soon invested 110 percent of myself. Within one year I was making a lot of job placements and was earning six figures
Within three years I was promoted to regional vice president and was earning over $300,000 a year. I don’t say this to brag, but to let you know how much favor I had on my life at such a young age. Like I said, earlier, things for me throughout my life had been a series of wins, and things had come easily; although I did work very hard.
Then around 2001, we suffered from the attacks of 9/11 and the economy took a hard dive. The company I worked for and had been so successful, closed, and I was devastated. However, I was still young enough to bounce back, and within eight months, I focused on a new career with a New Construction Home Builder in the western suburbs. Again, I started off in an entry-level position and within one year had sold 80 homes. This was a huge milestone for the company and in the industry as well. Within two years I was promoted to General Sales Manager and was again making over $300,000 a year.
During the past ten years I had saved my money, and invested in real estate, but still, I found myself empty inside. I was working hard, saving money, and investing in real estate, but the search for true happiness seemed unattainable.
So I found myself investing in a dream home along the Lake Michigan Lake Shore and just absolutely fell in love. This time, I said to myself and felt inside, this home will really make me happy. I can obtain true happiness if I build this home.
It was spectacular. It took about a year to build, with four floors, and built on top of a sand dune with gorgeous views of Lake Michigan. Not only was this a dream come true but the home had appreciated in value to over $500,000, and there were people who were interested in purchasing.
So I thought to myself, I can sell the home, invest the proceeds and retire from working as hard as I had been. I really needed a break from the hard work I was putting in as the General Sales Manager, and this was the vehicle that was going to get me there.
I had a total plan. Sell the dream home, semi-retire, and look for something less stressful. I had put so much stock into a job that just wasn’t paying off, but I thought for sure the sale of this house would.
Then, something happened that no one could imagine. The real estate market tanked in 2006, and the buyers who were interested in the home could not get financed. The work at my job became scarce, and all the things I had placed my hopes in were growing thin.
I remember not having any peace. For example, the day I closed on the summer home and obtained the keys and was leaving the title company, I wasn’t as happy as I had hoped to be. I had relied on my income, job status, and this dream home to find my happiness, and they just weren’t paying off.
So, I got in my car after the closing, and I remember saying a prayer which was very rare for me. (At this time I had started going back to the Catholic church as a regular attendee and was establishing a relationship with Jesus. Looking back I think He was calling me into a deeper relationship.)
So I started saying a prayer, and I remember praying, Jesus, please give me peace. And as soon as I prayed a fundraiser on the street knocked on my window and handed me a pamphlet that said, Give Jesus a Try. It was for a non-profit organization named "You Can Make It," that offers housing to homeless people in the inner-city.
Well, I gave it a try. Remember I was searching for peace and not finding any in the false idols I had built; so, I called the director on the pamphlet and asked if I could volunteer. Immediately she said yes, and I started as a volunteer housing coordinator for the "You Can Make It Outreach Ministries" in Chicago, a couple of times a week
This was a life-altering experience because the Director was a Pastor and began ministering to me about Jesus, and a personal relationship with him. As a Catholic, I knew that He was God but didn’t have peace or a personal relationship. So one day, on April 15th, 2007, I attended her church, and a visiting pastor laid hands on me, and I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and was slain in the spirit.
In a little storefront church in Chicago, I entered into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This was a major milestone in my life, and everything changed from that moment. I became on fire for the Lord. He showed me some differences about what I was believing and brought the truth into my life. I began reading the Bible, attending the storefront church, and speaking to everyone I could about what Jesus was doing in my life.
After all the success at a young age, the money, properties and investments, nothing brought me as much joy and peace as my relationship with Jesus. Now I was praying for a more intimate relationship with Him. And so Jesus pursued me, and I had a three-year honeymoon, so to speak, with Christ.
As my relationship with him became deeper and deeper, I began to meet more Christians and to look for the perfect church.
I was introduced to a Bible study teacher/mentor who ministered to me personally for a couple of years, and I read the entire Bible through twice in one year. As the relationship with my mentor began to grow, he taught me how to evangelize and lead people to the Lord by use of the 4 spiritual laws and the salvation prayer. Today, I go out into the world regularly and lead people to Christ.
Then, around 2008, as I was praying for a deeper, more intimate relationship with the Lord, I learned about being filled with the Holy Spirit. And so I prayed and asked to be filled with the Holy Spirit. At my mentor’s house, sitting around his dining room table with other friends who were Christians, I had an upper room experience. They were praying, and immediately the Holy Spirit fell on me, and I began praying in tongues.
It was a beautiful and a miraculous event in my life. I will never forget it. I was so thrilled because it gave me the power to witness to others, lay hands on the sick, and pray for people. I couldn’t have been happier. My life was changing drasticly, and I no longer felt the strong determination to place all of my trust in my job.
Things were shifting, and I was beginning to trust God wholeheartedly. My desires were also changing, and I began to lead a better life. I had less stress, started fasting, and praying a lot. The things that were once important to me, like working hard, buying properties, going out to clubs, and shopping, became secondary, and even non-existent. I wanted to lead a holy life.
So, with all my might and vigor, I began leading a Christian Life. Things weren’t always easy these past nine years since I became a Christian, but I now have the peace and love in my life that I was so desperately seeking. I can say wholehearted, that a personal relationship with Jesus is life transforming, and the key to joy and happiness.