Hey there! So. I have come full circle. I can only credit this to God. I don’t know why this happens to me, other than I have a stronghold and the devil exploits a moment of weakness and boom, I’m derailed for 18 months. Here is the long story as I know it today, as the Lord has brought things to my memory. Side note – I have found when going through periods of confusion, when wandering lost, and trying to find my way back to the Lord, nothing is clearer than hindsight.
This is going to be a long story. I hope you are comfortable and I hope to keep you engaged. It is my supreme hope that this touches someone and points them to Jesus.
Father God, please let me be your instrument while I share our story of how you have found me and followed me closely all the years of my life. Please Father open the hearts and minds of whoever is reading this and touch them. Maybe they can relate Lord, fill them with your assurance that they can be freed from the bondage of confusion. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
I am going to go through the early years to about 5 years ago pretty fast, as it isn’t all clear to me until closer to the present day what has been happening.
About 19 years ago I was a carefree 19 year old, newly married, just getting back to my faith. The only faith I ever had was Catholic. I was taught things growing up that would instill a certain level of fear in me, and this fear would keep me Catholic. Example – the Catholic Church is the one true church and everyone who isn’t Catholic is lost. You couldn’t go to heaven unless you were catholic. As a child my mom would be guarded about who I could be friends with (no holy rollers aka bible believing Christians). At that stage in my life a very important person to me asked why I prayed to Mary. I gave her the usual answer “we just ask her to pray for us, she is closer to Jesus” yada yada yada. She told me I could just pray to Jesus myself. She didn’t know it, but this exchange was the first to a lifelong process that would lead me to saving faith in Him.
I had gone to church with her a handful of times, each time amazed at how people seemed to be happy to be there and seemed to really love the Lord. Now, please don’t mistake me. I know some Catholics love the Lord. It is just different to see people fall to their knees with tears streaming down their faces as they worship Him, oblivious to their surroundings. [it was in this period I prayed confessing my faith and repenting to be saved]
I had heard Scripture my whole life but it was at this point I heard it preached with passion and purpose. It was the first time the words of Scripture inspired me. Monotone isn’t inspirational, and that is what I was used to. I was liking it, but I didn’t want to turn my back on Jesus and leave the one true church. So I headed back to what I knew, the Catholic Church.
This cycle would repeat for many many years. Whenever I begin to fall away from Church, and wander, I seem to come back through the Catholic Church.
Note – when I refer to falling away from the Church, I am equally referring to God. It’s his house. 🙂
Five years ago I my beloved aunt fell ill. I don’t remember what my faith life was at that time. But my aunt was a devout catholic and we didn’t live close so as a way to honor her, I went to Mass. That started me on a two year journey getting caught up on sacraments, being involved, getting my kids caught up. Everything was perfect as a catholic, I was so certain, no doubts at all. Me and my girls were in the choir. We were getting ready for the May crowning of Mary and I was going to let my daughters crown her. I stood in the back of the church while that took place and nausea washed over me. I was physically trembling. I never went back. I was sickened by what I allowed my precious innocent daughters to do.
At this point I found my current church. Every Sunday I went, it was as if the pastors message was written directly for me. Every. Single. Time. Messages that would convict me and cause growth. I found my new church home. All was going great and then our pastor left. It was a rocky period for my church but I weathered through. I had never gone through something like this with a church before. The two years after my pastor left we had stand in preachers. This is where I started to wander, slowly. The messages were no longer convicting. I can’t blame this on my church though. It is my fault I didn’t work harder at studying the scriptures and prayer and being responsible for my own faith.
Eighteen months ago, I found my way out. My son was just born, I would give up my nursery duties and stay home with my newborn. I had been dying for months, but here I could get out without telling anyone what I was going through.
My time away from church was pretty uneventful. God was always on my mind though. I had come to a point where I was calling out to God asking if He was really there listening to me. I was tired of this cycle of confusion. I want to be all in or not. I was ready to give up totally and be atheist or agnostic.
It was at this time that the Lord wowed me. I was leaving work for the day and an acquaintance was leaving. She walked past me, then came back and hugged me and told me that God loved me. She felt she needed to do that. Being honest, I was weirded about by this. But it was shortly after that I started attending Mass again. I don’t know, maybe because of the familiarity with the Catholic Church, this is the avenue God uses to pull me back to Him. In the past week though He has knocked my socks off with messages, passages of Scripture (the same ones) showing up in multiple places.
My baptist church family welcomed me home on Sunday and it’s like I never left. I am just so thankful for His constant care and the reality that he seeks me out while I am wondering lonely in the woods.
I’m sorry to have dragged you through this the past several months…well…no I’m not. Our relationships with the Lord can be many things and this is mine. It’s messy, but I’m His and I’m a work in progress.