Before spreading the Good News, I would like to begin as Apostle Paul did…sharing with you, my readers, of my conversion. It is as follows.
For as long as I can remember, acceptance… from self and others has meant everything. In fact, in what was my Dad’s last Christmas in 2011, I asked him “Dad… are you proud of me?” In a rare, lucid moment with Alzheimer’s disease, his answer came as if from God, “It does not matter what I think; we all have our own path in life.” My path has not been a straight-forward one; rather it’s been one filled with bumps, twists, turns, and potholes. Like many, my life began with inherited spiritual beliefs. Raised Catholic, I was baptized as an infant with my godparents accepting Jesus Christ on my behalf; confirmed at age 10 without fully being aware of what a Christ-filled life meant; and educated in Catholic schools for 12 years where religion books with select biblical verses were open rather than the Bible. At age 24, I married well, but without a faith-based foundation, the marriage eventually fell apart. By 1996, I was a divorced parent with two young children. Hoping to find support from a local church I regularly attended, I received little. Divorced, I was excluded from fellowship and parts of worship. Feeling abandoned, I left the church, and for a time, God too.
Still there was a part of me that sought to fill a void felt in my heart. I began by exploring other faiths… ranging from a variety of Christian denominations and Mormonism to Universal Universalist, Native American Spirituality, and Buddhism… attending a variety of indoor, outdoor, and home-based services along the way. While all faiths were enlightening with many beautiful traditions, the God each one spoke of was beyond reach and somewhere in the distant heavens. None addressed the whispering presence I kept hearing and feeling close to my heart. By November 2008, I was lost, broke, in poor health, underemployed, (and for a time unemployed), and genuinely scared as to whether I would continue to have a roof over my head. Clearly, my life was not working.
At the height of my brokenness, God placed a spiritual guide in my life — a gentle man who from the age of 12 explored religions of the world; a gentleman with a humble spirit who had more knowledge than formal education; and more wisdom than anyone I had ever known. Through contemporary storytelling, he introduced me to the Bible and to God’s Word. He spoke of an all-powerful Heavenly Father filled with immeasurable love and grace; of Jesus Christ, His Son, who not only died for our sins so we would have everlasting life, but who also showed us The Way in which to live life according to God’s plan; and most of all… to the Holy Spirit who resides within our hearts when we choose to believe with powerful whispers that guide and protect us while on our path in life. He also introduced me to the power of prayer; not the memorized words of my youth, but real conversations designed to strengthen my relationship with God. By July 5th, 2010, I was reborn. Soon after my life started to turn around. Overcoming many of my past struggles, I was given a second chance at life… this time following God’s plan for me, not mine. Part of that plan was to be baptized again … this time as an adult. It is then that I saw a reflection in the water that of a prodigal daughter coming home. In accepting Jesus Christ as my Savior, in committing to a living Christ-like life, I long last found real acceptance. My new life, my walk, my relationship with God is a life long journey. Along the way I know I will still stumble and make mistakes. In times of weakness though, I know I can confidently reach out to God in prayer for guidance, wisdom, and strength as Apostle Paul spoke of in 2 Corinthian 12:9: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
Everyone has a story. What’s yours?