Posted in Blog, In the Word, Testimony

My Testimony Part 1

My mother saw to it that I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church, but my father was actually an atheist. My father’s attitude toward my mother’s church was tolerant, yet patronizing. It is hardly surprising that my own attitude toward faith grew more and more conflicted.

At  Catholic school, we were taught about Transubstantiation (Jesus’ Body & Blood, Soul & Divinity, truly present in the Eucharist). We memorized the fifteen Mysteries of the Holy Rosary (There are twenty now, I know, but I was a child in the 1980s). We revered Mary, Ever Virgin, and her Immaculate Conception (Did you know that the Immaculate Conception refers not to the Virgin Birth, but to Mary’s own sinless conception?).

I learned about the communion of saints, and I wanted to be one. Like many Catholic children, I had secret hopes of being a visionary someday, like the children of Fatima or St. Bernadette.

The childlike trust I had in my father’s intellect, however, cast a shadow upon my equally childlike faith in the religion of my mother. Gradually, this cognitive dissonance was widened by the liberal values and post modern views that subtly encroach upon even the most Catholic of educations. Gradually, I picked up on my dad’s attitude toward religion: it was to be encouraged as an excellent way of teaching morals and values to children, but it was ultimately unnecessary. for the rational person who could maintain an internal moral compass. This person was somehow above (or at least, outside) the need for God as a moral standard-setter.

The father is the spiritual head of the home. And so, in retrospect, it is not surprising that under this head, I “outgrew” the faith of my childhood.

I believed in the Tooth Fairy until I was 7, Santa Claus until 13 (no kidding), and the Roman Catholic Church until 18 or so. And then, like many young people, I became apathetic.

One of the issues I had with organized religion was the Church’s attitude to homosexuality. Why, I reasoned, would God create people with a desire that he deemed sinful? It didn’t seem to fit the concept of a just God.

As a teenager, I moved out, dropped out of school and stopped going to church. I wasn’t sure that I believed in God at all.  And to be honest, I wasn’t all that concerned with the question of His existence. I was living for myself. And I was a mess. I had terrible self-esteem, and made horrible choices. 0301

Eventually, I was tired of going nowhere, and tried to get my life together. I went back to finish high school in an adult program, and entered university as a mature student.

I loved it. I studied literature, philosophy and feminist theory. I learned about deconstructionism, post-modernism, gender theory. It was fun and exciting. I studied Luce Irigaray,  Judith Butler. I wrote essays on performative speech acts, and interpellation through language. I loved thinking, discussing, writing. I felt I had found my people. The meaning of life is to just keep learning, I decided.  I wanted to learn everything. My philosophy professor wrote me a letter inviting me to join the philosophy department. I took a course in World Religions. I thought I could figure out the meaning of life, and the question of God through cognitive ability. I know, right? And then I auditioned for and was accepted into a highly-regarded theatre school, which had always been my dream. But I was still living for self, and there isn’t much purpose in that. After a few years, I found myself slipping back into the same depression I thought I had escaped.

1225And the more depressed I became, the more I  began to withdraw. So much that I stopped even showing up for classes. And of course this made everything worse.

My academic career in ruins, I felt utterly hopeless. At my lowest point, my sister realized that something was wrong. She unexpectedly showed up at my apartment one day, helped me pack up my things, and drove me back to her home, in a nearby city.

I started to get my life back together. I decided that maybe there was a God, and that He was Hope. I don’t know what kind of New Age theology that was, but I wasn’t picky.

Things were  better than before. I got a good job, one that I excelled at. I earned a promotion. I filled my life with friends, fun. But again, I was still living for self. There is no real joy in that, and I was going nowhere.

Then God sent me my husband. Popular wisdom is that no one can love you until you love yourself, but I know that miracles can and do happen.  I can’t really explain why God saved me from myself in those days, but I know He did. I wasn’t a Christian yet. I didn’t really even believe in Him, but He must have already marked me as His own. Because it is only God who could have sent this wonderful man to me, messed up as I was, and allowed me to keep it together long enough for him to love me.

He was a3-0325n atheist, and I would have identified as agnostic. I really felt that his love for me was life-changing. I know now that it was only God’s love that could really save me, but God had sent this man to bless me and to show me the love that I needed.

I began to attend church for the first time as an adult. I still wasn’t sure if I believed in God or not, but I felt a need to find out, and I thought church attendance would help me to sort that out. My commitment to church waxed and waned over the months to come. But God is faithful, even when we are not, and His hand was on me.

We decided to get married in the Anglican church. I still took issue with the Catholic perspective on homosexuality — it seemed so intolerant, a vestige of an earlier society that had lingered past its best-before date. But my mother took such issue with the idea of an Anglican wedding that we decided to get married in the Catholic church just to keep the peace. We would deal with issues of intolerance as they came up. And my husband agreed to go to church with me. My relationship to God was still confused. I was only half-sure that He was real. But if we were going to raise a family in church, it was important to me that we do it together — perhaps because I didn’t want to repeat my parents’ pattern of church as a “women and children only” kind of activity.

My Testimony Part 2

My Testimony Part 3

My Testimony Part 4

Advertisements

Author:

Christian wife and homeschooling mother of five children, ages 1 through 9 years. Recently diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos. Trusting in Jesus for His plan for my life, and for my family. He was gracious to save my husband and myself 5 and 6 years ago, respectively. And really, He saved me just in time. Because how could I ever have handled this illness without Him?

7 thoughts on “My Testimony Part 1

    1. Thank you, that is so sweet!

      I really think that it is remarkable how God’s handprints can be seen all over a life, invisible until we are looking back at it with hindsight. And how we can try everything to be happy, but nothing ever works until we find true happiness in Jesus.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I can’t wait to read the next part. You’re so right about God having already chosen you! Part of my testimony includes the Holy Spirit drawing me to Him all the time. I was a seeker and looking back I think that’s because God revealed Himself to me from the time I was very small. Each of these little glimpses finally culminated into accepting His grace and giving my life to Him.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, what a beautiful testimony! I “looked ahead” on your about page, but I still can’t wait to hear part 2! 🙂 It is so encouraging to hear how God leads souls to Him. I just love it! Thank you for sharing.

    Like

    1. Thanks so much. I’ll get Part II posted in the next couple of days. I love reading testimonies, too. It’s so amazing, how He reaches each individual in a way that is unique to them.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s