I briefly mentioned in a previous post of my “reversion” to Catholicism, after some time attending other churches. Since I tend to talk a lot of Catholicism I wanted to reminisce a little on my time away from the Catholic faith. I hadn’t given it much thought until sharing practices of faith with my friends made me realize that yes, learning how to be a Christian has made me a much, much better Catholic. And to take that one step further, most Catholics can use their own fair share of healthy evangelization to further unite us with our Protestant brothers and sisters.
Let’s start at the beginning with my friend Kaitlyn. I met her sophomore year while running cross country and we became fast friends. I slept over her house on a Saturday night and went to church with her family the next morning. I had never been to a Baptist service before and I was immediately intrigued. Why? They opened their Bibles. Not only did they open their Bibles on Sunday, but Kaitlyn was involved in a weekly study where they actually read through books of the Bible. It had never once occurred to me to open the Bible and read it for myself. Once I began reading, my life was transformed. God’s word was applicable to my then-teenage self. I was never taught that before…which says lots about the churches and CCD programs I attended… I digress. I finished the Bible for the first time on the eve of my 16th birthday. I still have that Bible, color-highlighted, tear-stained and all!
Through Kaitlyn’s friendship I was introduced to a non-denominational church in my community. It was there that I learned that God cared and loved me personally. He was not only there for Sunday Mass or the Sacraments, but there each and every moment if I only cared enough to reach out to Him. It was through that church that I met people that were proud of what God could do through their brokenness. I learned that hiding sin was crippling and to practice what I preach. I learned to filter my words and to see others through eyes of mercy—that there is God in each one of us.
It was there that I saw young couples who were in love get married. I saw Christ work and thrive through marital love. To most they were still kids, but that didn’t matter. Through the majority of my young life I never wanted to marry nor have children. That changed for me when I met Sam, Tom, Lindsey, Mike, Presley, Dennis, Justine, and Rob (just the people I remember off the top of my head). They defied the stereotypes and that is certainly because of Jesus.
Of course, I have since met wonderful Catholic peoples who shine the light of Jesus, but that was not something I really got growing up apart from my mom and Winston’s godmother (shout out to mom and dad Kirk killing it in the faith dept). The true and honest history of my faith journey begins here and I am glad for it. I learned the worship songs that I hum while I run or knit or clean. The scripture I learned at Bible Camp resurface while I’m road raging at Texas drivers. The sign language I remember from when I taught VBS helps me teach the Gospel to my babies. Those 3 years of attending early morning Mass with my mom, then off to teach Sunday School and attend Sunday service was where I fell in love with Jesus and His Word.
And though I love my Catholic faith, Christians, please know, I am oh so thankful for you, too.