I am a born-again Christian Baptist. While this blog isn’t about Christianity, it is about me, and obviously Christianity is a large part–in fact, it is all–of my life. I believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is my savior and that he died on the cross for my sins. When I die, I will go to heaven not through my own actions or good behavior, but because of his salvation.
For eighteen years of my life, I was Catholic. My parents are hugely devoted, practicing Catholics still. My sister is a nun. Not figuratively. I would add a picture here for proof, but she’s a very modest and private person, and I respect that.
When I was Catholic, I believed in praying to Mary, to saints, repeating the same prayer over and over again, that if I did the rosemary ten times a day for a whole year, I’d up my chances of avoiding hell. I believed that in order to go to heaven, I had to confess my sins to a priest almost every week and especially on church holidays. I thought of confession like a shower–washing away my sins temporarily. But throughout the week if I sinned again, I’d be dirty again, and I would still go to hell or purgatory if, say, a bus crashed into me all of a sudden. I was terrified of death because I thought–due to being human and a sinner by nature–I was doomed to either burn in hell forever, or purgatory until my sins were all gone. And, knowing myself :P, I knew that would probably be for eternity anyway.
I don’t remember the exact date I got saved. In fact, I didn’t even get the name of the brother who was very kind to sit down and talk to a young girl who had her doubts about his beliefs to begin with. Not to mention the fact that I was self-righteous, snobby, and defensive about my Catholic religion. (Growing up with people always questioning your traditions will do that to you.) But I remember the very moment when it happened, and I remember the overwhelmingness of the situation. I can’t even describe it. I was grateful and relieved and just eternally humbled by everything, by God and by the enormity of what he had done for someone who, trust me, does not deserve it.
It was around November 2007. My husband and I were about to get married. But seeing as his family is Christian and my family is Catholic, we ran into a lot of problems, and we had a lot of voices influencing us. I was young and impressionable and very confused. The only thing I was certain of was that I loved Alex with all that I had and that I wanted to be married to him. Eventually we decided to forget what everyone was saying, and we’d go to each other’s churches to sort of get both sides of the story.
When I went to talk to a priest who had supposedly known my family for a long time (my parents and siblings have always been very involved with our church), my mom wanted to question him about whether my being married to a non-Catholic would affect her chance of going to heaven. The priest told her no, that I could sin however I wanted and it would have no bearing on her. Then he rushed to go change out of his robes or something, who knows.
That was the end of my faith in the Catholic church.
Look, I know this could be an isolated incident. I know that he was a busy man. I know I don’t have the right to judge someone as important as him.
But here’s what happened when I went to my husband’s church.
Some brother I didn’t even know–who had no idea who I was–stopped everything he was doing. He was probably in a rush too. He probably was dying to get out of his tie. 🙂 But he sat down, he explained everything, he showed me passages from the Bible, and he answered my questions without judgment and without annoyance and with the most patient and kind manner. He probably doesn’t even know what he did that day and how he affected my life in so many ways. (I need to send him a card 🙂 )
Maybe I just had two completely isolated incidents. But I don’t think they happened unless God wanted them to happen. And I’m not saying that either men completely represented their religion. I’m just saying that that was my experience, and that was how God worked in my life.
I thought a lot about putting this up on my blog. Mostly because I’m obviously not a perfect person and I don’t want my mistakes to reflect on my beliefs or make Christians look bad. Christians get enough of a bad rap in media as it is, and I don’t want to add to misconceptions just because I am still me and I still make mistakes. But I realized that this isn’t a part of me I can hide. I don’t want to and I definitely shouldn’t. I want everyone to know that I love Jesus and that I am forever grateful for my salvation.
Now I don’t worry about going to hell or burning for eternity in purgatory or whatnot. I know that Jesus is my savior, that he died for a reason and that was to save me. He will save you too if you let him. In fact, he already has. You just have to let him into your heart and accept it.