I was raised as a Catholic and attended Catholic schools up to the age of 11. I loved God as best as I knew how. I wanted to be a nun because I thought that was the way to be holy and close to God. I was intrigued by the pomp and circumstance of the Catholic Church traditions and felt that being close to God was to try to keep all the commandments and practice the traditions of the church to the fullest extent.
I drifted away from my Catholic upbringing in my teen years. I ran away from home at 15 and lived in and out of foster homes until I was 18. I knew God existed, I even knew about Jesus, but I had no personal knowledge of Him in my life. God was out there somewhere. When I was what I deemed “good” I felt close to God, when I was “bad” I felt guilt and condemnation. I would try to work my way out of guilt and condemnation as best as I knew how. I thought I was a good person. I was fair, kind, and sweet. Unfortunately I also had a lot of other problems. I didn’t see what a mess I really was, and was truly miserable for most of my teen years. I was ridden with fear, insecurity and depression. A cloud would hang over me from time to time. I would be oppressed for weeks at a time. As I look back on this period of my life, I marvel that I made it through it at all. I would be plagued with thoughts of suicide, yet my upbringing told me it was wrong. I turned to men, sex, and fun to meet these needs, to forget the demons but I only grew worse as I went through one relationship after another. None of this brought any lasting peace. The same problems would rear their ugly heads again and again.
I had some encounters with born again Christians in my life. I thought they were nice, but strange. I felt very uncomfortable around them. Strange, because I saw myself like them, a nice, sincere, sweet person, yet something was missing in me. I came to a period of my life where my eyes were opened and I saw how truly needy I was and how lost I had become. I honestly didn’t see it before, I just tried to live my life the best I knew how and make it through. I had good times too, but mostly bad. Suddenly I was not satisfied or content with letting things continue as they were. I have come to see that it was because someone, somewhere was praying for me and God through His Holy Spirit was tugging at me. The war in me had begun. I sensed that there was a decision I needed to make about Jesus, not just God out there somewhere, but Jesus.
Now this is strange because I had been taught about Jesus as a little girl, I had gone through the stations of the cross (a Catholic tradition), fasted during Lent, rejoiced at Easter, celebrated His birth. But, I knew little about Him! I didn’t understand who He really was and how He wanted to be personally involved in my life. I questioned who Jesus really was. Did He die on a cross? Why did He die on that cross? If He said He was the way, the truth, and the life, what did He mean? Or was He a lunatic? Why would He say all those things about Himself if they weren’t true? A spiritual battle had begun for my soul. I questioned the very existence of God and who was this Jesus anyway???
Somewhere in the midst of all this struggle, I decided that I was going to believe in this Jesus. I didn’t know the Bible very well, and, in fact, had never really read it. I only had the hearsay through going to church and the small exposures on TV or radio. I had read the book “Christy” written by a Christian author: Catherine Marshall. I liked her writing so much that I looked for other books she had written. Through a book called “Beyond Ourselves”, God cemented that link that would cause me to admit my need for Jesus and accept Him as my Lord and personal Savior. This, along with the prayers of the Christians in my life (both those I could name and I’m sure others I could not) helped me see the light. The conviction of the Holy Spirit penetrated me. I knew I was a sinner and I needed help. I knew down in my core my only hope was accepting Jesus. I didn’t know anything else at that point, nothing like I know now. But I knew that one truth.
I accepted Jesus in my car one evening. Since that day, I have gone through many ups and downs in my Christian walk and in my relationship with God. But Jesus has remained faithful to me in EVERYTHING. He has never left me nor forsaken me. To this day I am uncovering truths about His nature and His love for me. The depths of God are unsearchable!
You don’t have to know everything about God to accept Jesus Christ. If you feel the Holy Spirit tugging at you to go ahead and make that decision, then go ahead. God will teach you and lead you into a closer walk with Him. He will refine you and make your crooked places straight and He will continue to do it for the rest of your life! The love of God will lead you into a place you never thought possible. Step out and make that decision, God will not let you fall.