Sunday, October 27, 2013

Conversion thoughts

Jennifer Fulwiler!! What an inspiration! I have been watching every interview I can find on youtube featuring Jennifer Fulwiler. For any of you that dont know her she is a Catholic convert from atheism . I have strongly identified with her conversion. She came from an atheistic home where her father always encouraged her to seek the Truth no matter what. I could really identify with this. I was not raised atheist but I did have parents who always encouraged me to seek the Truth and they were very supportive of my interests. I experienced a variety of different beliefs: Christian Science, Baptist, New age and agnostic worldly views. As I kept looking and reading and searching, the Catholic Church kept coming up over and over again. When I would read whatever Christian book or magazine I could find  I found myself feeling VERY lonely in my conversion walk toward Christ and the Catholic church. Though I have had support from my husband and parents at different times I still felt lonely in a way in my Christian walk. :) I would read blogs and stories of people who were raised Christian or became Christian but I just couldnt identify with the things they were talking about, well atleast their experiences and their feelings toward new things they were reading.

One BIG thing for me that was a HUGE turn off about Christianity was people doing kind acts for other people because it was what Jesus called them to do. I always thought "why cant these Christians do good things for others because it was good for the other person...wasnt a person worth caring about all on their own?" Everytime I would take one step closer to Christianity I would have to take a step back after hearing something some person would say that just rubbed me the wrong way. Like when I heard things like

" Get to know the person you are trying to convert because if you are friends they would be more likely to listen to you"

This just doesnt work for me. I would rather be friends because that other person is worth caring about and God made them just like he made me and they have the yearning for God just like I do. Like it says in 1 Peter 3:15

15 "but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence"

This is a scripture that I fell in LOVE with when I was going through my conversion. Its just beautiful and really good for my non-abrasive personality. I can always be ready to share or explain the hope in Christ with a person who asks especially if it comes from a genuine relationship. Every person has different gifts and abilities and some people may be able to make friendships with others in hopes to share the beauty of Christ and the Church and that might work for them but for me that would feel unauthentic if I did that. 

Reading Jennifer Fulwilers blog and watching her interviews have been great because I can see how my background, in a way, effects the way that I experience my faith and how I share it with others...and that its ok to be exactly who I am during my walk with Christ. I may not be an Olympian sprinter when it comes to learning about God and Catholic church teaching, I may not always be confident and sure of my understanding as some one who has studied Sacred Scripture and Church teaching but I can be me, slow and steady, sometimes stepping off course, other times falling in that mud pit and having to reach up and accept others help to get back out again and I may be just the right person that someone else needs to meet just to feel like their not alone, as Ive met in a dear friend here in NC and now through the internet with Jennifer Fulwilers conversion story. 

I know I may not seem like the ideal Christian (whatever that means) but I have confidence in Christ and it is a beautiful feeling to know that I have this amazing Church of people and teachings that can help to guide me and teach me about myself and  life. I have also learned that I must be patient, very PATIENT with some things that people say that are not actually what the Church teaches. I have had to run back to the Catechism of the Catholic Church or an encyclical to double check if what someone told me was accurate or inaccurate only to breath a heavy sigh of relief that what they said was not  in line with Church teaching. But Im thankful for moments like that because I have learned SO MUCH more about this beautiful Church from having to double check over and over again.

I have come far by the grace that God has given me and by some very wise and helpful counsel ;) Through out my whole conversion there have been many bumps, hurts, mess ups and beautiful moments. Im thankful for every person that has come in my life whether its a dear friend, a destructive friend, a friend that I have been destructive to, and all in between because I have learned and am learning to love every single one of those people whether its through praying for them now, making peace with them when I can or just trusting that Gods hand is in all things. I am thankful that God colors in many shades when he creates us and continues in creating a masterpiece as He calls us back to Himself with patience and love and lots and lots of encouragement!