For 33 years I was a Roman Catholic. I came from a family that were actually founding members of the Catholic Church in our community. My grandparents help start the church in our town in the early 1900's. Therefore, it was inconceivable that I would be anything BUT Catholic. Of course, I went to Catholic School, mass 6 days a week, and was totally ingrained into the religion. My heart ALWAYS loved God. I couldn't get enough. Like most little girls, I had at one time thought of becoming a nun. However, high school and the discovery of boys quickly changed that.
At 24, I was married in the Church and subsequently had both my children baptized as Catholics. By this time, my faith was ALIVE, but my worship practices were DEAD. No longer did I feel ANYTHING when I went to Mass and stopped going. When I got divorced 4 years later at 29, I was LONGING for something more. As I was going through the annulment procedures of my marriage, I suddenly realized something was terribly wrong with this procedure and the church in general.
Both of my sisters had left the church. One never to return to ANY religion and my twin had joined the Disciples of Christ Church. God bless her, she never gave up on me. She kept asking and asking for me to attend church with her. For a LONG time I refused. Instead, I turned to the NEW AGE movement--NO ONE knew more about the movement or had more books than I did. I was convinced beyond ANY doubt that God had bestowed psychic powers on me, and I was constantly seeking new ways of "enlightenment" from the new age movement. NEVER having studied the Bible in the Catholic church, I was LOST and confused when I tried to read the King James Version and told myself that "new age" material was much better. I understood everything. Then my sister purchased for me "the Book," which is basically a simple everyday language version of the Bible.
The year was 1989, and as I read The Book, God opened my mind and my heart. Once again, I was on fire. I couldn't get enough, study enough, read enough, only THIS TIME it was from God. In March, 1989, I visited for the first time in my ENTIRE life a church other than a Catholic Church. That day was like a miracle for me. The Scriptures came alive, and I believe I was "reborn" by hearing the REAL truth. Not long after, I committed myself to Christ and joined the Disciples of Christ Church.
It has been a LONG process. Frequently I am tempted by the devil to question the differences between Catholics and Christians. I HAVE learned how to overcome these doubts. Unlike some people, I wasn't instantly "changed." It has taken me years of study and practice to get to the place I am today. My heart ACHED when as a child people would ridicule my faith or try to "convert" me. I didn't understand why the world hated Catholics and why we were so misunderstood. Therefore, I am EXTREMELY careful about how I view my former faith. PEOPLE MUST REALIZE that most Catholics come from families where this faith has been passed from generation to generation. Because Catholics are instructed it is WRONG to go to another church even for one service, oftentimes Catholics have never head the TRUE gospel. Therefore it is important to proceed GENTLY when explaining the gospel or witnessing to Catholics. They are NOT KNOWINGLY practicing the wrong way. They simply don't know any better. I thank God each day that He opened my heart. I also believe that many times we must go on a spiritual journey AWAY from God so that we may know what is out there and THEN return to our Lord. Praise be to God.