Friday, February 28, 2014

My Story - Part I

I realized I never really shared my conversion story on my blog. When I started my blog, I started with a little bit of my background story but it was really part 2 of my story. Here is the rest or should I say, beginning of my story:

I was born in Jefferson City, Missouri and grew up in a little town called Mexico, Missouri. We lived in the country and had cows in our back yard. My parents as well as extended family lived in or near Jeff City. I was also raised Catholic. We went to mass every Sunday but I do not recall God ever being talked about in our home and I do not remember us ever praying together except grace at meal times.

Since it was the Midwest, people were very friendly. It was pretty common to say hello to people you didn't know. So, if I had any faith at all, it was in people. When I was 11, we moved to Louisiana. Again, people were very friendly and I didn't have any trouble making friends. When I was 15 however and a sophomore in high school, we moved to Coral Springs, FL. South Florida was a lot different than the Midwest and the little town in Louisiana where I grew up. It was especially difficult to move there and try to make friends in my second year of high school. Kids already had their friends and their cliques.

By the time I was 18, I lost the only faith I really had, which was in people. I became very discouraged, started to doubt the existence of God and stopped going to church. I fell into a life of sin and deeper and deeper despair. One thing that I would not do was drugs. My friends and even my boyfriend at the time would do drugs even right in front of me but I would not join in. One day I decided I would give it a try. I told my boyfriend, expecting him to have something on hand. To my surprise he did not. We had to drive into a shady part of town after dark looking for his dealer. So, here we are driving along when all of a sudden we had to come to a stop because there were five really big guys lined up across the road and three of them were holding rifles. They surrounded our car while shouting at us as one of them pointed his gun right at me. My life flashed before my eyes. I seriously thought they were going to kill us. All I could think about in that moment was that they were going to kill us, bury us somewhere and no one would even know what happened to us. I had never been so scared in all my life. Before I knew it however, they had let us go and we were driving away.

Needless to say, that incident began my conversion process. After that situation, I stopped hanging out with my friends and I stayed in my room for nearly two weeks straight and thought about my life. I started to question if there was a God; if there was a heaven and a hell and where I would have gone if I had died. After those two weeks, I decided to go to church after being away for a year. That Sunday seemed different however and during the consecration of the Eucharist at Mass, it's like my eyes were open for the first time and I recognized Jesus. I experienced his love and mercy towards me. I felt his presence. I realized at that moment that that was what I was longing for and I gave him my life that October day in 1988. That is when life really began!

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