Personal testimonies about our journeys to Orthodoxy
Discovering Mercy and Compassion
“Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.”
Introduction – A Journey of Faith
If you told anyone who knew me 15 years ago that I would be an Orthodox Catholic you would get a blank look of unbelief. In fact, if you told me 5 years ago that I would be an Orthodox Christian, it would have been extremely difficult for me to believe. Orthodoxy is the last thing I ever thought to be and most certainly was the belt I was “girded” with that carried me to a place I did not wish to go; death to myself. That is why I feel the need to tell my own journey of faith. I would like to present a short story of my faith journey with an explanation as to why I became an Orthodox Christian.
My faith journey begins when I was a child. I was raised in a Roman Catholic home, though our family practiced faith regularly. However, I was baptized in the Catholic church as an infant. As I grew older, I grew further from my faith and the Roman Church and wanted nothing to do with “organized religion” because they put fear that if you continued to sin you will never be allowed in heaven.” In my teen years, I was a typical teenager rebelling against the status quo and desired to stay away from religion if I could help it, even though I dabbled in different religions in my desperation to find the truth. I knew I was loosing my faith and trust in Christ.
It was in my late 30’s a close friend suggested I needed Christ in my life, After a couple of years of not speaking to this friend because she continued to ask me to attend church with her. When a horrible event happened in my life, she would open the Bible and discuss religion and plead with me every time to come to her church. I refused many times until, I think out of the same desperation I had always needed something more, I finally gave in and went to church with her one Sunday at Colonial church of Christ.
This decent size church had a theme “At the Movies” and I remember they used different books from the Bible and used movies to show how they reflected our life. I found this way of teaching scripture convicting and enlightening. I remember thinking that I should go visit again in the attempt to see if my friend had been telling the preacher what I struggled with in my life. The sermons seemed as if they were directed to me, when really what I was hearing was the Gospel for the first time piercing my heart.
After a few months of visiting, I decided to become a youth leader. This was a radical conversion that changed my life. It was one where I believe the Spirit of God“renewed my faith.” After 5 months of attending this church, I was obsessed with finding the original church, or at least the restored church. The Colonial Church was the closest to this reality as far as I knew. I left the church in search of finding the one true church, I was driving one Sunday morning and thinking I need to be in church and finally asked God to take control I needed to go home and live the life he planned for me and I could no longer do it on my own. Well he answered me 2 weeks later I was getting coffee at Frank & Joes and I saw a priest, and at that moment I felt a push to speak with him. I sat down with him and told him what was going on, and why I left the Roman Church so he invited me to his church. I waited 2 weeks and asked God if this is where I needed to be. I woke up the following Sunday, and knew that God have me the answer I had been searching for, as I entered the Church I felt the heaviness leave and the darkness turned into light. I was finally home and from that day on my life with Christ has been growing ever since.