The Time My Life Changed for the Better

The Time My Life Changed for the Better

From one faith to another
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As a little girl, I went to Sunday School almost every Sunday with my mom to the Second Church of Christ Scientist in Richmond, VA. It was only a five minute drive away from our house. Some mornings, my mom had to bribe me to go with her or pull me out of bed to go. I would've rather stayed home playing with my Barbies or with my best friend down the street. One thing that usually got me to go to Sunday School was the fact that my mom told me that we would go out to lunch with everybody after church. Also, my childhood best friend was in my Sunday School class. She made it a little more bearable.

As I got older, I tried to get out of going to church more and more. The first time I was ever left home alone was the day I absolutely refused to go to church with my mom. I had no interest and wanted to go back to bed. My mom waved the white flag and left. After that fit, I decided I would obey, and that I would go to church again. I mean, c'mon, it's only an hour.

Then, 2009 hit. I was still going to Sunday School and going out to lunch with all of our family friends after. I was starting to understand more of what we were learning. Then, the summer came. Now, for the past four years I had been going to summer camp in Maine called Newfound/Owatonna. My mom, my uncle, and some of my mom's closest friends went there when they were kids. We had pretty much planned for me to go back in 2009, too. A roadblock got in the way when my mom got sick. I had a very close family friend come pick me up for church on Sundays, and then another friend would take me to dinner before Wednesday night testimonies. I started losing my faith.

My mom passed away and I went to church for a few more times, and ended up refusing to go anymore. I couldn't understand why God would let something like this happen to a girl like me.

That's when my dad and his side of the family decided to take me to Catholic mass one Sunday at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Richmond. I wasn't so sure. I had been to Catholic mass as a little girl when we went down to Texas to visit my family. I didn't like it. I found it long and boring. I usually just took a nap in the pew.

I then began going to mass with my dad every Sunday. I started to really enjoy it and felt like this was where I was supposed to be. I knew this was what I needed.

After a few months, my dad introduced me to Father Renninger, at the time, he had just started at St. Mary's as the priest. He was hilarious. He had the entire congregation laughing out loud during his homilies, and he still does. I then met two ladies who would become my catechism leaders. From then on, I went to mass every Sunday at 9:00 A.M. and then would have my catechism lessons downstairs in one of the church's board rooms. I did it along with my friend from elementary school. These lessons went on for a number of weeks. I learned prayers, stories, teachings, and why different sacraments were performed.

Then, Easter came along. The week leading up to Easter Sunday, I had almost my entire dad's side of the family come into town. We went to Holy Thursday and Good Friday services. Then, the Saturday night before Easter Sunday, I was baptized into the Catholic Church. I received my Baptism, my Confirmation, and my First Communion all in one night. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face for hours. I was so happy. It was a feeling of peace and happiness that washed over me like a wave. I realized, 'Wow! I've been missing out on all off this my entire life!'

As of today, I still love being Catholic. There have been moments where I have questioned my faith and if it is really for me, but I know 100% that I am right where I need to be.

*Picture above is mine

Cover Image Credit: The Michigan Catholic Choir

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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My Relationship With Religion Will Never Be Black And White

and that's okay!

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views

I was raised Christian let's get that out the way. Growing up in a small town I went to Awana (a children's church group Wednesday nights) and then once I was in middle school started youth group that night instead as well as a normal church on Sundays. If you would ask me from me being really young to probably around 15 I was all about church and building a relationship with God.

After leaving public school and growing my presence online and meeting so many people from all walks of life, I started questioning things.

Suddenly, I was immersed in this community with the best people who just loved everyone regardless of gender or sexuality or race and it was the place I was able to come to terms with something I had always repressed, my feelings towards girls.

I knew the moment I started talking to a girl named Laura that I had feelings for her I would normally have for a boy and because of the people I now had around me I just didn't suppress it. I identified online and eventually to family and friends as bisexual.

My questions started with wondering how my god this loving all knowing entity I had always known was un-accepting and promoted the exclusion of the LGBTQ+ community from the Christian faith. I knew that this community was full of the most loving and creative and beautiful people I have ever met and that was the start of me knowing my relationship with God would never be the same.

As I grew up and have become an activist for the things that mean a lot to me I have stopped attending church and have begun to see that I do not want any part in ANY religion that takes part in shunning anyone based on how they identify. I have been vocal about this to many people some more excepting then others but regardless I will never again take part in something that I myself am not 100% accepted within

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