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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To That One Friend Who Deserves The World

Since I can't give you the world, I hope giving you this article is enough.
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My wonderful friend,

You deserve love.

You deserve to marry your best friend.

You deserve appreciation.

You deserve that no matter who comes in and out of your life, every selfless thing you do for someone is acknowledged.

Have Your Voice Heard: Become an Odyssey Creator

You deserve kindness.

You deserve to have the nicest people in the world surround you all of the time.

You deserve support.

You deserve to have someone there for you at the beginning of every good day and at the end of every bad one, to have someone who wants to fix all of your problems.

You deserve hope.

You deserve to always be optimistic.

You deserve laughter.

You deserve to never stop smiling and actually mean it every time you do.

You deserve forgiveness.

You deserve to be able to be given second chances because without a doubt you are worth it.

You deserve friendship.

You deserve to have a friend who can be just as good of a friend as you are.

You deserve honesty.

You deserve to always be told the truth.

You deserve motivation.

You deserve to never want to give up and always push yourself.

You deserve success.

You deserve to have everything you have worked so hard for.

You deserve faith.

You deserve to always know it will get better.

You deserve loyalty.

You deserve to have that one person who will never leave and always be there for you.

You deserve happiness.

You deserve to be genuinely content with your life.

You deserve the world.

If I could give it to you, I would.

Yes, life gets tough sometimes. The unthinkable happens and your world feels like it is crashing down but you can get past all of this.

Thank you for being so selfless. It amazes me how you do it sometimes, but thank you for always making everyone your main priority when they need you.

I know I may not say it enough, but truly thank you for all you do for me. I don’t always know how to show how much someone means to me, especially when it is someone as great as you because I don’t know what I did to deserve you, but thank you.

I love you.

Cover Image Credit: Liz Spence

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To The Christian Girl Against Feminism, Religion Isn't An Excuse Not To Fight For Equality

Religion is not an excuse to not fight for feminism.

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When I first read the article "I'm A Christian Girl And I'm Not A Feminist..." I thought it had to be a joke. Unfortunately, it was a sad reality.

I am a privileged white female. I came from a middle-class family with a law-enforcement father. I still am smart enough to realize we NEED intersectional, no strings attached, unconditional feminism. Anyone who disagrees is just wrong. In this case, the author is trying to base her outdated sexist beliefs on the Bible, and I am appalled.

At first, I thought it was a joke, I genuinely read the title out loud to my father and even he said it had to be a man pretending to be a woman. As I read the article I realized that sadly this is a girl who has had religion corrupt her life.

Religion can be a beautiful thing, it can change lives and give people hope that they need. I have heard countless stories about how finding a god has made people better, and that is incredible. However, using religion to say women don't deserve the same as men is absolutely absurd.

Part of me wants to scream in her face that she can't be ok with being a victim, another part of me wants to throw my hands up and give up on her and like-minded individuals. However, in a time like ours where women are coming so close to being equals, I can't sit down or act irrationally.

So here are the facts:

1. Women who work fulltime only make 77% of men's salaries on average. African American women only make 64 cents per dollar and Latina women only make 56 cents per dollar. Imagine being just as capable and trained just as well but a guy makes more money than you because he has a penis.

2. One in three women around the globe has experienced sexual violence. ONE IN EVERY THREE. YOU'RE SURROUNDED BY SURVIVORS. If women were considered equals that would not be the case.

3. Only 24% of high-level management positions are held by women. That's worldwide. 195 countries. Let that sink in. This isn't because women aren't smart either, 60% of all United States college degrees are awarded to women.

4. Women are not allowed to vote in many places, like Saudi Arabia or the Vatican. Imagine not having the right to vote! YOU GET NO SAY IN ANYTHING.

You can thank women for your right to work, vote, get an education, practice a religion that you chose, a range of professions, windshield wipers, bras, dishwashers, diapers, need I go on?

Women are strong as hell and your misinterpretation of an outdated book does not dimish all of the amazing things women have accomplished and will continue to accomplish.

To quote one bad bitch, "Power's not given to you. You have to take it." — Beyoncé Knowles Carter.

Now ladies let's get into our feminist formation and fight for our rights!

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