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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12 Bible Verses For Faith In Hard Times

Remind yourself that God is always with you.
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Lately, I have felt lost at what God wants for my life. Ever since I've come back to UWG everything has been horrible. It seems that I can't catch a break. I'm trying my best to focus on school, work, and extracurricular activities. But it's hard when I'm having issues with my apartment/roommates and knowing my family back home is struggling and needs many prayers. All, I keep thinking is maybe Carrollton isn't where I belong anymore. I've asked God if He can guide me in the right direction. Below, I have found Bible verses that have helped get me through these rough, past couple of weeks.

1. Isaiah 43:2

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you."

2. Psalm 37:5

"Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in Him, and He will act."

3. Romans 8:18

"The pain that you've been feeling, can't compare to the joy that's coming."

4. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed in strength, and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future."

5. Joshua 1:9

"Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous."

6. Ecclesiastes 3:1

"There is a time for everything and a reason for every activity under the heavens."

7. Isaiah 41:10

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."

8. Isaiah 66:9

"I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord."

9. Psalm 91:4

"He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

10. Psalm 62:1-2

"My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him, He alone is my rock and my salvation."

11. Philippians 4:13

"I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."

12. Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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Young Adults, If You Do Not Pray Now Is The Time To Start

Prayer is not just for our grandparents.

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Every Sunday night my parents would drag me to the prayer service. There was no kids church, we all had to sit in a pew with my parents and listen. I remember counting tiles on the roof, reading hymnals, doing anything to distract myself, except pray.

I didn't understand it then. What was the point of talking to God if He knew what you were thinking and doing all the time? I didn't understand how important it was not just to let God watch you like an all-seeing eye from Heaven, but to talk and have a personal relationship with him.

We all talk about prayer, it's the Christian thing to do. We pray for our food before every meal. We tell a friend or co-worker we will pray for them. When a friend posts on Facebook or social media about something bad happening, the comment section reads "praying." It's the automated response that everyone gives. If we actually sat down and prayed, think of the good we could do. I am nowhere near perfect, but I know that I can pray.

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16

When I feel like the world is crashing down around me, and there is nothing else I do, this verse is the one that helps me remember that my conversations with God can make a difference. We are called on to pray for everyone. We are called to pray for each other without dispute. No anger, no hatred, just sharing a moment of lifting hands in prayer.

I urge, then first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving be made for all people. 1 Timothy 2:1
Therefore, I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. 1 Timothy 2:8

Prayer can bring people together. When I think back now to those Sunday nights I appreciate all the prayer that was offered up. I don't remember what they were for but weekly we would hear reports of what God had done through prayer. That is a powerful tool.

Prayer is not gender, race, age, or political party bias. It is not something that is out there for the world to see. It is a very personal choice, but it has the power to change the world. The loss of Reverend Billy Graham and so many others this past year brought me to a realization. Our generation needs to step up.

Young adults have the chance to make a huge difference. In an interview, Bishop Bill Hamon said that he believes young adults are going to be an army for God that is unstoppable and on fire. You can see it in all that we do. We are driven, we are not afraid, we are unstoppable. It is up to us to start making a difference in prayer.

Don't wait for the prayer warriors in your life to reach heaven before you start praying. The time is now because none of us are promised tomorrow.

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