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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Conversion...

I never really chat on my blog about my religion, which is crazy since it is such a huge part of my life now.

I say now, because growing up I never really had much of a religion. Religion seriously intimidated me and I always envied the kids that knew more about church and God. Sundays in our family were alway sporadic as my parents were divorced so church was the last thing on the weekend agenda. Do not get me wrong I had amazing parents and a great upbringing but the one thing lacking was religion. We grew up in a small amish village (no joke it was so small it was considered a village...not even a stop light people) and there were a handful of churches mostly Mennonite and Methodist churches.

I would sometimes attend the little church in the center of the village with my grandparents, and I loved everything about it! The quaintness, warmth and aura of the church gave me a warm feeling.. My grandparents knew so many people in the church so it always felt very comforting to be at such an amazing place. I won't lie, I was so young I did not pay much attention. Which is probably where my problem of being so confused started.

On the other end of the religious spectrum my dad was married to a lady who I am not too fond of for a small period of time. She was one of those people who just went to church to say she went and to put on a little show (gag me!). She never had a reason for us to go or did we ever really talk about it to make sure I was understanding the teachings. Every other weekend when I was with them we would attend one of those MEGA churches, it had like a gazillion services, bright lights, projection screens and band style music. I felt like such a small fish is a huge sea. Not having much, if any of a religion walking into this place made it worse. I just felt so out of place and confused with everything around me. I did not feel like I was at home or at peace when I was there. That gave me a horrible taste in my mouth...

During college and through my adult years I was searching for the perfect church and religion for me. I knew that religion was something I wanted in my life. I knew that I wanted and needed God to be with me every moment of every day. My friend and I attended a young adult centered church service on Sunday nights, but it was deja vu all over again. The church was HUGE and it was like a rock concert with a few spurts here and there about God. I felt like I never really left with a FULL understanding of what was taught, I was always left wanting to know more.

Since I knew I wanted a religion I kept forth on my track to find the perfect fit for me. It is like finding the perfect dress, some may look amazing on your best friend, but you may look like a complete trainwreck in them. Religion is the same way. Some churches are a perfect fit for one person and vice versa. But so far I had not found my idea of perfect.

I tried another church with a coworker of mine, and needless to say I wanted to bury my head during service. The church was not really even a church, more of a social hall, there were a lot of "Praise the LORD" and "AMEN"s being spurted randomly during the service. It totally made me jump out of my seat. I was biting my nails the entire time. They also spoke in "tongues", which I HAD NO IDEA ever existed (I am from a small amish town remember). My co-worker was such an amazing person and I had such respect for her and her love for God, but it just was not for me.

When I met Jordan I was struck by his dedication to his faith in the Catholic church. I had been to a catholic church before and I must say I had never had a weird feeling during or after mass which is a good sign for me. Once we started dating I changed my work schedule so I could attend mass with him every Sunday. At first it was a little weird for me to wake up on Sundays and get in the routine of mass. That sounds so horrible to me now since it is the one day of the week I now look forward to!

There was something so natural about the mass, I got a warmth from those around me in saying the creed and professing our faith together as one. Of course at first I had NO IDEA what I was saying, it took me awhile to catch on but now it is second nature. I decided early in our relationship that I did want to make the conversion to becoming catholic...i guess if you can call it a conversion since I never really had a religion. I decided in the summer of 2008 to enroll in RCIA that fall at our new church.

I of course also found out about a month before RCIA started that I was pregnant with Vincent, so here I was entering the Church unmarried and pregnant, I was a tad nervous of what others would think to say the least. Jordan was my sponsor and helped me along my journey to being baptized. I learned EVERYTHING that I had always wanted to know about the religion, finally I was getting the knowledge! RCIA lasted from September all the way to Easter Vigil where my baptism took place. I was baptized and confirmed and received my first communion Easter of 2009, 2 years ago, the actual day Vincent was supposed to be due. The priest joked that we could have a double baptism if I went into labor! ha! (I was a BLIMP in my white robe...not my most flattering moment!)

It was such an amazing time for me to be welcomed into the church the week before I gave birth to my first son who we would also be raising Catholic. It was so surreal to me. I had found the perfect religion for myself, and most importantly for our children. I am so happy to have such an amazing foundation to raise the boys on. Sunday is by far my favorite day of the week now, it's not always perfect with 2 little ones in Mass but we make it through each and every week and slowly but surely Vincent is catching on! He kneels and folds his hands to pray, he does the sign of the cross and shakes hands for peace. It is by far the most rewarding feeling seeing our hard work pay of through the actions of our children.

I am happy and at peace with the decision I made to become Catholic a little over 2 years ago and I am so blessed with all the amazing people we have met through our churches.

8 comments:

  1. Great story. I'm glad you found what you were looking for!

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  2. What a wonderful "conversion" story. And how wonderful that you can see the fruits of your labor in your son. I am a Mormon and must say I became really strong in my church for my children. And now of course it is also really important to me, also. Enjoyed reading your post.

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  3. Thanks for sharing your story. I, too, have never found the "right fit" when it comes to religion and/or churches. I know I would love more religion in our family but struggle to find the place where we feel comfortable.

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  4. awesome! I'm Baptist, but I understand what you are saying in your post. My dad was "religious", my mom didn't talk about church much. Just that she believed in Jesus, and read her Bible but she didn't go to church. (They were divorced)

    But you know, sometimes certain people will turn you completely off to churhc...but not to God and that's what happened to my mom. Now I go on Sundays and she asked last week if she could come with us. We love the preacher (not the music director). It would be nice to have good music to go along with the preaching :). I'm so glad you found the church that was right for you!

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  5. I grew up Catholic but have sine gone to another church. BUT I love the Catholic church and will ALWAYS have a deep appreciation and respect for it. One thing I love about it, is that it's so traditional and unchanging. And, there are some Die-hard devoted Catholics out there (My dad would be one of those people). I am so happy you found what you were looking for. <3

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  6. Welcome Home! Being Catholic is just amazing! I am a cradle Catholic but my beloved is a convert (he grew up Southern Baptist). He knows more than I and he's been Catholic half the years I have, lol...so I have a high respect for converts into the Catholic faith, you all open my eyes! I have taken my faith for granted and through my hubby and others like yourself, I see how beautiful and rich our Catholic faith is and how amazing it is to share it with your beautiful little blessings!

    Congratulations and Welcome home!
    Blessings,
    Erika
    raisinglittlesaints.blogspot.com

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  7. Wow Allie!! I just found this post now. Thanks so much for sharing your conversion story! So glad you feel at home :)
    I love being Catholic, and can't wait to start seeing little Gemma "catching on" as you said!

    I (and I'm sure your other followers) would LOVE to hear more about your love story (i.e. PROPOOOOSAL!! haha and wedding!)

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  8. Tom went through the RCIA program at our church the same time you went through it. I am so proud of him for deciding to join me in Catholic faith!!

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Thanks for your comments, If I do not respond to you, feel free to yell at me! I really love you all~!