(By: Mary C.)

I was born and raised a Roman Catholic. Although, as a child, I believed Jesus was God’s son and everything else the Catholic church was teaching me; I started to feel a disconnect when I turned age 13. I had very nice priests and nuns around me but my home life became unbearable. Up to that point, home was a difficult place to live, but in my child’s mind, I prayed hard & really believed it would get better as I got older. But it only grew worse, and by the time I turned 13, I questioned everything about God. I still believed God existed, but I felt abandoned by Him, or that He was punishing me for something I did by making me live at home. I started believing that everything I was taught about God was a lie, especially His love and mercy. Why didn’t I feel that? Why would He let this little kid who didn’t do anything wrong suffer so much? Then, adolescence hit me and I fell into an agonizing depression coupled with anxiety. My dad scared me to death. Once he got home, I had to walk on egg shells and hope & pray it would be a quiet night without any drama. My dad suffers with mental health issues and being around him was tense…you never knew what he was going to do or say; he was always mad and yelling at someone. We kids grew accustomed to staying as far away from him as possible.

Then when I was 17, we moved to NY where I quickly made some friends who really liked to party. By this time I had abandoned praying or being religious in any sort of way and took on a new attitude that I was going to make up for all that lost time and have as much fun as possible and get away with as much as I could get away with. My parents were never helicopter parents so I had a lot of freedom. I was dating a boy my age and hanging out with some friends just a little older than me and we were having a blast. I truly felt like I had finally started to “live”. I started working and going to school, and partied like crazy on the weekends. I eventually fell in love with the boy I was dating, and I lived this way for a good 5½ years. Then we broke up and I lost all my friends too because they were in his friend group so I ended up alone. I was devastated by the breakup because I really thought he and I were going to get married one day. I started seeing a psychiatrist to get over the breakup and I tried to live a normal life but I was just putting on a show. Deep down inside I was empty, broken, lost, hurt and my depression and anxiety flooded back into me worse than before. Every so often, I would date someone new or try a new hobby but nothing amounted to much, and for the next 8 years or so I just kinda’ existed without really living. I considered suicide many times during those 8 years but for some reason I just couldn’t go through with it.

When I turned 30, I met this really nice guy named Anthony. We started dating and I started enjoying life again instead of just going through the motions of living. Anthony was a Christian and asked me if I had a relationship with God. “Sure I do” I said, because I did…I talked to God everyday. I either said “God, I don’t know what you’re all about, but thank you for this day; it wasn’t half bad” or “Thanks a lot, God. Today was one of the most horrible days of my life! How dare you pick on me!” followed by a lot of words I’d rather not mention here. I figured He was God and He could handle it. But what Anthony meant was a relationship with Jesus which I didn’t have. He told me he wanted to make his relationship w/Jesus better and if I was interested, we could work on it together. I said no thanks and really meant it, but every so often he’d bring it up and try to get me to at least read a little of the bible w/him.

I gave Anthony a hard time at first, but once I realized we were getting seriously, emotionally involved w/each other, I knew it was a subject that wouldn’t just go away. So I started to do a lot of things w/him: reading the bible, going to church, going to bible studies and praying. But I told him that I’m just going through the motions…I don’t know if I’d ever fully commit to this “Christian” thing. He said it was alright and appreciated the effort. I actually had a plan of my own; that once he started seeing how foolish faith is…to believe in a God who didn’t really interact w/you on a daily basis (like what happened to me when I was a child) he’d abandon God the way I did. Well, thank God that didn’t happen – the complete opposite happened…God started softening my heart and little by little started drawing me closer & closer to Him.

Anthony & I married 2½ years after meeting each other, and a month after our wedding we went hiking Upstate NY. During the drive to the hiking area, I put my head back, looked up into the sky and prayed one of my prayers, “God, I don’t know who you are or what you’re all about, but thank you for this beautiful day. And please fill me with that grace that I hear so much about from other people”. The second I finished that prayer, I felt a surge of energy rushing through my body & my heart started pounding. I was paralyzed by this amazing feeling of love that enveloped me. It was such a pure, unconditional love that saturated every atom of my body. somehow just knew it was the Holy Spirit. He embraced me w/this love for a while and then He pulled back just a little.

I came to my senses and immediately wanted to hide my face and kneel in front of the Lord. It’s a knee jerk reaction when you’re in the presence of Almighty God. But there was more to it than that. I felt humbled that even though I was such a “doubting Thomas” God still loved me with this amazing love. The Holy Spirit didn’t scold me for doubting (He wasn’t wagging a finger at me)—it was my own humility I felt…brought on by me. I had been so faithless and He didn’t hold it against me. He then replaced all that doubt with truth and with faith. It was an instant exchange; He specifically gave me this unshakable faith, specifically, that Jesus is the Son of God, the Bible is the Word of God & Jesus is my Savior. I had absolutely no doubt in my heart that Jesus was my Savior and everything He said was true. It was so beautiful; I felt so loved and so much at peace and so privileged that the Holy Spirit gave me this amazing gift. I wanted to die right then and there to stay with the Lord forever. He pulled back a little bit again and I turned to Anthony and said, “honey, I think I’ve just been saved”. He saw that I had tears pouring down my face and he just thought I was having a “moment”.

We got to the hiking trail and throughout the whole hike, the Lord gave me visions & truths. He specifically told me to concentrate on the Lord. Read His Word; glorify the Lord; pray; live His will, not my own. Life will be a different experience if I followed Jesus’ example. Love, love, love. Choose love, the greatest emotion. And no matter how much suffering we endure, no matter what happens in our lives, just cooperate and accept that it’s God’s mission. Don’t worry about it; He knows what He’s doing. It’s going to be hard, but trust in the Lord; stay close to Him. He is the way, the truth and the life. We’ve got the directions. We have to follow them. Heaven awaits and it’s amazing! It’s God’s promise to us. This life is temporary; deal w/it with the help of the Lord because it’s not this life that matters, it’s the next. We’re not going to get all the answers to why things happen the way they do here. We’ll learn all that in due time. Just stay close to the Lord in this lifetime and rejoice in His goodness.

It was like a blindfold was ripped off my face. All these answers were real! He also told me that as Christians, we need to tell people about this. We need to spread the word; it’s our duty. And to keep our minds focused on the Lord’s word, the Bible. He does work in mysterious ways, but if we keep our minds focused on Him, we’re that much more open to His messages. He will speak to you! The Holy Spirit will be part of your life if you want Him to be!

Please don’t give up on God the way I did as a teenager. He’s with you always and He is faithful. Now when I look back on my life…I’m still saddened by the fact that I had to go through so many horrible experiences, but I cannot deny that I could’ve ended up with a worse life than the one I had and the one I have now. Looking back, God was participating in my life, although at the time, I didn’t see it through all my pain. The Holy Spirit helped me to see that He made things happen in my life so it wouldn’t be worse than it was. He put me in places that I didn’t necessarily want to go. He led me down certain roads when I wanted to go in the opposite direction. He put people in my life who made a positive impact on me and really made a difference in my life. He helped me to see that as hard as it is for me to imagine, it could’ve been worse. He WAS participating in my life. He DID NOT abandon me. May God richly bless you with His goodness!

Dear Reader - are you at peace with God? If not, you can be. Do you know what awaits you when you die? You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. You can even have that assurance RIGHT NOW! Either Jesus Christ died for your sins, or He didn't (He did!). Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God? We plead with you...please don't make such a tragic mistake.

To get to know God, to be at peace with God, to have your sins forgiven, to make certain heaven will be your home for eternity, to make certain that you are in right-standing with God right now ... please click here to help you understand the importance of being reconciled to God. What you do about being reconciled to God will determine where you will spend eternity, precious one. Your decision to be reconciled to God is the most important decision you'll ever make in this life, because in Christ, it is impossible to put a value on the worth of your soul in light of eternity.


JESUS DID IT! and...


Remember: All that we do in this life comes back to our God-given purpose which is to serve and glorify God. The money and assets we accumulate, the fame and power we've attained or seek to attain - all of the things of this nature will one day pass away, but those lives of others we impact for Jesus Christ will last for eternity, and we will be rewarded for the part we helped play by impacting those lives ... for eternity. (Matthew 6:19-20 is our assurance)