Wednesday, November 22, 2000

Life Story Thus Far

I thought it might helpful to have this in a post in case I ever need it as a reference to something I may be posting so you (my readers) will understand where I'm coming from.

I was born to Marie and Michael, my parents, and Pamela my older sister. My sister and I were raised by my mom/grandparents/uncles. My parents divorced when I was a baby and dad was not in the picture. I grew up as Catholic (read: weekly Mass, Our Father before bed with mom). After a horrific experience in 2nd grade at public school, I begged to go to Catholic school simply because I liked the uniform they wore. Somehow, my single mom living paycheck to paycheck, made it work. My sister and I went to Catholic School the next year. This, however, made no difference in my faith. I made some great friends...but did not meet God by any means.

At the end of the 8th grade, my mom got remarried. She thought the annulment process was ridiculous so she got married in my step-dad's Congregational Church. She cried about it for their entire honeymoon.

During my freshman year of high school, back into public school, my sister was a Junior at her Catholic high school. She had her yearly retreat and met some friends who were part of a youth group. She began going with the youth minister to that Church and youth group. We were convinced she was crazy for liking Church that much. That was of course, until she invited me to come. I went to this rally they had and loved that people I just met were hugging me and making me feel welcome.

She invited me to their Wednesday night meetings (they were usually only for members of the youth group) because there was going to be a speaker. His name is Richard Bingold. He had quite a witness story. God used this man to change my life forever. He spoke of having to ask his family for forgiveness for the radical life he had lived. It was at the very moment he spoke of his son that I cried just about every possible tear that one can cry in a single sitting. I had realized just how much hate had been building in my heart for my absent father. God broke through the wall of hate and invited me to forgive. "I can't do this, Lord"...I knew at that moment I couldn't do it without God. "...Help me..." Tears flowed like a river. My life changed and it felt like I had woken up after years of being asleep. I was able to smile like never before. God was my help, my  joy, my life. I did not understand at the time, but someone asked if I journaled about this experience and I said no. That night, I went home and tried writing but couldn't find the right words. So I wrote all I thought...."God, I promise to never give up on You...I will never leave you. I am yours now." Shortly after writing that, many changes happened at that very youth group I had become a part of. Many of my peers fell away from the group, from Church, from God...including the person who brought me.

I remained. I actually only left that Church last year. Over the years I grew more and more in love with the Catholic faith, with the Church, with God! I spent most of life involved with youth ministry and only recently have been away from it.

Many struggles have been layed out on this journey of my life, and God has brought me and my family through them all. He continues to work on my heart. He continues to lead me. I continue to promise, even through my sin and doubts, to never leave Him.