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Where to Begin?

February 27, 2010

Part of the reason I haven’t updated this blog in a few weeks, is that I don’t really know where to begin. I have such a passion to get out there some vital truths that helped me, hoping they might be a blessing to someone.

I also realize that there are blogs, books and websites already up that might be trying to do the same thing. But I want other people who are struggling with their faith to know that there is someone else that has gone through something similar.

So the beginning of my blog may seem confusing. Not really a direction to it. But, I am just going to write, and just get out something. Hopefully, this Hodge podge writing will develop into something a bit more understandable. Till then bare with me. πŸ˜‰

So I guess I will start in the beginning. Chronological order always seems the best way to start out something. Even reading the Bible that way is the best. (But I will get to that part later)

My parents were both raised in Catholic homes. In my mother’s home, her father was a devout Catholic. Her mother was agnostic, although raised as Episcopalian I believe. But since her father was Catholic and her mother was not, it was considered an unequal yoked marriage. My Grandmother couldn’t marry in the church or in a wedding gown.

My mother was forced to go to Catholic school. I believe it was called ” Pericoal School”. She hated every minute of it. She still loves to tell me stories of all the inconsistencies of the Catholic faith that went on with the school.

When she got to high school she begged her dad to let her go to public highschool. He allowed it. She went through a time of rebellion of “faith” during this time. She married young, to an uncatholic young man, at 18 I believe, and her husband died one week later in training accident.

From there, she went to college in another state, and met my father at her cousins graduation party from college. They married. Dad was in the Navy, and he went to serve his time on ship, and mom was on her own for a while.

She became with child with my brother during one of my dad’s visits home, and while he still aboard ship, she moved back in with her parents because she was just so lonely and pregnant.

When my brother was born, dad’s Navy duty was done, so they settled into married life.

Dad was brought up in a “religious” home. When he married my mom he was Catholic. But he has been everything before that. His mom liked to try out all the churches I guess. πŸ˜‰ He was forced to become Catholic when he was 16 because his sister was marrying a devout Catholic man. His sister’s fiance entire family had nuns and priests in it. So my aunt had to be Catholic, and so did her family.

Dad went to a Pericoal high school. But I don’t think he bought too much into the Catholic faith. He just “practiced” (if you can call it that) because he was obligated to do so.

So back to him and my mom being married and having my older brother. They wanted to raise my brother right. They decided to go back to church. I believe they even had my brother baptized. But both my mom and dad hated the Catholic church. They both were disillusioned and unsatisfied with it. However they continued on, because, in their minds, it was the right thing to do.

Fast forward a couple more years. My sister is born. She is also baptized into the Catholic church, but Mom and Dad are still feeling unsatisfied. When my sister was about seven or eight months old, a young couple knocked on my parents door.

My mother was a stay at home mom, and my dad was working full time and going to college full time. So mom loved to have excuess to visit with people. She looked out her peephole in the door, and noticed the wife of this young couple was very pregnant.

My dad had warned her to just shoo the “Baptists” off when they came knocking on the door by telling them that they were Catholic. But mom just felt so sorry for this lady. Walking around the neighborhood so very pregnant. Well, mom… she decided she would at least be nice when she shooed them away.

She opened the door, and the first thing the man asked her was, “Is your husband a Ham Radio Operator?”
Mom says, “Why yes he is!”
The man says, “I can tell because of the antenna on your house. My father is a missionary in Brazil and I haven’t talked with him for months. Do you think your husband would mind contacting my father and letting me talk with him?”
Mom says, “Sure! You can come over Saturday for supper and he can work it out for you”

So mom invited these “baptists” over for supper before they even asked the famous “IFB” question of soulwinning. Some shooing she did! (Laugh out Loud!)

They chit chatted some more, and then the man asked my mom, “Well, we are training to be missionaries to Brazil as well, and we are going around the neighborhood with a survey. Would you mind answering a few questions?”
Mom’s like, “Sure”

So first question was, “If you were to die tomorrow, are you 100% sure where would spend eternity?”

Mom was taken a back. She wasn’t offended by the question. It was asked honestly, and these people seemed to really like her and care about her. She just never thought about such a thing. So she said,
“I don’t really know. I would like to think heaven. I don’t smoke, and I try to be a good person” When mom tells her story, she doesn’t really tell me what these people said back. I guess they just asked more questions for their survey, and maybe said something about Jesus in there.

But the important thing was…they were coming back on Saturday for dinner! πŸ˜‰

Dad comes home from work. Mom tells him the “baptists” are coming over for supper and that the man wants to contact his dad in Brazil, after they eat, on his radio.

Dad about blew up. For one the “baptists” were coming. And another thing was, that he told mom it would be almost impossible to reach the man’s father on a whim like that. He would have to write to the guy and let him know a time and bandwidth to meet him on, and obviously there wasn’t anytime to do such a thing before Saturday. Needless to say, dad wasn’t happy with my mother. πŸ˜‰ And mom said, “Well, they are coming over anyway, so just be nice!”

Saturday came, and after supper, my dad told this guy about the unlikelihood of being able to reach his father, but he would try anyway.

So they walked over to dad’s radio, and dad called the call letters, and right away, this man’s father answered back! My dad was floored!

My dad ends up liking these people and my mom and dad agreed to a Bible Study every weekend with them.

About six weeks later of Bible Study, my mother understood the gospel, and put her faith in Jesus and finished work on the cross. My dad did a few weeks later.

My parents were baptized in a lake, and the missionary couple finished their training and left for the mission field. My parents lost contact with them, and dad got a job in Chicago land, and moved.

Mom and dad were genuine Christians, but sort of flipped flopped in the wind concerning attending chruch. They didn’t really know what kind of churches to attend, so they would visit a church and based upon that particular churches doctrinal statement, they would go there. Sometimes it would be baptist, sometimes, non-denominational, sometimes Alliance, and sometimes, Presbyterian. Sometimes there would be years before attending church again. But they mostly attended Southern Baptist.

I came eight years after they were born again. When I came along they were attending a Southern Baptist Church in the suburbs of Atlanta. My dad was doing very well for himself when I was born. And my parents were at the happiest part of their lives.

I was dedicated to the Lord. I was the first baby to not be baptized. I think that caused a little ruckus with my dad’s mom. But they didn’t care.

When I was barely three years old, we moved to Florida, where Mom and Dad attended an Alliance church. I don’t remember much of that church, but I do remember good, stable family times. I attended Preschool in a Presbyterian church, and loved it.

At almost five years old we moved back to Atlanta, but a different suburb. Mom and Dad couldn’t find a church in the city we lived in that they liked. I sort of floated around attending different churches of my friends after spending the night on Saturday night. I went a Baptist Church, once a Catholic church (which bored me to tears! It reminded me of circus de soleil. (Of Course I didn’t know that at the time, but looking back on the experience, that is exactly what it looked like to me. pomp and circumstance of it all)

And for a five-year old that can be quite frightening!
I remember one Summer going to many Vacation Bible Schools. Our Pentecostal neighbor even had one in her backyard at her house. I remember that one was my favorite. Lots of games, and good stories. But I didn’t get it all. To me it was just fun. Nothing more.

At the end of it all, I saw another neighbor boy carrying a New Testament with a picture of Jesus surrounded by little children on the cover. It was so tiny and cute! I wanted one. I asked him where he got it. He said that he had just gotten saved, and the teachers gave it to him.

By this time the teachers were packing their car up with all their equipment. I didn’t want to miss my chance! So I ran to the teacher and asked her if I could have one of those tiny little cute Bibles. She says, “Oh but dear, we only give them to the children that get saved” So I basically yelled in excited tones, “I want to get saved!”

Well, that must have been the magic words because she about dropped everything, and a big smile spread across her face, and she led me to the porch steps and we sat down. She started asking me a lot of questions. By this time I was getting impatient. I was hungry for lunch and I wanted my Bible. But my mom had taught me to be polite, and I let her ask the questions, and I must have answered them correctly because she said, “Well, let’s pray and ask Jesus into your heart!” So I said, “Ok!” And then she said, “Just repeat after me”

So I did, and I still did not “get it”…I was thinking about food the whole time we were praying. Finally she said Amen. She was crying, and I didn’t know why. I thought she was becoming very strange, because she seemed pretty normal during the week, and now she was crying because I prayed with her. Oh well. I did my part.

She stood up to leave. She must have forgotten about the deal. I get “saved” and I get a bible. So I said, “Mrs. so and so?” She said “Yes Erica?”
“Do I still get the Bible?” I ask as politely as I can muster without sounding impatient
“Oh dear me! I almost forgot! So she walks me up to the car, and hands me the Bible. I say, “Thank you!” and run home. On the way home my best friend saw me with it and asked me about it. I told her the teacher gave it to me, but she would have to be able to pray.

My best friend was supposed to come over for lunch. So she said she would be right over after she talked with the teacher.

When she came over, she had a Bible too. We had matching Bibles! How cute!

My mom told me what date to write in my Bible. It was August 4th, one week before my sixth birthday.

I asked my mom to read to me from that Bible a few times, but it got boring quite quickly. I must have told my mom somewhat of what happened with that teacher. I guess I got the terminology right and told her I got saved and asked Jesus into my heart.

She seemed happy, but the important thing was, I had that cute little New Testament Bible.

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