My faith has been something that I have had a very complex journey with. It is a journey filled with lots of suffering, tribulation, confusion, immeasurable joy, great peace, pursuit of truth and answers, and a journey that I’m still taking to this day. Honestly, this feels very big for me because, for the first time ever, I am going to do what the church calls bearing witness which means talking about how Jesus changed my life.
My journey starts all the way back to when I was a baby. During that time period, my mom and dad were with the Catholic Church and baptized me in it when I was one. However, due to numerous ideological differences, my parents chose to leave the Catholic Church and set off to enter a relatively new church called Buckhead Church. My parents really liked and connected with this church and as a small child, so did I. I continued to attend Buckhead Church for many years enjoying the way it related the Bible to the modern day. I believe a lot of this enjoyment came from the fact that during that period of time, my religious views were not challenged at all.
Doubts started to arise however when I was in 7th grade, since some of my friends were atheists who were very open about their lack of belief. This was the first time ever that I felt like I had my beliefs challenged and not knowing how to react, the first seeds of doubt were planted.
Entering a Catholic high school didn’t help either. There I was taught things that seemed directly opposed to my middle school and church. Where my middle school and church taught me to love and accept all people regardless of background, my High School was more conservative and some of their views felt like they contradicted and nullified what I had learned previously. Also, I had a huge falling out with all of my friends during my freshman year. These events ended up causing me to lose my faith in God at the time because in my mind, “How could it be possible that God is an all-loving being but at the same time be homophobic and religionist as well as allow me to lose everyone that I thought was close to me at school?”.
For about two years of my life, I became pretty atheistic, untrusting, insecure, and very resentful toward myself. In fact, I began to hate myself so much that I ended up doing something that I really really regret now: I started to sink pretty deep into a porn addiction. I didn’t care how evil it was at the time but I just wanted pleasure, happiness and anything that could get me to forget how horrible and depressed I felt. As expected, it brought no joy whatsoever. On my 11th-grade retreat, however, I heard a testimony from one of my school missionaries about his journey to Christ and his battle with his own porn addiction to get there. I related to his story so much that I decided to cut it off once and for all. Little did I know that this was the first step to my journey back into the arms of the Lord.
It wasn’t until I read the Divine Comedy at school that I felt that I wanted to reconnect with my faith. The book had a lot to say about the spiritual life and I ended up finding that very interesting. While reading the book, I decided to communicate with God again through prayer. It started out as kind of scary at first but after a while, it became pretty comforting actually.
It was at a retreat that my small group from Church and I went to that things really started heating up. It was right there that I had what I’d call an ‘Aha!’ Moment. I really bonded with my small group and really felt the presence of God radiating all over during that experience. But still, there was a long journey ahead of me.
It was the end of my spring break and there was a lot of talk about this “COVID” thing escalating quickly. Little did I know, however,that my entire world would be turned totally upside down. When the lockdown began and everything went online, I was completely hurt, scared, and lost because I had always been one to try to look into the future in order to find a likely outcome based on everything going on and this time around, I couldn’t find a likely foreseeable thing that I could be certain will happen. I scoured everywhere for answers but all around me were nothing but clueless experts, scientists, and politicians. All of this eventually led me to seek the answers that I craved from the only person who I knew wasn’t clueless at all: Jesus Christ. It was during the pandemic that I felt that I truly accepted Jesus as my lord and savior.
P.S: To be honest, my choosing to finally say yes to Christ was only the beginning since before me was a road that involved much more struggle and confusion after that. This is a road that I haven’t finished crossing yet but I continue to walk vigilantly. I hope this article may provide you with comfort and hope after reading it.