I have had another dear friend suggest I write about my conversion and how I met my husband. My organizational side likes to go chronologically.
I believe conversions begin way before the actual event. Maybe from birth. I won't do that to you, but I will give you some points along the way.
I was raised Presbyterian. It was a nice church, nice people, very good music and choir. I will always remember Theodore Kloos, the choir director. But in other ways, the church was a largely social experience. The teaching from the pulpit I remember as being light on Jesus and what He did for us, and heavy on , uh...? not sure. My first taste of Catholicism was there. We said the Apostles Creed. The part, "I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church"... was explained to us that it didn't mean we were Catholic. I forget now what the rest of the explanation was.
In High School, I began to search for God and a place or group that would help me encounter Him. How I was to recognize Him, I wasn't sure. So, I went to a Quaker Meeting. "Meeting" is a funny term, because I never met anybody. We never spoke to one another. It was a silent gathering, and people would stand up and say things...I forget now what. Funny-either I have a particularly bad memory, or the sermons/talks in the two churches were particularly forgettable. But I stayed with it for some months, and in retrospect, I am sure God was leading me and speaking to me throughout. I just didn't know it.
Later in High School, I was asked to sing at a fledgling American Baptist church in a gymnasium of a local Elementary school. They were just starting out in our area and were grateful for music. But I latched on to the teaching, especially the parts about having a personal relationship with God. One Sunday, I said the sinner's prayer, and later joined the church. On my 18th birthday, I was baptized. Since I was singing and playing there, my mother and brother Jerry also came to hear me. They both ended up joining the church also. I am grateful that this happened, as they each passed away a few years later, and they died knowing Christ.
Interestingly, I had a few experiences that illustrate that there actually was a struggle going on for my soul. These are just the ones I know about.
During my "searching period", I had to read the book, The Stranger, by Albert Camus. This book, I felt, didn't have much I wanted to write about. If memory serves, it is about a man in jail, despairing of everything in life, and planning his suicide. I put off writing it until the last possible night, then finally decided to just get something on paper. As I was writing, I realized I was going in the direction of agreement with the premise, and although I knew I didn't agree, felt I just needed to finish the darn paper. Afterward I went to bed. I then had a dream about presenting the paper to my teacher. In the dream, I took her by the hand and led her from room to room, in a starkly white house; each room representing each point I made in my paper. Well, the "points" got uglier and uglier, until the final one, in which I opened a door to show her a bloody, hanging corpse. Against the whiteness of everything in the house, this scene stood out in extreme contrast, and at this point, I woke up.
The first thing I noticed, aside from being scared to death, was that I was laying face down, diagonally across my bed. The covers were all over the place, the room was really hot, and...I felt as though someone was in the room watching me. I knew I was going to have to eventually move, so I said some sort of prayer, got up and ran downstairs. As I stood in the familiar dining room, hearing my fathers snores, I then felt foolish. I'm not sure how long it took, but I did go back up to my room, and took a look at it. It still was blazingly hot, so I went over to the space heater and noticed it had been turned all the way up! I knew I had not done that. I straightened out all the sheets and blankets that were all jumbled about, and decided to turn on my radio to help me calm down. When I did, all that came out was static. The dial had been turned all the way to the end, and I knew I had been listening to it right before bed and had just shut it off. I put it back to the station, lay down and went to sleep. Next thing I knew, I woke up and it was late! I always had my alarm set for 6AM, and it was something like 8:00. So I ran around getting ready, but stopped a minute to see why my alarm hadn't gone off. It had been shut off completely. Something else I never did.
After I had a chance to think about this, I came to two conclusions. On the practical, physical level, I believe that I was truly disturbed about having written this paper. In my dream, as I attempted to justify all my points, I think that as I was walking from room to room, explaining it to my teacher, I was actually walking around my room, doing things like, turning the radio dial, turning the heater dial, and turning off my alarm clock. But the other thing, the feeling of the presence in the room, I now believe was some evil force, or demon, or whatever, exerting it's influence over a person searching for God. Since my mind and heart at that time were very open, I think I was vulnerable. At least whatever teaching I did have up to that point gave me a foundation enough to know evil from good. And I sure felt the presence of evil that night. Of course I know now that I also had a guardian angel keeping me safe on my journey.
Oh and after going through all that, I only got a B on the paper.
I will continue my story next time, there was another attempted intervention on my quest for God.---so stay tuned!---lol.
Blessings and Peace,