I’m a jumbled up mess.
I was raised in a non-religious household. My Dad had faith and taught me to pray a nightly bedtime prayer, but my parents never took me to church. My paternal grandparents sent me a Bible, and I had a couple children’s Bibles (illustrated) that I’m unsure where they came from. My Mom is a mish-mash of wicca/astrology/reincarnation stuff. She believes in God but not the same way Christians do. My Dad died when I was 8 and my Mom re-married when I was 10 to a man who is a Mason but he also was not very religious. I think twice a year- Thanksgiving and Christmas- he’d say a blessing over our meal. That was the extent of religion in my home growing up.
Despite that I always had a strong belief in God and even as a kid used to have long conversations talking to God. I got mad at God when our dog died when I was about 6 and yelled at Him, for which I feel embarrassed but I’m sure God understands. I was always a seeker- I would attend church with friends wherever they went. My grandparents took me to the Methodist church the few times I visited them (they lived clear across the country) and friends took me to Presbyterian, Baptist and Mormon churches. I was baptized Mormon at 15. My Mom supported it despite her non-belief because she said “any religion that’s against drugs, alcohol and premarital sex was good” with her. I drifted away from the Mormon church in just a few years, having some disagreement with their theology. After that I lost all interest in organized religion altogether.
When I was 20 I found a scapular tacked to a corkboard at the local grocery store for the taking. It had some literature that explained the two medals with it- a St. Benedict’s medal and a Miraculous Medal. I didn’t know what a scapular was for but thought the medals were cool and put them on a chain and began wearing them everywhere. That was probably, really, my first exposure to Catholicism.
In my 30’s I began to drift back to the Lord and began more seriously praying and studying scripture. I bought an NIV Bible and found it so much easier to understand than my old KJV Bible that I began reading in earnest because it was just so much easier to comprehend.
About the time I was 37 I began to get more curious about Catholicism. Somehow I’d ended up on mailing lists for Catholic charities and I did support a couple and the next thing I knew I was being sent rosaries and holy cards and medals. I like to joke now that the Catholics knew I was Catholic before I did. Additionally, through my study of scripture I had begun getting a strong feeling that sola fide was wrong. That it mattered what you did. There seemed to be so many places in the Bible that said that explicitly, but the only faith that seemed to put any emphasis on that that was Catholicism. I began watching Mass on Catholictv.com and when Lent rolled around I participated by giving something up.
Finally at age 41 I decided to contact the local parish and ask, “What do I need to do to become Catholic?” I was told to come by Sunday, they were having a class. No one told me up front that the class was 9 months long (!) but RCIA was worth it.
I was baptized this past Easter at age 42. I feel deeply grateful that God allowed a sinner like me to be baptized and confirmed into the Church. I know I have been being led here for many years, at least 22 years. Perhaps longer. I wish I’d grown up in the faith, I can only imagine that I might not have made some of the horrible mistakes I made in my teens and 20’s if I’d had the moral guidance that the church offers.
I still feel pretty new and there’s still tons of things I don’t know or don’t fully understand which is largely why I’m on this forum.