I can remember believing in God as far back as my very first memories. My first memory is thinking I had been abandoned by my mother. I was so angry. Somehow I knew this was not my fault. I was too young however to realize it was not God’s fault. I was 3 years old. Some would probably say I had no conception of God. I swear to you I did. At that moment in my life, I knew there was an unseen force called God. I also knew that my feelings were His fault, and I hated Him. I remember a few years later my family would sit in the living room and take communion with Dr. Eugene Scott on television. After that my parents would finish that bottle of wine, and possibly another.
My mother divorced my father when I was 7. She quickly met another man who whisked us away to Texas. We began to attend a Lutheran Church. It did not last very long. Apparently, my step father would put a 10$ bill in the offering plate. Then he would remove a few 20$ bills to make change. After another dry spell we entered the Methodist Church. It was a small church. Maybe 150 members. Here I was baptized. It was an agonizing experience. I loved the Pastor of this church. His name was Garth. I went in for a pre-baptisim meeting only to find that he had quit. Before me stood Pastor Chris. A man I did not know or trust. When I was baptized in front of the congregation, I remember feeling embarrassed and ashamed. I was socially awkward, and did not really know anyone. How could I? After church we always raced to leave. My step father was afraid of getting caught with his hand in the offering plate. Our attendance there dried up soon after I was baptized. After this my only experience with the divine came alone in nature. We lived in an area surrounded by fields and trails. There were many places to just sit and be quiet. These places were a safe haven to me. I don’t think I ever heard the voice of God there. I definitely felt the presence there though. I still do today. When I go home, I always stop and visit those fields that I spent so much time as a kid.
As I entered my teenage years, I encountered Mary. I was fascinated by her. I was enthralled. Here, I found that same connection I had in the fields. It was as real to me as …..well bread and wine. My mother was not happy. Next, I saw a movie called, “The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima.” I had never heard so much respect given to Mary. I read as much as I could about our Mother, the Church, and anything else I could get my hands on. I even read about religious vocations. My thinking was if I could join an order, I would never again have to feel that separation from God. As I got a little older, I discovered other ways to fill the God sized hole in my heart. Drugs, alcohol, and sexual sin became a mainstay to change the way I felt. I struggled for years to get clean and stay clean.
In the late 90’s I discovered a non-denominational church in Pasadena, Tx. It was amazing. The music was cool, people would jump and shout to the lord, and the pastor was charismatic. I became a fire burning for God…..until I burned out. I lasted 3 years there. The fire of my “love for God” consumed me, my friendships, and everything else. I became a zealot, and then a pharisee. I burned up and out and quit.
After an extended break I entered another non-denominational church. It was much different from the first. This church spent an inordinate amount of time teaching the Word. The music was good. Everything in the service always pointed to the Word and learning how to apply it in life. There were many different ministry groups for people to join. Since I suffered from several areas of addiction and sin, I joined Celebrate Recovery. I was baptized in this Church in 2002. (Full immersion). After my baptism I struggled with my sin. I was fearful of being honest with people at church. I began to listen to people outside of church who justified my sin as natural and ok. By being unwilling to voice my problems to God or another human being, I attempted suicide.
Ashamed, resentful, guilty, and broken I left the church. I ran into the arms of those that had told me before that there was no sin, that I was not living in sin, and that God loved me. Without realizing it, I had joined a New Age Pagan cult. These people gave me love, and support that I had never known. They were a community working towards the greater good of humanity. We practiced Native American Spirituality. (Forget the fact we were all non-native.) I participated in sweat lodges, vision quests, and Sun Dance for almost a decade. The delusion was ingrained into me that I believed I could not leave. I ended up drunk, scared, and hopeless.
It took me 8 months after that to make a clean break from the group I belonged to. That was in March of this year. I spent a month wandering in loneliness. I prayed and cried. I had rediscovered EWTN in August 2011. I was watching it almost daily. Praying the rosary, the chaplet of St. Michael, and the chaplet of Divine Mercy. I listened in my car, on my phone, and on my laptop. I was discussing some of this with a coworker. One day he looked at me and said, “Roy, why don’t you go see what you are missing.” Now that was a novel thought. Last month I mustered all the courage I had and went to Sunday Mass. I attended Mass at St. Michael’s of Bedford, Tx. It was overwhelming and beautiful. I am currently going to Mass every day I can. I have decided that years of intuition cannot be wrong. I have made the decision to join the Catholic Church.
Thank you for reading. I will be posting more about my background as needed. I will also be posting on what is going on currently. Thanks again.