My Story Part 5; New and Reformed

I was reading many articles and following many blogs all over the Internet about Reformed theology. At first I thought that Reformed theology was only the five points of calvinism, little did I know that there are also creeds and confessions that we hold to.

So I started looking for reformed churches in my hometown. I preferred Presbyterian, but any reformed church would do. At this point I didn’t even know that there were liberal and conservative  denominations (imagine my horror when I started finding out that almost every Presbyterian church in my city is PCUSA and mostly has female pastors.)

Around the beginning of November, I decided to visit my cities Presbyterian church, they were very nice but hardly talked about Jesus. Infact the past. Preached that something can change the world is “a smile” not God. That bothered me and after doing some research, and come to find out they were PCUSA. This was disappointing because I though I had finally found a church that was “perfect”(as perfect as a church can be of course, which we all know no church is ever truly perfect 😉 ).  So I stopped attending after a week or two. It was about December and I felt so depressed over the fact that I didn’t have a church to attend during such an important time. I wanted to try a PCA church next but it was so small that I was a little anxious and self conscious to go in (silly, I know). I have no doubt that they are a good church though.

At that moment I decided to attend an OPC church. I decided I would go on Christmas so that way I could blend in with any new people. To my surprise I did not blend in and had people constantly coming to talk to me. I left a little dazed over it because this church had been dubbed the “mega church of the OPC” ( or at least that’s what I’ve been told). I don’t even think they though I would come back, but I did. And I’ve been going for about 2 months now. I quite enjoy this church, it’s large but you still know everyone, it’s traditional worship (they have an organ!!), and the preaching is always sound. I’m taking an inquirers class in March and have been reading through Westminster Shorter Catchism.

I really think that finding a good church has had a positive influence on my day-to-day life. I’m attending school everyday, I have a far better attitude, I have better self-esteem, I have things to look forward too, I’ve made many friends, and have someone who is sheparding me.

I praise God for all that I have been through because without it I wouldn’t be where I am.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Part 4

Part 3

Part 2

Part 1

My Story Part 4; Change

I got baptized in Summer 2015, it was in a local creek and performed by a man who spoke in “tongues”, things were good for about a month. That summer I started to get anxiety again (as a reaction to starting school again, missing my mom, and a few other things). I eventually stopped going to church, reading the bible, and praying. I had trouble sleeping most nights and I didn’t eat much during the day (my lowest weight was 104 lbs. I am 5’4″). I would rarely pray during my anxiety attacks and hardly even thought about God.

The anxiety continued until January/Februrary of 2016. At this time I started to get into a lot of new age practices, Yoga, meditation, following the moon phases, etc. I tried to justify it and look for a way to excuse it as Christian, I even joking a Christian yoga group. I wasn’t going to church or reading the bible and I was clearly not good at discernment. I would say that I was an atheist really. I was so unhappy at this point. But God was calling me back. At first I thought he was c allying me to the Eastern Orthodox Church, I had visited a service and told everyone that I was converting. I ever went back to a service though because it just wasn’t working for me.

So I continued not doing anything. I still wasn’t happy. I was eating and doing normal things but in my core I was not happy.

It was about late June-early July, when I decided to just go and buy a new Bible, a different translation something fresh and new that I can mark up and read. I bought a beautiful ESV bible. But after it arrived I still didn’t read it. I was scared honestly. I didn’t have the energy and boy was I scared. One night it changed though, I decided I need to read at least something, even if it is one or two verses. I told myself that I could work my way up to reading more.

I started by reading the book of Philemon. And every day I would read short books from the Epistles. One night while reading Epeshians, I came to chapter 4 verse 29, I had realized that I had said something not very nice about a girl at school that day. I immediately repented, of what I said but also for many other things. I also apologized to the girl and we are friends now 🙂

I followed many Facebook groups and Instagram accounts that I thought were Christian so that my whole life would be saturated. I started to attend a non-denominational charismatic seeker-driven church.  I loved going and I went every week, but I didn’t feel like I was growing in thee Lord there. God had opened my eyes to many different things that I had never heard before. One of these things was that women cannot be pastors (1 Timothy 2:12). I felt a very strong conviction for this. So you can imagine my shock when I came into this church one Sunday to find that they had invited a woman to preach.

The search for a new church had begun…

Soli Deo Gloria

 

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My Story Part 3; Journey to Christ

I personally believe that the age of 17 was when the Spirit started to work in me. During the spring of that year (2013), the Bible Series (by Roma Downy and Mark Burnett) came out of the History Channel. My family and I watched it every Sunday. After the series was over I had such a desire to read the Bible and to know more of God’s Word. I downloaded a Bible app and listened to the audio Bible every moment I could. I also did a devotional through Nehemiah. I don’t think I understood what I was reading (mostly because I wasn’t paying careful attention to it). I then started reading through the epistles, the first one I read through completely was Titus.

I was committing sins though. I’m still so embarrassed of it. I would pray every night that God would help me to stop doing it (I never asked for forgiveness though and didn’t confess this sin to God until years later). One night I couldn’t sleep because I was so grieved over this sin, I opened the bible to Psalm 51, I read it over and over because I related to it so much.

I also started going to church (CS) more during this time. But it’s clear God was working in me, I went to prayer meetings at my high school and was reading the bible every day. I got a new bible (KJV) for my 18th birthday and also an apocrypha.

It was around Christmas that my mom started getting sick. We were attending more and more CS church services because my mom was hoping for a healing through CS. She was constantly seen surrounded by CS literature and also listening to podcasts from the Mother Church. I suggested that maybe she try reading more of just the bible, her reply was that she would rather read”our” material. This came as such a shock to me because I had always been taught that the foundation of Christian Sciene is the bible.

I started working at a CS nursing home that spring. I was constantly surrounded by CS, always reading the lesson to the residents and talking mostly about it with all of them. My mom was brought to the nursing home shortly after I started working there because we could no longer care for her at home.

Fast forward to May and my mom had passed away from breast cancer. I was shocked, grief is something you can’t understand until you truly deal with it. In July, before her memorial service I decided to buy myself a brand new Bible, this time it was an NIV. I started reading this every morning. Mostly just random passages, I would pray no then open the bible at random and read whatever was on the page. I wasn’t learning anything but it did give me comfort. I took a lot of scripture out of context. When I would fly I would hold the bible open to Joshua 1:9 in my lap. Without reading the entire chapter I didn’t know that this verse wasn’t for me.

In October 2014, we decided to switch our cable company. We wanted to watch Star Wars Rebels, we ended up not watching it because we thought it was boring. At this time I had trouble sleeping most nights so I would lay on the couch most nights and watch tv until I fell asleep. My dad being a good Christian Scientist didn’t like some of the infomercials that would play while I slept (in particular one that was about cancer), so he switched the channel one morning to the Trinity Broadcasting Network (this is not an endorsement please stay away from it).

My early Christian years were filled with a lot of heresy and false teaching. Recently reflecting on this has caused me to think that I was definitely a false convert. It’s amazing what God will use to save us though. I got “saved” on January 1 2015 by repeating the prayer at the end of Joel Osteen’s tv show (embarrassing, I know). I was reading the Bibe everyday still, but also believed a lot of the prosperity gospel (especially that if you are a Christian then nothing bad will happen to you).I was also into reading Jesus Calling everyday. There were times when the discernment bells would go off in my head, though. I wish I had listened to them because it would have saved me a lot of trouble!

In Winter I decided that I wanted to get baptized, it was a struggle with my dad because he was very much against it. After a lot of convincing he finally agreed and suggested that wee have a family friend do it in the summer (I was baptized in a local creek). My dad and I had many arguments over doctrine. I became convicted that Jesus was indeed God and that the trinity was real. He would smile in a mocking way and say that the bible doesn’t say that at all. He would come to a non-denominational church with me and whisper quotes from Science and Health and Mary Baker Eddy in my ear throughout the whole service. He still thought I was a Christian Scientist, no matter how many times I said I was not.

Soli Deo Gloria

Part 5

Part 4

Part 2

Part 1

My Story Part 2: Growing Up

In my last post I shared how my family got into CS and how my parents met. Now I would like to share some of my experiences growing up.

Age 0 to 5

I honestly had no concept of being in CS. I just knew that we were “Christian”. The first time I realized we might be different is when I hadn’t gotten vaccinated for Kindergarten but all my friends did. But like I said, I thought we were Christians just like everyone else. I even recall saying to a friend “wow you’re a Christian? Me too!”

Age 6-10

This is, when I started to notice that we were CS. I remember going to Sunday School. I remember being in a Sunday School class wehere we had to write out passages from the Bible, and I t was awful. I love the Bible now but as a 7 year old I did not find writing whole chapters from the KJV to be fun.

Around age 7, I started to go to a CS summer camp, called Crystal Lake Camps. I had fun while I was there, I made a lot of friends and got to spend a lot of time in the mountains every summer. I learned some other cool things while I went there; how to start a campfire without a match, how to canoe, horseback riding, etc. But it was also Christian Science 24/7. Before every class we would have reading from the bible and Science and Health. Our task was always to find some way to reflect “God” in whatever it was that we were doing.

Whenever I came home from camp I was always far more into CS than before. I wanted to mark the bible lesson in my books (Bibe and Sciene and Health), go to every service (including the boring Wednesday service!), and generally do only Christian Science related things. This feeling would usually go away after a week or two.

I stopped going to camp after I turned 12. It’s a silly reason but, they had promised that if you go for 5 years then you get this cool little key chain thing. I didn’t get mine so I stop going (I was a brat, I know, the Lord has been working in my heart about this now lol).

Ages 11-15

Honestly, nothing much here. Like I said previously I stopped going to camp at 12.

These were my middle school years and I remember becoming very prideful and arrogant about my religion.  I would often tell anyone would listen all about it. And people almost always gave me weird looks or flat out told me that it was cult.

Right before my 16th birthday I started having a lot of anxiety, I’m not sure why but of course I tried to “handle “it with Christian Science.

Ages 16

So as I said before my 16th birthday I started to have more anxiety, and I wanted to “handle it” in Christian Science (Really it turned out that I was definitely becoming burnt out on a lot of things, school plus being in a much more competitive orchestra).That year (2012) I decided to join the Mother Church (this is basically the Vatican for CS).

This year was the year that someone finally planted a real seed for Christ in my heart. A good friend of mine (let’s call her Natasha) is Slavic Pentecostal. I always admired her faith in God. I told her about how I was joining the Church, thinking that she would be excited for me ( I was after all under the impression that I was a Christian just like she is). She excitedly asked if I was getting baptized (something that is not done in Christian Science), which of course I answer “no we don’t do that in my religion.” Natasha told me straight up that I was not a Christian. It was such a shock, I felt so hurt. I didn’t know what to say no one had ever been so honest (besides the people who had told me before that it was a cult, but that was all they would say to me).

I went on to join the church anyways. Natasha graduated that year and got married during the summer. I saw how God had blessed her, and it was definitely something I wanted too.

Also this year I met my boyfriend, he is Eastern Orthodox (I say was because he honestly is more Protestant). He called me out on heresy a few times too. I remember once I cried so hard because he said I wasn’t a Christian since I denied the trinity (Praise God for honest Russians).

In my junior year I became very good friends with another Christian girl and also with a teacher who was Christian. We would of tent all about all of this and pray for each other (them not knowing that I was CS).

Next: The journey to Christ.

Soli Deo Gloria

Part 5

Part 4

Part 3

Part 1

Featured

My Story, Part 1: The Beginning

The idea to start a blog stemmed from a comment I made in a Facebook group:

My conversion story is so long and complicated, I could write a book.

I figured it would be therapeutic for myself to write things down. Figure them out, because honestly when I think about all the things I’ve experienced, witnessed, and learned during the last 21 years of my life, it’s hard to keep things straight. I hope my story can help someone else, I hope it will give others hope. I hope it will bring others to Christ. That is my prayer. That my story will ultimately bring glory to God.

I’ll kick off this blog with a series of posts explaining who I am, where I came from, and how I came to Christ. I wish I could keep this blog anonymous, but I’ll have to figure that one out later. I also want to add that I’m not sure where this blog will go. It might end up being an advise blog or it might be a compilation of stories from others. Either way, thank you so much for listening to me and for joining me on this journey 🙂

So let’s take it back to the beginning…

I’m not entirely sure when it happened or why but somehow my great-grandmother and her husband got in to a religion called Christian Science (I’ll probably do a future post on that). My grandmother and her brothers were all raised in it. In fact my grandma was so into it that she became a CS nurse. She moved to Massachusetts very young to learn her trade at the Benevolence Association, a Christian Science nursing home in Chestnut Hill. This part of the story is achy because I’ve only been told bits and pieces. Anyways, eventually my grandmother wound up meeting my grandfather at a CS nursing home. She was a nurse and he worked in a different department (not sure what). My grandparents did quite a lot of church hopping. My dad has told me that they got married in a Mormon church, but that he also remembers visiting a Baptist and Presbyterian church when he was young. They always returned to Christian Science though.

My father also decided to take the same path, and so during the 1980s he became a CS nurse as well. He eventually found his way out to New Jersey (He grew up in the Southwestern US), where he began work at Tenacre nursing home. There he met my mom who was also a nurse. They got married in 1988 and moved out to Ohio in 1990. My mom had some trouble conceiving, but in 1995, after much prayer I finally arrived, then in 1998 by brother was born.

Continue to Part 2 to hear the next part  of my story 🙂

Soli Deo Gloria

Part 5

Part 4

Part 3

Part 2