Until part way through my freshmen year I was an atheist and miserable.
I had never been brought up very religiously. Both of my parents were lapsed Catholics, and the only time I’d been in a church was when a family friend would take my sister and I to youth group while we were in elementary school. My understanding of God was that if you broke any of His rules you were going to hell, and that if you questioned God He would smite you.
If God was so hateful and vengeful why would I want to follow Him? By the time I was in middle school I hated religion, and myself. I was flirting with an eating disorder, and looking for love that only God could give. Unfortunately I wasn’t looking to God to find that love I lacked.
This all changed the summer before my freshmen year, when God entered my life in a radical way. On July 27, 2010 one of my oldest friends committed suicide. I was completely torn apart. This was someone I’d known since kindergarten, who had grown up with me.
In the midst of my pain and suffering God was finally able to break through the walls I had built up against Him. I was able to actually feel God’s love, and know that the pain I felt at that moment was nothing compared to the pain God had felt while watching me suffer, and struggle without Him. I realized that living life without God had stunted me both emotionally, and spiritually. I knew that I needed God, but had no earthly idea of where to go from there. I didn’t want a repeat of my previous experience with religion; I wanted to know a loving God, not one who smites people with lightning bolts for asking questions.
I decided to try a Catholic Church since the kindest and most loving person I have ever met told me that he had learned to love from the Catholic Church. As soon as I walked into the church I felt God’s presence all around me like a warm embrace. At that moment I knew that I was home.
Since then I joined youth ministry at Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church, and after joining to RCIA program, I fully entered into the Church by receiving the Sacraments of Baptism, First Communion, and Confirmation on April 7th 2012.
I’m now a senior in high school, a teacher in the RCIA program, and youth group leader, a Saint Timothy award recipient, an involved member of my parish, and most importantly in love with my Catholic faith.
Looking back I’m amazed at not only how far I’ve come in my walk with God, but also seeing where God wants to take me from here. No one is without hope. God never gives up on any of us even if we give up on Him. He’s always waiting for us, arms open and ready to welcome us home.
Editor’s Note: This blog is part of a series of blogs that relate to our 2014 theme Inspire[d]. If you would like to submit about a blog about an Inspire[d] story that you have, please see these guidelines.