Compared to most Christians my age, I have only recently come to the faith. I was not raised in a Christian household (by either my mother and stepfather or my dad and stepmother) – we celebrated Christmas and Easter, but didn’t attend church or talk about the meanings of the holidays. Before I started college, I could count the number of times I’d been inside a church on my fingers.
I didn’t become a Christian quickly, either. I learned about Wicca in middle school, and considered that, but decided that I was atheist soon afterward. I spent the next few years considering myself atheist, never militant or trying to convince others that God didn’t exist. Even now, I don’t try to convince others that He does exist.
It took until my junior year of high school, shortly after I was hospitalized for suicidal thoughts, to finally come to being a Christian. My boyfriend at the time had a very religious mother, and she often told me she was praying for me when I had difficult times with my mental health. It didn’t really have much meaning for me at the time, but I appreciated the sentiment.
It seemed like it happened all at once – looking back at it now, it seems like I just woke up one day and decided God existed. I’m sure it didn’t really happen like that, but it seemed like He suddenly cleared any roadblocks in my mind and I could see that this is what I was meant to be.
It took me even longer to come to being Catholic. I spent a year as a “general Christian”, a year as a Lutheran, and then finally my second year of college I started going to Mass on campus. My maternal grandparents are Catholic, so it was always kind of a natural idea that I could be Catholic, too.
I’m not sure how familiar you are with the process of becoming Catholic as an adult, but to convert you have to go through RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults). I had it a bit easier, having been baptized as a baby, but I was never confirmed. The RCIA classes at the church near my college campus involved a semester of learning about Christianity in general, and then a second semester learning the catechism and what it meant to be Catholic. It might be totally different other places, I don’t know. Finally, Easter 2018, I was confirmed and able to take my first communion as a Catholic.
But it hasn’t been easy since then (or before). I still struggle with mental illness, and I find it hard to trust in God when I am anxious or depressed. I miss Mass, or sometimes I just don’t feel like going. The crazy thing about all of that is that it’s okay! God loves us regardless of if we mess up. That’s definitely something I need to remember. I’ll leave you with a verse about anxiety.
Do not fear: I am with you;Isaiah 41:10
do not be anxious: I am your God.
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
You can find the exact Bible I use here.