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When I was younger, I went to a Catholic school from kindergarten to second grade. There, I was thought rituals that I was never comfortable with. I felt like the repetition of scripture meant nothing because I was never taught what it meant. I went through each day without paying attention to my Bible class and didn’t care much for any of the nuns. Nothing they were introducing was really sitting well with me.
I left Catholic school in order to be home-schooled. My mother was my teacher, which was comforting. In order to make sure I kept a healthy social attitude, we went to a church with other home-schoolers and learned together; simulating school. Everyone there was a believer but still, it wasn’t enough for me. It all seemed to be missing something.
Later, when I was entering sixth grade, my mother and I decided what was best for me was to go to public school. There, I quickly made friends and felt at ease from the stereotypes of “mean” kids. Since I lived in a predominantly white town, everyone was Catholic, which was expected. I was friendly with almost everyone but something in my heart didn’t feel right. I started to notice these kids that called themselves Christian were all hypocrites. I couldn’t handle that. It seemed to need so much more than that.
About a year later, I decided to pronounce myself atheist. I knew there was some greater power but until I knew what it was, I was going to keep to my “Journey”. I searched for things that were tangible. I watched a lot of History channel, did research online; anything that could provide me with some kind of answer.
During all of this, I was dating a girl I was head-over-heels for. Since sixth grade, this girl and I would be dating off and on. We would talk for a while, disappear from each other’s lives and reappear again; a never-ending cycle I would think. This cycle lead me to depression, suicidal thoughts, and drugs. I thought this girl was supposed to be my life partner. That is probably why I never gave up on the thought.
The summer of my sophomore year of high school, we started talking again. Everything seemed perfected. We would sneak out to see each other, we would talk to each other all day, did everything we could do to be with each other always. There was just a few major keys that would come to our fallout; she was anorexic, bulimic, and suicidal.
I did what I could to be supportive. I encouraged her to keep going to therapy, to continue to stay away from drugs, and to be a good role model for her younger siblings. Nothing seemed to work. So I looked for outside sources to help me with the situation. I looked to my family members that went through a similar situation, friends that had a background, anyone I thought that could help. They all said the same thing; It was easier to get better once they didn’t have anything holding them back.
I broke up with her. I tried to do it as gently as possible but it all seemed to hurt the same way. For the next three hours, she would call me telling that she hated me for doing that, asking me why I did it to which I always explained “Because I want you to get better.” She would cry and scream and plead.
The calls eventually stopped but something else started. I felt this pressure in my chest. Something bad was happening. This feeling was engulfing my body. I started to cry and cry. I couldn’t take the feeling anymore. I did the only thing I thought I could do. I feel to my knees and cried out verbatim, “God, I don’t know who you are or what you are, but I need you right now. I need you more than ever. Help her. Help me!” Then the most amazing thing happened; I felt this overwhelming peace. It literally took over my entire body. I was crying even harder now, but the tears were no longer of pain, but of joy. God was telling me He was with me when I was in my deepest valley and my darkest time.
A few months later, a friend of mine, Joe Battista, told me there was a special service at his church. I jumped at the opportunity to find out more about what I felt. There, I met Pastor John Tasch. If you asked me today what he spoke about that day of my salvation, I really could tell you. But it definitely had to something good because I do remember him saying this: “When I count to three, if you want to receive Jesus, come to the altars.” The second I heard the ‘o’ in the word “one”, I ran up to those alters and cried out to the Lord pleading His mercy and for Him to be my Savior and my God.
I was saved on October 12, 2009 due to a seed planted in me a long time ago, a unintentional search for God, a cycle I won’t soon forget, two excellent servants of the Lord, and most importantly the Son of God. Since that day, I’ve been on a very strong pursuit for His favor and to see His work in all the things around me. I learned the difference between a religion and a relationship with the Lord and I’m glad to say I have a relationship. I thank God for the perfect plan He had from the beginning to save my soul and I pray that I would search for Him for the rest of my days.