Listen. I’m not here to bash anyone else’s religion. This is my life and my experience. This is my story which is not a personal attack on you and your faith. If you feel like you might be triggered to write mean things, please know that I’ll delete them. You are absolutely free to share your own thoughts on your own blog space.
A little over a year ago I recorded a video about my conversion [my whole family] into the Catholic faith from Protestantism. I was so thrilled, even though I was terrified of the response, that in my video I jump all over the place. I tried to follow my notes but in all I had learned, the excitement was beyond hard to contain. It was all I could do to contain myself until we were officially confirmed! Ask anyone close to me what I was like during the past couple of years. I was likely to word vomit on anyone about The Catholic faith.
The journey really begins in my childhood, but I’ll keep it brief. I was raised Muslim. My stepfather was a Muslim from Pakistan. The kind that pray 5 times per day, do not eat pork, read the back of food packets, do not wear shorts, cover with a hijab, go to Islamic private school, never miss a Friday prayer and live in Pakistan for awhile kind of muslim.
I’ll give you some bullet points on what I was taught* at AMERICAN MOSQUES :
- Muslims are superior.
- Christians and Jews are not to be trusted. They are the enemy.
- Jesus is not to be spoken of. Even though he was listed as a prophet, I was chastised anytime I asked.
- Allah is angry at us.
- We are not children of God.
- You must do 10 good deeds to get rid of 1 bad deed.
- Bad deeds included but not limited to : not reading Quran, not praying 5 times a day, wearing a t-shirt, wearing shoes that had a heel over 1/2″, not wearing pants under my ankle length dresses, inappropriate hair styles [?], too many necklaces, talking on the phone, listening to music…. the list is endless and I was in despair as a child that I would never enter paradise.
I was taught to hate from the age of 7 from teachers in the mosques in America.
It’s the “I was saved a million times” thing
Lord, please forgive me, I thought I knew what I was saying but I was wrong
There isn’t any protestant church history prior to the 1500s.
Life in the autumn of 2018, was rough. We had lost our home due to Hurricane Florence just weeks after giving birth to baby 4 and while I was still on blood thinners after a pulmonary embolism. The first shipment of Lamp + Light Homeschool curriculum was extremely late and the printer kept pushing it back. Customers were understandably upset and I couldn’t fix it. Shipping was a complete nightmare and that’s putting it lightly. We lost all our savings due to the hurricane and massive shipping errors and I dived head first into a deep depression.
I bottomed out in November. Very few people even know about what I’m about to type. Each day I was writing in a Scripture journal and at the top of it I would write the word : STAY. in capital letters. The depression was so deep, so agonizing that each moment of living was swallowing me whole. I had to fight thoughts of suicide every moment of every day. I had to write reasons to stay [obviously my husband and children], and I had to read my Bible every second that was spare. I couldn’t risk leaving myself alone without praying to God, because I believed I would actually kill myself.
One night in December 2018, right in the midst of the deepest depression battle I have ever lived through, I set out on a super weird mission : prove the Catholic church isn’t even real Christianity. Where that came from, at that time, I didn’t know but it gave me a daily occupation. At first I used only my protestant Bible and only protestant refutations to the Catholic church. I didn’t want to get lead astray! That was the last thing I needed. Then I started reading from Catholic sites to see if what the protestants taught was what Catholics actually believed.
It turns out The Catholic Church that I was taught as a protestant, did not exist.
I was more than a little irritated by that. Why would anyone lie about another faith? Surely it couldn’t all be true? There was NO WAY I was going to become … a CATHOLIC. That was the absolute worst atrocity I could think of. But I was becoming obsessed! I woke up my husband to read from Scripture the verses I swore never were there before!!! Who added the verses about Church Traditions?! Oh, that was St. Paul.
I began messaging YouTube Catholics furiously and literally in the middle of the night and all day long : Laura from What Laura Likes, and Heather from A Catholic Mom’s Life just to name a couple. If you are a Catholic YouTuber, I binge watched your videos. ALL OF THEM. I may have even messaged you. Thank You for helping me! For months straight I was barely sleeping because I was getting blown away by Scripture!
I was so irritated that my body needed sleep.
In order to keep this from getting away from the topic at hand, here’s a link to my blog post highlighting just some of things that made it hard for me to remain protestant.
After doing so much research for so long, I knew I needed to take the next step* : Join an RCIA class and become Catholic. My husband and our children came with us to talk to the Deacon in person. Deacon Walt at Sacred Heart Cathedral. I learned that my husband was searching for Tradition, too. I had no idea. He has his own journey and perhaps he will share that at a later date. If you run into him in person, he will immediately and joyfully tell you ALL about it! He LOVES being Catholic.
* Our first visit to a Catholic Church and our first Mass will be a different post. No way I can fit that all in this timeline. Nor the key role my friend Bethany plays in all of this.
A book that changed my course for good was, Rome Sweet Home by Scott Hahn – a former protestant pastor who converted. My sponsor into the Catholic Church had me read it from night one and I LOVE her extra for it. I make everyone read it. When Scott Hahn wrote that he thought he might be struck down by God before praying a Hail Mary and praying the rosary, I laughed out loud because I had the exact same experience. I literally prayed for God to stop me if I was doing something wrong against Him for praying it.
I’ve seen more miracles through the rosary than I could have ever imagined.
My husband, our children and I were received into the Catholic Church on Easter Vigil 2019. Best Day of Our Lives. I understand now the “welcome home!” and the “fullness of the faith” which both did not make sense to me beforehand. We all cried tears of joy! I was confirmed Stella Maris (Our Lady Star of the Sea) by Cardinal Rigali at Sacred Heart Knoxville Cathedral.
We have anti-Catholic family members and of course I was working on protestant curriculum. I was much more frightened of the latter. People I thought were internet friends turned on me so fast. Accused me of so many things, wrote nasty things about me, messaged me and emailed me horrible things and attacked me on social media. I had to change my email twice. I had to delete so many spiteful comments. It hurt. The curriculum business went from booming to nearly tanking. All of that hard work collapsing was awful to go through and I’m very sorry i let so many down by converting.
The answer to the question you’re thinking is YES, I would do it all again.
My faith is the absolute most important thing about who I am. If I don’t have that right, nothing else matters. I’m still mostly the same person but I’m far more conservative than I used to be. I love going to a Traditional Latin Mass, and I love praying the rosary. How could I not after all the blessings?!
When people ask me, “Why did you become Catholic?” the answer is actually simpler than one might think :
It was True.
I like to describe it as I had a lot of puzzle pieces, no box cover and I was missing a bunch of pieces without realizing it. I tried to keep fitting the pieces together, but it was futile. There is a beautiful woven tapestry of faith that God created.He died for us, He rose for us, He gave us The Church. The Church He founded gave us The Bible. It feels so good to be fully home at last.
Rome Sweet Home.