It is not an easy task to be a Christian. Whether you were raised in a Christian home or seek out faith on your own, the path is difficult and narrow.
This journey is unique to everyone that walks this road.
And I applaud each and every person that does and I welcome and hope to help those that haven’t yet.
I myself am on this journey and growing in my faith each day.
My journey has not been simple, was not planned and has not been unwavering.
While I grew up going to Catholic Mass and it was always understood on Sunday mornings we would get woken up by my mother and we would walk to Sacred Heart to hear Father Lincoln speak on forgiveness or mercy or perhaps the wrath of God.
Joking and giggling in the pews until we got that look from our parents to cut it out, my sister and I never quite connected to the purpose of Mass.
We went through the motions, dressed in Sunday best and sat dutifully with my mom and dad.
When we got older and weekends began filling with soccer tournaments, plays and trips, the frequency at which we attended mass depleted to a number we once judged of others, about 1 Sunday a year, on Easter, we were those people.
Conversations on religion or spirituality were scarcely had in my home and my understanding was on a simple and technical level. Even when I was asked, I was unsure of my identity in faith.
I began to explore spirituality in high school as a born again Christian with Young Life but it didn’t stick.
I was acting more out of a social pressure than my own spiritual conviction.
It wasn’t until recently that I truly began investing in my journey.
At 21 years old, after family turmoil and a loss of my own identity through these events, I felt as though something was truly missing.
I realized this because it was something that was brought to my attention by someone dear to me. This was an important element in his identity, which I admired and respected immensely but had trouble connecting to at the time.
I wasn’t where I needed to be in my journey yet.
Months later, it began to happen.
While this person wasn’t in my life in a big way anymore, I kept coming back to this missing piece.
Then another important person came into my life that summer that reiterated this point through her own life and actions.
At this point I knew there was no such thing as coincidence, I learned to discern these people and interactions were a sign from God that I had the support around me to explore this journey for myself even without the traditional Christian family background.
I began to wade into the water of the Christian faith and explore scripture and attend non-denominational services to investigate what this all meant for me.
I began to read the bible through my own study and with a group, I began to write devotionals at least once a week, I sought out conversations and guidance with those who shared a passion in their faith, and I devoted myself to the education, fellowship and practice of my spirituality.
I was finally at a strong place in my faith and even in the presence of loss, trials and tribulations I remained.
I turned to places of forgiveness in the face of being wronged by others.
I turned to places of strength with God in the face of loneliness.
I turned to places of dependence on Him in the face of anxiety and loss of control.
With so much change happening in my personal, professional and academic life I had this constant.
I was about to graduate, move to New York, start a master’s program, my sister was about to get married, my brother had twins on the way and I was growing in faith on my own (by this I mean without the background with my family, I have never been “alone” in this).
Then, at this time in my life, someone reentered it in a big way.
By chance I decided to reach out to a guy that was one of the examples that helped me realize that missing piece.
I was going to be in his area as I checked out a church of all things.
We went to lunch and in that moment things changed; his view of me, our relationship and our future.
He noticed the change and it helped my notice the change in myself.
I hadn’t realized just how powerful my journey had been for me.
I hadn’t comprehended how strong I had become through my growth in Christ.
From that moment things began to shift in my relationship with him through Him.
Now months later, we are growing in faith together.
He supports me more than I could possibly thank him for.
He helps lead me in ways I didn’t know I was unsure of.
Whether it’s in sharing a daily devotion, a podcast or a simple conversation over facetime at 1am Eastern Standard Time, he has helped support me and influences me in a spiritual way.
As something very important to me now I have trouble understanding how I went so long without this as a priority in my life, but I realize everyone has their own journey, and it isn’t about when you come to it or how but that you do.
And from this I connected with a long lost someone in a big way.
We grow together in faith, which makes us stronger than ever in the face of uncertainty and distance.
It took me a while but I am on that narrow and difficult path, now with a partner at my side.