The earliest memories of church I have are going into a large beautiful building.
I remember the stained-glass windows, the flickering light of candles and the smell of incense.
I would look over the statues of Christ on the cross, or at the statue of Mary; standing tall above her army of votive candles, each one flickering with an unspoken prayer.
I remember my Mother telling me I was “Catholic” – at that age, I thought the words “Catholic” and “Christian” were interchangeable. If you were a Christian, then you must also be a Catholic.
I went to a Catholic school, went to chapel with my classmates. Had my first confession, and I remember my confirmation. My aunt, also my god mother, did my hair and I wore my best dress, and stood with all the other young boys and girls, to receive the blessing from the Father. I remember expecting that my confirmation was a big deal, that it made me more grown up and would change how I lived my life.
But it didn’t.
The school, sunday school and parents taught me the basics of Christ as I grew up.
Yes, I knew about the nativity story, and the easter story – and while I never doubted that Christ was God’s Son, or that the Bible was 100% true; it never changed anything in my life.
We went to church only occasionally, mostly on the holidays when it was most expected of us; then we’d go home and everything would still be the same.
Is it any surprise that, that is all I though Catholicism was? Mass on Sundays, a manger at Christmas and Easter eggs on Easter?
When I was 13, it all changed. My parents took us to a Christian camp in the States for a week.
There I learned that Christians had different denominations, there were Christian books, and even music that sounded like the music I listened to on the radio!
Being a Christian actually meant you lived differently from everyone else – it had it’s own entire culture that I was completely unaware of!
Even though I had grown up knowing about Christ, this was the first time I actually got to know Him.
That week forever changed my life; I gave my life to Christ and unbeknownst to me, so did my entire family.
When we came home, major changes happened. We started studying the Bible together, actually praying and listening to Christian music, and talking about God like He was in our daily lives.
At that point, my parents decided to leave the Catholic church – it was the revival, and they wanted to be a part of it!
For a few years we bounced around trying to find a home – we went everywhere from Baptist churches, to Wesleyan churches, we even tried Anglican and United.
Finally we landed in the Reform Presbyterian Church, they sung psalms and devoted lots of time to teaching and theology – we stayed there as a family for 6 years until I got married and moved out of province to be with my husband.
I was now living in a tiny little prarie town with a population of 500 people. The church choices were Old Order Mennonite or Alliance.
Thankfully there was a Christian college the next town over and the majority of the young people there went to the Alliance church – so it was there we went and met many wonderful friends.
Then the Recession hit.
My husband, a welder, found himself out of work and no one hiring, we moved to a near-by city and tried to make it work there.
We missed our friends and family desperately, and still no one was hiring.
Finally we made the call to move back to my home province, which my husband also grew up in and settle near family.
That required yet another church move and once again finding a church home.
By this point I knew I didn’t want to be in the Reformed church, my issues with it were not huge, but the fact that the nearest one was a 45 minute drive into the city really made me re-evaluate local churches.
We landed in a Vineyard church, a 15 minute walk away and with a large community of young families; we have been there now for 3 years.
I love the community and the closeness, there are many wonderful things about that church – and yet every year or so, I get this tug or pulling back to the Catholic church.
I pick up my rosary again, go to a weekday mass and pretend I’m still part of that community.
Normally the feeling fades, I ignore it or become distracted with something else.
This time however, it wasn’t a tug, it was an all out shove towards the church.
It started with Lent.
I went to my folks’ for Shrove Tuesday, ate pancakes with the family and remembered that Ash Wednesday was the next day.
That tug started pulling again.
I found out what time the service was at the Catholic church down the road and went by myself (while Hubby watched over the little one) to receive the ashes and the blessing.
Then I found Lenten devotions from the Magnificat and started doing those daily.
One thing led to another, one step has now covered miles of research, conversations, prayers and meditation.
The honest truth is that I don’t know where I’m going.
I know where I’ve been, I can see what may lie ahead, but until then I’ll just keep following my feet and see where I end up.