If you’d like to see part 1 of my journey, look here.
Since I wrote that initial post in January, I have had my doubts about “converting” to Catholicism. After all, a relationship with Jesus is all that matters, and I already have that. I haven’t wanted to convert unless I can fully respect what the church stands for, fully understand the meaning of the sacraments, commit to taking my future children to this church, and so on. It’s a lot to swallow, which has given me a lot of fear. I’ve been scared of what my family is going to think, scared that people will think I’m doing this all for Carlos, scared that once I fully commit, I won’t like it or agree with it anymore. Or that I’ll realize that everyone who’s tried to warn me about the dangers of Catholicism was right, and that I was too blind to see the truth. Months of this fear had left me in limbo, unable to make a decision and not really needing to.
Then Carlos and I got engaged. We discussed only having a civil ceremony, having a pastor perform a ceremony at our outdoor venue, or having a church wedding in a Protestant church. None of those options seemed right, however. Carlos was more adamant than me that he wanted a church wedding. And I was more adamant that, if we were going to get married in a church, it would be a Catholic church. That’s the kind of church we’ve attended here in Mexico and therefore holds the most significance to us. The only problem is that the Catholic church has rules about Catholics marrying non-Catholics. While I think there are ways of getting around them (I’ve already heard about one friend of a friend who was a Protestant marrying a Catholic and, instead of converting, just paid off the priest). However, I concluded that I wanted to take no short cuts, and to be sure that God was right in the middle of my decision. I wanted this to be about me and God, not about me and Carlos or me and my wedding. I didn’t know if I had the time or energy to fully invest in the conversion process in the less than 7 months until the wedding without taking short cuts. But, I agreed that we should look at some Catholic churches as options and was hoping seeing them would help make my decision.
It was my 26th birthday on Tuesday, and Carlos and I ended up being near our wedding venue that morning Literally right across the street from the venue is a Catholic Church called San Jose. We had talked about wanting to see it, just because of the convenience factor of getting married there. So Carlos suggested we go by and see it on my birthday. I knew within seconds of entering that it was the church. Not because it was beautiful (it is), but because I felt God’s presence there. Not only did I picture my wedding there, but I clearly saw God holding my entire life in His hands-my Evangelical past and my on-the-fence present. Most importantly, I could see Him holding my future in His hands: a Catholic future. I was absolutely, 100% positive that Catholicism was what I wanted, and that God was not only allowing me to choose it, but that He was the one who wrote it into the story of my life.
My dad told me a few weeks ago that he never could have pictured my life going in the direction it has gone. I’d have to agree. If I’ve learned anything since meeting that Catholic, Mexican fiance of mine, it’s that true love transcends cultural and language barriers, and that God transcends Catholic and Protestant denominational lines. I’m not saying that God wants everyone to be Catholic. I don’t think He does. Commit your life to Jesus, use the Bible as your guide, and trust God with the rest. Ask for more Jesus and less religion in your heart. “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing,” says Stephen Covey. It’s a process that I’m sure will take the rest of my life, learning to keep God in the center of whatever I do. All of my doubts about Catholicism haven’t disappeared. I have no idea how taking adult Catechism classes in Spanish is going to turn out, but I think that’s okay. I had doubts as a Protestant, too.
Ephesians 3 is a good chapter for squashing the doubts: “…God may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith-that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length, and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think…to him be glory.”