Originally Posted by mamaley
it's late and i'm tired, and i really hope that i'm not intruding, but i've been struggling with this for a while and thought maybe someone here could help.
i wasn't raised in any church, although most people i knew were Christian. for those of you who were not raised as Christians, how did you come to be Christians? i love the teachings of Jesus, what i know of anyway, but i don't know if i'd call myself an actual Christian yet. i don't know that i believe everything that Christians believe. i don't know, i'm very confused...
anyway, if you don't mind, i'd like to hear how you became a Christian, or if you have any advice for me.
am i completely hijacking your thread? if so, i'm truly sorry...
nah, you're not hijacking at all - and you are so welcome.
I was not raised Christian, so I'll answer. This might be a bit long, so i hope anyone reading this will bear with me. And thanks in advance for letting me share my story.
I was born and raised atheist/agnostic/secular Jew in upstate NY. The town i lived in was tiny but had an orthodox synagogue and no church. The women sat separate from the men, the service was all in Hebrew and i understood nothing. My parents were agnostic i guess.. they never taught us about G-d so i grew up with no relationship with him. We were Jewish by race and tradition. We lit chanukah candles every year and had passover seder at uncle stans on longisland. that was it. I'd only been to temple for my friends barmitzvahs, never to worship. I'd never spoken to a rabbi, went to hebrew school or was bat mitvah. I had no clue about relationship with G-d, or my identity as a Jew either.
I joined a Jewish youth group when i was 12, trying to find answers to my questions. Most of those kids did have a jewish identity, and understanding of judaism and a relationship with G-d, and i still felt totally out of place. I went from 12-18yrs old tho, trying to learn whatever i could. Thru my parents divorce, thru my mothers severe medical illness. My childhood was spent searching and I felt disconnected. Thru the program I journeyd to Israel, twice. freshman and junior year of college, seeking answers. I started studying Old Testament in Hebrew University . But while i was there in Jeruselem studying I did some travelling. I found myself oddly drawn to Nazareth and Bethlehem, spending Christmas eve there my first trip.
When i got back to the states i finished college and started a job. I met a man who was catholic and started to go to church with him on Sundays when he invited me. I liked alot of what i heard. I loved the feeling I got when I was in church.... i felt connected and peaceful.
The catholic church has a year long program toward conversion and tho i wasn't sure I wanted to convert, I did want to study - so i joined. I actually ended up studying for 2 years. That was back in 90-91. One day i was sitting outside the church in this little garden they had and i was just thinking. I guess i was praying, but at the time I didn't know it? lol. I felt something come over me - and i'm no "holey roller" or anything, but i know it was the Holy Spirit touching my heart. I just suddenly felt like everything was going to be ok. I was this single mom with an 18mo old . The man i was with was not the one for me, my world was upside down, my mother was ill and i'd been stressed out, and disoriented for so long - and bam . it was all of the sudden so clear to me. It sort of "clicked' in my head, kwim?
I decided right then to say it out loud ...to ask Jesus into my heart and life and help me navigate thru the maze that is life.
I did accept Christ and was baptised and confirmed thru that program. But that was only the beginning of my journey. The Catholic church held some teachings that I was unsure about - plus i was still interested in all the different 'kinds' of Christianity so I started attending different churches. Lutheran, Protestant, Baptist - you name it and i spent some time worshipping there. My daughter and I both were born again, and baptised in the baptist church back in 2000. Somehow one day I just felt I needed to say it out loud to everyone again - that yes, I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of G-d , that He is G-d and that I want my heart to be open to Him and I want to follow his teachings and teach others when possible and be like Him. I believe He died for me and my sins and that is an incredible gift and I want to live my life for Him.
This past year I started reading devotionals and a bit of the messianic information on line. I didn't want to completely let go of my Judaism and didn't think I should 'have to' in order to have Yshua/Jesus in my life for good. I didn't believe He woudl want that, since He lived His life on earth as a Jewish man, a rabbi, born to a Jewish mama and lived in a Jewish community following Jewish Law and Tradition.
Turns out theres a whole world of people who think i was right lol, and there are many many Jews in the world who live a torah observant life (or like me, simply try to do that) and still walk with Yshua on a daily basis. Anyway, my path is a long and windy one. My husband (baptised catholic, raised baptist and totally accepting of my jewish christianity) and I have finally found a church home a year and a half ago that suits both of our personalities, and needs and offers us a place to give of our own spiritual gifts. For us tho we can and do pray at home, church is about fellowship, support, community and bible learning.
So, that is how I became a Christian. I think somehow we humans worry that its not ok to question - its human nature to question - thats how He created us. LOL. So you question...then you read, study, talk to others, try some churches - Its part of the journey (in my opinion). One day you may just find yourself on your knees (or even in your kitchen washing dishes) and calling out to Him (even in your own mind and not out loud) saying "ya know, I want to believe in you. And i need you. Please come into my heart and be part of my life" - thats it. Thats really all there is to it. In my opinion you don't have to do anything formal at all (tho baptism is the formal proclamation of faith) - you just have to ask HIm into your heart and mind and life. You dont' even have to be sure you believe, just ask Him in. Then He will lead you to the rest of the answers you need.
I reaaaaaaaally hope this didn't sound all kinds of preachy. For me the bottom line was that once I asked Him in and put my faith in Him, the rest seemed to just unfold for me. That doesn't mean i'm not still on the path, still working toward peace and faith, forgiveness and living without sin - lol. um... yeah, i have a long way to go. But i know He's walking with me now so its a much easier hike.
i'm glad you're here. Hey, i'm glad I'm here.