My Journey with God… From Religion to Spirituality to Relationship
I was raised in a Catholic home until the 3rd grade when my mom got in a disagreement with the priest and we never went back. I thought God hated me because I knew I had done things he said not to do. I had always been told that God had more important things like war and famine to worry about than my little problems. So, I believed it and thought God didn’t really care about me that everything else was more important to him than me.
I was quick to abandon what I could remember of this teaching when I came into AA because I wanted a God that would care about me and I heard people share about this in meetings. They would always say this was not religion and I liked that because I could reject what I thought I knew about religion. In AA they told me to find my own conception of God. I heard of people having stereos, chairs and doorknobs as higher powers and I thought that was crazy but I did like the fact that they didn’t talk about God but said Higher Power instead. I went to a lot of meetings where people talked about the characteristics of their Higher Power. He was all loving, all powerful, etc… I would pick and choose the ones I liked and formed my own conception of a Higher Power, which I did call God. I prayed to him for about 15 years asking him to help me stay sober, help my friends etc… I didn’t get too in depth.
When people would talk about religious views and mention the name of Jesus in meetings, I would instantly get mad. I remember how arrogant I would become when I heard His name mentioned. I would always loudly proclaim how spiritual I was and that this was not a religious program. I would not so silently sit in judgment and think I was so much better than those proclaiming his name. I remember someone saying we were all sinners and I thought -speak for yourself. I’m not a sinner anymore. I’m sober now. My pride had shut the door on any thing that reminded me of religion.
But, if anyone would’ve asked I would have said I was a Christian because I believed in God. At the time, I belonged to an email AA group and the discussion was about God and an old timer said that she wasn’t a Christian and I remember getting really mad. I thought how can she not believe in God and have 21 years sober. The steps talk about having to believe in a Higher Power, I didn’t understand. I thought everyone who believed in God was a Christian. I emailed her and asked her. She kindly told me that she practiced Native American Religion and not God. A few days later two men came to my door and asked me if I thought I would go to heaven if I died. I said “I hope so” and they said there was a way that I could know for sure. That Jesus was the way. I told them to have a nice day and closed the door. I was fuming mad!!!!! I called my husband at work and told him about how arrogant these men were.
I had been taught about Jesus since I was very small. I knew that He was the son of God. I knew that He was born in a manger, died on a cross and rose again on Easter morning. I knew all these things as part of history and I believed they really happened but I didn’t understand how that had anything to do with me and my life. It wasn’t until I was 32 years old that someone told me that everything Jesus did was for me and that He did it because God sent Him to save me because he loved me so much. I remember thinking when I first heard, “Why hasn’t anyone every told me this?” I mean I knew that I had broken Gods laws. I knew that I had gone against Him and I would face a penalty. What I didn’t know was that the penalty had already been paid and God wasn’t mad at me anymore. WOW! All this time I had been avoiding God because I didn’t want to face judgment and my sins had already been paid for by Jesus. It was then that I got a glimpse of the love that my Father in heaven has for me. Yep, me. I wasn’t too small of a grain of sand for him to care about. He sent Jesus to die for me because He loves me that much. He gave His best for me by sending His one and only son to take my punishment. The price for my sin had already been paid in full. That’s why the Gospel is such Good News! The veil had been taken away from my eyes and I finally saw Jesus as he was for the first time. I became a Christian. I received Jesus into my heart and into my life as my personal Lord and Savior and I have a relationship with Him today.
I learned to start reading the Bible for myself and stop taking everybody’s word for what was in there. I found out that Testament means will. The program teaches that we are to do God’s will and I never could figure out what that was exactly but now I could read Gods Will by reading the Bible. As I read the New Testament all I could see was God’s love for me. Today He is my heavenly Father and He cares about every detail of my life and He wants the best for me.
I’m so grateful that I didn’t have to know all of this when I first got sober but more than that I’m grateful that I know this now and that I have a relationship with God today not a religion, not spirituality but relationship.