When I was growing up and people asked me my religion, I answered as if I was checking a box off on a survey. Catholic. Check. It didn't matter that my family usually only attended church on holidays or that even that practice had waned over the years.
While my childhood visits to church were sporadic, I can clearly remember sitting in Mass on several occasions, staring at Jesus on the cross, and having no idea who He really was. For years he was a carved wooden body, a tiny metal figure that hung from relatives' necks, a multicolored image on stained glass. It wouldn’t be until my early 30s that I would meet the living God.
I walked down a path leading away from God for decades. But when I received Jesus Christ as my Savior in 2012, everything changed. Sundays became my favorite day of the week. I started reading the Bible. Songs of praise were on my lips. While I'm not sure of the exact moment of conversion, in time I came to understand what John Newton said best: "I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior." Transformed by the Holy Spirit, I found myself not yearning for the same things. Eventually many of the idols I had treasured for decades only left me sick to my stomach.
Some days felt like a dream—everything just made sense. Others, not so much. Doubt clouded my vision and sometimes I wondered if I was losing it.
But the Most High God is faithful. Little by little, He emptied me of negative habits and addictions I'd picked up in the world, replacing the ugliness with Himself, with an indescribable beauty that has flowed in, through and out of Him forever.
So. Much. Joy.
The Lord continues to transform me into a new person. And, as a writer-turned-born-again Christian, I felt called to share the cra-mazing (crazy + amazing) experiences of my walk with the Author of salvation through this blog. But, while I've been a wordsmith for as long as I can remember, the byline is His alone.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord (2 Peter 1:2).
-Maria B. White
"At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy" (Titus 3:3-5).