Is That You Jesus?
I didn’t understand what being saved meant.
Growing up, I didn’t have a religion. We didn’t go to church and we didn’t do anything at home, like praying or worshipping. I can remember that we weren’t allowed to say “oh my God” because my mom didn’t want us using God like that. At the time, I didn’t fully understand why but tried to comply so I wouldn’t get in trouble.
I was often teased about going to Hell in public grade school. I can still remember one particular incident. There was a group of us standing together and one kid asked me if I believed in God. I said no because I didn’t really have a concept of what God was. Cue the teasing and lecturing on going to Hell. This scared me, as I had a vague understanding of what Hell was, and I knew it was nothing good; something about burning for eternity.
At times, I had friends who would invite me to church. I had to get permission from my mom to go, the first and only time I went, in grade school. I slept over at my neighbor friend’s house so that we could get up early enough to go the next morning.
I remember eating cereal that morning. I was excited to go to church, because it was something new to me, and I was able to go with my friend. Eventually, we all piled into the car and went to their church.
I remember walking in at first and seeing the large room with all the benches (pews), but I don’t remember any other details; I couldn’t even tell you what denomination they were.
Since we were kids, we were pulled aside and taken to Sunday class where they read things from the Bible and discussed it with us to be sure we understood them. This class was down in the basement of the church and there were probably about ten or so chairs with desks. I don’t remember being particularly interested in the lecture, but I sat there like the good little student I was.
After the lesson was over, my friend introduced me to the teacher and we had a short discussion. The teacher asked if I’d been saved. I responded “no,” again, not really understanding what that meant. The teacher asked me if I wanted to be saved, and I responded affirmatively because it sounded like a good idea. I mean, as a little girl, being saved sounds like it should help you, right?
The teacher took me into another room where there was another man, who I now know was a minister. They had me sit in a chair and they said some things from the Bible, prayed to God, and then pronounced me saved. I didn’t feel any different, but I was happy I’d been saved.
After the service was done upstairs, we all piled back into the car and returned to my friend’s house. Then they dropped me back at my house, where I told my mom all about my experience. I told her about the Sunday school lesson and that I had been saved.
My good day suddenly took a turn.
She became angry, making that certain face she made, but I didn’t understand why.
Later on, as an adult, I had a conversation with her about it. She said she was angry that they did that without asking her permission or explaining what it really meant.
That evening after church, I went upstairs to get my shower. I felt this terrible pressure in my chest, one that I would become quite familiar with. It was a sign of an anxiety attack.
Being the innocent little girl I was, not understanding everything that happened that day, I seriously thought it was Jesus cleansing my heart. I didn’t know exactly what all that entailed but never having experienced an anxiety attack before, and not having prior Christian knowledge, I thought Jesus was scrubbing away the “bad stuff” and it was causing that feeling.
How it changed me.
This whole incident started me on my journey to becoming a witch, though I didn’t know it at the time. I started to not like Christians. I learned this from how they treated me. Teasing me about going to Hell and making fun of me for not believing in God. I learned that they weren’t trustworthy and would do things behind other people’s backs, such as saving a child without telling their parents.
For the longest time, I was pretty anti-Christian. I hated when people talked about their religion and would roll my eyes at them.
Then I met my husband, and eventually, his family. They are all Christian, but they are what I now call True Christians. They aren’t overly pushy with their religion, at least not to me. They help people out as I’d never seen before. Recently, I’ve heard his mother speak of donating to “the reservation” and helping a family with foster kids. They would invite people to their house for holiday meals when those people had nowhere else to go or no one to spend the holidays with.
Then, while working at the hospital, I met two amazing women who happened to be Christian. They spoke of the things that they did to help out in their communities. I also saw how they interacted with the patients who came in for their medical records. I was truly amazed by these two ladies. My previous experiences with Christians were pretty negative. I never thought there were good Christians out there.
I learned that you really can’t judge a book by its cover, or rather a person by their religion. I learned that there will be bad people in all walks of life, and those people might make it hard to see the good in others like them. I learned that I should really listen to the stories from other people because that will tell me more about what type of person they are than which God they worship.
I also learned to look more critically at the people who are more aligned with my beliefs. Many of those people are just as hateful toward Christians as some Christians are toward Pagans. When I end up in conversations like that, where someone is complaining about Christians, I tell them about the wonderful people I’ve met in this life that have helped me change my mind and my preconceived notions.
It may not change their mind at that time, but I hope they can see there are some good Christians out there too.