Karen’s Story: Coming to Know God, Part 3 [Video & Transcript]
Welcome or welcome back to “I Believe: Expressions of Faith,” our podcast for spiritual seekers of all faiths, religiously unaffiliated, lost, intellectually-straddling searchers of truth and all interested Christians and friends of all faiths.
In this episode, Karen’s story, part 3, our host shares her authentic quest for answers to life’s most essential questions. See parts 1 and 2 for the beginning of this series on this website or subscribe through iTunes to the Podcast “I Believe: Expressions of Faith.”
Karen moves in parts one and two of this video cast series from sharing her Catholic upbringing, through her time of soul-searching and questioning doctrines of faith taught her, and then skips through an agnostic and unsatisfying set of school years, a time of desperation, to a spiritual turning point through which she came to know for herself that God is real, that Jesus Christ is real, and that He is indeed the very Son of God who died to save her–physically and spiritually. In her own words, she shares some of her story in these episodes with us:
I Believe: Coming to Know God
I had an amazing experience for me that transferred me, and again I witnessed that God has a set of experiences like this for you as well, though it may be different. In my case, I was out running, it was a gorgeous August evening and there was a full moon shinning in the sky. I was just jogging the neighborhood and pondering all that I had been through during my life, and it’s kind of like I saw my entire life flash before me, in a way that I can barely describe what I felt, as I was kind of watching this panorama. As I did, at the same time, it seems as if I was injected with this knowledge of truth, like somebody just took a needle and shot me through, straight through, with a knowledge that God lived, that He loved me, and that I belonged. And I was changed instantly. I could no longer deny that I knew that there was God, I felt loved, I felt known, I felt a grander sense of belonging than I ever could have dreamed of. And I felt like I wanted to love everybody around me, that I had a deeper connection with them than I ever had before.
I was just filled with the joy of that knowledge. I started to sob, and I sat down on the curb, and I was just caught up in this newfound knowledge. I couldn’t even explain it myself. Ten-minutes earlier, I was an unbeliever or an agnostic, and then I had this witness that was undeniable that God lived. So it changed me instantly, and there were more changes to come. Of course all of the questions I had in my earlier life resurfaces. What about the purpose of life? What do you expect of me, God? What about Jesus Christ? What that I was taught previously was true? What about this war in heaven? Why am I here? And I was flooded with all those same questions, but I had someone to go to who I knew was real, and that made all the difference. So I continued my journey.
I first went back to the Catholic Church, and I presented my situation to someone that I met there and said I’d like to come back, and I have all these questions. I had a few questions answered but not very many; and I had, honestly, a resurgence of the same doubts I had as a child, knowing again that the fullness wasn’t there within the walls of that church. But I did ask someone for a Bible, and they were kind enough to lend me a New Testament, which I’d never had in my hands in my entire life really. I borrowed that Bible, I went behind the rectory of the church into this open field, it was probably mid-afternoon, and I started reading the Bible for the very first time in my life. I marveled that truth had been preserved for years so I could learn it, and I had never had it in my hands, and I had missed out on this. I just poured over that.
I started with the New Testament, and I started reading about God and Jesus Christ, His church and His plan, and I tried to piece together that puzzle that I told you about that I was always trying to piece together. But here was a source of truth that I could count on and I could look to, to find answers. It was, to me, amazing. And read first of all that Jesus Christ died for my sins, and I just paused, I just was stunned because I just knew that He had saved my life physically, because I would have been gone, and now I was reading that He suffered for my sins and died to save me spiritually, and I was overcome with that love. I knew that He was real. I knew that He was resurrected. But from there, what I did is I stayed until sunset, until it got dark, I read through as much of the New Testament as I could and I took notes in this little silver journal that I kept for years after, and I wrote down the things that the Spirit was teaching me at that time. The Spirit will testify of all truth. And I was learning things as I read, and I wrote down the fact that we can become perfect or should strive toward perfection, even as God is perfect, as we read in Matthew. I learned that there was baptism by immersion in the Savior’s church, so I anticipated that if His church was on the earth, they would baptize by immersion, and have God’s authority. I read about the fact that there was more revelation the Lord had to give us. He said that to His apostles in Mark, I have more to give you, but ye cannot bear it all now. And it made sense to me that a father wouldn’t stop speaking to His children just because they reached a certain age, but that He would have more to say to us. So I anticipated more revelation than the Bible, more words from Heavenly Father.
Anyway, I wrote all these things down, and certain things, obviously prepared me for the fullness of the truth. At that point, though, I thought, okay so which church teaches what Jesus Christ taught in the scriptures that I’ve just read and investigated. Where is this church? At that point I didn’t know if it existed on the earth, but I assumed that it would appear somewhere and I just had to find it.
So I went on a church-hunt of sorts. I really did, I went to—you name it, I probably went to that church; Jehovah’s Witnesses, Pentecostal, Swedenborgian, Methodist, Catholic, non-denominational, I went and visited all that I could. I would go in with my trusty little silver notebook and continue my scripture study, and read their church material, and I would sort of check off things “Yes! They believe in this, they believe in this, they believe in this, and that all falls in line with what I read in the scriptures, but what about this? Ah, they don’t believe in baptism by immersion, or what about this concept over here? And things were missing, and I would always come up with disappointing deviation from what the scriptures taught, or important truths about Jesus Christ and His church. So anyway, after months of doing this, I finally was read to abandon my quest. One more shot I decided to give it. I decided to walk into a Baptist church and the same things happened. I was please to meet some of the wonderful people, I was pleased to hear some of the things that were true, things that the Savior had taught, but then there were other areas where I realized there were gaps, again. So I walked out very discouraged, and as I’m walking out of this Baptist service right in the vestibule there’s this brochure rack. On the brochure rack was an Ex-Mormon brochure, an Anti-Mormon brochure, I guess you’d call it. And I thought, “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, now there’s one I haven’t looked into.” So I took the brochure home and said this is it, this is the last one.
See Part 4 or subscribe on iTunes for what followed next in Karen’s chronicled summary of her life quest to find God. Karen hopes that by sharing this and other encouraging posts about life’s meaning and purpose, and her quest to find Christ’s true Church on earth, that other seekers, friends of all faiths or no faith, may find that light sooner and in a less circuitous manner than she did.
Thanks for joining us. Please share these messages on faith, knowing God, knowing truth, finding meaning, with anyone you know who might benefit from them. See also Karen’s two-minute audio Thirst Quenchers for refreshing faith-building insights and messages for daily living.
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