Karen’s Story: Coming to Know God, Part 1 [Video & Transcript]
In this episode of I Believe: Expressions of Faith, our host shares her sincere quest for truth, for knowledge, to the answers to life’s questions: “Why am I here?”; “Where did I come from,” “Is God Real,” “Is There Life After Death?” Her search took her from the top of the stairs as a child, reared in an Italian-Catholic home, to the Word of God and to a quest that led to her finding fullness, unanticipated answers, and much joy in the gospel of Jesus Christ. She hopes that in listening to her story, your path in coming unto Christ will be blessed–and if you have not found Him, shortened by the insights she shares regarding seeking and finding truth and seeking and finding God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Here, on this post, Karen just shares her witness of Jesus Christ with you. Karen would love to hear from honest seekers. Please also subscribe to these audio and video casts on site or via iTunes.
Witness of Jesus Christ
I’m Karen, I’m so glad that we’re together today. I don’t have any idea if I’ve caught you at the gym, or if you’re streaming this online, or if you’re in the car driving, but wherever you are I’m glad that we’re together. I wish that I could see all of your faces. I’m here to share my story with you today, of moving from being an agnostic to a believer in God and in Jesus Christ. And if it happened to me, it can happen to you. I guess what I really hope is that you will hear even beyond the words that I’m speaking. God speaking to you in some small way and extending the invitation that He always extends to all of us every day but especially today, to come to know Him—if you don’t already know Him. So if you’re an honest seeker if you feel lost, if you feel like you’re an orphan to life’s spin, I’ve been there! And hang on, because there’s hope and there’s answers and there’s solutions. I hope that my story will give you at least of feel for some of that today.
So, that said, I was raised a Catholic, and I’m grateful for the foundations of faith that were laid in those early years of my upbringing. I have to say though that I had a lot of questions that were unanswered as I did the things that Catholics do—I went to church, you know mass was in Latin then, then flipped to English, I studied the Catechism. I didn’t really have a personal copy of the Bible, but was taught through parochial schools. And again, I learned about God and Jesus Christ, and the resurrection and the Atonement, and I had lots of questions, and I had things that really the Spirit of Truth would persist in making me ask, and I didn’t have answers for them. For example: I was told that there was a war in heaven, before we came to this life. And I wanted to know more about that, I mean we have a lot at stake in knowing what to place there, and I read that a third of the hosts were cast out and I wondered, well who were they, and how does that affect my life, and when I asked those questions, there were no answers to those. The Trinity, I tried to get my mind around the concept of the Trinity and I knew that God, and His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit couldn’t be one amorphous essence, that they were separate beings, so again I had some difficulties. But I appreciated and respected that upbringing.
So when I was young enough, I actually left the Catholic Church and lived sort of a life independent of a real knowledge of God. Not independent of Him, because He’s always there and my every breath comes from Him, but independent of any personal relationship with Him. So it’s as if I internalized some things that I knew were true, but I hadn’t personalized a relationship with God and Jesus, and I didn’t know if anybody around me did, but I have to flash back because the questions about the purpose of life and my purpose—and this may be true with you, I’m sure—they always were there, they always surface, so I can remember standing at the top of the stairs as a little girl, in my home, looking at myself thinking, “How did I get in this body, here, in this home, in this family, at this time? What’s my purpose? How did I get here? I had no clue.” And I remember that, I was pretty young at the time, but those questions, if we’re still, and we listen, they’re there for all of us, because we have a place for the divine, we are children of God, and we long to be reconnected with Him, and this temporary separation is temporary, and so those longings and those desires are there.
Anyway, so, I had those questions and they would resurface through the years, sort of like crocuses in the spring, you know, pop up through the soil of your soul. They were just there, and I would try and answer them and I would look for the answers, and I could find the answers, I’d bury them again, and then they would resurface later on.
So here I am, so I’ve left the Catholic Church, we fast forward again, and now I’m sort of living this life independent of a real knowledge of God. And you know your resources run out really quickly when your dependent on just what you have and just on your own strength and your own knowledge and your own wisdom, and your own reasons for living, are just not sufficient to make life as full and real as it should be. And that happened with me. So the interesting thing was that I felt like I was still guided in my search. I had this question about the purpose of life, and I felt that it was as if the Spirit had a highlighter and I would be able to read things, I would go into a book store, or have an experience with someone or listen to a conversation and I would know that something I just heard or was said was a principle of truth and it mattered. So I would write it down, and I actually kept this little notebook in my purse for over ten years, with little portions of truth. If you can imagine, it’s like I had this huge giant jigsaw puzzle and I’m trying to put together the purpose of life; and you know you have the four corner, and you have couple pieces in between, and that’s how I felt, and I felt like I was alone in this quest and yet not alone in the sense that there was this force guiding me—which then I had no idea had anything to do with God. I knew I was looking for truth, but I didn’t know that truth and God and anything to do with each other at that point in my life. But I pursued that and I stored those up, treasured those, pondered those, and moved on with my life.
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