The Story of My Journey from Christian, to Pagan, to Atheist, and Finally, to Becoming a Follower of
By way of introducing myself to readers of my new blog, I will outline the spiritual journey of my life, up until this point. It's not a simple story and, through my years, I have made detours through Paganism and Atheism on my way back to Christ. My story is not unique but I hope it provides encouragement to those who are dealing with wayward children or who are praying for loved ones who are lost. "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it". Proverbs 22:6 There is always hope for those walking in darkness, and I pray my story is living proof of that.
I’ll start with my childhood, where I was raised in church and was saved at a young age, around the age of nine. After being saved I was as on fire for God as any nine year old could be, but this was during the time of my Dad’s first divorce and, given the circumstances, it was pretty impossible to be properly discipled as a new Christian. Things were pretty chaotic over the next few years and eventually I ended up living with my Dad and his second wife. During these years we went to church pretty often, faithfully even, and you’d think I was building a pretty solid foundation in Christ. But looking back over the years I realize that the Christianity I was being given was an “at church only” Christianity. It didn’t seem to ever leave the church building and enter into our home and I certainly don’t remember anyone ever teaching me how it was that I could know for sure Christianity was true. So because it all seemed so storybook to me, when things got rough again a few years later (my Dad went through another divorce), it was really easy for me to be influenced by my peers at school and walk away from the faith.
Oddly enough, my Dad’s third wife was the one who gave me my first book on witchcraft. By this time, church attendance was again non-existent and I was beginning to be led towards Shamanism. So when the book on witchcraft was presented, I was intrigued. Though the seed of occultism was planted, it wasn’t fully watered until I left home in 1996 and moved to Florida. It was here that I met and became very close friends with my first practicing Pagan friend. Through her I met my priestess who I began to study under. The purpose of my study was to become a priestess in the Fellowship of Isis (http://www.fellowshipofisis.com/). This process had an initiation, a study period, and finally, the ordination. I completed the first two phases of the process but when it came to actually becoming an ordained priestess, I got cold feet. I didn’t feel as though I would be able to dedicate myself fully to the goddess, so I declined the final stage. I know now that it was the Holy Spirit, who had been inside of me since age 9, telling me NO! However, as long as I was in Florida, I continued to attend Pagan rituals and gatherings.
I will side step here and speak briefly about the training I received. The initiation process wasn’t anything overly weird. I was to come to my priestess’ home, with my fellow initiates, and we’d go through the ceremony which was typical incense burning, chanting, singing, and invocating (drawing the goddess in). But I had to decide to give a few things up for a period of time before initiation. I decided to give up speaking and food for 24 hours and I remained abstinent for a week (maybe two, I don’t remember anymore). Once I completed initiation, I began my formal training which I believe took a couple of months. While in training we learned about the many different gods and goddesses (mainly the goddess because she was more prominent than the god), how to properly construct and display an alter, we learned Pagan songs and chants, proper drum methods (for ritual), we were encouraged to find our totem animal (mine was the purple wolf…allegedly shown to me in a vision), we were taught the zodiac and lunar cycles, we each went on an individual vision quest with our priestess (this is how I found my other totem animal, the dragonfly) and finally, we were taught the Pagan holidays. (There were other things we were taught, but some things were weird even for me back then so I’d rather just leave those things in the past.) The holidays featured Beltane (May Day), Estara (Easter), Samhain (Halloween), and the Winter Solstice/Yule (Christmas), among others. It was during my training of the holidays that I was deeply educated about the meanings behind all the holiday things that the secular and Christian seemed to know nothing about. All the symbols, yes, I mean all of them have some significance in fertility. The eggs, the bunnies, the wreaths, the holly, the tree, the decorations…it all pointed to either the phallic, the “yoni”, or to pregnancy. We spent a lot of time during this phase of our training laughing at Christians, especially, for always appearing to abhor all things Pagan, yet there they were, celebrating our holidays even in the same manner that we were celebrating them. I’ll admit that we didn’t really understand why they did it except, in our heads, it was because they liked our traditions and festivals so much that they had no choice but to hijack them and pretend they weren’t ours, but instead theirs. But we knew better; they were either too ignorant to know the truth, or they were unwilling to know the truth. And this only solidified our belief that our religion was superior to theirs, because surely there wasn’t anything about their religion that we cared to incorporate into our holidays! Oh how hard it is to come out of occultism once it gets its claws into you! (If one needs further proof of this, look to how Christians are still following the occult in their practices today, though they’re loathe to admit it.) There isn’t really much left to tell about my days as a Pagan other than to express the reason why it is so powerful is because of the emotional aspect of it. The very same emotional aspect that Christians still attach to the very same holidays that they defend so staunchly.
However, continuing on with my story. During my time in Florida I met and married my husband. My priestess married us, and since Pagans don’t believe in fathers “giving away” their daughters, my Dad only walked me halfway down the aisle (because I insisted on him being a part of the ceremony in some way) where He and I met my priestess, who walked me the rest of the way down the aisle. (This isn’t relevant to the story I guess, but it felt like it needed to be added in.) Shortly after we were married, my husband joined the Army and we moved from Florida to Georgia. It was in Georgia that I became an Atheist.
I spent the first year or so in Georgia being a solitary (Pagan) practitioner but then I started college, working my way through a Psychology degree. It was in one of my psychology classes that I learned that the vision I mentioned above wasn’t really a vision at all but a very common function of the brain. It was this single thing that led me on the path to Atheism.
I spent the next nine years or so as an unapologetic Atheist. It just didn’t make sense to me that God was real. It didn’t make sense that God could make me a sinner and then condemn me for it. And so, with that in mind, I just forgot about God or even caring to ponder whether or not I thought He (or she) was real. It’s no surprise that, as much sin as I fell into during my Pagan years, I fell into even more sin, though of a different kind, during my Atheist years.
Fast forward to 2006; a time when I was finally able to think about voting in the upcoming election. In the previous two elections I wasn’t able to vote because we were in the process of moving and, since that was before everything was automated on the internet, it just seemed like too much trouble to try to vote. But I insisted that I was going to vote in 2008, so I began the process of trying to figure out who I was; which way I leaned politically. I didn’t know if I was a Conservative or a Liberal, Republican or Democrat, but my husband was military and I’d always heard that it was a smart idea for military families to vote Republican so I started there, but I wasn’t married to the idea of voting Republican. After spending the two years from 2006-2008 searching for my political identity, I figured out that I was very much a Republican (it would be another couple of years more before I figured out I was a Conservative more than I was a Republican) and this began the process of my return to God. The real God.
Through the process of learning my stances on issues like abortion and immigration, I realized that I leaned very much to the right on social issues. You cannot lean right on the social issues without encountering Christians. I began to sympathize with the plight of Christians even if I didn’t believe in their God. From the time of the 2008 elections and through the 2012 elections, I worked closely on campaigns with many Christians. I can’t say though that it was anything at all from any of them that led me back to the Lord. I can only say it was the Lord Himself who did it. Nothing any Christian ever said to me persuaded me that He was real. Many of them tried to talk to me and give me proof of His existence, but none of it really seemed to hold any water. But there was one thing that always bothered me and went through my head during my years as an Atheist, and that was the idea of a living cell. Why is it that no one has ever been able to create a living cell? Why is it that a single cell even lives? It’s made up of much of the same material that non-living things are made up of, yet that cell lives! Why? What made it alive? We could say hormones, proteins, and amino acids, but that still didn’t explain it. Because we could pump a rock full of proteins, amino acids, and hormones and it still would never come to life. So what made a cell alive? I knew the answer, but I wasn’t willing to entertain it at the time.
I’d always told myself that if I could believe in God again, I would go back to Paganism. I loved being a Pagan, through it I felt connected to the earth, I felt like I was part of the intricacies of every living thing, it felt peaceful and beautiful to me. But it took me a few more years to begin to feel the need to try to find God again. It was right at the end of the 2012 election, when it was time to make a decision about who to vote for, Romney or no one, that I finally had to have a sit down conversation with God. (Yes, making the right decision on who to vote for was that important to me.) So first, I told God that if He (or she) was real, then He needed to show me that He was. And second, I told Him (or Her) that if He really was there, I knew it was foolish for me to deny Him so I promised Him that if He would just show Himself to me, then I would dedicate my life to Him. Third, I told Him that I really needed help in figuring out what He wanted from me in regards to my vote in the election. In the following week, Romney did three really stupid things that completely floored me and sealed the deal on my decision to not vote for him; a decision none of the "lesser of two evils", "a vote for anyone other than Romney is a vote for Obama" naysayers could sway me from. At this point, I realized I was taking orders from God, not voters. So it seemed I had my answer on to who to vote for, but more importantly, I found out: God is real!!
So now that I was able to believe in God again, the question was…do I return to Paganism or do I seek out something else? Since I was convinced now God was real I wanted to know if He existed in every form or just one form. And so began my journey to find out who God really was.
The problem with going back to Paganism was the fact that I was a hardcore Conservative and finding a group of Conservative Pagans is harder to do than finding a vegetarian shark. So I was compelled to at least see if I could find truth in Christianity. Really, my story from here isn’t all that compelling. I just spent hour upon hour pouring over every piece of information I could find on the subject of Christianity. Since I was an ex-Pagan, I considered seeking out a Catholic church since I knew it was the Catholic church that was most like the Pagans, with all their incense, candles, holy water, and rituals. (I mean, come on, a Catholic alter was not at all unlike Pagan alters). But, instead, after an extensive search for a church, really any church (at this time I had no knowledge at all of doctrine), I was led to a Baptist congregation. This turned out to be rather coincidental (not really) because I was raised in Baptist churches. We attended our church a time or two and very soon we began discussions with our pastor, who set out to try to lead us to Christ. When the time came for me to make the decision to rededicate myself to Christ (because I firmly believed I had already been saved at 9), I was reluctant. I knew that dedicating myself to Christ meant I had to believe in Him fully, and while I believed in much of the “Christ story”, I was still unable to believe in the resurrection of Christ. (Which meant I still wasn’t sure that He was God.) What helped me to come to this truth was the fact that Christ didn’t just die on the cross. If He had died and stayed dead, Christianity would have stayed dead with Him. But He didn’t stay dead, and not only did He rise again, but He walked on earth for a time before He ascended into heaven! How many people saw him alive after He had surely died?! The Bible says around 500. If 500 people, many of who witnessed the very death of Christ, saw him walking around on earth three days after being put into the tomb, don’t you think they became staunch believers in Christ? And did not those very same believers, to include all the disciples, suffer great persecution for following Him? What person would die for something they knew or suspected to be a lie? This is the only rational explanation for why it is that Christianity not only survived, but thrived, and is now one of the largest religions in the world in regards to population, second only to Islam. Whereas Islam’s numbers were gained by persecution and force, Christianity’s numbers were gained by freedom and love. (Not to mention, our years are measured by His birth and death.) No other religion can be so well verified by both history and science. We have a Savior that is present in our everyday lives, we have a savior that still lives! No other religion has a living God and no other religion has a God that sacrificed Himself for all of mankind; thereby paying the price so that all might enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Is it difficult at all to see now why it is that I have come to dispise these seemingly innocuous things we call holidays; that we pretend are all about Christ? Christ knows the truth. He is the eternal One and He sees through every deception. I spent too long in the clutches of Paganism to remain blind and unable or unwilling to see that Paganism is alive in well in the churches and hearts of Christians today. What a shame and how sad this makes me for my Christ who did so much so that we may be free of Paganism and free from the wages of all sin.
Yes, Christianity is the true faith of the world. It is the culmination of 6,000 years of world history and it is the only faith that points to things to come in the future. There is no doubt in my mind today that Christ is my Savior. But He is not just my Savior, He is everyone's Savior. What I’d give to know that everyone who has managed to make it to the end of this story has humbled themselves before God and asked Him to show Himself to them. If you ask Him to draw near, He will, and He will show you truth. But best of all, He will change your life and save your soul. He will give you eternal life! Please, contact me today if you’d like to hear more about my Jesus.
Do you know, if you were to die today, whether or not you'll go to be with Christ after you die? Are you 100% and completely assured of your salvation? If not, please read my page on salvation today. There is nothing more important than giving your life to Christ and securing your place in eternity. I pray the Holy Spirit leads you to a personal relationship with Christ today, and I pray that you follow where the Holy Spirit leads you.