This may be hard to believe, but I have a pagan background and upbringing. When I was sixteen, I realized that my family considered ourselves pagan, and I began a strange journey of trying to discover if that was what I believed.
My family and I were a part of small local pagan gatherings for a few months before I decided that it was just too strange for me. My family agreed, and we stopped attending meetings, but we still held to a pagan belief enough to say “I’m pagan” if someone asked.
In college, I considered myself more of an omnist (a belief that all religions are true and right). I didn’t pursue anything in particular and specifically took classes in world religions and anthropology to deepen my understanding of mainstream religions. I spent time in synagogues and Catholic churches, and in true omnist fashion, no one religion seemed more true than any other.
It was in one of these world religion classes that I met my (future) husband, Michael. I’ve shared this on social media before, but he and I had an enemies-to-lovers story arc. We did not care for each other when we first met! He only wore suits and ties to class, always argued with our atheist professor about the validity of Scripture, and he’d begun preaching the gospel at age eleven. While at the time, I sported a shaved head, mainly wore sweatpants, and was constantly one minute late to class every day. As you could probably guess, we were very unalike.
It wasn’t until my graduation, two semesters later, that we spoke. Shortly after, we went on our first date. As we began dating, we were both fairly open about our religious viewpoints, although we didn’t speak to it very often. I knew Michael was a Christian, who was going through a hard time, and he knew I was fairly open to everything.
I think it’s only fair to mention that I do not advocate for the “flirt to convert” model. Michael originally wanted to go on one date and see what happened, how was he to know how charming I am?
That being said, I could see that God and his faith meant a lot to Michael, even if he was in a rocky place, and eventually I began pushing him to go back to church. Still thinking like an omnist, I had no qualms in going to church with him, and learning more and more about true Christianity was fascinating. Like many non-believers, I had been subject to heretical Christians who had either tried to scare me out of hell or coax me to believe with empty fluff. Michael was the first person to speak to me about the Bible, show me what it said, and treat me with respect while doing so.
Simply put, God placed Michael into my life knowing that I needed that man. God used my now husband to save me.
It was a whirlwind romance with Michael and a whirlwind introduction to the Truth. Within five months, Michael proposed. Two months later, we eloped. It was somewhere in those five months of dating, talking about Christianity, and looking at Bible passages that I knew. I knew that it was the Truth. I didn’t know it all and I knew I’d spend decades learning, but somewhere deep in my heart and soul, I knew I was finally at the right place.
By the time we married, we tried to find a church to attend, although we lived in two different states at the time, both of us attended different colleges. When we finally transferred to the same university, we were able to attend a church full time together.
Remember how I’d mentioned that Michael had begun preaching at age eleven? He stopped preaching when he went to college, partially because he had classes, but he also had to work. At age seventeen, he’d been made homeless and once he came to college, he had to pay for everything himself. Well, once we were married and attending a church, he felt God pushing him to get back into ministry. Over a year, he studied and did small preaching opportunities here and there. Finally, two years after we’d been together and were expecting our first child, he got called to pastor a church in Western KY.
I tell you this for a few reasons. One, I’m humbled yet proud of how much God has done for me. He took a girl who had been a pagan for twenty years, who had sought her worth in grades, and others, who had little self-respect and flipped her over her head. Within four years, He took me and made me a serious Christian who is a stay-at-home-mom and pastor’s wife.
I went from smiling blithely at those who spoke to me about church, to being upset when people twist Scripture online. I now know and believe the five Solas (sola Scriptura, sola fide, sola gratia, solus Christus, soli Deo gloria), and have gone from being a Molinist to a Calvinist. In less than four years. God shook up my entire worldview in less time than it took me to get my bachelor’s degree.
Secondly, I share part of Michael’s story because it’s part of my story. He is so ingrained in my life that I feel compelled to speak to his love of the Truth. Similar to myself, Michael had an atheist family growing up. It’s stories like ours that show that Christianity isn’t something you are brainwashed into (a claim I’ve gotten to face down a few times). God can and will save you when you least expect it. He can and will change your entire life. It may not be how you imagined, or even wished at times, but knowing that it brings Him glory makes it all so much better. Soli Deo gloria.
My testimony is a bit of a ride, one that took off out of nowhere. I never saw it coming, and yet I’m incredibly thankful for what God has done for me. I only hope that through my writing, I can fellowship and share some of the Truth with others.