Growing Emptiness In My Heart
A. Tell us a little bit about yourself before the conversion
I grew as a first generation of German immigrants. My mother did not like American culture, we knew it. Raised in the Lutheran Church, and went to Sunday school. At the age of 14 I decided since my dad did not go to church, I will stop going. After leaving the church I went off the rails and lived a godless life. But because I was raised in the church, I had all my children baptised in the Catholic faith just in case.
After I left the church I started to feel a growing emptiness in my heart and I never connected it with God. I tried to fill it with anything but God. Although I knew of God from my youth, it did not really resonate.
After the failure to fill this hole with the physical world, I sought out the spiritual. I tried Buddhism, New Age, settled, briefly, back into Catholicism, but never really connected with God.
One day, during my daughter's soccer practice, her coach took a break from fasting (it was Ramadan). I was intrigued. Why was this man fasting? He looked physically fit. He said he did it for God. So I thought I found the True God because never had a man spoken to me about God. I knew for sure this was something I needed to find more about as my life was a mess and needed structure. I researched Islam and came to the belief that the God of Islam was the god I knew all these years. He was harsh, judgmental, and condemning. I became a Muslim and practiced it faithfully for three years.
I heard Mohammed Rahouma talk about true Islam. He spent time with me exploring my journey to Islam, discovered my Christian roots and brought me back to Christ. I later married him.
B. How did you get introduced to Orthodoxy?
We were in a Protestant Church and I neither of us were being properly fed to the depths of what our hearts were seeking. Then one day an Orthodox priest showed up at our door and invited us to St Marina. Gradually I began to understand God through the teachings of the Orthodox Church. The father sat with me every week for 8 months to help me appreciate what I had already known. Through his patience, he made me realized that God and I had always been together.
C. What attracted you to Orthodoxy?
That it’s the same church today as it was 2,000 years ago.
The fact that everything in our church teaches us and leads us to know God.
D. What were some of the hurdles you faced in your conversion?
First thing was the culture and the language. In the beginning, I felt as an outsider. It took time before I felt I was truly accepted. I understand the need for Arabic, but the struggle I have is to taste the depth of the faith through liturgy in a language I can understand.
E. What would you like to say to the youths in the Orthodox church?
You are very blessed to be born in such an amazing religion. You have been given everything you need to know God at the deepest level. I would love to see all of you cherish and love it the way I do. Beyond the same struggles that I have (culture and language), it is the very song of Christ.
F. What would you like to tell someone who maybe considering Orthodoxy?
Don’t give up.