“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God — not because of works, lest any man should boast!” I said to my husband, quoting Ephesians 2:8 as I sat on the bed while trying not to cry. I had always thought Catholics believed they had to work their way to heaven and was reeling in horror as he explained why he thought we should consider becoming Catholic. I continued battering him with objections about the Pope, Mary, purgatory, priests, saints, statues, the crusades, and Confession until he finally sighed and left the room. I didn’t want to touch, much less read, all the brochures and books he’d brought home, and I seriously wondered how we could stay married if he converted without me.

When Dane and I got married, we were nominally Christian. Although I had faith in a loving God, that faith was pretty much sidelined after I left home at eighteen. I did not pray, attend church, read the Bible, or live a Christian life. The choices I made in those years before I met Dane ended up causing me a lot of heartache.

Dane had a similar background. He believed in God and even had an important “come to Jesus” experience in his early twenties, but after a few months, with no real structure to build on, he fell back into his old ways. Then, after somehow surviving a fall from a three-story roof at the age of 26, he began to see that God must have a plan for his life.

As newlyweds, we decided we should find a church to join. Since we were living in my Texas hometown, I figured we should try my old non-denominational church. I was used to the fire and brimstone sermons, flashy entertainment, and impersonal atmosphere, but Dane was horrified by it.

We agreed to try the Episcopal church. I found it dry and boring. Nevertheless, we became officially Episcopalian. That lasted a couple of years until we lost interest and dropped church altogether.

Time went by, and our boys were born. And as often happens, we felt obligated to raise our sons in a church community. So once again, we set out to find the right one. Over the course of a decade, which included a move out-of-state, we tried several: Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, non-denominational, Bible churches, and Community churches. For a while, Dane was even made deacon of a church that met in a high school music room and whose members were obsessed with demons and the end times. We also attended megachurches so full of people you could hardly move. Looking back, I think we were looking for a church that agreed with what we already believed rather than something we would need to conform to.

Read more at Coming Home Network.

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