By Tera McDonough
I grew up in a Catholic home and went to church every Sunday with my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. I experienced communion every Sunday with real wine (gasp!) after I had my First Communion when I was 12. I was baptized when I was only 6 months old so it was obviously not my choice.
I didn’t understand church I just thought it was extremely boring and I dreaded it every week. I didn’t know what book they were reading from or what it was called. To me it was the same thing every week with no change whatsoever.
As I got older, we went less and less and only going on Easter and Christmas. Around the age of 14 I became rebellious and wanted to do anything to become popular, even if that meant harming my body with alcohol and drugs.
Before going into my freshman year I had to make the decision on whether or not I go the Catholic high school that my dad, mom, sister, aunts, and uncles all attended to, or go to a public high school. I didn’t want to go to a private school and play soccer for a 4A school. I wanted to go to a 5A school where the competition was better. Little did I know that this decision, based on soccer, would change the rest of my life.
I ended up going to the public school due to not being able to afford a private school. I had already hit a wild phase of partying, lying to my parents, and flirting notoriously with boys. I calmed down when I went into my sophomore year but was still in love with boys.
I met this young lad who I had a massive crush on and that I ended up dating. Six months in we started to become sexually active. Ironically enough, six months in he also took me to his church that he sporadically attended. We didn’t go again until a while later.
We had been dating for a year when he would start going again. At that year mark I was really busy with soccer. The team I was on had just won ourselves a State Championship and were headed to regionals in Washington state. We won regionals and were going to nationals in Virginia Beach.
I was gone a lot that summer and it was rough being in a relationship. While I was away, the guy I was dating went to church camp for a week and I came back from Nationals while he was still gone.
I was super excited that he was coming back and when he finally did he was a completely different person. He would give me these looks that I didn’t understand and would tell me he has changed a lot. He was listening to Christian radio and told me that he had rededicated his life to Christ. I didn’t understand.
One summer night, I was watching TV with my parents and a lot was on my mind. My boyfriend’s new life purpose posed a question on my mind: What was my life purpose? So I texted him saying that I felt like a lost soul. He simply replied back, “I’m coming over.” When he came over he asked me why I felt this way and I told him because of what has happened to him.
The conversation led to our relationship which he then told me that his youth leader told him that our relationship is unhealthy because I wasn’t a believer and he was. He broke up with me.
The rest of that week was awful. I was in pain and I couldn’t stop crying. I felt extreme resentment for him and told my friends with contempt that he broke up with me because I wasn’t “religious enough”. When in reality, inside I was twisted with moral confusion.
I was tired of being mad and gave into finding an answer for my confusion. I texted him one day taking up his previous offer on the camp recordings he had just gone to. He gave me the disc with 10 sermons on it. There was a sermon for Monday that welcomed the campers, two sermons on Tuesday through Friday, and one sermon on Saturday morning to say goodbye to the campers. I was on Wednesday night when my walls broke.
I remember the camp pastor saying the famous “If you are in pain, if you are lost, if you need Jesus, give yourself to Him. Just say this prayer and your life will be His and you will be healed.” Through tears of realization I spoke the words of redemption. I gave myself then and there to the God, Almighty.
This was the summer before my senior year of high school. This life changing event determined my future of education. I visited Corban the following fall and was looking at other schools. I was down to two schools that winter. I decided to take the next step in my faith and become baptized. January 17th, 2010, I remember the date clearly because on that day I was baptized and heard the voice of God for the first time.
I wrote down my testimony to be read to the audience just before my baptism. I wrote down that I THINK I might be going to Corban, but I wasn’t sure. When my youth pastor read I WAS going to Corban, I looked at him horrified. After a few moments of panic, I realized that that sounded right. On that day that I got baptized, I decided to go to Corban.
My senior year of high school was a huge milestone in my life. Because of one decision, it started series of decisions toward a life after God. I can’t imagine what party school I would be at or what kind of alcohol induced trouble I would be in if I didn’t give my life to Christ that summer. I thank God every day for the opportunity to get to know Him on a daily basis and the love I experience with Him that no one else can give me.