All God's Doors

September 28, 2023

My Struggle 

I worked on the long form of my spiritual memoir all last week and by Friday I was ready to give up on it - with only one chapter left to write. 

But it wasn't that last unwritten chapter that was at fault.  It was another chapter - Chapter 7 - where I talk about my time as an Evangelical Protestant. Or try.

And the story isn't even all that complicated.

This is the short version:

My Experience

I left the New Age and occult in late 2017 (around the same time as New Age guru Doreen Virtue). Doreen Virtue didn't play a part in my decision to leave the New Age and occult. But she did influence me after.

For me, leaving the occult was life changing a lot of different levels. My blog was more popular than ever and my card reading business was growing. I taught tarot at a local holistic center and ran a couple of different groups.

More than that, my New Age persona had become my identity. So when I returned to Christianity, I interested in talking to other people who had done the same. 

I joined a few of the Evangelical Protestant Facebook groups run by Doreen's fellow "New Age to Christianity" co-authors and others. I listened to what was said by the New Age to Christianity crowd and other Reform-leaning Evangelicals on Facebook and YouTube. I read books by John McArthur other Evangelical authors.

I began to believe what I was hearing. And the thing I was hearing the most was that the Bible contained the full and complete deposit of faith and that the Catholic Church had completely disregarded it in order to "make up" their own doctrine.

This belief was possible only because I didn't know anything really about the Church I'd left behind some 20 years earlier.

But I was not entirely comfortable with Protestantism across the board.

My Issues with Protestant Beliefs

I couldn’t help noticing that there was a lot of disagreement  among Protestants about the interpretation of Scripture. And I sometimes felt that Bible passages were used out of context in order to prove a point. 

I found idea that once we’re saved; we're guaranteed a place in heaven, no matter what, hard to accept. 

But the thing that bothered me the most was the idea that God had stopped providing private spiritual revelation at the close of the first century.  Especially because I knew for a fact that the enemy could, and did, reveal all kinds of things to humans in order to ensnare them. 

To me, the idea that Satan could exert more influence over us than God, didn't seem right. And I believed then, and now, that God did give me a nudge from time to time.

So I was glad to discover John Wesley and the charismatic Protestant denominations. I parted ways with the Evangelicals. I went on to join a Pentecostal church where everyone believed that God was still talking. 

I liked being a Pentecostal. But I still couldn't help feeling that there had to be more to getting to heaven than a single salvation experience.

This wasn't what brought me back to Church. That was God's doing. But, in my heart, I knew my objections were valid.

Trying to Write This in My Testimony

I have a lot of clarity about Protestantism and why it didn't work for me. I don't have any trouble talking about it on the podcast or on YouTube. I don't even mind writing about it here in the blog. 

I also think there are a lot good things in the Protestant denominations. It was the Protestants who taught me how to love Scripture. Not the Catholics. And that is no small thing. 

So I was very clear on what I wanted to say about my experience as a Protestant. But when I sat down to edit what I'd already Chapter 7 of my testimony, I felt so overwhelmed that I began to wonder if I shouldn't just forget about writing the testimony altogether, and move on to something else. 

But I still felt called. So I decided to pray about it. 

I asked my guardian angel to illuminate my intellect. I asked Mary to intercede on my behalf. I asked Jesus to show me if writing my testimony was, or wasn't, part of His plan.

And then, I listened to Women of Grace on EWTN. 

Which is something I rarely do.

The First Door

The episode that aired on "Women of Grace" on Monday was called Debunking Sola Scriptura. It featured Catholic apologist and author of Blue Collar Apologetics: How to Explain and Defend Catholic Teaching Using Common Sense, Simple Logic, and the Bible (affiliate link) John Martignoni.

I listened to the episode as I cleaned the kitchen and, after hearing John talk, I felt confident that his book would help me with Chapter 7 of my mine. So I ordered Blue Collar Apologetics AND preordered John's new book A Blue Collar Answer to Protestantism: Catholic Questions Protestants Can’t Answer (affiliate link). 

And that was answered prayer number one.

Answered prayer number two was the content itself.

John explained issues surrounding Sola Scriptura (the idea that all Christian knowledge is explicitly contained in the Bible) and Sola Fide (the belief that we're saved by faith alone, no matter what). As I listened, I realized that the problems I'd instinctively had with Evangelical thinking were some of the actual core differences between Protestant and Catholic belief.

Or maybe my objections weren't instinctive. Maybe they were something I half remembered from RCIA. Or maybe my guardian angel was giving me a nudge. But my point is - the problems I had with Protestantism aren't bad points to make in a book. 

This was something I really needed to hear. And I began to feel better about Chapter 7 and the testimony as a whole.

The Second Door

I couldn't help feeling that something had guided me to that episode.

I was excited to think that my guardian angel might be illuminating my intellect just as I had asked. Not in a bolt of lightning, here is the information wrapped up with a bow kind of way. But by providing me with the encouragement and resources I needed to get the job done.

I was so buoyed up by this that I decided to keep listening to Women of Grace as I made dinner. So I let my podcast player move on to the previous episode, as I have set it up to do.

I didn't even look at the title of that episode. But I had to smile when I heard it:

Miraculous Stories from the Intercession of Angels.

The Third Door

I listened to part of that episode and then after dinner, as I did the dishes, I listened to the rest.

A woman called into the show praising host Johnnette William's book on the New Age. I wondered if that book might be another resource that would help in both my media and with the testimony. Interestingly, I already had the book but hadn't gotten around to reading it.

I resolved that I would.

But the part show that helped me most was the advice Johnnette gave to a woman who wanted to know how she could participate in the ministry of Woman of Grace. 

That advice follows:
I think that when we have a desire on our heart - and this is just... good advice for everyone. When we have a deep desire on our heart I think it's beautiful to take that before the Lord and to ask Him... to help us to see - is this coming from... a prompting of the Holy Spirit or is it coming from myself? [Because] every Ministry that God raises up, He raises up for a purpose. [So] when we have a desire and we know that it's a holy desire, then we assume that the Holy Spirit is prompting. And as I always told the Lord - especially when He was leading me to give Fiat to what it is that I do today (and I didn't know what it was I just had this tremendous desire that was burning in me I thought my heart would burst... [and] I wanted to do whatever it was...) I made a promise to Him - and I've lived by this promise - and that is: I will walk through every door that You open. You open the door and I will walk through.  - Johnnette Williams, Women of Grace Episode August 28, 2023
Does this mean that God wants me to write this testimony? Not necessarily. But I believe that He opened some doors this week for a reason. And, because of that, I think I'm on the right track.

I also think that God wants all of us to keep praying and keep paying attention. And that, when He opens a door for us, we should be ready.

You can listen to my podcast on this topic here. Please note, I'm going to be posting my audio and video content to YouTube only (and possible substack) going forward.

If you like my content, please consider subscribing to my channel!

Or watch the video, which takes a slightly different approach below:
   
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To read the story of my return to the faith please see The Long Way Home

Please note: This post includes affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something through on of my links, I'll earn a small percentage from the sale - at no cost to you.

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