My Mother grew up as a Catholic until she converted to Buddhism. She raised her children to be Buddhist. We were taught that we didn’t need God. In our home, there was no mention of God, Jesus Christ or anything of that nature. I got married to leave my parents house. That was the gist of it. I wanted out. So, I was a young woman and I moved back to California and then eventually moved overseas. I was young and angry and hurting. I married someone who didn’t know how to deal with that. He was deployed all of the time. I relied on my Buddhist practice to get me through those hardships but it was temporary. The undercurrent of anger and hurt was always the thread. I was a very unhappy woman for a very long time. A lot of things took place. Things happened in my childhood (traumas), a divorce and losing my house. I lost everything and I had to move in with my parents. I was thirty-five years old and moving in with my parents with my ten-year-old daughter. I hadn’t lived with them since I was nineteen years old. So, it was quite an adjustment for both of us. I ended up going back to school and meeting a Christian man who I eventually married. He treated me with such kindness. Things started to change because of his actions matched up with his character which brought some conviction on me about why I behaved the way I behaved, what I believed in and the choices I have made.
When I was in Atlanta, my husband drove my Mother and me to a meeting for Buddhism. We were chanting and there were hundreds of people in this room. I looked up at the altar and Jesus came out of that altar. He walked right out. I knew it was Him. I was terrified, absolutely terrified. I stopped and the room went silent. I looked over to my husband and he was just sitting there fiddling with his phone. I looked over to my Mom and she was just focused with all of the other people and I knew; “You’re coming after me.” A couple of months later I grabbed that pew in my husband’s family’s church. I knew when they did that alter call that I was supposed to go up there and I wouldn’t do it. I just wouldn’t do it. I was scared. I was terrified. I was terrified because I thought I knew who I was. If I said I was a Christian and I believed in Jesus Christ and I accepted Him as a savior then who would I be? Who would I be because my whole life I was taught that I didn’t need a savior but that I was my own savior. Then who would I be? That’s exactly what happened when I did surrender to the Lord. I didn’t know who I was. I think really that was what it was about is Cat you don’t know who you are and you are never going to know who you are and you’re never going to have peace. You are never going to know what forgiveness is or grace until I surrendered it all. So, throughout the summer I felt the Holy Spirit kept talking to me until eventually, I had a moment in October. I was fighting with my parents. We had a fallout. I was praying at my altar and nothing was working. I had been chanting at that time for thirty-seven years. I was back in the routine of being really devoted and I just reached the end of myself. I stopped and I said; “Whoever is the mightier God will show me who you are in a way that I know that it’s you and that will be the God that I follow.” A month later, I found myself at a church and found myself on the carpet face down weeping, just weeping before the cross. I specifically wrote on the wall at the church. I needed forgiveness and I needed grace. I needed healing. I don’t quite remember even getting up. I just knew that I had to get in front of the cross and I heard Him and I obeyed finally and I came to the end of myself. I say this a lot and some people understand it and some people don’t. It’s a beautiful thing to say; “I follow the true living God.” But I really have the testimony of coming to know the true living God when you have worshiped wood and gold and a dead God to the real thing. So, when I think of Christ when I think of….there’s just not enough words other than the fact that, because of Him, because He chose me.
There are times that I am getting ready in the morning doing my makeup and my hair and I look in the mirror and go; “Wow, I don’t even recognize myself. I feel different. I look different. I talk differently. I know that I think different. I get emotional about it because it’s one thing when you know that you have changed but it’s so beautiful when the people around you say how much you have changed.