Telling your Faith Story

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Several years ago, as I was on my way into St. Patrick’s Church, a man approached me. His eyes looked straight into mine, searching for something. Perhaps directions to some place in the neighborhood?

Then he inquired, “Let me ask you something. Why do you go to church?” Spontaneously, I answered, ”Because I love Jesus.” My answer surprised me. It sounded like a slogan from Vacation Bible School. Sometimes the Holy Spirit catches me with my barriers down and blurts out the truth.

The man smiled, and then leaned toward me intently. ”But why do you go to this church? He pointed to the church building in front of us. I shrugged, "This is where I live, and Jesus is here. If I lived in a different neighborhood, I’d go to a church there.” He nodded and slowly walked away.

That encounter came to mind as I thought about the many opportunities the Lord puts right in front of me to tell about my faith in God. My natural shyness prevents many of these occasions from making any impact on those around me. Who talks about faith in public?

What if the man in front of St. Pat’s had lingered, wanting to know why I said I love Jesus, and found him in the Catholic Church? I’d say that my faith story is nothing special. I grew up in a church-going Protestant family, fell in love with a Catholic in college and married him. Then converted to Catholicism a couple of years later after I discovered I belonged in the Catholic Church. Since then, that’s where I go to be with Jesus.

Is that your story?  No? Probably not.

If we talked one-on-one, what would you ask me about this brief synopsis of my faith story? How would you get to the heart of why I told the stranger I love Jesus and find him in the Church?

We all have a unique faith story to tell. As Catholics, we don’t stand up in church and declare our witness of how Jesus saved us. Rather, we find quiet moments over coffee with a neighbor, at dinner with friends, or perhaps with a discussion group at Bible study. We let our faith story leak out to those we trust. (To be continued.)

(© 2014 Nancy H C Ward)

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About Nancy Ward

Nancy HC Ward is a journalist, author, and speaker who blogs about Catholicism, her conversion, and Christian community at JoyAlive.net,
 7 websites and 7 magazines. She loves to share her faith story and help others share theirs through her Sharing Your Faith Stories seminars, also available on DVD. She contributed four chapters to The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion. She facilitates the Dallas/Fort Worth Catholic Writers and a critique group for the Catholic Writers Guild, where she serves as a board member.
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