Hard as Nails Ministries
New Life in Christ

New Life in Christ

By:  Charlotte Manson October 16, 2020
#AmazingNation, #Encouragement, #Faith, #Jesus

My journey of faith has been rocky, with many highs and lows. My family life was nowhere near perfect and faith was not something I understood until I met my husband in college. Even after coming into the Church, it wasn’t until later in life that I realized God’s love was what I needed to fill the void that I didn’t even know I had inside me.

I was born in Texas, after my family was stationed there while my Father was in Vietnam. My Father came back from the war a changed man, which resulted in my Parents' divorce while I was still a baby. I never met my biological father and my mother doesn’t like to speak of him, so I know very little about him. To this day, I am still somewhat curious about who he is, but never really thought about it much. There was never really a void that I felt in my life, or at least so I thought. Shortly after my mom got remarried to the man I would truly call my dad. He was responsible for a wonderful childhood of fond memories and moments, including the adoption of my brother. I was even raised Episcopalian and went to church every Sunday until I was around twelve, and it was then that my parents had a falling out with the Church and unfortunately did not return for many years.

By the time I was a teenager, things at home became a bit rocky. My Dad went through a midlife life crisis, and hardly anyone at home got along anymore. It was not a place you wanted to be. There were still some good times, but a lot of bad ones too. It was around this time that I started college and met my future husband.

The man who became my husband was different than anyone I had ever dated before, with a heart as big as a whale and a great sense of humor. He always made me laugh, but most importantly he went to Church every weekend. Because of him, I started going to mass with him before we would go out on our weekly date. I loved this about him. He brought religion back into my life, or he brought religion into my life, I should say. I didn’t realize how much I longed for that relationship with my heavenly Father. While all my life I sometimes felt a void or heartache from my biological and adoptive father, it was God that I was deeply missing.

After we got engaged and planned to be married I decided that I wanted to become Catholic. Going through RCIA was just what I needed, and this was where we both started to truly appreciate our relationship with God more and became aware of how much He had provided for the both of us. Soon after our wedding, we started to slip into a rut of just floating along in our faith. We moved and joined a small parish that was led by a pastor who was very welcoming and personal. We quickly felt at home and began to become more involved in a parish for the first time, and it seemed like everything in life was falling into place, things with my parents started to improve, I had started back to school and everyone was getting along. Things were doing great until I received a call that my dad had suffered a heart attack. When we got to the hospital I could tell by the look on everyone’s faces that my dad did not make it. I felt cheated, everything in my life was finally going well, my father and I were finally in a good place again, and then he was gone.
Several years passed and the Lord blessed me with my first child. Sixteen months later I was blessed again with the birth of my second daughter. I was overwhelmed with the love that Jesus had for my family to have blessed us with two beautiful gifts from Him. Words can not begin to describe the love I felt. We wanted to become part of a church where our kids could go to school and worship with their friends, and eventually we found our new parish and it was beginning to feel more like home very quickly.

One day our oldest daughter came home from Kindergarten and wanted to share a Bible verse she had learned in school and asked me to get the Bible. I was horrified because I could not produce one. I had to tell her that we did not have one in the house. So I decided I needed to enrich my spirituality and signed up for an annual retreat at our parish called CRHP, and I can’t express to you how much of an impact it made on my life.

As I reflect on my life since going on my CRHP weekend and serving on the ones that have followed, I can see the positive effects it had on me. Though I had been very involved in my past parish doing some wonderful Christian work, CRHP truly brought me to a deeper spiritual level than I had ever been before. I no longer take my relationship with God for granted, and I find a comforting peace as I share more time with God and grow in my relationship with Him.
As I mentioned previously, it wasn’t until later in life that I realized God’s love was what I needed to fill the void that I didn’t even realize I had inside me. I learned very late in life that if my family and I continue to grow with God at the center of our lives, God will give us the answers and strength to endure whatever life throws our way.

In writing this, I can’t help but be reminded of how God is working through each of us in our faith journeys. God is working in each of us through all of our joys and suffering. Through sharing our stories, we can see how he works in us and how His plan always leads to something good, even amid our trials. We see how suffering is turned into love. That reinforces how my relationship with God is having a direct impact on not only my family but everyone I surround myself with. I am so blessed to have a strong faith and I am so thankful for that. So please know that whatever you are enduring in life right now, be patient because God isn’t finished with you yet.

“So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.”
2 Corinthians 5:177

Photo Credits:
"Baptism of Jesus (Arian Baptistery)" by Lawrence OP is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
"Mt. Calvary Monastery and Retreat House destroyed by fire November 14, 2008" by Randy OHC is licensed under CC BY 2.0
"Re-edit of Wifey and Twins in Jamaica" by donnierayjones is licensed under CC BY 2.0
"Leaving the Church, Hunachaco" by Geraint Rowland Photography is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

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