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Conversion Story of Author Frederica Mathewes-Greene

Author Frederica Mathewes-Greene said:

When I was around eight or nine, I went through a spurt of having very strong faith. My parents didn't think it was entirely healthy to be that religious. When I'd say that I wanted to be a nun (because we didn't know of any other way of giving your whole life to Christ), they said that was neurotic and that I was running away from life. So I got the message that it wasn't good to be too religious.
When I was 12 or 13, I began to doubt the entire Christian story. I felt almost as if I'd had somebody try to cheat me. They had fed me this long, complex story about virgin birth, born in a manger, died on a cross, came back to life—, it just sounded preposterous to me. I thought that it was something that no normal, sane person could be expected to believe, and I'd been made a fool.
I began then to consider atheism, agnosticism, and various other religions. But I rejected Christianity with vehemence. Initially I chose Hinduism because it seemed to me the most intriguing and colorful of all the different world religions.
[What ultimately led me out of Hinduism] was a strange experience. I was with my husband on our honeymoon, hitchhiking around Europe. He was an atheist who had been assigned in one of his classes to read a gospel. And he kept saying, "There's something about Jesus. I've never encountered anyone like this before. I know that he's speaking the truth. I'm an atheist. But if Jesus says there's a God, there must be a God."
It was a very scary experience for me, because I didn't want him to be a Christian. He was not ready to make a full commitment to Christ at that point, but he was curious and wanted to study more….
We're in Dublin sightseeing. I walk into a church. We're admiring the windows and altar and so forth. In a corner of the church there was a small altar with a white marble statue that showed Jesus' heart exposed on his chest with flames coming out of the top and thorns wrapped around the heart. As I was looking at this, I suddenly realized that I was on my knees. And as if a radio inside of me suddenly clicked on, I could hear a voice. I didn't hear it with my ears, but it was like a presence that filled me. The voice said, "I am your life. You thought that your life was your history, your name, your personality. You thought that your life was the fact that your heart beats. But that is not your life. I am your life. I am the foundation of everything else in your life." It was pretty incontrovertible who it was that was speaking to me….
I started reading the Bible, and I found that I just disagreed with Jesus about a lot of things. But something had happened to me in that church in which I realized that I didn't know everything about the world.
Gradually we were able to come into faith. It was several months later that a friend of ours said, "Well, have you ever given your hearts to Jesus? Have you ever asked Jesus to be your Lord?" You have to picture that both of us grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, him Episcopalian, me Catholic, and our response was, "We're not Southern Baptists." Our association with that kind of talk is that you have to be Southern Baptist for Jesus to be your Lord.
He said, "Actually, it's for everybody."
We said, "Well, you know, we're in graduate school."
"No, even for you."
So the three of us knelt down together and prayed and asked Jesus to be our Lord, having no idea what that would mean but wanting so much to find out.

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