Born and raised in the Christian faith, I have never changed religions. When I was an infant, my parents had me baptized at St. Thomas Catholic Church in Coeur d'Alene. My older sister and younger brother were also baptized as infants in the Catholic Church. We went regularly to Mass at either St. Thomas or St. Pius. I still remember playing on the kneelers during Mass.
Things changed when I was 5 years old. A Lutheran minister and his family moved down the street and knocked on our door one day, inviting us to a worship service at a new church near our house. My parents made the switch to St. Mark's Lutheran Church, my home church until I left home at age 20. St. Mark's is where I took my first communion. St. Mark's is where I went through confirmation. St. Mark's is where I developed my first crush and had my first kiss at an overnight lock-in with a boy in the youth group (my parents found out, making me quite aware that kissing in church was tabu).
Over the years, I've remained a Christian. Studying Scripture and theology and the biblical languages from 1993 to 2008 has led to more questions than answers, though not in a doubting sense. Doubt has never been my struggle. My earliest memories as a small child are talking to Jesus at night and asking why I had to be born, why I wasn't loved. I grew up suffering with my unanswered questions. An answer came during my first year of Bible college. I was now 21 and weighed under 100 pounds. Reading in Matthew's gospel, I paused at Jesus' words that said, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened (Matt. 7:7-8). So I gave it a try. I talked to Jesus, just like I had as that small frightened child at night, but this time I was specific in my request: "I just want my mom to love me; that's all I want. Is that too much to ask?" I heard back, "Is my love not enough?" That's when I realized that there was a purpose to my life. I started to eat again and gained weight and strength and vitality.
The reason I am a Christian is because Jesus brings continual purpose to my existence. Degrees, intellect, faith, mastery of mysteries — these are nothing compared to the height and depth of God's love that I've found in Christ Jesus my Lord (Romans 8:39).