An excerpt from the Preface of Sharing Your Catholic Faith Story: Tools, Tips, and Testimonies, available now on Amazon.com.
As a convert, I’ve always loved stories about conversion and renewing our faith. Whenever I’ve heard such stories, the speakers always seem to glow with holiness. The witness of their lives shines through their stories. I wanted to capture the joy I saw in their eyes.
A unique faith story hides inside each of us, waiting to surprise us as we discover it and to inspire a friend or stranger as we share it. 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 or coworker to bring up our spirituality casually. Or perhaps we may reveal a little of our relationship with the Lord in a discussion group at Bible study. We let our faith story leak out to those we trust. Like me, you may not always be ready to give a good answer.
My faith story, and yours, is our account of God’s love and mercy in our lives—our personal story of “God-moments” of welcoming Jesus into our life for the first time or the millionth time.
Always, God is writing a love story on my heart, pursuing me, softly wooing me with his love and mercy. I didn’t know he was nearby until I was fifteen and he swept me off my feet at a Protestant Youth Retreat. High in the mountains of New Mexico, his loving presence became as real as the gentle breeze through the towering trees. I hid his love in my heart, holding tight to that God-moment of intimacy, sharing it with no one for decades.
Through the witness of others, I relaxed my hold on my heart’s treasure when I learned that all baptized Christians are anointed to be evangelists. By this time, I had married, given birth to four children, and converted to Catholicism. My few attempts to evangelize through Bible verses and what they taught me suffered from the ups and downs of inconsistency, fear of rejection, and my natural timidity as an introvert. I limited my evangelization to blog posts to anonymous readers. And all the while, the Lord pursued me through prayer and journaling, as I wrote about the heartbreaks and victories in my life that brought healing to my hesitancy.
I began collecting the testimonies of Catholics who had converted, returned to the Church, or experienced a renewal, miracle, or supernatural healing. Some simply recognized the presence of our Lord in a grace-filled moment or an answered prayer.
I also collected teachings of the Church on evangelization and learned that Pope Saint John Paul consistently taught that the most effective method of evangelization is our personal witness. The Lord was evangelizing me through the stories of the God-moments of others.
Then my website took a new direction: collecting faith stories to share, first-person accounts of the special moments of grace when my readers experienced a life-changing surprise.
But wait! I had boxes of journals of spiritual musings: inspiration I’d received from retreats, accounts of answered prayer and God-infused moments in my journey of continual conversion. But who would be interested in my story? In my heart, I heard, “Each of us is an unrepeatable expression of God’s presence in the world, with a unique story.” I knew I couldn’t be the exception, and accepted the idea that someone needed to hear my story.
Sharing Your Catholic Faith Story: Tools, Tips, and Testimonies equips Catholics to evangelize through their faith story and gives them more than thirty stories of conversion, renewal, reversion to Catholicism or a call to a religious vocation. Available as a book, ebook, or DVD on Amazon.com. For more information see NancyHCWard.com.
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Copyright 2019 Nancy HC Ward
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