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  1. #21
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    Jan. 31, 2003
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    Well, not to be contrary but the OP may find this interesting: the day I confirmed (for me) there is no god (as in, someone you pray to) was when my best friend tried to kill herself and I realized later I never even kinda sorta "looked up" for help. It was liberating in a very difficult time.

    On the other hand, the words "desire is the root of all suffering" and what it means has saved me more times than I can count.
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  2. #22
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    Jun. 20, 2009
    Location
    Hunterdon County NJ
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    2,894

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    OP thanks for starting this thread. I am atheist, was raised Catholic, but it was just something I 'grew' out of. Still, I find religions interesting. There is a Buddhist center near me that gives good lectures and offers guided meditation, etc. I'm currently reading The Faith Club, about 3 women, muslim, jewish, and christian, who, post 9/11, form a group to write a children's book about the relationship between the 3. Before they can write the book, however, they have to have a long talk between themselves about what ARE the similarities and differences.

    The OP question is one I have never thought to ask, so interested as well to read responses.



  3. #23
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    Jun. 4, 2002
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    Suffolk, VA
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    16,684

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    My story...not sure where to start. I was raised in a strict mainline Protestant church home and was very devout as a girl and teenager. I left home and ended up in the military a few years later. That was such an eye opening experience..meeting people of other faiths, races, backgrounds and that was when I began to really question much of what I was taught as a girl and that doubt began to tear away at my beliefs until I had more doubts than faith in anything. So fast forward some years and I was pretty much isolated from God and denied being a Christian yet I still felt a need for spirituality. I had dabbled a bit in Wicca thinking nature was more my thing but I just couldn't believe in it...I felt nothing for it. It was just an intellectual exercise so that phase ended.

    About a year and a half ago my personal life was not going well. My business had nearly collapsed and there was little to look forward too. Bills were big and get bigger and I felt very trapped in life. Getting nowhere fast and really stuck in a rut and wondering why I was trying. A lot of despair and bitterness...which is still a challenge for me...but I was wallowing in it then. I'd had a successful business collapse after 2008 and it seemed no matter how hard I'd work, it wasn't enough.

    So one day I was trimming horses at a client's barn and she's a very devout Baptist and a very sweet person. Somehow we'd gotten on the topic of religious beliefs as I worked, and I'd been evasive in my answers as the conversation went on as I was uncomfortable with this topic. My client dropped it and didn't push me. However as I got in my truck to drive off when she'd gone to get a check and walked back up to my truck door, she took my hand and asked me "Sharon, what do you believe?" I was caught flatfooted and probably looked like a fish with my mouth open...but before I could really think about what to say, I blurted out "I believe in Jesus!" She hugged me and said "Thank God!" and then turned to leave.

    I, however, sat there for a few minutes feeling the most unusual wash of emotions I've ever felt. I realized that I did still believe...had never stopped but had denied God for many years. I'm positive I felt the presence of God and his grace that day when I declared my belief to my friend. I cried as I drove out of that driveway and I've been on a journey back to him ever since.

    Interestingly once I began to pray again on a regular basis, I felt much less "lost" knowing I had a co pilot as I went through my days and good things started to happen again. I got my hope back and now a year and half later, I feel so much more at peace even facing a fiscal cliff that could destroy my business a second time because I know that I have God beside me now and that I'm not alone. It is a huge comfort to me and I'm now seeking a group/church to start to attend services again. I am at that point now where I want to do that.


    7 members found this post helpful.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2007
    Location
    In my car, between work, home, and the barn!
    Posts
    359

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    I wouldn't say I'm "saved"... but I grew up in a semi-churchgoing Lutheran family and, like a lot of people, just stopped going to church when I went away to college. Didn't miss it, didn't really care... never really cared growing up, either.

    I started dating my now-DH in graduate school. He's a devout Catholic, and was considering the priesthood when we started dating. He invited me to Mass with him once - and he was very clear that he really didn't want to be pushy at all, but just wanted me to know where he disappeared to several times a week - we were pretty serious at this point, and since he spent a lot of time doing church-related things, he didn't want it to be some big mystery where he was.

    We went to daily Mass in a little interfaith chapel on campus. There were four people there - including the two of us and the priest! It wasn't a giant revelatory moment, but I felt very strongly that God was there in that Mass, in a way that I'd never felt Him there in any of the Lutheran, Baptist, Jewish services I'd been to. At that point, it wasn't much of a decision - I became Catholic ten years ago and haven't looked back since. And for the record, when I told DH of my decision to convert, he argued against it - he was very afraid that I was just doing it because of him.

    It's definitely been the right decision for me, and many of the things about Catholicism that I struggled with in the beginning - the no-birth control thing, for example - I've sicne found peace with (says the gal currently ecstatically expecting her fourth little one), without any pushing from anyone - least of all DH or the wonderful priests who have been friends and mentors over the years.



  5. #25
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    Jan. 27, 2002
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    new england,,usa
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    4,236

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    i was raised as a roman catholic, went to catholic schools wearing the uniform,etc. but never, not once as a kid did i find a way to believe in any of it. the hypocrisy i saw in front of me every day just never made sense and i am not a practicing catholic.
    i clearly remember being six years old and in church during school and thinking the man-centered,all women are born sinners,etc beliefs were plain stoopid,lol.
    i do however belive in the law of attraction and in higher powers, and i believe the christian belief system has a lot to offer--loveyourself and one another seems a pretty positive message overall.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Nov. 4, 2003
    Location
    Dallas, Georgia
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    I was raised in a Christian home, with very Godly parents... if the church doors were open, we were there. When I was seven, yes even at that wee age, I knew that sin was between me and God and I needed a Saviour. On the cold basement floor, I gave my heart to Christ.

    Made it thru the teen years pretty much ok, but then when I was 20 something, I entered a --shall we say-- a "season of sin." It took me getting pregnant for God to get through my thick skull. As C.S. Lewis says "God whispers to us in our pleasure. He shouts to us in our pain."

    But what satan intended for evil, God intended for good. I was led to surrender my daughter to adoption, into a wonderful family. And then He started healing me and showing me that it's not RELIGION..... it's not "doing for the sake of doing." It's relationship. True living, breathing and interacting in every area of my life With God, through Christ and The Holy Spirit. Each area of my life can be worship, not just what we "do" Sunday morning. Heard once: God's Word isn't a TO DO book..... It's a TO BE book." That sums it up!!

    Freedom from legalism and vain ritual is what Grace is for: Unmerited Favor, given freely or us to accept or reject. My life verse is Galatians 5:1 - "It is for Freedom that Christ. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."

    Nope, ain't perfect. Never will be until He Comes Back or Calls Me Home.
    <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- "When they try to tell you these are your Golden years, don't believe 'em.... It's rust."


    7 members found this post helpful.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Dec. 4, 2007
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    Ontario
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    1,942

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    I grew up in a Baptist church, but my experiences with church have never been good ones. I have been asked to leave 4 (yes, count them, FOUR) churches over the last 10 years for reasons I still don't really understand. This is one of many reasons why I've given up on the idea of "being saved" and "church family" and the "love of Christ."

    I'm following in my grandmother's footsteps and am a practicing witch.
    Riding the winds of change

    Heeling NRG Aussies
    Like us on facebook!


    2 members found this post helpful.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jun. 4, 2002
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    Suffolk, VA
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChocoMare View Post
    And then He started healing me and showing me that it's not RELIGION..... it's not "doing for the sake of doing." It's relationship. True living, breathing and interacting in every area of my life With God, through Christ and The Holy Spirit. Each area of my life can be worship, not just what we "do" Sunday morning. Heard once: God's Word isn't a TO DO book..... It's a TO BE book." That sums it up!!
    Yes, THIS is how i feel also. It is about having God beside you every minute of the day. Stopping to say a prayer if I feel the need or to thank God for a beautiful sight. I remember when I hiked last October in the Smokies and was taking a break during the day utterly exhausted and sore. As I sat there wondering why I was doing this, a wild tom turkey walked right up to me, looked at me and walked calmly away. I sat there stunned at such an experience, the amazing beauty of this animal, and then realized such wonder and beauty was impossible without his hand in it...and I felt it was a sign. A prayer of thanks for that experience, put my pack back on and kept on going.


    3 members found this post helpful.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Nov. 4, 2003
    Location
    Dallas, Georgia
    Posts
    16,525

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    DDB.

    Now don't get me wrong. Mr. C'mare and I do go to church and are very involved. But we don't go "just cuz it's what you're supposed to do." We go because we need our church family! I need the encouragement, fellowship and friendship. I lead the ladies Bible study on Wednesday night. We call ourselves The Sheep Sisters.

    Studying God's Word, not just reading it, but really taking it in, munching on it and applying it has also been part of my healing and release from bondage. <3
    <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- "When they try to tell you these are your Golden years, don't believe 'em.... It's rust."


    3 members found this post helpful.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2007
    Location
    In my car, between work, home, and the barn!
    Posts
    359

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    C'mare: Absolutely. And I've never had anyone in any of the church communities we've belonged to (been in a couple of states over the years) try to tell me what I "should" or "must" do - and we Catholics are supposed to be notorious for that. It's been about knowing that God is there and feeling His presence - and when I felt that in Church, it sure made the decision to go to Church an easy one!



  11. #31
    Join Date
    Jun. 9, 2003
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    5,457

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    I grew up going to Sunday School, Church and Summer Bible Study in a Baptist Church. I loved it and in high school got involved in a Christian movement and finally understood what Christianity really means. I am saved as anyone is that believes Christ was born to die for our sins and perished on the cross out of love for each of us. I find great peace in my faith and it's important to me. I know God has caught me many times although I've had times of struggling with it all. Faith is just that -- a choice to believe and have faith that God created the world and all that is in it and has a plan. I'm not a by the book person, have certainly partied and raised hell, haven't found it limitiing by any means. Everyone has chapters in life that aren't necessarily perceived as religious, whether you are Christian or a good person or whatever. It doesn't mean you go to church, it's a personal relationship. I married a Catholic and if we go, we usually go to Mass. It's not about expounding about it - it's more about how you try to live. Christians aren't perfect or judgemental in general. If you don't believe or don't get it, maybe you haven't really tried or just don't want to do so. It's a personal choice, which everything is. I choose faith and I'm very grateful for that.
    PennyG


    2 members found this post helpful.

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Sep. 13, 2000
    Location
    Greenville, MI,
    Posts
    11,808

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daydream Believer View Post
    My story...not sure where to start. I was raised in a strict mainline Protestant church home and was very devout as a girl and teenager. I left home and ended up in the military a few years later. That was such an eye opening experience..meeting people of other faiths, races, backgrounds and that was when I began to really question much of what I was taught as a girl and that doubt began to tear away at my beliefs until I had more doubts than faith in anything. So fast forward some years and I was pretty much isolated from God and denied being a Christian yet I still felt a need for spirituality. I had dabbled a bit in Wicca thinking nature was more my thing but I just couldn't believe in it...I felt nothing for it. It was just an intellectual exercise so that phase ended.

    About a year and a half ago my personal life was not going well. My business had nearly collapsed and there was little to look forward too. Bills were big and get bigger and I felt very trapped in life. Getting nowhere fast and really stuck in a rut and wondering why I was trying. A lot of despair and bitterness...which is still a challenge for me...but I was wallowing in it then. I'd had a successful business collapse after 2008 and it seemed no matter how hard I'd work, it wasn't enough.

    So one day I was trimming horses at a client's barn and she's a very devout Baptist and a very sweet person. Somehow we'd gotten on the topic of religious beliefs as I worked, and I'd been evasive in my answers as the conversation went on as I was uncomfortable with this topic. My client dropped it and didn't push me. However as I got in my truck to drive off when she'd gone to get a check and walked back up to my truck door, she took my hand and asked me "Sharon, what do you believe?" I was caught flatfooted and probably looked like a fish with my mouth open...but before I could really think about what to say, I blurted out "I believe in Jesus!" She hugged me and said "Thank God!" and then turned to leave.

    I, however, sat there for a few minutes feeling the most unusual wash of emotions I've ever felt. I realized that I did still believe...had never stopped but had denied God for many years. I'm positive I felt the presence of God and his grace that day when I declared my belief to my friend. I cried as I drove out of that driveway and I've been on a journey back to him ever since.

    Interestingly once I began to pray again on a regular basis, I felt much less "lost" knowing I had a co pilot as I went through my days and good things started to happen again. I got my hope back and now a year and half later, I feel so much more at peace even facing a fiscal cliff that could destroy my business a second time because I know that I have God beside me now and that I'm not alone. It is a huge comfort to me and I'm now seeking a group/church to start to attend services again. I am at that point now where I want to do that.
    Wonderful Sharon, The wash of Emotion is what I felt as well. Nothing like it!
    And it is so true, Things are so different when you realize God is beside you now.
    "you can only ride the drama llama so hard before it decides to spit in your face." ?Caffeinated.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Nov. 15, 2004
    Location
    Nescopeck PA
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    1,825

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    I grew up going to Christian school and in a loving Christian home. I always assumed I was saved some point during my elementary education and I probably was. Then in 2001 my dad fell ill and died on Oct 23rd. The next year I suddenly for no reason lost my 33 1/2 week old baby on Oct 22, 2002. I was so angry with God. He took my father and then my first born daughter, but I soon got pregnant again and decided I needed to look to him. I trusted him totally and again rededicated my life to him.

    Twice I've heard him talk to me. Once when I prayed for my sick father, he said "not yet" when I asked if Dad was going to die. I got four more weeks with him. Three times after dad died he came to me in a dream. Assuring me he was in heaven. I rarely dream of him anymore. I also heard God speak when I was pregnant with my 2nd daughter. I could literally feel him wrap his arms around me and tell me "it is all going to be ok". I trusted him and even when I was rushed to the hospital to be induced as they felt my body was becoming a "hostile environment" for her, I never lost faith.

    I pray often.
    Maria Hayes-Frosty Oak Stables
    Home to All Eyez On Me, 1998 16.2 Cleveland Bay Sporthorse Stallion
    & FrostyOak Hampton 2008 Pure Cleveland Bay Colt
    www.frostyoaks.com


    4 members found this post helpful.

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Oct. 1, 2004
    Location
    Magnolia, TX
    Posts
    5,442

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    I grew up in a Christian home attending a missionary church in Saudi Arabia. I can't say there was ever a time I didn't have faith, although I've gone through periods of tremendous rage at God. When we moved back to the states, my mom went overboard trying to self-soothe her way through some depression with church, and it was just a constant "in your face" legalism through her and also that she was dealing with through elders and other women. She led a ladies Bible study and... wow. I gave up on church when I started college and really haven't been going back. I should, but.... I can't say I'm quite right with other Christians yet.

    To the previous poster who mentioned having rock solid faith, there really isn't a rock solid knowing. Per Hebrews 11.1, faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance for what we cannot see. Even those who knew Jesus personally had their doubts. Peter denied him three times. For me personally, I find the quiet and simple things in life confirm God... nature, science, life... And I would say I'm most assured at the darkest times in my life knowing that sin, death, and pain were never a part of His plan but that he carried it all with him to the cross and intends to carry us through it. Truth be told, one of my pet peeves is hearing the old, "It's all part of His plan." That statement is grossly misleading to the extent that I think it becomes a stumbling block for people trying to cope with unanswered questions and suffering. But anyhow...

    There's a big difference between faith and religion. Faith a relationship. Religion is the practice of faith, usually defined by man. If you're looking for books/videos or whatnot, Lee Strobel does a decent job in "A Case for Christ". Last time I checked, Netflix had both "A Case for Christ" and a "A Case for Faith" available for instant streaming.
    Jer 29: 11-13


    1 members found this post helpful.

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Dec. 21, 2008
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    Longing to be where I once was.....
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    2,187

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    My dad went to a baptist seminary and became a pastor when I was in 4th grade. So you could say I grew up in the church. I knew how I was supposed to act and was "a very good person" up into my mid 20's. I truly believed that if I didn't behave that God would take away the things that meant the most to me. I was afraid of God and I had no idea of who God was or what a relationship with God was all about. I never thought about my sin and was basically living a lie.

    I started feeling such an emptiness/ void in me. I had a good job, my horses, friends, good deeds even- everything, but felt so empty inside and one day something happened and I remember getting so angry and just spewing rage, filthy words and the like that came out of me and I saw myself for who and what I really was apart from God. The person no one else ever saw. I saw the sin that required Christ to die on the cross for salvation.

    I didn't want to be that person anymore. The emptiness that I had been feeling was God drawing me to Himself. It was nothing that I did. I confessed my sin, repented from it( which is to turn away from it) and started learning who God was and what a relationship with God is all about. That is only found by studying the bible, close contact with other believers in and out of church and lots of prayer.

    Growth is slow sometimes but I look back to 26 years ago and see how God has changed me. I trust Him in all situations and know that everything I have comes from Him. I truly know that God is all I need. He has promised to never leave me and He has been more than faithful in keeping His promise.


    3 members found this post helpful.

  16. #36
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    Jan. 6, 2009
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    270

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    I grew up in a Christian family and was raised in a Baptist church. I always assumed I was "a Christian" since I was raised in church and knew that Jesus died for me. I found the hard part was differentiating whether I knew with my head or my heart.

    My grandfather had a heart attack and knowing he was not a Christian really scared me. It scared me that if something were to happen to me that very day, I didn't know if I would be going to heaven or not. I knew that merely being a good and moral person was not enough. At that point I knew I needed to make a decision and not just go along with what I had been taught all my life. I asked Jesus to come into my heart.


    3 members found this post helpful.

  17. #37
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    Oct. 25, 2012
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    3,775

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    If you're NOT a believer, why not?

    For me it's pretty much summed up by "Ye canna change th' laws o'physics, Captain!"


    1 members found this post helpful.

  18. #38
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    Jun. 4, 2002
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    Suffolk, VA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sannois View Post
    Wonderful Sharon, The wash of Emotion is what I felt as well. Nothing like it!
    And it is so true, Things are so different when you realize God is beside you now.
    So glad to hear you feel the same way Kim! I literally felt lighter.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  19. #39
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    Sep. 4, 2012
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    Southeast US
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Eboshi View Post
    If you're NOT a believer, why not?

    For me it's pretty much summed up by "Ye canna change th' laws o'physics, Captain!"
    I honestly don't know why I don't. As I mentioned earlier, I've just always assumed that I'm simply not wired that way. My default setting seems to be "skeptic."

    I've certainly had ample exposure to religion. I even took my kids to church while they were elementary/middle school age because, as I used to joke, when they rejected organized religion, I didn't want it to be simply out of ignorance.

    I think my younger son was a believer when he died. The older one was as a teen, but I'm not entirely sure where he stands on the issue now that he is an adult.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  20. #40
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    Sep. 4, 2012
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    Southeast US
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Eboshi View Post
    If you're NOT a believer, why not?

    For me it's pretty much summed up by "Ye canna change th' laws o'physics, Captain!"
    I honestly don't know why I don't. As I mentioned earlier, I've just always assumed that I'm simply not wired that way. My default setting seems to be "skeptic."

    I've certainly had ample exposure to religion. I even took my kids to church while they were elementary/middle school age because, as I used to joke, when they rejected organized religion, I didn't want it to be simply out of ignorance.

    I think my younger son was a believer when he died. The older one was as a teen, but I'm not entirely sure where he stands on the issue now that he is an adult.



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