The Hidden Blessing in Waiting to Tell My Story

The Dream

Things I thought would happen after I told people I was becoming Catholic:

People would ask “why,” then sit, leaning forward, eyes wide as I told the whole story. The story of all my misconceptions, and all the truth and beauty I’d found. They’d ask questions to better understand, and they’d start seeking answers for themselves.

Lines would form outside RCIA.

Things would be said. Things like: “Wait, that’s actually what the Catholic Church believes? That’s nothing like I thought. That sounds awesome. How can I learn more?”

The Reality

Well… as excited as I was… things didn’t happen like I dreamed. I laugh about it now. Things didn’t even come close.

Things were said. Words were used like ‘concern,’ ‘different gospel,’ and ‘not Christian.’ The occasional, and very welcome ‘I’m happy for you” was said as well.

But few people asked ‘why.’ Very few people were curious to hear the story of how I’d come to this place. It was a story I wanted so badly to tell.

I wanted to share with everyone all the answers I had found to questions that had burned inside me for years.

I was so excited. But how would I tell my story? And to whom? I would be lying if I said I wasn’t discouraged at that time. I finally had something I wanted to shout from the rooftops. But at times it felt like there was no one around for miles and miles.

So, I changed my proverbial tune.

I started the Protestant Interrupted blog to document the process, and to process the process as I went through it. I had JP’s family, and some of my own, as a sounding board. But a lot of the journey was walked through relatively alone, for both JP and I.

I love writing. And I found I loved writing about my faith. So, after Confirmation, I continued to write. We transitioned to this blog and I shared my story in snippets over the course of several months. At first to a couple of dozen people, give or take. Then, to a few more.

I tried to find local avenues to share my story. But the doors there didn’t open like I had hoped. So I continued to write about my faith.

And I stopped worrying about it. I developed something akin to patience (at least in this area), and I just wrote what was on my heart, when my heart needed to share. There was a lot of peace in that as I began to trust God to use my words in whatever way he chose.

An Unexpected Roof

But then, I received an unexpected email. It was The Coming Home Network  gauging my interest in being a guest on the EWTN program The Journey Home. I sent back an email, and waited a couple of months. The CHN was publishing my written conversion story in their newsletter at the end of the year. That was cool in and of itself. It was a way for me to share my story with others who were following or had followed a similar road.

I felt so thankful for that. Those stories were huge for me on my own journey, and I hoped my path would be an encouragement to others as well.

But then I got another email. The Coming Home Network wanted to set up a date for me to fly out and film the show. We filmed in December and the episode aired December 18, 2017.

How This Happened

Let me be very clear. None of this is because of me.

It’s because I trusted God and didn’t push things when the timing wasn’t right. I wasn’t scrambling, I wasn’t stressed, I wasn’t pushing any doors open that weren’t meant for me.

It’s because God’s timing is better than my own. He had something in mind for my story, that I couldn’t have even imagined.

It’s because God knew it would be wise to let me settle into the faith a bit, as the distance and time helped give me perspective on all that happened, and to be better able to reflect. To see that I wasn’t actually ever alone. God was in it every step of the way, from my infancy and on into forever.

And so here I sit, in awe and in gratitude that He chose to use my story in any way at all.


Better This Way

And it was better this way.

I received the opportunity to tell my story to those to whom God desired for me to tell it, in His timing.

To a number of people I still can hardly wrap my head around.

Many people have reached out and responded in ways and in numbers I never thought I would hear.

It’s helped solidify a person’s decision to be confirmed this Easter.

It’s laid lingering questions to rest.

It’s encouraged lifelong Catholics who love learning more about their faith.

It’s brought hope to those who have family separated from the Church.

I take this as a lesson to be frustrated less and trust more (and faster) in the future. With, like, everything.

For me this was a lesson in patience, and in getting over myself as quickly as possible so God can do his thing. Even if The Journey Home had never happened, I know God would have used my story any way he saw fit, and that it would have been good. It would have been good if the only people to hear it were my kids, and it built up their faith as they grew. It would have been good if it encouraged one person in RCIA at some point in the future through the blog. It would have been good if the blog was just a gift from God to me, a way to thank Him for all He’s done.

With God, nothing is wasted.


Open Hands

This whole process has helped me continue onward with open hands. Open to however God wants to use me, in whatever way He sees fit. Maybe I’ll teach CCD next year. Maybe I’ll be a guest from time to time at our parish RCIA. Maybe I’ll get a few more emails from people who have a question about the faith. I will for certain continue to write.

And I’ll do it all in peace because I will continue to trust in God to lead the way. For His timing is perfect, and His blessings abound.


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Why Are Catholic Sermons So Short?

They’re so Short!

Something that was always strange to me as a Protestant attending Mass was how short Catholic sermons are. Well, technically we call what happens when the Priest speaks after the gospel reading a homily, but homily isn’t a word seen too often outside the Catholic realm.

The priests seemed to have varying degrees of preparation in their message, and it varied from a minute to about ten minutes at most. It varied greatly in level of depth. Sometimes it was more an encouraging word than a message at all.

I thought, what’s the deal with this?

At every single non-Lutheran Protestant Church I attended, there was a sermon. And the sermon was comparatively long. 20 minutes was normal. Some could go over 30. If the sermon was good, I left church feeling challenged and uplifted. If it was just okay, I might have been disappointed.

Expositional Preaching vs. The Homily Objective

There is a big movement right now in the non-liturgical Protestant realm towards expositional preaching. Where a pastor delves deep into a passage of scripture, often going through entire books of the Bible in an extensive sermon series. The pastor delves into the historical, cultural context, along with the original language and preaches on what he or she concludes after that extensive study.

This makes sense in the Protestant world because in Protestant churches, the sermon is the pinnacle of the service. Everything, the music, the offering, the reading (if there is one before the sermon itself), builds up to the sermon. The sermon is, structurally, the main event.

The homily, on the other hand, is meant to be an application of the readings for the day.

More in-depth study of the Bible is available to Catholics, (and should be used!), in a variety of different formats. There are Bible Studies, books, and video and online resources for in-depth delving into scripture. The readings for each day are thematically connected, and resources are readily available each day from a variety of different sources that delve into the readings. It’s been amazing to learn how connected the Old Testament is to the New via utilization of these resources. Here’s a link to one.

But the Mass isn’t ever going to be a place for lengthy, expositional study of Scripture.

But why???

Simply put, in a Protestant service, everything builds up to the sermon.

But in Catholic Mass, everything builds up to something else.

The Eucharist

Christian Mass, and living the Christian faith, from the time of the earliest Christians, focused heavily on Holy Communion. Another word we use for that as Catholics is The Eucharist. The earliest Christians called it that too.

In many Protestant Churches, communion is served once a month, or twice a month in some instances, but this wasn’t always the case in the history of our faith.

As a Catholic, though we need to be in attendance on Sundays, there is actually Mass held every single day. And at every single Mass, the Eucharist is there.

Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash

The preparations for the Eucharist begin in concrete form after the prayers of the faithful.

Then, the liturgy of the Eucharist begins and takes us to the completion of the Mass.

Why is that important?

It’s important because Catholics, like the early Christians, believe Christ is truly present in Holy Communion. We believe we actually receive Jesus: body, blood, soul and divinity when we receive the Eucharist.

We believe this is one of the most intimate ways we can interact with our Creator while we walk on this earth. We believe there is grace there. We believe receiving the Eucharist on a regular basis helps strengthen our walk of faith, helps unite us to other Christians, and that, among other things, it helps us turn our hearts to God. We believe that just as Jesus took the form of a man, that he is with us still, in the form of bread and wine. That he instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper. That he meant what he said in John 6.

When we kneel before the Eucharist, we kneel before our Savior.


As someone who grew up in a Protestant world, the things I just wrote would have been weird and offensive.

Communion was merely a symbol in my Protestant realm. It was more casually passed out, and more casually received. I ultimately concluded that this Catholic practice was so weird to me because it was unfamiliar. But just because I had never heard of something before, didn’t mean it wasn’t true. Imagine someone living a Pagan existence in a remote location of the world. The Gospel would sound pretty strange to them at first. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

When deciding where my faith would land, I researched a lot of things extensively. Especially this. And I found only solid evidence that the earliest Christians, those closest to Jesus held that exact same belief as the Catholic Church about Holy Communion. That belief as Communion as a symbol was considered heresy. This may not be the case everywhere, but the churches we attended didn’t delve regularly into Church history. Especially not Church history on the Christian beliefs surrounding Communion.

I’ll probably dive more into this in another post, but if it was good enough for Jesus’ disciples, and their disciples after, and on and on through apostolic succession, then it was good enough for me.


So that’s why Catholic sermons, or homilies, are so short. Some are longer than others, and some Priests spend more time crafting them than others do. But Priests are really busy guys. They spend time visiting the sick, and being instruments of grace through the sacraments.

Besides, the sermon isn’t the main event. Jesus is. And, long homily or not, he meets us there, every single Mass, loving us and offering to us himself in the bread and the wine.


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My Experience on EWTN’S The Journey Home

A few weeks back, I hopped on an airplane and headed to Columbus, Ohio to film an episode of ETWN’s The Journey Home, hosted by Marcus Grodi.

I was met at the airport by Scott Scholten and his wife Barb. Scott produces and directs the show, and they also have a special B&B apartment in the basement of their home to host many of The Journey Home’s guests.

I had read other articles about people who had been on the show, and was very excited to see the famous “Guest Book,” where many notes and signatures from guests of the program reside. It was a surreal moment adding my name to that list, especially considering that two years ago, I was closer to leaving Christianity entirely than I was to becoming Catholic.



And let me tell you this, the Scholten’s are experts at hospitality. I was so blessed to be able to stay in their incredibly comfortable accommodations. Every little detail was attended to, and I was made to feel like a member of their extended family.

There was also a Mother Angelica mug, out of which I just had to drink my evening tea 🙂

We had lovely conversation over dinner and breakfast the next morning, and then it was off to Mass at this beautiful, quaint, historical Catholic church near the Coming Home Network headquarters, where we would film the show.

I caught sight of Marcus Grodi in the back of the church and we made a quick wave ‘hello’ to each other during the giving of the peace. I knew from my hosts as well as other guest posts about the show that Marcus doesn’t spend much time with guests before the filming begins. He wants to get to know each guest and his/her story for the first time genuinely during the taping.

They filmed 2 shows this day, back to back. I was up first.

Walking onto the set was also very surreal. I had seen this set before in the shows I had watched. There were some people who were very important and encouraging to me on my faith journey who had sat on the same side of the desk I would sit on soon. Scott Hahn, Jennifer Fulwiler and Steve Ray were a few that immediately came to mind. But there are many others.

Well hello there, Mr. Desk.

The show used to be filmed live, and still tapes as though it is. There are no re-do’s, just a 2 minute break in the middle. It was a bit intense to think about at first, but everyone is so kind and welcoming. I was definitely on high alert and excited, but once we started filming it felt more like a conversation. I didn’t forget about the cameras and people in the shadows of the lights, but Marcus Grodi is a very gracious host, and it was easy to tell him my story.


He listened so well. I don’t remember everything I said, but I do remember there were a couple of things he brought up at the end to help a point I had mentioned earlier come full circle. He asked great questions to help me elaborate on some things. You can tell Marcus is a pro. I told my story pretty much from birth to life after conversion, and felt like the time flew by. We then answered a couple of email questions, filmed a short promo, and that was it!


After filming, some of the Coming Home Network folk took me and the other guest out to lunch, then it was back to the airport and home again. It was a whirlwind, but one I will never forget.

I also don’t think it will ever cease to amaze me that my story is now counted among those that made a huge difference to me as I prepared to enter the Catholic Church, and even still after. Those stories were a lifeline as I wrestled through questions, dealt with loneliness and difficulty in the transition from our Protestant Church, and as I rejoiced in the Truth I had found resided within the Catholic faith.

I hope you will have the chance to watch my Journey Home. It airs Monday, December 18th, 2017 at 8pm Eastern/ 7pm Central on EWTN. If you don’t have EWTN, you can live stream it here online.

Encores will air:

Tuesday, December 19th, 1am Eastern

Friday, December 22nd, 1pm Eastern

Or Watch the whole episode below!

My written conversion story is also featured in the Coming Home Network’s newsletter this month, and can be found here.


Do you have any questions about my conversion story? Or whose conversion stories have impacted you in your faith walk?

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