I find myself coming to this section on faith and religion (relationship to me) and feeling hesitant to share because of my experience on the other "friendly place for seniors" Forum. The spiritual side of me is just as real and a part of my life as the physical and emotional side of me and as such it is natural for me to express too. Yet when I expressed that side on the other Forum...that part of me wasn't accepted and was even twisted and mocked. It hurt. So I am hesitant about sharing that part of me here but at the same time just need to know that I am free to express all of me just as I am. So here goes... As a baby I was baptized as a Catholic. This worked for me until my "enquiring mind" kicked in and started asking questions. I was perfectly content going to "church" although I couldn't speak or understand Latin so I didn't really know what the Priest was talking about, etc. except when he spoke English. I didn't even wonder about that book he read from for a few minutes during mass. I knew it was called the Bible because we had a big book at home titled "My Catholic Faith" which because I loved to read...I often opened up and read too. I remember reading that as a catholic I was never even to open, turn a page, or read a word from a Bible...if I did it would be a mortal sin. It would also be a mortal sin to ever attend another denomination's church service. There was a lot more in that book, but those two things stick in my mind to this day. When I was in High School I started teaching Cathecism (or basically Sunday School) and since I taught the very young (preschoolers, etc) I was mostly teaching about God's love for us. Then one year I started teaching Junior High level. One night I was studying and preparing for the Cathecism lesson I was going to be teaching that week...and all of a sudden I felt more than heard a "voice" in my heart saying: "You can't teach that. It isn't in my Word." What! Now I know that was the Holy Spirit speaking to me....but back then I knew nothing about the Holy Spirit, or the Word of God. All I knew at that moment in time is that even though I tried going back and studying what I was supposed to teach...I felt such confusion and strong conviction that I could not teach that Lesson and I did not. Instead I just shared God's love. Now I know it was because the Lesson was about the Catholic Church's doctrines which was not biblically based but back then I only knew something or someone say "No!" to me teaching that Lesson. After that I "felt" I should just stick to teaching God's love to the young children and I did. My Senior year of High School I worked after school in a small sandwich shop and one afternoon a young couple not much older than me came in. Again I felt and heard a "voice" in my heart telling me to pay for their meal. I still didn't know who that "voice" was but I had felt and heard it long enough to know I was going to do just that. The young couple stayed until we were the only ones in the shop and they asked me if I could sit and talk with them for a few minutes. I could and I did...and they shared the "Good News Gospel" with me. When they spoke my heart heard and felt the "voice" speaking through their words and my heart soaked it up like a thirsty sponge. I invited them to come home with me for supper and to spend the night and they accepted. Later that night they prayed with me as I accepted Jesus Christ into my heart as my Lord and Savior and they gave me my first Bible. The next day they journeyed on and I never saw them again...but their impact on my life would remain with me even to this day. Even after I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior and had been given my very own Bible to read I found I could not open and read it for quite awhile because of what I had read in "My Catholic Faith". Yet I found myself needing to know what the Bible said and so one day I opened it and begin reading the Words that would change my life forever and set me on an endless quest to know this God of the Bible and if He was real or not...and whether I found His Word to be Truth. I felt and heard the "voice" in my heart calling me out of the Catholic church and so I left that denomination and began my search to find what I believed in, etc. In the Bible I read about the Holy Spirit and I knew that the "voice" I had been hearing and feeling in my heart was Him. In my teen years I tried out astrology and horoscopes, fortune telling, etc. and read about other religions and church denominations. I knew I wanted to attend a Church that taught the Bible because there was so much of it I would read and still not have understanding of. But even in the Churches I attended there were so many man made doctrines and differences of opinions on Scripture meanings that in stead of finding peace and my faith increasing, I found stress and a waning of my new found faith. So I stepped back from man made religions and churches and went for a walk in the desert. Just me and God's Word. I prayed for the Holy Spirit to teach me and bought a good study Bible that gave me the background, etc. of the different books of the Bible. As I started studying background history...and the Scriptures... the Word of God became alive for me. And God and Jesus became alive to me too. I wasn't looking for a religion...I was looking for a relationship and through the years I have found just that with my heavenly Father and Jesus my Redeemer. Coming out of the desert I felt refreshed and strengthened in my faith and belief that God is who He said He is and Jesus Christ is His Son and gave His life to redeem me from my sins so that I now am beloved daughter of God. My faith and belief that this is true gives me joy and peace. I also like hearing what others believe and why. That's why I like to ask questions like: "Do you believe in an afterlife?"...or "How do think we and the Universe came into existence?" These are some of the questions I asked on the other seniors Forum and got attacked and mocked for. I still don't understand why. I shared what I believed, but I don't believe I disrespected anyone else's beliefs. And I won't do that here either. I don't want to debate Scripture meaning, etc. I just want to share and find out what others believe and have faith in... and I hope y'all will share these things with me.