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Conversion Faith Formation Ink Slingers Lydia B.

God Writes Straight with Crooked Lines: A Conversion Story

 

GodWritesStraightwithCrookedLines

So there I was, crammed into a tiny Boeing 737 bathroom whilst trying to pee into very small Dixie cup. I was flying to Alabama and due to the early morning flight, needed to check my fertility on the Clear Blue monitor I use for the Marquette Method of Family Planning. Despite the turbulence of the Rockies, I successfully avoided urinating all over myself. Win! During this debacle I started laughing out loud to myself. Seriously, how many Catholics–or women just desperate to get pregnant–have checked their LH levels at 35,000 feet?

How did I get to this point in my life, especially when I am not even Catholic? Like many conversion stories, it’s a long one. I wanted this first blog post to be my introduction. I am a real person, just like you. I struggle. I juggle being a wife to a military man, and having three jobs. I feel guilty I do not spend enough time with my six-, two-, and one-year-old. I eat off the floor most days of the week, sadly content to eat the scraps of my disgruntled toddlers. I lament I do not set enough time aside for God. I have phases where I am all over our Lord Jesus, followed by dry spells where I just keep praying for the rains of passion to come back. The struggle is real.

Perhaps because of my struggles, I have had this unquenchable drive for the truth. Ironically, Jesus said in John 8:32 that “the truth shall set you free.” I searched for the truth during my Protestant upbringing, never fully satisfied. At 18, my heart was ripped from my chest when my little non-denominational church split over an argument of whether baptism should constitute full immersion in water or just a few drops sprinkled on the head. The church voted to fire the pastor that I had grown to love like a father. Sixty of 120 people left the church. I sobbed and sobbed. There must be something better. God could not have wanted His Church to be this way.

I was early on in my military career and had the benefit of free education. I took a religion class and thoughtfully researched the top five religions. I never wavered from Christianity, but I wanted to be open-minded and hear out the others. The falseness of the other religions, especially Islam, seemed evident to me. I felt at peace knowing that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

While learning more about Christianity, however, I discovered that all roads led to the Catholic Church. Odd, I thought. Growing up, I had been taught that Catholics were going to hell for blasphemy. They worship the anti-Christ (Pope), Mary, so-called Saints, and had idols in their sanctuaries. Worse yet, Catholics believe they are eating the flesh of Christ, like some weird, perverted cannibal. Catholics are sadly mistaken people who believe Jesus never got off the cross, which is why he is still on the Crucifix. In short, to be Catholic was to be an unbeliever.

It was exactly the time I was transitioning off of active duty service that I had a come-to-Jesus meeting. I invited Jesus. I was in the Bible Belt deep in South Carolina, parked at a Red Lobster. I said a prayer to God asking for a sign that Catholicism was the right denomination for me. I closed my car door and walked into the restaurant. After the hostess ushered me to my table, I sat down and glanced at the table. Next to the salt and pepper shakers was a genuine, Italian made medallion of Saint Christopher. Let me re-iterate. I was deep in the Protestant Bible Belt and had never seen a Catholic church in the five years I had lived there. I picked up that medallion and cried. I have that medallion on my key chain to this day.

Change doesn’t come easy though, does it? I wanted proof. I wanted someone to refute all of those Catholic misnomers that Protestants indoctrinate their children with. I signed up for RCIA a year later, but no one ever called me. I signed up a second time. No one called me. I began to get discouraged and irritated that Catholics seemed so lackadaisical about gaining followers for Christ. Many Catholics seemed content to just go through the motions and bolt like a Kentucky Derby champion out of the pews after mass. I turned to Catholic radio for answers and for three years worked out doctrinal and theological issues in my head.

The olive branch to the Catholic faith came from an unusual source: Mary. If you have ever been Protestant, you know what a hang-up those Christians have with Mary being the Mother of God, Immaculately Conceived, and Ever-Virgin. But God used my first pregnancy to connect me to Mary, as both of us had very long journeys during our ninth month of pregnancy. She was the gateway. My heart started to accept Catholicism more and more. I started RCIA two more times, successfully finishing the course in 2014. This part of the journey took 10 years.

I am currently in limbo now. Terrible life choices in our 20s led my husband and me to marry different people. My annulment was granted in 2016; my husband’s is still ongoing. There is the possibility he had a valid Catholic marriage. Looking at the Catechism, it is pretty clear we are living in sin because our legal marriage was not blessed by a priest—it couldn’t be.

But guess what? Jesus came to forgive me. I have faith that whatever the annulment outcome, I can remain Catholic in my heart. I will work on purifying myself every day in some small way. For example, at Mass I go up and receive a blessing from the priest. I have had all our girls baptized. I even spent five sessions having the priest perform soul-tie cutting of every unhealthy sexual relationship I have had.

We should all strive to be Saints, and sometimes the journey there is not pretty, as you can see by this post. But do not give up. Keep fighting through your struggles. Pray. Ask God for signs and listen quietly for answers. But more than anything, believe. God is real. God loves you and He is coming back for you.

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Faith Formation Guest Posts Prayer

Soul Ties: What Are They? Do I Have Them? Is That Good or Bad?

Soul Ties: What Are They? Do I Have Them? Is That Good or Bad?

Have you ever wondered why some people can’t seem to stop thinking about their first love, even though decades have passed? Or why your best friend keeps going back to that toxic ex boy/girlfriend even though she/he is fully aware the relationship is dysfunctional? Or why certain addictions seem to run in families? Or why you just can’t seem to heal from that childhood trauma, abuse, or broken relationship? One answer could be that a soul tie is present.

In his book, Deep Wounds, Deep Healing, Dr. Charles H. Kraft speaks of soul ties as “spirit-to-spirit ties.” Neal Lozano, Catholic layman and founder of Heart of the Father Ministries, refers to soul ties as “relational bondage.”

Soul Ties- Do I Have Them- Is That Good Or Bad-Whatever you call it, a soul tie is a spiritual attachment to another human being. Imagine that you are the center of a wagon wheel, and all the spokes are going out away from you, creating a link to any person with whom you have had physical relations, or a familial, or deep emotional friendship.

Biblically, Mark 10: 9-12, and Genesis 2:24, support the notion of a soul tie in marriage. 1 Samuel 18:1-3 shows how a deep friendship creates a soul tie.

Soul ties are a good thing. Except when they’re a bad thing. Soul ties can be negative if they open you up to a person’s addictions, violent tendencies, or effects of occult activity. Those of us in deliverance ministry recognize that the existence of a negative soul tie may be contributing to a person’s spiritual issues. We live in a world that contains things both seen and unseen. There are beautiful angels of light ministering to us at this very moment, sent by God to help us do His will. At the same time, there are evil spirits whose goal is to tempt us to sin. Both of these kinds of spiritual beings are all around us. And they can travel between us via a soul tie.

The drug addict who has sexual relations with his addicted friends, but then goes to rehab and gets clean, still has that pull to go and hang out with the friends, even though he knows it is wrong; this is the effect a soul tie can have on us. When someone is sexually abused, breaking that tie with the abuser (it was made by the act, although completely involuntary on the part of the victim), is helpful to healing.

In my ministry and in my own life, the breaking of negative soul ties has been a valuable tool. I was raped as a child and so I have made sure to break that tie with the perpetrator. I don’t even know his name—it happened when I was young, in the dark and so I couldn’t see his face—but I’m no longer tied to him spiritually. The tie has been severed. I feel free. I now carry only my own baggage, not his as well.

In my ministry, I have seen the severing of soul ties have an amazing effect on people. One young woman was suffering from spiritual harassment. When we interviewed her, it came to light that she had quite a few family members who were into the occult. One in particular was an aunt with whom she was very close. She broke soul ties with the family members, and a huge weight lifted off her shoulders. When she came to us, she had deep creases between her eyebrows, and she was stooped over. After simply breaking the soul ties, her face and posture were relaxed and she said she felt a weight lift off of her. Spiritually, this young lady has a lot more work to do, but severing those ties made a good start.

We can break soul ties with those people who are in our lives in a positive way, as well, if negative situations have happened. For example, if you and a sibling or friend tend to gossip when you’re together, that is a negative aspect ofrope your relationship, based on sin. Obviously, going to confession regarding the sin is a given. But breaking the soul tie may help you resist that sin in the future.

If you view pornography…well, if you view pornography, STOP. It will have a negative effect on your ability to relate to a spouse sexually and, frankly, it’s sinful. However, according to Matthew 5:28, you are creating soul ties with everyone you view.  Think about that.

So what do we do if we have a negative soul tie with someone? Break the tie.  There are 5 simple steps to breaking a soul tie.

Sacrament of penance.

Acknowledge and confess any sin you participated in with this person, and resolve not to commit it again.  

Dispose of any objects they gave you that may symbolize the relationship.

An engagement ring, a phone, cards, even a tee shirt, anything that connects them to you.

Break any vows made to that person.

For example; “I will love you forever,” “I will never love anyone but you,” “You are the only person who will ever make me happy,” etc. Words can bind (think of wedding vows) or loose. To break the vow you can use these words: “In the name of Jesus, I renounce and break the vow I made to (state the person’s name) when I said, (say the vow).”  Also, at this time, it is appropriate to break any spoken curses made by the person to you (see Proverbs 21:23). Examples of these types of curses are as follows: “You’re worthless!” “You’re ugly/fat/stupid, etc.”  “I wish you were dead!”  “You never should have been born!”  These need to be broken. Here are some words you can use to do this:   “In the name of Jesus, I sever and break any and all curses placed upon me by (state the person’s name), and I ask the Lord to replace these with a blessing. Amen.”

Forgive the person for any wrong they have done you.

Now you are ready to break the soul tie.

Here are some words you can use to break the tie:

“In the name of Jesus, I renounce, sever, and break any ungodly soul ties that exist between me and (state the person’s name), in the area of (name the sin), and I ask the Lord to replace these with a blessing.” In cases of abuse, the sin is the perpetrator’s sIn, not yours, but name it anyway. In the case of pornography, or a abuse by someone who could not be identified, just say, “Any and all persons I have viewed in pornography,” or “The person who raped/molested/bullied/beat me.”  Any breaking of vows, curses, or soul ties should be made out loud. It shows that your will is strong and you are making a commitment to the action.

If you are living according to Church teaching, but are still having difficulties, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you if there are negative soul ties affecting your life. Then take the steps to break them.  It could make a huge impact on your healing.

 

BIO: Gemma Gee is a lifelong Catholic who received the gift of deliverance from the Holy Spirit seven years ago. She has worked in two dioceses on deliverance teams, and has had the privilege to witness healings through the power of the Holy Spirit.