Can I Share My Testimony with You?

Holding a father's hand

Can I Share My Testimony with You?


Last week I posted an article about why we need to share our testimonies, and how you can prepare to share yours.  

For anyone who is interested, here is mine.


My name is Josh. I'm a 33 year-old man. I'm married to a beautiful woman, Lisa, the love of my life. We have 4 amazing kids together, counting the one who she is pregnant with now- 2 boys, a girl, and a surprise.

I am devoutly and passionately Catholic. That I am a Christian is what I consider the most important thing about me. But this wasn't always the case.

I was raised in a Catholic family, the oldest of six kids. My parents always strongly valued the Faith, and religious practice was always a part of my upbringing. But when I was in my teens I was dealing with a lot of teenager-y issues, and some family issues, and and I began to question the Faith. I saw it at the time as a restricted way of living, which very few of my peers where ascribing to. I also had a bit of a warped view of God. I saw Him as a harsh judge (cf. Luke 19:21) who only counted my wrongs. I felt that I could never live up His standards.

I heard at a priest give a talk where he said "The greatest lie the devil can convince us of is not that God doesn't exist, but that He's a bad father." Well, I had bought into this lie.

So I rebelled.

I went on to live for several years as though God did not exist at all. I just lived a very secular life, kind of floating along and waiting for the next big thrill. Eventually I became aware of a question that started as a whisper but got progressively louder.

"Is this it?"

Is this really all that is worth living for? I'm going after the fun, so why do I still feel so unfulfilled? What am I missing here?

One day a buddy invited me to a Catholic youth rally at Martyr Shrine. To say I was disinterested might be an understatement, but he lured me in with a good line: "We'll meet girls there."


It was a better experience than I had pictured: young people outdoors in the beautiful summer heat; ice-breakers, interesting talks and small-group discussions, and yes, talking to girls.

In the late afternoon there was a sung Evening Prayer liturgy. We were gathered before an out-door altar bring led in song by a music ministry group. We all had lit candles in our hands.

There was a girl leading the music that I had met briefly earlier in the day. She was singing in a very expressive way. She had her eyes closed and one hand lifted up in praise, singing in a way that just exuded true joy, as though she was singing to a person she loved very dearly.

Seeing her, I became aware of a deep feeling of envy in my heart. I saw in her prayer something that I had not felt in a long time, and I longed for it. I began to inwardly feel: "I want that."

But before I could even fully think the words "I want that" I was completely overwhelmed. It came like a rushing wind, but felt like a tender embrace, and it totally enveloped me.

I felt the presence of God.

In the famous story of the Prodigal Son, it says that the Father waits for the son, and sees him coming when he is still far off. As the son prepares the words he will use to try to convince his father to allow him to return, the Father runs to him. He receives him back immediately, and unequivocally restores the relationship that had been lost.

This is how I felt in that moment. I felt like I was being held by the Father.

The direction of my life was changed in an instant, and I swore I would never doubt the love of God again. He is a good Father.

The direction of my life was changed in an instant, and I swore I would never doubt the love of God again.

I went to confession and felt the completion of the reconciliation. I then wrote down my promise to The Lord, never to turn away from him like that again. I didn't know where God would lead me, but I was convicted that I did not want the focus of my life to be me anymore.

"Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction." (Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est)

The many questions and misunderstandings I still had about the Faith were tackled by the good staff at my university's chaplaincy. God also placed people in my path people who would become my greatest friends, helping me in my conversion. I look back and think "Wow, how much I needed that person at that time!" and I know God's hand was there.

That feeling wasn't there anymore. The "new horizon" and "decisive direction" in my life was such that I never again asked: "Is this it?" I found the "it" I was searching for in my Father's house.

This is all available to you, you know. My Father is your Father. His heart yearns for you. If you are astray, He awaits you, and would run for you. Just decide in your heart to come home.

I would be remiss to add: that singing girl, who was leading the praise? Yeah, I married her.



My Father is your Father. His heart yearns for you. — Josh Canning

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