Natassia M. Kelly, Ex-Christian, USA (part 2 of 2)

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Something happened in my life in which the little faith I did have decreased to all but nothing.  My search came to a stop.  I no longer searched within myself, the Bible, or church.  I had given up for a while.  I was a very bitter parson until one day a friend gave me a book.  It was called “The Muslim-Christian Dialogue.”

I took the book and read it.  I am ashamed to say that during my searching never did I once consider another religion.  Christianity was all I knew, and I never thought about leaving it.  My knowledge of Islam was very minimal.  In fact, it was mainly filled with misconception and stereotypes.  The book surprised me.  I found that I was not the only one who believed there was a simply a God.  I asked for more books.  I received them as well as pamphlets.

I learned about Islam from an intellectual aspect.  I had a close friend who was Muslim and I often asked her questions about the practices.  Never did I once consider Islam as my faith.  Many things about Islam alienated me.

After a couple months of reading, the month of Ramadan began.  Every Friday, I could I joined the local Muslim community for the breaking of the fast and the reciting of the Quran.  I posed questions that I may have come across to the Muslim girls.  I was in awe at how someone could have so much certainty in what they believed and followed.  I felt myself drawn to the religion that alienated me.

Having believed for so long that I was alone, Islam did comfort me in many ways.  Islam was brought as a reminder to the world.  It was brought to lead the people back to the right path.

Beliefs were not the only thing important to me.  I wanted a discipline to pattern my life by.  I did not just want to believe someone was my savior and through this I held the ticket to Heaven.  I wanted to know how to act to receive the approval of God.  I wanted a closeness to God.  I wanted to be God-conscious.  Most of all I wanted a chance for heaven.  I began to feel that Christianity did not give this to me, but Islam did.

I continued learning more.  I went to the Eid celebration (the celebrative day following the fast of Ramadan and the rite of Hajj) and [Friday] and weekly classes with my friends.

Through religion one receives peace of mind.  A calmness about them.  This I had off and on for about three years.  During the off times I was more susceptible to the temptations of Satan.  In early February of 1997, I came to the realization that Islam was right and true.  However, I did not want to make any hasty decisions.  I did decide to wait.

Within this duration, the temptations of Satan increased.  I can recollect two dreams in which he was a presence.  Satan was calling me to him.  After I awoke from these nightmares I found solace in Islam.  I found myself repeating the Shahadah.  These dreams almost made me change my mind.  I confided them in my Muslim friend.  She suggested that maybe Satan was there to lead me from the truth.  I never thought of it that way.

On March 19, 1997 after returning from a weekly class, I recited the Shahadah to myself.  Then on March 26, I recited it before witnesses and became an official Muslim.

I cannot express the joy I felt.  I cannot express the weight that was lifted from my shoulders.  I had finally received my peace of mind.

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It has been about five months since I recited the Shahadah.  Islam has made me a better person.  I am stronger now and understand things more.  My life has changed significantly.  I now have purpose.  My purpose is to prove myself worthy of eternal life in Heaven.  I have my long sought after faith.  Religion is a part of me all the time.  I am striving everyday to become the best Muslim I can be.

People are often amazed at how a fifteen year old can make such an important decision in life.  I am grateful that God blessed me with my state of mind that I was able to find it so young.

Striving to be a good Muslim in a Christian dominated society is hard.  Living with a Christian family is even harder.  However, I do not try to get discouraged.  I do not wish to dwell on my present predicament, but I believe that my jihad is simply making me stronger.  Someone once told me that I am better off than some people who were born into Islam, in that I had to find, experience, and realize the greatness and mercy of God.  I have acquired the reasoning that seventy years of life on earth is nothing compared to eternal life in Paradise.

I must admit that I lack the aptitude to express the greatness, mercy, and glory of God.  I hope my account helped others who may feel the way I felt or struggle the way I struggled.

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