“Behold, I am doing something new.”

Jan 21, 2020

A Conversion Story

I grew up in a big, faith-based family. However, like many people I went through periods of my life where I put my faith and my focus on God on the back burner. So my conversion has not been one big moment like the conversion of St. Paul: it has happened over many years and most especially over the last 7 years or so. God knew that for me, it would take time for me to believe that I could play any part in His grand plan and to say yes to Him. Saying yes to God is no easy task. For me, it took years of blessings, and of pain. It took the loss of friendships, the death of loved ones, physical pain, and most of all the blessing of God placing opportunities for me to grow in my faith, and Him developing the desire in me to learn and to search Him out. However, it wasn’t until I learned to see Christ as my friend that I feel my conversion truly took flight.

One of my biggest revelations was that Christ is not only my king and savior, He is my friend! He desires to be a part of every moment of my life. He longs for me to seek to know Him intimately. This has been most impactful for me. I have spent a good majority of my life believing that I was not worthy of being loved, but through seeing Christ as my friend, I realized that all my life I have been loved deeply, even when I didn’t love Him back. This realization was what opened the door to me being more receptive to those around me.

Through my journey, I have found that God has often used the people in my life to guide me along my way. At just the right moment, when I would start to doubt what I was doing, God would send me someone, or would send me a sign showing me that I was on the right path and to keep going. I have been blessed and fortunate that He has placed people in my life that saw the gifts in me before I saw them myself. It was some of these relationships that brought me to St. Bernard’s.

I never envisioned myself going back to school, let alone for Theology. I have worked in my field for over 22 years. I have grown and changed over that time, and have truly learned to appreciate the blessings that have come out of my career. The beautiful thing about my journey so far is that it has not only impacted me, but others around me as well. I believe that through God’s grace given to me by my acceptance and my openness to Him, my journey has helped others to see the impact that developing and nurturing a relationship with Christ can make in their own lives.

What I have come to realize in my journey is that Christ never promised that life would be easy. In fact, we often hear readings at Mass that talk of persecutions and betrayal in the name of Christ. However, what I have found is that since I have developed a friendship with Christ and truly strived every day to live by His example, I have found that those difficulties are much easier to bear, because I know that I am not bearing them alone. As Christ says in Matthew 11:28-30 NAB, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” I am just like anyone else. I have made many mistakes in my life; I have turned from God and thought that I could do it on my own, and I have felt so ashamed of my actions that I thought there was no way that I could be forgiven. Yet through my journey, I have learned and have been shown that God’s forgiveness is real! That if we truly put our faith and trust in Him, that if we truly ask for forgiveness and strive to live a life of love and forgiveness as Christ taught, then there is nothing that cannot be forgiven; there is nothing that cannot be accomplished.

Teresa Dunn has an Associates degree from Monroe Community College in Applied Sciences and has been working as a Dental Hygienist for the last 15 years. She is a mother of 2 children and she has been married to her husband for almost 15 years. She is currently enrolled in the Graduate Certificate in Pastoral Studies program at St. Bernard's.