Baptism of Nicole Schank
In my youth, I moved around many times. So many, I’ve lost count. But my parents kept me in the same school system and brought me to church every Sunday. I grew up in a Catholic church where I was baptized as an infant, received my first communion, and was confirmed. Throughout that early part of my life, I learned about God, but I never really understood. I had questions that no one would address, so I couldn’t fully comprehend who God was, what part Jesus had to play in all of it, and how I could possibly be good enough to be a part of that sacrifice.
Right before I was confirmed, my grandmother passed away – one of my only close relatives to die; it hit me harder than I expected. It shook my faith so much, that I began I search elsewhere: Lutheran churches, Baptist churches, until I finally just stopped going. I focused on school and work and put my faith in the background.
I graduated college, became a nurse and got my first job in a town where I had no support – no family, no friends, no familiarity. Depression set in and I felt desperate, so one day I decided to meditate. I looked inwards and focused on inner peace. I did yoga, wore mala beads, prayed for the world in a monastery, and declared myself Buddhist. During this period, I met a friend who is a true Christian and lived out God’s word beautifully. With non-judgment, love and acceptance, I felt welcomed in her presence. After growing closer and travelling to India she showed me that there were many similarities between Buddhism and Christianity. It was at this time I realized I had closed my heart off to understanding God.
After returning from India, I casually asked her one Sunday if I could join her at Hope, and it changed my life forever. As the scripture spoke directly to my personal life, and I watched young adults, like myself, crying with their arms raised through the worship songs, I felt the Holy Spirit fill me so much that I was speechless and on the verge of falling apart. After the sermon I sobbed and made the decision to accept Christ. I had finally felt the connection I had so longed for both in my youth and as a Buddhist. I finally felt as if I had come home.
The biggest lesson I’ve taken away from this crazy journey is that no matter where I am, my home is with God.