Slow Burn

Happy Monday! Today we get to meet Destiny Edwards.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I was raised in a Charismatic Evangelical house and church, the daughter of missionaries, very “churched” as a kid and young adult. After moving to Washington DC in 2011, I was drawn to the tradition and reverence of the Mass. I spent seven years working on Capitol Hill as a lobbyist and later a Communications Director for a Member of Congress. Leaving that world to raise our daughters Avila (almost 3) and Melania (15 months) has been the greatest joy.

My husband Thomas and I just relocated our family to Charlotte, NC. We enjoy exploring this incredible city, spending time with our families, and pretending we know what the #@%^ we’re doing as adults, spouses, and parents.

Tell us how you became interested in Catholicism.

I did it for a guy. Just kidding, but I met the man who would become my husband around the same time I became interested in Catholicism. He was raised Catholic and, with hearts aflutter, we discussed (debated) our different upbringings and beliefs. Thomas was my sponsor for RCIA and we attended together when we were engaged. I didn’t become Catholic until after our wedding though, and always appreciated that I never felt he was just waiting around for me to convert.

I was confirmed on January 30th, 2016, not the previous Easter with the rest of my RCIA class. After joining the class late, I found I wasn’t ready at Easter, to say,“I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.”

It was a very slow burn for me. Four years before being confirmed, a close friend and Catholic convert gave me  a copy of Bishop Robert Barron’s Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith with an inscription dated July 14th, 2012: “I pray that this book takes you into a deeper and closer walk with Him as you learn about this other branch of the Christian faith. I especially recommend the chapters on the Mass and the Saints. May God richly bless you! Pax Christi.” I don’t think I even opened that book until some time in 2014, for fear of conjuring a Marian apparition.

What were some of the barriers you had and struggles you faced on the road to becoming Catholic?

Having grown up the child of missionary parents, fully immersed in evangelical Protestantism, it honestly felt like a betrayal to be pursuing Catholicism. To the credit of my parents, they always encouraged a wrestling of faith in my siblings and me. They never expected us to blindly accept anything. But I don’t think they expected me to become Catholic one day, either. The most important thing in our relationship now is they see the fruit of conversion in my life, my marriage, and in the way I parent my children.

My biggest hang ups were: Marian devotion that appears to eclipse Christ the King; the intercession of Saints as a barrier to one-on-one conversation with God; and Purgatory cheapening the sacrifice of the Cross. It wasn’t until I attended RCIA and really invited the Holy Spirit to guide the process that I found most of the theological barriers I had were, quite simply, based on misunderstanding. I either didn’t know what the Church actually taught or I had a skewed understanding.

I still struggle to fully embrace certain aspects of Catholicism. Sometimes I feel awkward asking saints for their intercession and I often sandwich these requests with prayers directly to God, just in case I was accidentally making the saint a barrier to God. (lol)

Was there a defining moment or series of moments that cemented your decision to convert?

It was most certainly a series of things. In 1st Kings, Elijah has an experience of hearing the voice of God. He’s up on a mountain and a powerful wind breaks rocks off the mountainside; then an earthquake rips across the ground; and finally a fire burns around him. But God wasn’t in these forceful expressions – He came as a “delicate whispering voice”. For some of us, there is an earthquake moment where our world is shaken to its core and God is there. For others, like me, it’s only in the delicate whisper that we find Him.

What was your experience with RCIA?

I loved it! I had a blast interrogating the Dominican Brothers who led most of the discussions. I felt a beautiful freedom to wrestle with every tenet of the faith. My sarcasm was met with fondness and intellectual mastery.

How has your relationship with Jesus changed since becoming Catholic? Your relationship with yourself? With others?

If you’ve ever been in a relationship, you know the experience of meeting the family and close friends of your significant other. For better or worse, you find out more about them by meeting the people who know and love them best. In a similar way, getting to know Mary, the Priesthood, and the Saints has only deepened my knowledge of who Jesus is. Becoming Catholic has increased  my ability to relate to and communicate with Him, and my devotion to Him.

The gifts of Reconciliation and the Eucharist have given me more grace for my (sinful) self. The Sacraments are the ultimate “self care” regimen.

I find myself being more empathetic to everyone’s journey of faith. None of us has “arrived” and my experience with Catholicism has given me more grace for others who are searching.

Tell us your favorite Catholic book or author and why.

I’ve got three.

Bishop Barron’s Catholicism. It was the very welcoming, open door into what had previously been a very mysterious place

I read Henry Nouwen’s book Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life in a college course and loved it. Had no idea he was Catholic until later.

St. Teresa of Avila wrote a mind-bending book called Interior Castle that inspired us to name our first daughter Avila. St. Teresa was a mystic who had some pretty incredible experiences with God. Her writings take time to digest but are worth it.

What would you say to someone who was thinking of becoming Catholic?

Trust that you will be learning about the Faith and its application in your life for the rest of your life. This is a lifelong commitment to growth. You will not wake up one day and understand, believe, and fully grasp all the Church teaches. But if you are open to the Holy Spirit being your teacher, you will not miss anything.  “Dive right in, the water’s holy!”