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My Journey: Husband can’t deny wife’s faith, finds his own

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By John Stegeman
The Catholic Telegraph 

When Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Eric Edward’s wife, Keri, told him she was considering reverting to the Catholic Church, he flat out told her no.

The couple met as eighth graders at an Evangelical Christian school and their faith was a major part of the relationship. The two read the Bible and attended services together. When Keri appeared to be leaving that world, Eric wasn’t ready.

“Very arrogantly, I told her no,” he said. “I took the whole role of ‘I’m the spiritual head of this household, and this is not the faith our relationship was based on.’

A few years later, Eric found himself weeping while reading a passage of scripture and knew he would join his wife in the Catholic church.

 

Keri’s story was told in the December 2014 edition of The Catholic Telegraph and can be found HERE. 

Read previous My Journey features
— For Hartman, conversion has been a lifelong experience
— Evangelized by dead people
— Cursillo crucial to Bishop Binzer’s journey

 

Eric Edwards was raised Evangelical Protestant. He recited the “Sinner’s Prayer” at age 5 and happily went along with the faith of his family through high school. He joined the Air Force, married Keri, and was stationed in Italy where he took ownership of his faith, finding a group of men on base who were “on fire” for God.

“Some guys were super emotional and really into it, but that just wasn’t me. It was more internal for me,” he said. “My experience in Italy was that spiritual high.”

After Italy, the couple moved to Virginia and struggled to find the right church. Keri began to explore Catholicism, but Eric was just looking for the right Protestant home with no luck.

“It was just a really dry time in my faith,” he said. “I hadn’t really doubted or questioned anything, but the way I was brought up was that if you weren’t on a spiritual high all the time, you were doing something wrong.”

The Edwards moved to Massachusetts and there Keri doubled down, telling Eric she had to obey God and follow her convictions to the Catholic Church.

“I said, ‘You need to do what you need to do for yourself,'” he said. “I was very unsure of where I even stood at that point. If I didn’t know at that point, who was I to hold her back?”

An Alpha Class helped reassured Eric in his Christianity, but other doubts remained.

“At this point our son was three-years-old, maybe four. One day it just dawned on me,” Eric said. “She was taking him to Mass too and it dawned on me that there’s going to be a time where he’s old enough and he’s going to ask me, ‘Why do Mommy and Daddy go to two different churches?’ I didn’t have an answer for that and I wasn’t comfortable with that.”

So Eric dug into Catholicism, reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church from cover to cover with his Bible in hand. He wrestled with the protestant notion of sola scripture, and his military background led him to address the question of authority. Reading the Bible in his bedroom one day, it all came to a head.

“One day I was reading the whole John 6 passage where Christ is talking about eating his flesh and everything. He repeats it three different times in that passage. I remember sitting there crying…Keri was walking by a couple times… She asked what was going on and I just handed her the passage and said, ‘Who am I to deny this?'”

Not long after that moment came RCIA and eventually full reception into the church for Eric. His conversion has brought about a sense of inner peace.

“I just have great confidence and assurance of what I believe,” he said. “I now have that closure of being able to raise my son, and now my daughter, in the same faith as my wife. We’re all unified together.”

Edwards knows not everyone comes to believe in the fullness of the Catholic faith by reading and study. Still, he encouraged those struggling with or considering the claims of the church to do so.

“I would encourage people to really get to an understanding of why they believe what they believe, without any doubt,” he said. “Really take the time and due diligence to research whatever it is they’re looking into.”

If the analytical approach isn’t one’s preference, Eric suggested listening to contemporary Catholic musicians, many of whom unpack the teachings of the faith in their songs. Among more notable famous Catholic musicians are Matt Maher and Audrey Assad but Eric’s favorite is much closer to home — his wife Keri.

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All of us are on a journey to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. “My Journey” is a recurring feature of “Contagiously Catholic”, a monthly supplement to The Catholic Telegraph produced by the Office of the New Evangelization to tell the stories of Catholics continuing on a path to communion with Christ. 


Contagiously Catholic is a four-page supplement found in full only in the print edition. To subscribe at no personal cost, click HERE.

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This My Journey feature originally appeared in the April 2014 print edition of The Catholic Telegraph.

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