A singer/songwriter from Dayton and married mother of two, Keri Edwards was searching for answers most of her life.
Baptized Catholic, Edwards was raised an Evangelical Protestant. A “born again” experience by Edwards’s mother led to their departure from the Church. But from the beginning, Edwards struggled to process some of the things she was being taught.
“I was taught wonderful things like, ‘You’ve got a friend in Jesus.’ And I was taught things that worried me like, ‘The pope is the antichrist,’” she said.
Edwards bought into some of what she learned, eventually coming to see Catholicism as just another denomination, and not the one for her.
After marrying her husband, Eric, a member of the Air Force and also an Evangelical Protestant, Edwards moved with him to a base in Italy. Not too far from Rome, Edwards remained interested in the faith of her youth.
“My curiosity about it just never went away,” she said, “and I think it was because my grandparents were so devout and faithful and just full of love.”
Small experiences kept fanning the flame, but still Edwards wasn’t ready to “revert.” She was finding herself defending the Catholic Church, even though she didn’t see herself as a member. She eventually started meeting with a priest. Her husband objected, and she agreed to dive more fully into their Protestant faith together. But about eight years ago, she had a “crisis moment.”
“One Sunday he was sick and I ended up going to church by myself and it happened to fall on a communion Sunday,” Edwards said. “I’m sitting there looking at my little cup of grape juice that’s just a cup of juice, and my bread that’s just a piece of bread, and thinking to myself, ‘I could be literally touching my Lord, but here I am drinking grape juice and eating bread.’ That was it for me.”
That day she called her grandfather to tell him she was “coming home.” But first she had to tell Eric.
“My husband was starting to get a little anxious,” she said. “He was brought up Evangelical Protestant like myself in a very anti-Catholic environment.”
Delving into their Protestant community didn’t work for Eric either. As they got more involved, he began to question his faith. When she told him she couldn’t wait any longer, he didn’t protest.
Remembering the advice of the priest, Keri returned to the Church through Confession and the Eucharist. She went to church with her husband, but also attended Mass. All along she prayed for “spiritual unity.”
“I never prayed for him to become Catholic,” she said. “I would pray, ‘Lord, I want to be spiritually united with my husband, whatever that looks like.'”
The Lord answered her prayer a couple of years later, when Eric’s own faith journey led him to become Catholic. Edwards’s mother returned to the Church as well.
Edwards’s debut album, “Me and Jesus,” was released two years ago. It is Country-Christian. The final song on the album, “Coming Home,” provides the lyrics that open and close this article. The album is available on iTunes and CD Baby.
“There was this day I was reflecting on everything that had happened and was just very grateful,” Edwards said of writing the song. “Looking back at the process, it seemed there was never a moment where this journey started for me personally. It seemed I’d always been on it from being baptized Catholic as a little girl.”
“Coming home. It’s been a long time coming, coming home. Where so much peace abounds, coming home.”
By John Stegeman