Denominational divide

It stinks when you feel like you have nowhere really to run with your thoughts and concerns  when it comes to your beliefs.  I am a Catholic, in a new church where I know no one, who also listens to Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, Fr. Mike Schmitz and has now added a Lutheran pastor to my list.

I spent 16 years in Catholic school but felt little emotional pull until much later… but it has hit.   I have a sincere desire to know God.  My husband doesn’t really care too much though I am trying raise my children Catholic.  I am not always happy with that decision.  I feel like it can be an exclusive religion and rarely comes off as the “loving, accepting” environment for which my heart yearns. 

Despite my doubts that my Catholic heritage feeds me as I would like, I stay because a) I am afraid that there is something there I am still missing and b)my entire family is Catholic and c) I have a lot of guilt and also fear that I wouldn’t necessarily find what I want elsewhere either.

So I supplement, but feel disconnected from what is my own religion.  I also have a lot of fear of getting too involved even though my heart craves that kind of action.  

I wonder sometimes if I am entirely alone in this?

Faith in fire

Sitting in the dark, so grateful for the first fire ever in our new house that I did nothing to earn but was overtly blessed to get, I sit here struggling with faith.

I have so much.  I have a beautiful house, heaf, healthy children, employment: while I’m by no means a millionaire or even wealthy we do well.  

And I am grateful for and I love these things.  I try to share my good fortune. I pray.  I try not to take things for granted.  I know I do not deserve them:

 But it’s difficult.  There are those very close to me going through a seeming opposite slope.  Money is tight, fighting for the basics is an uphill battle and it is as if life is conspiring against them.

And I feel in my heart they are more deserving.  They work hard.  They believe hard.  They pray hard.

I want them to enjoy these blessings too but God has not yet seen fit to pull them out of the fire.  And so I question.  I reach out to God for direction and I get radio silence.  I want to know what God wants me to do next and I cannot hear Him no matter how I pursue.

Dear Jesus, I ask in your name that you guide my next steps.  Help me know what you wanted me; help me know what the next steps need to be.  I thank you for all that you have done, and all I believe you will do.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Flickering faith and shame

I lay here in my living room looking up at the moon through the giant windows of a house I should never have been able to have…

And I am ashamed.  I’ve had a rough week mentally.  The election floored me – I didn’t realize how awful I would feel if Trump was elected but more importantly how depressing I found it that such an elevated role of prestige and respect could go to man who has none for anyone.

I also got some other troubling news that simply landed me on my emotional knees.

All the good things I had been doing – walking, working out, following my diet, not drinking –

All has fallen by  the wayside this week while I crumpled.  I’m angry.  And maybe to some extent I am angry at God. 

Sorry God – I suspect you know if this is the case.  And yet you still grant me tiny miracles like this moon and these beautiful windows.

You see – I’m not ready for the rest or to be tested.  I’m barely onto stable ground.  And listening to podcasts all day and trying to do good things and pray is not comforting me so the shame I feel trying to fill this giant hole of fear with snacks makes it even worse.  I can’t concentrate.  I’m sad and I’m angry and I’m hurting and I’m scared and Lord while I trust in You as best I can there is still a lot of anxious me in there. 

Help me Jesus.  Pull me up.  Pull me forward so I may better walk in the right direction. 

The Bumpy road to Holy

I Believe in God.  I Believe in his Son, Jesus.  I believe He came to save me, and I feel like I’ve been working pretty diligently at trying to figure out what I am here for and how I can help others.

And yet, I am a Hot Mess.

Despite prayer, burying myself in Christian podcasts, trying to go to Church and dragging my family with me, I’ve yet to figure out what peace feels like.  By 8:01 a.m. after getting the kids off to school, and sometimes sooner, I’ve already wanted to strangle my children, have probably cussed (ok, definitely have cussed), and have questioned my purpose on earth at least 3 times – not to mention my worthiness to walk the planet or to be a mother.

I get back down on my knees and pray again (or just sit on the toilet and want to weep.)

I’m a tough case.  I started at an early age as a picker-of-locks and a fairly good thief.  I lied about everything, even when I didn’t want to lie.  I was a miserable kid, felt like I never measured up or fit in, and it set the tone for much of my early adult life.  My coping style was to try and fake being like everyone else, becoming a mimic to try and fit in.

It left me empty.  It left me angry. I was angry at God.  I blamed Him for making me different and so utterly unprepared to be happy or to succeed in this world.  Maybe I’m still blaming Him or resenting Him for my struggles even when I know better.

Dear God.  I want to love You.  I want You in my life.  I know my life has gotten immeasurably better since you came into it: that I am still sitting here today is a testament to that.  If I harbor hatred or resentment, I ask you to remove it.  Help me.

And if you can send some Angels over my house to help protect and keep the rotten out, and maybe help me remain sane for one more day, that would be very much appreciated.

 

 

 

Infections of sin

I went to the adoration chapel this evening while my children were in religious Ed – expecting I don’t know what but wanting to be physically in the face of God.  

I had a vision of sorts of my open – soul?  I don’t know – just envisioned a giant hole in my chest full of puss, and ooze and poison and darkness.  All the Nasty thoughts and wrong beliefs and hates and fears draining out.

All the sin and all the goop that keeps me from Jesus.

Whether it was a vision or a picture brought forth from my imagining I believe, Jesus, you brought your Holy Spirit in to cleanse the wound because I asked for it.   Underneath the debris and crust lies my God-shaped hole.

Please Lord, cleanse me, purify me, and make me whole with your love.  Repair my heart and change my mind in anyway necessary that will help me to serve you.

amen.

Stuck in the Middle

Dear God:

I’ve been struggling in the middle of….nothing.  You’ve blessed me tremendously: we have a beautiful new house, my children are happily ensconced in their new school, work is steady if not-very-exciting, and I am pursuing you daily.  I’m triple-dipping into my Catholic Faith and augmenting with Rick Warren and Joel Osteen, and doing everything I can to figure out what are calling me to do.

I believe You ARE calling me.  But I feel so alone.  I don’t have anyone on this journey with me but my podcasts and the occasional input of my overly-busy best friend, and I feel like I’m childishly waiting for the thunderbolt of inspiration to hit.  What do YOU want me to do?

To You be the Honor, to YOU be the Glory, and I know you have a path for me:

“I know what I am planning for you,” says the Lord.  “I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you.  I will give you hope and a good future.”  Jeremiah 29:11 NCV

Please Lord, I am 44.  Let me know soon, give me a sign, make it very evident.  I love you, and I want to spread your word to help others and to change the world.  Show me how.

Dear God: Here’s my wish list

Dear God:

Heard today to pray to you like it’s my Birthday, and to ask for what I really want with a boldness.  I will ask today with childlike faith, in the face of almost ridiculous odds.

So here it is:

1)Dear God: Help me to find a bigger, beautiful house in an excellent school district that will take care of my son’s needs. I feel he has so much to give the world and I want all the training and support he can possibly get.  I ask for a large kitchen in which I can cook healthy food for my family and feed all my relatives.  I ask for an extra bedroom so I always have a place for others to stay comfortably.  I ask for nature to help bring peace, a neighborhood full of children for my children to play with, fantastic neighbors, and I ask for an office and space of my own in which to work and pray and write.

2)I ask for my book.  I know my book is in me.  I ask that you would send your Spirit into me and help me find my words.  Let me write YOUR words.

3)I ask Lord Jesus, that my current house be sold readily to people who will love and cherish my gardens.  I ask that they will take care of my neighbor Rich.  I ask that they be driven to my house, and that it be the perfect place for someone quickly.

4)I thank you Lord, for healing my son’s legs and removing the sores.  I know this was You.  It was not supposed to happen quickly and they set our expectations for the worst.  You far surpass all expectations.  I am believing that right now you are healing my liver, and that I will live a life long and useful in which I will raise my children and bring joy into your world.

5)I ask Lord, for your continued blessings financially.  You have prospered me and given me so much.  I promise that what I have I will share.  I believe you see that in my heart.  I will use what you provide to spread your glory and kindness.

6)I ask Lord, and thank you for the continued healing of my spirit.  Change me.  Make me more useful to you every day and help me to share Your Love.

7)Finally Lord Jesus, I ask that you heal my sister: heal her home, take away her fear, save her home from the enemy and prosper her and her children.  She does so much.  She is Christ to me and to my family every day.  We know you have our Aunt Judy there with you: hopefully she will help guide you to make my sister’s reach and breadth further than her furthest imaginings.  Heal the heart of my mother-in-law, and help me to be better and more loving to her every day and not take on her pain as my own.

Thank you God.  Thank you God.

 

Jesus Take the Wheel… Before I hit a wall

There are days that feel…so big.  Giant-seeming problems without fixes, fears without a foe to focus upon, and massive feelings of helplessness and sadness even when you feel like you’re really trying to do everything right.

It’s 10 times worse when it’s about your kid.

I can stomach most things if it’s about me.  But my little son, all of 4 years old, has a nasty rash and bumps that won’t go away, can’t hear out of his ears right now, and I’m now hearing from his teacher that maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to hold him back a year before attempting kindergarten…while waiting to see if he’s going to need another ear tube surgery (which would be his 3rd in 4 years).

My emotions are all over.  My brain is all over – looking at what it would take to move to a different district, what might moving to the public school might change, what could fix his rash, what are we going to be able to do about his ears, why haven’t I changed pediatrician a before now…

Not necessarily creating a mountain of a molehill but a large vortex of pain and fear and anxiety and helplessness.

Dear Jesus, take the wheel.  I know not where to go or think, I don’t know what the next steps are, but I trust you do.  I will walk in peace and faith today knowing if I take that step, all the rest will follow.

Thank You God.   

Start looking up, not down.

It’s easy to get discouraged.  If I were brutally honest, I can go from okay to completely bummed out in a very short period of time if I am not vigilant in guarding my thoughts.

I literally need a hall monitor for my brain.

Here’s a trick I’ve learned: look up, not down.

Look up at the things you love, look up at the things you’ve been given, look up at every single positive and good thing that God has put in your path today: got up?  Great!  Remembered to brush your teeth?  Thank you God, that I have teeth to brush!  Showered? Thank you God, that I have adequate water in which to bathe – was the water hot?  Hallelujah!  Have a job to go (no matter what it is) where they pay you enough to afford food and shelter?  Lord, I am infinitely Blessed.

Feeling unloved or alone?  Look up…at the cross.  Don’t feel guilty, don’t feel sad.  Feel, instead, amazed that someone loved and valued you so much that He Gave Up His Life for yours.

(Yeah, okay.  I always get a little teary still.  I know I’m not worthy.  I know I didn’t deserve it.  And I’m still un-learning that God’s love has anything to do with what you’ve done or what you have.  That’s the human, broken down sinner mentality I’m learning to shake off in favor of the “yeah, I’m not perfect but God still loves me where I stand” one.)

We choose which way to look in every moment of the day – head and not the tail, heavens and not our feet.  Only one of those choices will keep us on the right path and help us to create everyday joy in our lives and appreciation for all that we are and have.  Yes, life is difficult at times.  We have challenges and crosses.  We can’t change anything but our own perspective and vision…but when we do, we have the power to transform our world.

Help me Lord, to always look up to keep life from pulling me down.

love2