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?

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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.

 

 

 

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.

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

 

 

Dancing for Sadness, Beauty for Ashes…please?

The love of God can turn our sadness to Dancing and our ashes to Beauty…I believe in fact that it will.  

But sometimes I feel like I have to sit with the sadness for a bit.  I don’t want to dwell here but I don’t want to be disingenuous either: sometime it sneaks up on me. 

Do you ever feel like that?

I’ve made the conscious decision to try living without the anti-anxiety and depression medication and really I can only do so because the dark places no longer have the hold on me that they did.  I can do it because I spend time focused on the positive and on getting healthier mind and spirit.

It’s a miracle in itself!  But sometimes, even in the face of gratitude and love and faith and even miracles, it seems, the sadness can creep in.  I’m not even sure altogether why.

Thank you God, that I can honor my emotions without letting them control me.  I look forward to the dancing.  Please take my care and concerns and those problems I cannot identify and change them into purposeful thoughts and actions.  I thank you for taking my loneliness and my fear, my failures and weakness and guilt and  wash it away so I can start again.  

I know I’m not the only one out there who sometimes needs help to see the colors past the black and white.  Help me to see like Renoir.  Amen.

  

Dropping my cross…and cussing.

I’ve been trying pretty hard this week to carry my cross like a good girl…and failing miserably.  Sometimes I get a few steps ahead but mostly I just keep tripping on it. 

My week has been crazy.  Dealing with medical issues, my son’s ear infection and hearing issues, going to the ER for something that was my own fault, being unable to use my own hand or work out, feeling behind at work …and finally today more medical news that while nothing serious is just super frustrating and brought me to tears.

None of what happened was earth-shattering, just a bunch of random disappointments and hurdles and the kinds of things that built up on one another, leaving me feeling sad and suffocated and stuck.

I kinda doubt Jesus dropped the F-bomb and cried like a baby when he met with bad news and obstacles…even if he wanted to do so.  It’s probably no huge  surprise that I am a far bigger whiny baby than the son of God. 

Some weeks just beat us down until we don’t want to get up. 

It is tempting to stay in that place.  It is tempting to wallow.  It is right there that we become most vulnerable to our own thoughts, and the light and faith feels a little dim in the shadow of the doubts that can creep in.  It’s a scary, isolating darkness that finds its way between the chinks between what we think and what we choose to try really hard to believe. 

It’s also tempting to try and push it off – distract ourselves from the thoughts, pretend we’re not feeling kind of awful or weak.  Personally I find on top of everything else that I feel shame for feeling so bad over things that I know to be small in the grand scheme.  

All of a sudden as I write this In my head I’m picturing Jesus sitting next to me on my stoop of sadness, cross propped up on the wall waiting with me.  He knows I’m weary; He’s patiently waiting there with me so I know I’m not alone. And He will be there beside me when I am ready to get back up.

Thank you God, for that vision that I swear wasn’t there a moment ago and didn’t exist until I started writing.  

  Thank you for allowing me to rest and be human and for your patience and love.

And thank you for my cross that is so tiny and the willingness to try again…

and in advance for forgiving me my weakness and my terrible potty mouth.  

Amen.