“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” – Ephesians 2:8
Seems like a good week to get a little personal and talk about my faith a bit. Faith is such an interesting thing to speak about. Some people feel inspired while others feel insulted. Some people find joy in the conversation while it makes others feel uncomfortable. I am not sure how any of this will make you feel, but Holy Week feels as good as any to talk about my journey and where that leaves me today.
How does this all relate to This Little Country Road? I will get there.
I am a “Cradle Catholic” who can now say I really became Catholic in my 30’s. Sure I went to Mass, received all the Sacraments, have been raising my children Catholic and would with 100% certainty have said that I was a faith filled Catholic. What I have realized is that I took a lot of that for granted without truly understanding the importance and weight of what my faith meant. In fact, I really didn’t think about it all. My faith just was. And I was content.
Then suddenly things began to change.
It started when I mentioned my anxiety to someone and they very casually said “oh, yes, that is a spiritual battle a lot of us are faced with.” Um, “spiritual battle”? That seems intense. I had never really looked into the concept of a spiritual battle. I became slightly intrigued.
I brought up “spiritual battles” to a family friend who is very faithful, they replied with a simple response of “Do you do the Rosary?” Oh, you mean that gift I received from my parents at my First Communion? I mean, I know how to do it (I am sure I was graded on it) but I could not remember the last time I actually did.
These responses that seemed so simple to others began to make me question how much I really knew about my faith. I started reading and trying to understand for the first time in my life. The more I studied, the more I realized how little I knew.
This was at the age of 32. That is when I believe I became present in my journey instead of just sitting on the sidelines.
One of the hardest parts of growing in faith is understanding your faults. Believe me, I have a lot of them. I have not always valued the right things, treated people the right way, provided forgiveness when I felt it wasn’t deserved (I was awful at holding grudges), trusted in God when I should have, offered enough compassion, prayed enough…. the list goes on and on.
I wouldn’t say these are gone. I am just saying that perhaps they have improved..though in moments I fall back again because, well, I am human. But I am working on it.
I have spent the last few years trying to change, be a better Catholic and spend more time learning what I can about my faith. I speak more confidently and openly about it (for example, I would have NEVER written about it before). I pray more, show more gratitude and make Mass a priority. I am humbled by how much I still have yet to learn and understand. I feel blessed to have an incredible Priest, husband, parents and a number of other faith-filled people in my life to journey with me along the way. Interestingly enough, many of these people are not always those I would have expected, but individuals who have come into my life at just the right time to teach me something.
The greatest thing I have learned through all of this is that I need to trust God. I have spent my entire life trying to control everything. I would say I trusted in God but really, I wanted to have my hand on it all, knowing what was going to happen and so much of my anxiety stemmed from that. The three things I now know with absolute certainty are:
- I have no idea what is going to happen in my life
- That is okay
- God is going to lead me on the right path
That is it.
Curious as to how I was able to be comfortable with moving our family to a new area while my husband looks for a job with no idea what is going to happen next? There is your answer. I didn’t need to know anything. I just could feel that God was sending us there. That is all I needed to know.
This is why Holy Week has become so important to me. I finally understand the magnitude of what this week means to me, my family, my friends…all of us. Christmas was my favorite holiday growing up and even though I do still love it, Easter has taken on a completely different meaning to me and is a holiday that I treasure.
I don’t say any of this to push any of my thoughts, beliefs, faith, etc on any of you. I have learned that judging is none of my business. We are all living in this world just trying to figure out our place. This is my journey and everyone else will have a different one. No two are the same. We may share beliefs or not, but I do believe all of us are meant for something and whether it is through your faith or something else, we can all get there. We just have to believe we can.
A little too heavy for a post? Perhaps, but if you can’t throw it all out there a few days before Easter, when can you?
I would love to hear from all of you and your journeys through life, whether about faith, motherhood, marriage, etc. It is a crazy ride we are on and sharing I believe benefits us all. Leave a comment below if you at all feel compelled.
Wishing you and your family a loving Easter holiday.