I have had so, so many requests for this post. Friends out there were curious about my faith, what deepened my faith and how it plays a role in my life. You guys know I don’t typically write about these types of topics here on the blog. I never want anyone to feel isolated, and I respect and love that we all have different views and backgrounds. With the overwhelming requests I received, I decided to write a post about all of these things. This is a vulnerable one and I just want to say thank you in advance for sharing my heart, and also for those who choose to comment.
Please keep in mind that this is my story; it doesn’t have to be your story, and if you don’t believe the same things, that’s okay! I have friends who hold different beliefs and truly feel that makes life more exciting and interesting. I’m also friends with people who think creme brûlée is a real dessert (it’s not), but even though we have different beliefs, we can still love each other. 😉
As many of you know, I was raised Catholic. We went to mass every Sunday, prayed the rosary, and the Catholic environment was a big part of my adolescent and young adult life. At the same time, I was not a big Catholic. I tended to daydream during the homily (I still do sometimes), and was really there for the music more than anything. But, I was there.
While I don’t agree with *everything* in the Catholic faith, I do agree with a lot of it. Above all, I love the rich traditions and the convenience of everything. Massa reminds me of a hot yoga class with a set flow; the structure is the same every day, and I know what to expect. Sometimes I give it 100%, sometimes it’s more like 60%, but I’m there.
While I went to mass for most of my life and absolutely believed in God, I never really felt very close to Jesus. He was a man who did miraculous things, but when people talked about a relationship with Jesus… I didn’t understand it. I was like yeah, I respect the guy who gave his life for us, but we don’t feel like BFFs, and that’s ok. So it was until a few years ago.
For some people who have a sudden pull to Jesus, it may be after a major life change or event. For me, that was when the world turned upside down. We all have our own struggles, and 99% of mine never see the pages of this blog, but I have been going through an extremely difficult time. I was here still trying to work and make an income for our family, the kids were home from school (Liv had SO MANY zoom classes and so much.damn.homework), I was trying to stop P from bouncing off the walls and injuring herself, and the Pilot traveled internationally with the airlines at an unpredictable time. Bella passed away, which broke my heart into a million pieces, and a relationship with someone very close changed in a devastating way.
It got to a point where it was a lot, and one night I was crying on the bathroom floor. I cried for Bella’s death, I cried for losing someone who was also so close to me, I cried for the children of the world, I cried for those who were sick and dying without their families, to and on, and had a giant, sobbing, pity party.
Afterwards, I felt the tiniest bit of relief… and I also knew in my heart that deepening my relationship with God and with Jesus was going to be the only thing to get me through it all.
I needed hope, and this is what it gave me.
On a whim, I ordered a daily devotional, I ordered a Bible, and I started making my way through the devotionals. I did a page to my daily meditation each day and found that it gave me a positive outlook and an extra bit of peace as I made it through the day.
I met a friend through another friend, and we started walking together and talking about the world for hours. She mentioned her weekly Bible study and asked me if I wanted to join one day. It turns out that the leader of the bible study was someone I teach with at the gym, and we have recently become closer friends. It’s like all these pieces fit together, and I believe that God put them in my path for a reason, because our Bible study changed my life.
The first time I went, I was very nervous because even though I had been Catholic all my life, I had never studied the Bible. I didn’t know who a majority of the people on the pages were, and felt like I didn’t know enough to participate. There are women in our group of all ages – I’m the youngest, and the oldest is 83 – and all at various points in their journey. Our meetings are more conversational than anything, they tend to get quite vulnerable, and we ask questions and challenge some of the things we’ve read. Every week I am surrounded by beautiful perspectives and so much kindness and wisdom.
One of the ladies talked about how this group is so different from some of her other close friend groups.
The reason she gave:
they have hope.
For now, my weekly practice of faith goes something like this:
– I complete whatever Bible study homework we have. Usually it is a few chapters and discussion questions. We currently do Don’t miss out, which was very interesting. (I literally thought the Holy Spirit was a ghost, not a person, my whole life, so there you go.)
– We meet weekly for an hour and a half to discuss what we have read
– We meet for extra activities like dinner, movies or coffee house patio chats
– I conclude with a passage Jesus Calls before bedtime
– Still Catholic and still going to mass every week. But now I understand and recognize some of the passages and Gospels they read. 😉
Although I feel that it has changed my life, I still have a long way to go. It is my goal to constantly be a better version of myself; more patient, loving, kind and positive. I know that it is a great blessing to have these women in my life, and I appreciate the things they teach me in addition to their friendship.
As for the kids and our family, it didn’t have a big effect on them. The girls go to a religious school, so until this past year they both knew more about the Bible than I did. I try to implement and share some of the things I learned. (“Hey Liv, you want to know something funny? I thought the Holy Spirit was a ghost until this afternoon and I learned he’s actually a person.” P asked more about it, and I told her that the Holy Spirit is always with us, and she never has to worry about being alone. “Even when you’re scared or nervous, or going through something really hard, he’s always with you. Isn’t that cool?” She said. told me a few days later that she was afraid of a quiz, but then remembered that the Holy Spirit was with her.)
So that’s it! I am somewhere in the middle of my journey and am excited to continue this as a part of my life.
Have your beliefs changed or evolved over time? I’d love to hear more if you feel like sharing.
Thanks for reading and being here.