Sunday, July 27, 2014

First Fruits

So last time we spoke you seemed so sure of yourself with the Pro-Life ideal.  It sounds like you have a strong opinion about your faith and religion.

Yes, I do feel like I have a handle on the Theology. Especially when it comes to what the Catholic church teaches and why. I love the church so much, and find that there is so much wisdom in all of those "t" traditions and "T" Traditions. "t" being those things we do outside of the church of our own design to connect with God, and "T" being sacred traditions that Jesus taught the first apostles and have been passed down from them (ie Baptism). "T"s are those things that every Catholic church anywhere in the world is participating in. Those Sacraments are what I think kept the church alive after all this time. But if they are from Jesus, then that makes sense.

You say you have a handle on the theology, but if I remember correctly, you said are struggling because of all the new information you feel you are receiving from God. You said that you are overwhelmed and feeling anxiety. Can you elaborate?

I think since I left college, I've been studying the church and really trying to decide if I was "in". I did "the research" and have grown in my faith enough to know that there is a God and that if there is any Religion out there that has the most truths about who this God is, it's the Catholics. They seem to understand, in depth, human nature/behavior and how it all ties into God's plans.

I am so grateful for the doctrines, but where I am struggling is the implementation. I know academically, or theoretically what I should do, but I can't seem to find a model or a technique to get myself to that next level. It's so hard because I keep getting referred back to the lives of the Saints, and as much as I agree with asking for their help and them to model, I need someone Here and Now. Someone who I can go for a walk with or invite over for dinner so our families can be together. Someone who can teach me how to have wholesome Fun. Let's face it, I know how to have FUN, but would God approve? (lol) This is my issue. This is where the Catholic church struggles. I see some great things happening in other Christian churches and sometimes get jealous, but as alluring as they are, they don't preach the truth in its whole form.

I feel like God has told me things like: go to daily mass, read the liturgy of the hours, pray the rosary, go to confession, serve others in these 50 thousand ways, eat healthy, treat your body with respect, do natural family planning, garden, help at the church, be financially free, sleep, cook from scratch and my least favorite...Homeschool (yuck!). What?! When? How? Who even does all this Really? Show me a Mommy who does all these things, consistently! I can't fit any/all of that into my daily life. It's Too much! I can't even get my older daughter dressed and ready for the day. I already feel like a ping-pong ball bouncing between my two girls. And seriously, if I did all those things, when would I have a break? I already feel completely drained by the early afternoon. 4 or 5pm almost every night I'm breaking down in tears because I can't push myself to do more. And nothing feels done Ever. *deep breath*

Wow! That is a lot that God is asking of you. 

In my pursuit of Holiness, I feel like a Crazy Person. I know that God will guide. I know that I have to pray. But I'll wake up in the morning with all this fire to listen and obey, then at the end of my day realize that fire only lasted like 5 minutes because the Distractions and Life stuff happened. I have to take care of my girls. I have to clean up the house. I have to cook. Then there's the dog. Then a potty accident. Then I'm fighting the girls because they won't take a nap. Then dinner didn't turn out the way I expected. Then my husband comes home, and he looks like he had a rough day. Let's not even go into the fact that I am an introvert and have to be around people, clingy, touchy feely, attention-seeking people ALL DAY LONG. Those things Must be taken care of. When would I even have time to add all those Catholic "t" and "T" traditions too?

I'm sorry that I can't give you the answers to your questions. I truly wish I could do that for you. It sounds like you have given so much of yourself to your family and a lot of your time thinking about ways to include these traditions that you have shared with me so far. I can tell how much you care. You may have done this already, but have you asked God for a model or at least for some relief?

Yes, I have asked already. Especially now that he's been "dumping" all these new things on me. I pray for that reset. It's already tough to be a new mommy and now He's asking me to be a Real Catholic. I want so badly for this to be easier so I can Know that He is smiling down and not just totally frustrated and disappointed.

I am hearing that God's opinion matters in your life. Out of 7 days, how many of them is God smiling down on you?

Whole days? None. Especially more recently.

I didn't learn to have patience, or pray throughout the day, or go to daily mass, or even to apologize Really apologize when I make a mistake. These things are So Hard to make a routine when here I am in the midst of life. I find myself saying "why didn't anyone teach me how to..."or "if I were living on my own without kids or a husband, I'd have more time and energy to practice..." I'll make a vow to be gentle with my daughter throughout the day, and at the end of the day I'll think about all the times I failed miserably. And then laugh-cry at how many opportunities I actually had. I feel so behind the curve. I feel like I suck at life. Most of the time I get sad about it, but sometimes I just get so Angry. I hate that I've been taking it out on my family, the people that I'm trying to be Holy for!

Do you think that God knows you are trying your best? Do you believe that he could be smiling down in those moments you resolve to notice your actions?

It is comforting to know that He is watching as I am trying to change. I know that His love is unconditional, even if I don't really understand unconditional. My issue is that I feel like He's still saying, "prove it." "Go big." "Keep pushing." And I hate coming up short. I'm letting go of perfection because only God is perfect and he doesn't demand perfection of me. Perfect exists only in Heaven. We here on Earth can only experience the "first fruits", but cannot fully experience the Best until we are in Heaven where sin and evil do not exist. The fruit that ripens on the tree/plant First is good, but later in the harvest the fruit actually tastes better, for whatever reason. I'm upset with myself because I don't see any of the first fruits yet. I feel like I'm just waiting for evidence that what I am doing is going to produce results. Not only that, but I feel like other people already have their fruit in hand. In abundance. And they didn't have to wait as long either!

What does a Holy person even look like in modern America? I know that God has a special plan for each of us, but let's be real about this, there's got to be an "average Joe" model. This my issue with turning to the lives of Saints. Most of them were consecrated/part of religious order and not married with children. They lived with no media and without all the opportunities that we experience in our culture. I want to see someone who looks like me, but doing it right. I need a baseline. What works to tune everything out and tune into God? How do I keep God at the center?

More and more questions. Find an answer and 10 more questions pop up. And once again my head is spinning.

Why don't we stop here for now. Before you go home today, why don't you take a walk or sit on the bench outside next to our fountain or something else that may help you feel close to God. Imagine Him smiling down on you because as you said, He loves you unconditionally. You have done a lot of thinking and analyzing today, and I don't want to send you home with your head spinning. Find something that helps you feel ready to take on your responsibilities. Thank you for sharing all that you have.