Sunday, March 11, 2012

Death, Suffering, and Pain

I am surrounded, I am feeling the pain of my own suffering in addition to the suffering of so many others.  God has given me a gift to see and relate to the pain and suffering of others.  I feel the need to pray, think, and do when I see suffering.  I feel the need to love my brothers and sisters.

I only hear tidbits of information, but my heart hurts.  I want to console.  I want to bring a little light to the darkness of a heart surrounded by pain. 

God has entrust this gift to me.  I'm not always sure what to do with it, but I pray that I am doing what He wants every step of the way.  So, that some day we may be able to all be together in eternal joy, living the life He always intended for us. 

This life, and these pains are not what He intended, but the result of the temptation of evil in the Garden of Eden.  By bringing His son into this world, and having Him suffer greatly, He has purchased for us the eternal reward of salvation.  All we have to do it believe and follow His ways and we will soon be in eternal joy with all of our brothers and sisters. 

Thank you Lord for these gifts.  Please help me to use them in the best ways to help in your plan for salvation.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Fellowship of Family and Friends

I am so blessed with the most amazing group of friends and family.  I have so many wonderful people in my life.  I thank God everyday for everyone of these great people in my life.  My brothers and sister through Christ are the life-blood of my soul right now.  Helping to get me through a time full of joy and pain.  I can't wait for the day we will all be able to celebrate together in eternal joy, without all of the pain of this world.  There will come a day!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Trials of This Life

One of "my songs" for this time in my life, I have songs that help me get through tough times, is Blessings by Laura Story.  It helps me realize that God knows what we need to get us to go to Him.  It talks about how we need to recognize our blessings, even in our trials.  I've been questioing lately the hows and whys, as I a struggling through one of the most challenging times in my life.  I'm being called to "share" with others.  I don't have a lot of formal churh training, so scripture quoting, and such, is not my thing.  I feel like God is leading me by my experiences, past, present, and future. 

So, one big question for me lately is, why me?  Why do I see the suffering of others, and have great compassion and kindness in my heart for everyone?  What trials have I endured to be worthy of your voice in my life?  I haven't suffered directly through cancer, death of a spouse, death of a sibling, death of a child, or the death of a parent.  His response that I am feeling is, that you have suffered greatly, when you were only a child.  When one of my children suffers, I console them.  I enter into them and surround them to protect them.  When you were only a child you suffered greatly, so I am deeply rooted in you as an adult without you needing to directly experience the trial.

To give some perspective, and I won't go into great detail, but these are the things I remember going through as a child.  It all really started with the death of my Grandmother, Memere (pronouced Mem-a), I remember seeing my mother in a great deal of pain surrounded by her family and friends.  This was 1987, I was eight at the time of this death.  At age 11, in 1991, we had a major tradegy in my family.  My "funnest" uncle, my mother's baby brother, was brutally murdered.  I remember the phone call, I remember the reaction, I remember the pain.  It went on for years.  I have so many powerful memories of this time, I could probaby go on and on, but maybe that is for another post.

Next, it was the death of my Grandfather, Pepere (Pep-a) at age 12, which occured only a week after my sister's wedding.  He died from pancreatic cancer.  Again, so many memories.  Again more pain.  At age 13, I had a very close aunt abuptly leave my life.  The one who had comforted and cared for me deeply when my parents were attending to the needs surrounding my uncle's death and his murder's trail.  She just was gone, she didn't die, in fact she is still alive today (I just visited her for the first time since she left in September this year).  No death in this case, but more pain.

Next, my brother, I didn't understand at the time and don't claim now to know the whys and hows, but my brother struggled greatly as an adolescent.  I remember fighting, cuzzing, drugs, alochol, vandalizing, bringing a gun to school, juvienlle detention, group homes, police men coming to the house, and much more.  This was between the ages of 12-15.  Then, I remember when he turned 18 he left, went to Utah and came back months later with a pregnant girlfriend.  They lived with us in my parents house.  My first neice, my parent's first Granddaughter came out of this.  For me, she was an angel in the darkness.  Only months later, another tradegy, there was an accident involving my brother and my neice.  I remember, a hurt three month old baby, the hospital, DFS, jail, more DFS.  After three months of fighting, my parents got custody back of her at when she was six months old, she came back to our house.  In my mind, this time she was not my neice, but my little sister.

These are the trials I remember facing as a child.  After age 18, I faced many new ones, but they were in a much different capacity.  I feel like this should give some perspective on the sufferings I endured as a child and the reason why God had to comfort me so greatly.  I have no idea if this much chaos in a family is normal, but it was the norm for me.

I feel like these experiences and God's love and comfort have shaped me into the person I am today.  I am starting to believe more and more that I am a strong, confident, wise, and worthy child of God.  Who is growing through every trial to become more like Christ.  I want to thank God for all of the blessings in my life.  Even the ones that don't always seem to be blessings.  They are great gifts, in my mind, bad stuff that God can use for the greater good of humanity.  He is awesome!    

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Church History

I have been searching for a “church” to belong to my whole life.  I was taught the basic story of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit by my parents, specifically by my Dad’s teaching of the bible stories, words, and actions; and my Mom’s love and kindness. 

Growing up, my family did not belong to any “organized religion.”  As an adolescent, I went to a Baptist church, my sister went to a Methodist church, and my brother always was searching internally for belonging.  My mother was raised Catholic and my father was raised in a very Christian home, but did not belong to any specific church.  His family experienced very negative “church” life, so their family did a lot personal studying, praying, and searching.  His mother and six children (and all of their descendants) are some of the most religious, outspoken, and devote people, I have ever met ( all belonging to different parts of the Christain faith).

My mother and father faced many religious challenges as they sought to be together, my mother’s parents were very Catholic, very” by the book” Catholics.  Catholics didn’t marry non-Catholics.  Catholic girls didn’t get married until a certain age.  My parents loved each other, and wanted to get married.  They didn’t listen to anyone, and they got married, despite many strong suggestions or threats, they received.   They were 18 and 19 years old.

The story goes on with many parts and pieces, but fast forward 25+ years, and their youngest daughter is in a very similar situation, young and in love, wanting to get married.  Her love interest’s family is Catholic, and her family is not.  Now, the Catholic Church allows you to be married in the Church with certain rules.  We got married in the Church, despite many strong suggestions against it.  We were 18 and 20 years old.

Our story goes on, fast forward another 10 years, I am still not Catholic, I have so many questions (major one’s are listed above).  I was introduced to a wonderful priest, who helped me get the acceptance I’d been searching for in the Catholic church.  I joined because I believed in the Creed, and he gave me an explanation of the Church’s teaching about “implicit” faith for non-Christians.   This helped me and I officially a converted in 2010.

In an effort to branch out and grow in our faith, we wanted more.  We were asked to join a group of Christians from different backgrounds, and I thought this was a cool idea.  Getting together with other Christians and sharing our common love for God.  So, here we are, present day, I’ve been experiencing the most difficult time in my life and watching some of my dearest friends also experience hardship.  So, I’m digging deep into my greatest source of strength.  Many things are clicking together, I am trying to see how they are unified into one. 

I want to thank the Lord for the blessings of history, family, friends, and faith.  These are some of the greatest gifts I could ever imagine and I wonder all the time what makes me worthy to receive them.  I want to devote my life to serving the one who has given these great gifts to me.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Body of Christ

Some powerful stuff going on in my head, I have to get it out onto my blog as part of my way of processing information and praising my God.

I have always enjoyed it when I hear masses on the Body of Christ, I love thinking about it in terms that we are all the body, working together for the greater good to prevail through Christ.  Recently, I had one of the most beautiful experiences.  I want to first and foremost thank God for the experience, and the peace it has given me.  I am also continuing to pray for the purpose of the event, and will continue to pray until we see some resolution.

One thing that I am struggling with lately, is the division of the Christian church, what in my mind I think of as the "holy catholic church."  (and yes, I meant to not capitalize the "c" in catholic).  When I pray the Catholic creed at mass, and I say that, "I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church."  I mean the little "c" version as well.  This is something that I learned while joining the Catholic church in my RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) class.  The capitalization refers to the organization itself, if the word is not capitalized it simply means universal church,  which to me means the entire body of Christians working together through Christ.

Recently, I got to experience a greater version of the body of Christ.  I have always enjoyed exploring and attending other denominations of the Christian church.  A few weeks ago, I attended a prayer service for one of our dear friends at a Pentecostal church.  I know understand more fully what is meant by the "crying out to Jesus." I was there to pray and that is exactly what I did in many different forms.   First, I sat and quietly prayed my rosary (which in my mind is directly praying to God, Jesus, and Mary)  for the intentions that were being spoken.  It was amazing, nearly every time I completed a decade of my rosary and I was ready to introduce more intentions, someone would begin to speak their prayers for the family.  When they finished their petition, I began my decade of meditating on their needs and praising the Lord.  If no else was speaking when I completed my decade, I quietly did my own crying out to Jesus for the family.  If someone happen to be speaking during my decade, I simply mediated on what they were praying.  I noticed others around me doing the same in their own way.   After my rosaries, I prayed to the saints I know in my heart to also be praying to God for the family's needs.  Finally, I just quietly sat in contemplative prayer with the Lord.

After we left the service, we proceeded on home, to find that Henry had a terrible ear ache.  He had a rough night waking up, so I slept in his bed with him and helped him throughout the night.  This again, was a blessing in disguise.  I was able to process and think about the events of the evening, and pray even more during the night .  As I was thinking about the beauty of the prayer service, I had a realization about the body of Christ.  It is not just in the member of the individuals of the church you attend, but also in all of the denominations of the catholic (little "c" again).  Each division of the church seems to hone in on a different parts of the mission of Christ. It was beautiful to me to see all of us, praying together as a unit of the church, even though some of us came from different church backgrounds.

I am inspired to continue to learn more, and continue being in unity with my fellow Christians.  As we all work towards perfection in Christ through our human imperfections.

Once again, I would like to thank and praise my God for the many blessing He has given me.  It is truly beautiful when I step back and look at the bigger picture of life.