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.