I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
One of my favorite prayers to say is "Please God, help me hear your voice today." There is so much noise in our environment that sometimes we forget to really listen. There is so much to hear in our world that it is hard to turn all the "stuff" off so we can hear Him. I want to be guided by Him because I know what if feels like to try to steer this ship on my own.
In high school, I was lost. I didn't know it, but I was horribly lost. I made a lot of bad choices that looking back now, I'm thankful I never got myself into serious trouble. I wanted to fit in, be welcomed, be popular, but that meant partaking in activities against my moral compass. Drinking, smoking, drugs...what could be so bad if so many other people were doing it too? And anyway, if I do these things with others then we must be friends, right? Well, what I didn't understand then is that a friend is supposed to care about you, protect you, be supportive of you. A friend does not encourage or reward dangerous, or just downright stupid, choices. Something in me just never felt quite right. Something was missing but I didn't know what. I thought maybe going to college, getting into a new environment would help.
I had a great time in college and was able to shake most of those bad friends from high school. I found a new niche and things I was good at. I also met some new bad friends who were willing to use me, abuse me, and take advantage of me. When someone is looking so hard for love and acceptance from others, they will take it anywhere they can get it, even if they know it's the wrong place. I had times where I thought I was happy. There was always an emptiness though. An emptiness I can't really explain, it's just something you feel when you don't allow God to be a part of your life. A feeling of being somehow, incomplete.
When I met my husband, from the first moment, I knew he was different. I felt something pulling me towards him and even though I had become a skeptic that there were any people in this world worth trusting, I trusted him. I trusted him with my heart, all of my sorrows and all of my joys. Instead of overanalyzing, I just allowed myself to be guided toward him and put my trust in him. He in return brought me back to my faith. I began going to church again and realized how much I enjoyed the mass, which I attributed to superficial things at that time, like the music. But that's ok, I was going and hearing the word of God. I was opening my heart to Him and the possibilities he had in store for me.
Then I was tested. I had 3 miscarriages in 12 months. I was devastated. How could a god who loves me do this to me? How could a generous god, take 3 beautiful, fragile babies from me? He knew how badly I wanted to be a mom. I had a great plan for myself. I was going to have three kids, continue teaching and work my way up to superintendent of schools. How could He not see how perfect my plan was? Why was He messing it all up. I was so hurt and angry. I felt abandoned so I abandoned Him. When I abandoned Him, I might as well have abandoned my marriage as well because we were just as disconnected.
I didn't like the church we were "attending" (parenthesis because I was rarely going). My husband agreed to look for a different church. We went to a couple and none felt right. Then, while driving around on a Saturday we stumbled upon a Catholic church tucked away in a rural area. So we agreed to go on Sunday. It was like a little flicker of light came on, just enough for me to start to see my way out of the black hole I had fallen into. Shortly after becoming members at our new found church, I discovered I was pregnant. I was nervous the entire time. I went to church regularly to pray for this little life growing inside of me. Somewhere in that nine months I heard a whispering and I decided that my place was at home rather than at work and even though my husband and I were making similar incomes, he agreed that me staying at home would be best for our child. I really felt like, how could I possibly leave my child for 8 hours a day when I had cried and longed for them? I appreciated that little life even more, knowing first hand how quickly it could be taken away. I knew I didn't want to miss one moment with my child.
When I was pregnant with my second I began to read about my faith. I went to church and cried because I knew I could not partake in communion until I had a confession but I had gotten to church too late and father was done with confessions for the day. I sat through the mass quietly and afterwards went up to father to ask if he would mind staying afterwards for confession. He responded with, "You know, I was invited to dinner but I declined because I had this feeling that there was something else I needed to do." Can you even believe that! Oh wow, God works his magic for us if we are just patient and open. I would say I confessed but I mostly just cried and when I left, I felt free. I felt so light, an experience I had never had after a confession before and now have after every confession.
I know this story has gotten long so if you are still reading, I'll try to finish up. You see, I wasn't open to where God wanted me to go, I was only focused on where I wanted to go. But He has bigger dreams for us than we could ever dream for ourselves and we will only get there with Him. He will reward us and He will test us. But above all He will guide us, He will show us the way. If you trust Him and love Him and are open to His grace, He will lead you. Please God, help me hear you today. Help me turn off the noise so I can listen to your voice. Thank you for where you have led me thus far and helping me through my darkest times.
Thanks for reading!
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