Growing up, I don’t remember how I originally learned about God, or what my faith was or meant to me. Let me take you on a quick journey with my relationship with my faith. As a young Catholic girl, my family would frequently visit church on Sunday morning’s for choir practice, CCD and Church. This continued for years until I made my first communion. Then, my parents gave me the choice of whether or not I wanted to continue to go to church after that. Being a young child I thought my Sunday’s would be better spent doing something else so I stopped going. I suppose from a very young age I felt that God was all around and that I could talk to him whenever I needed to without going to church. I believed that there was no distance between us. Even though I was thought God was too busy with more important things and I shouldn’t bother him with my problems. Despite not going to church, I continued to pray and have what I thought was a relationship with God.
Once I reached high school, one of my best friends was taking confirmation classes. So, I asked if I could join her for the classes knowing that someday I may want to marry in a church. I got my confirmation and that was that for at least another decade. At this point in my life I had finished college and was just about ready to graduate from grad school. One New Year’s Eve I went out with one of my friends who was very religious. In the wee hours of the New Year, we got to talking about a book she had read called “A Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. She said something that always stuck with me. She said “God is your best friend and he wants to have that type of relationship with you” This perplexed me because even though I knew God was there, why would I bother him with my problems. But, what if I had been looking at this all wrong? What if I went into prayer and God already knew what I wanted to talk about, because God does, so what if I just laid it all on the line while talking to him. What if I started talking to God as if he was my best friend? How would that change who I was or what I was open to?
I was so moved by this book that I started giving it as gifts to other people in an effort to help them to discover their own relationship with God. Now, just so I am clear, not everything else in my life during this time was amazing. In fact, this enlightenment led to more questions as I struggled with death, health and purpose. I thought I had life all figured out and then, things went downhill. You know how people say we hurt the ones close to us when we get mad. Well, maybe we do this because we know they love us so even if we get mad and yell they will be there for us in the end. So, even if I got mad at God he would forgive me because he would see beyond the pain behind the anger. In 2012, a dear friend of mine committed suicide. In hindsight, the Universe was preparing me for this for a good two months before it happened. Then I started thinking I could have changed something for that person and made the outcome different. About the third day into my grief I was so mad that I couldn’t think straight I would walk someplace and not remember why or how I had gotten there. I was mad at the person who left me, but I wasn’t at a place where I was ready to talk to God about it yet because on some level he knew it was going to happen and knew all this pain it would cause the ones left to deal with it. Then in 2014 I got sick to point my body was just giving out on me. At this point I could hear and talk with Spirits and Angels. Yet, I felt like, spiritually, everyone had abandoned me and left me to struggle alone. I know that wasn’t the case and there was some lesson I was supposed to learn from it and change the course of my life. The process somehow made me more understanding of people who have experienced similar events. Then, just recently in December of 2015 I ended up back in the hospital with the same Autoimmune Disorder I had been struggling with for 17 years. I was hospitalized again in January and March of this year. It felt like an endless cycle that once again I had to face on my own spiritually. Anytime I tried to get insight on the situation for myself all I would get is that I needed all my energy to deal with the physical response my body was making me deal with.
I can’t tell you how many times I wondered why or what did I do to deserve this or go through it. Then, one day I was watching the “Belief” series on OWN Network and a young boy said it is part of our right of having faith to question it at times. “Faith is daring the soul to go beyond what the eye can see” We can’t see faith so instinctively there are going to be times when we question its validity because we don’t understand it. When we don’t get why someone dies, or someone we love gets sick or what the hell the journey is all about. Truth is, we may never know why but I can assure you of this, through everything God never stops being that best friend to us even if we don’t recognize him in that role. There is a reason and we don’t have to go through things alone. Your never know what someone else has been through unless you open up about it on some level. It’s all part of the growing process. I use to think that if I spoke about my challenges people would think less of me. Would putting my challenges out to the Universe by verbalizing them make them worse? But, as part of this growth process, I have realized the last five months, that having health issues, really challenging ones, doesn’t define who I am as a being. It is not the only thing that God knows me as or what I have to be to people.
The moral of the story is that you may have highs and lows in your faith just as in life. But, just because you have a strong faith or live a spiritual life doesn’t mean that you have to be in the high parts all the time. Even when you are in the lows know that someone else is there with you through family struggles, health issues, finances or just finding purpose in life someone is there with you. Sometimes it’s about extending that arm for them to know you are there too. We don’t have to keep our struggles to ourselves anymore. In fact when we do they only get worse. Within the struggle growth happens and after the growth our faith expands and our relationship with God gets more understood as its life progresses. It’s ok to feel certain ways and get mad. No matter how far we push, faith is like a gravitational pull that keeps us going even in the darkness. Just be you with God because he already knows anything you want to say. When we stop being fake with God we stop being fake with ourselves and that is really when healing happens and questions can be answered. We vary off course but that’s okay. It is all part of the course. So, don’t worry you are not alone! So if you are struggling with faith or any other issue reach out we can be stronger in it together than digging in the trenches alone.
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