Thursday, June 6, 2013

Four Years Later

A few years ago, I started this blog to help me through my discernment process. I was trying to find Our Lord's will for my vocation, whether it be to the religious life or to married life. Four years later (when did that happen?), God has given me His answer and I am an incredibly blessed married woman. I wish I'd kept a great record--say, updating the blog--of the miraculous journey I've been taken on up to this point. But I didn't. Sorry. So today, I begin anew.

Just for some background: My husband and I got married in August after a long long-distance friendship and a short time dating. We're still happy newlyweds and planning to ride that wave for the rest of our lives (that's totally how it works, right?) By day, I run a Catholic bookstore, by night, I'm mediocre-housewife extraordinaire. I like to dance, to read and be read to, to watch more tv than I should, and to come up with fun exciting projects to do that may or may not ever actually happen (in other words, my life is like a pinterest account.)

I wish I had adorable children to post pictures of and tell all kinds of wild stories about, but we haven't been blessed with the beginnings of our family yet. In fact, it's this particular struggle that has inspired me to start writing again.

Almost immediately after we began actively trying trying, I was diagnosed with endometriosis and ulcerative colitis. Which, to be honest, sucks. Thankfully, however, we have an amazing pro-life doctor who did a very successful surgery to remove a large amount of the endo. With luck, it will take a several more years to build back up to the extreme levels it was before and with more luck, a pregnancy might make it disappear altogether. (No one knows why this sometimes happens, as I understand it, but it's definitely the possibility we're praying for.) We were thrilled that not only did we want (so badly) to welcome our first child, but now the official "prescription" from the good doc was "get pregnant asap!" Works for us.

With the second diagnosis, however, the "get pregnant" gameplan is postponed due to the potential unhealthy effects that the medicines to get it under control could have on a baby. There's no real indication of what timetable we might be looking at: weeks, months, and I dare not speculate further. It's not a fun or comfortable disease to have, but being forced to postpone our vocation as parents is definitely the hardest part.

I hope you won't misunderstand me. My husband and I are unbelievably blessed to have each other, to have wonderful loving families, and to have our faith. We're doing our best to think positive, look on the bright side, count our blessings (I'm fully aware that I should be soaking in every uninterrupted night's sleep with great joy while I can,) and stay hopeful. We want to suffer well, earn graces, and be good examples. But, we're human.

In truth, we're in this fuzzy gray area and what I need is a place to get it all out, to share, and most of all to connect. I know there are so many other couples going through much worse battles with infertility than we are; in fact, I often feel guilty crying over our pain when it isn't knee-high to a snail's eye compared to some of our friends and, I'm sure, some of you. If you're one of those going through something so much worse, I ask you to forgive me for my whining.

But I hope you'll reach out and that you'll let me reach out to you, if I can. I don't plan to spend every post sobbing over the cross that's been given us, but hopefully in learning about it, working through it, and maybe making some new friends.

Friends? :)

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I just had the most wonderful revelation, and I'm certain that it came directly from the Holy Spirit. There's no way that I could have figured this one out, and not at this moment. I was sending text messages catching up with a friend and prayer partner who lives in NM who's going through a really rough time with a relationship that he's in. We haven't talked in a little while, but he's a fantastic guy and deserves great things.

I've never had a very deep understanding of the idea that our sufferings are something that we should be thankful for. But I found myself pushing buttons and sending my friend a very long message that did not come from myself about something that until that moment I did not understand. I finally do. I do! I don't know why I didn't see the brilliance and glory of our sufferings before. They're not things to be torn to regret or become hateful over. They are things to rejoice in. It's through our deepest sufferings, in our moments of our worst and most piercing pain that God changes us. Those are the moments when He calls us closer to Himself, draws us in, and reshapes our hearts little by little into who He wants us to be. Because our sufferings are part of God's Divine plan and will, we can know that they must be necessary.

If we believe, through the Natural Law (if you don't know much about this, I suggest reading up on Dr. Charles Rice at Notre Dame-- he's fantastic) that God is a completely logical, rational, and benevolent entity and we also believe that He is omniscient and omnipotent, then we can know in our hearts and minds that any sufferings that He may lead us to endure are out of love. They are to make us grow.

Just think, if things were always simple, easy, and happy wouldn't we forget to appreciate all that He has done for us? And after becoming ungrateful for His love, wouldn't we stop seeking it? Our Father knows what's best for us. He wants us to be happy. And in His omniscience, He knows that the greater happiness lies in a deep, searing, intertwined relationship with Him, not in the worldly happinesses that encompass our entire minds on earth. Although it comes at the price of necessary pain in this world and these lives, God wants to pay our fare through the road to Heaven and His Love. It is through Jesus' earthly suffering that the whole world was purchased. God has opened up the door, but we have to choose to walk over the threshold.

Sufferings are blessings, joys passed down from Heaven that we need only learn to rejoice in and appreciate. If we look at our sufferings as knots in a rope that help us as we draw ourselves nearer and nearer to God, we see the truth. Our sufferings will still hurt just as much, but we can bear them with Grace by acknowledging God's Will in our lives and by offering our hearts up to Him during these, our moments of darkest and deepest despair.

Let us meet our pain head-on, knowing that we will come out the other side more perfect creatures who are coming ever-closer to who God wants for us to become.

I've heard this same thing before out of other's mouths or written words, but I've never understood it in my heart before. I've never embraced it. This, this my friends, is my Lenten miracle. I can now see nothing more beautiful than to suffer for the sake of God. I want to draw so close to Him so as to become one with Him-- and if suffering is the way to do this, I will suffer happily and a thousand times over. I don't mean to say that I will never suffer again or be unhappy again or feel misery or pain again, only that when I do, I will try to be grateful for it. I will remember in my heart that my sufferings were only designed to bring me closer to our Lord. I will see each heartache as a knot in the rope that I am climbing to get to my Beloved Lord. I will thank God not only in my suffering, but for my suffering.

Afterthought: If my lot in life should be to bear the pain of others, I think that I would be in a very difficult connundrum. On the one hand I want to take away the pain of others that they may not have to feel it so strongly or burningly, but on the other, how can I deny them of their opportunity to draw closer??? As I told my friend, I think that I've given up on trying too hard to understand the Will of God and need only to know It. I will trust that He has His own reasons that I simply cannot understand until He gives me the knowledge.

Ok, another afterthought: After I published this I went to try to find an image to put with it. As I went to an already open google image search, the image to the right is what I found. I did not search for it, it came to me. I just realized that this was a miracle and blessing from St. Therese herself. She has always been one of my closest and my darling patron saints, but recently I have become more devoted to her and have been praying for guidance and to know God's will in my life (particularly with my discernment.) And this... this the first of her roses to fall on me. Without knowing it or having studied it yet, I had a revelation of suffering as seen by St. Therese herself that had previously been beyond my grasp but through her intercession to God's grace... I got it! There's really no other way to describe this other than... cool. :o)

Friday, March 13, 2009


Ok, it's time to be honest. I'm having a really rough time today. And a little bit yesterday too. I feel like I'm being overwhelmed by the desire to fall in love, get married, and be a mother. It's not that these are neccessarily bad feelings, but it's not what I'm supposed to be doing right now. The point of discerning is that I'm committing some time in my life to God and to figuring out what He wants from me... and not necessarily what I want. I think those things will coincide once I know what He wants, because ultimately the only thing that I do want more than to be a wife and mother honoring God is to be doing His will. And I know that if His will is for me to give myself to religious life in order to accomplish His purpose for me, I will be happy. I know that either way I'll be happy because He'll provide for that, but tonight I feel weak. I've barely begun this journey, and I feel weak. I'm scared and I don't want to give in or to stop my discernment. Right now it's probably easier because I know that I'm SO early in the process that I shouldn't be making any decisions yet.

But what happens when I've been discerning for a couple of weeks or months (who knows at what point I'll be weak enough) and I see a couple preparing for marriage or caring for children and I lose my footing? I won't have the "I haven't been in this long enough" ledge to stand on. I don't know what I'm expecting, but I'm afraid that I'll give up my discernment too easily. What my body was made for and what I've been trained to assume will be the most proper way for my life to unfold may or may not necessarily be what God wants from me.

How can I remind myself of my committment in moments of weakness?

How can I make myself long for the religious life in the same way that I long to be happily married? I want to give this a fair chance; I want to wipe my slate clean for God to be able to write His own message in my heart. I just feel like I'm getting distracted at every turn and it's hardly been a week! I'm not expecting discernment to be easy, by any means, but I'm scared of not being up to the task. I'm scared that I will fail God. Writing this out is helping me, even if no one reads it, but if you do: please let me know if you have any advice for me to keep me strong!

I just found this image on the internet because I was initially thinking that the picture above wasn't quite right. I feel like I was meant to find this. :o) It certainly makes me feel more... secure. At least in some small way. It says, "God never makes us conscious of our weakness except to give us of His strength."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I had the most wonderful time today. After, of course, a severely and exhaustingly dramatic episode in dealing with my past, I sought solace in adoration. Actually, I was pretty surprised that I was able to do it as I don't have a church nearby with perpetual Adoration. In the end I was granted access to the tabernacle for my university's Catholic Student Association. Which was so much more wonderful that I expected. Hopefully it will be the first of many such trips late at night when no one else is around. I absolutely adore having the opportunity to sit face-to-face with God himself and just release everything.

That was one of the revelations that I had tonight. That I can be totally and completely honest with God. Granted, I already knew like most good little Catholic kids that God knows everything that you do and He knows your true heart better than you do. But tonight it occured to me that I could, through the magnificence of His true Presence, be honest with myself. How often do we lie to ourselves in prayer, hoping that if we can convince ourselves that we are holy or righteous, or pious enough that we can somehow convince God? I'm scared that maybe I've done that a lot throughout my life.

But tonight I was able to give myself to God in a way that I never have before. I felt desperate. I felt unworthy, but wrenched with a violent and desperate longing to be God's. I don't care how-- I want to be His in whatever way He wants me most. But I realized that I would be most happy if I could be somehow completely emptied of myself and turned into an empty vessel for God. As St. Francis' prayer reads "I long to be an instrument of Your peace..." I wished and prayed that I could have God's heart instead of my own. My heart simply isn't strong enough. It isn't good enough, or big enough, or brave enough to love Him the way that He deserves to be loved. How horrible it is that we cannot give God even the tiniest fraction of the love He has for us in return? I wish that could burst from the seams to return to God the love that He has given me. I hate that I'm so limited. Why would He create us in such a way, knowing that we would never, ever be able to return His perfect love??? I think that there's some kind of rational answer... the the extent that mysteries count as rational, anyway. Let me know if you have any ideas.

Question: Has anyone else ever been overcome by a violent fit of the giggles in Adoration? Sometimes I wonder if this is inappropriate, even though it is a joyful noise, because my veil sometimes falls off during the fit. Not that it's wrong because it falls off but rather that perhaps the falling is a sign of something deeper? I have a very difficult time controlling my emotions in front of the Blessed Sacrament. I'm sure that I'm not the only one though. Help?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Searching for Help

Alright, so I just filled out a "Ask a Question" form on a website about vocations. Basically, I wanted to know what I should do about taking my first steps into discernment. I don't know that I'm discerning one vocation over another specifically, but I do know that it's time to step back and allow God some time to work in my life and to lead it where he wants it to be. The purpose behind this blog is to give me someplace where I can put down my thoughts and document my experiences throughout my period of discernment. I like that I can be somewhat anonymous here and can put down my honest feelings without being concerned about the judgments from people that I know. Also, I hope that somehow this may help someone else who is going through the same thing. In other words, PLEASE let me know if you are because I want your help too! Let's not do this alone. :)

Below is the "letter" that I sent into the website. The questions there are answered by a Father Anthony Bannon, LC. Here you go:

"Where do I start? I have for years felt a small twinge in my heart towards a consecrated life and have just recently allowed myself to acknowledge it. I have always felt a strong and almost desperate call towards motherhood and married life, however. I know that both are equally important and useful vocations in spreading God's love on earth, and I know that I want to give myself entirely to God in whatever way He wants me to.

In the past few months I have come out of a broken engagement that was not where or how God wanted me to be at the time. During the last year of this relationship I felt a strong call to discern-- not necessarily in one direction or another, but simply to take the time away from where I was and try to quietly search out God`s will for me. I don`t want to go any further in either direction until I know better what is God`s will rather than my own. I know that the timing is somewhat awkward coming out of this engagement, but I do not feel that considering life as a religious is an act of fear. I do believe that God has told my heart that He has plans for it and that He has created someone that is waiting for me when He decides that I am ready. I feel as though God is holding both doors open for me and He would provide for my happiness in either direction, but I want to do what would make Him happiest. I want to serve Him in the way that is best suited for how He has made me. I just don`t know what that is.

I am praying and trying to allow myself time to adjust into this phase of discernment (as the time has clearly come for me to do,) but I am having some trouble with direction and knowing what I should do. I have had some trouble with quieting myself and forcing myself into stillness lately and this worries me. Also, I would like to find someone to help me that will not be biased toward one vocation or another. I am afraid of misinterpreting God`s will. I know this is a lot and is fairly disjointed, but is there anything you can offer me in the way of advice? Thank you for your time-- simply writing this out has helped me in some small way. Thank you again!"


Monday, January 12, 2009

"Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle." --Sir Matthew James Barrie
"Our language has wisely sensed the two sides of being alone. It has created the word loneliness to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word solitude to express the glory of being alone" --Paul Tillich

Hm. Is there a word for experiencing both sides of this at the same time? To experience both the joy and the misery of being alone simultaneously?