I don't go into a lot of my religious beliefs here. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. But either way, it's never really been a huge topic I discuss. But in honor of Ash Wednesday, I am taking a step away from my usual and delving into the topic of my faith.
I consider myself a religious person. I went to Catholic school K-12th grade. I grew up going to Mass every Sunday. In high school, if I wasn't spending every waking minute at the gym playing volleyball, you could find me at the Church. I was very active in our Youth Group. I was a reader at our youth Mass every Sunday I was in town (I traveled a lot with volleyball). I facilitated many retreats for the Diocese and attended even more.
But then something changed. Actually someone changed it.
The pastor at our church, while I was still in high school, fired our youth group director and pretty much alienated all of the parish's youth (and we had the largest, most active youth group in the Diocese). I was devastated. It took years for me to even return to church after all of this. As I grew older, I became more involved in my social life, my school, my sorority, to be concerned with my relationship with God. Even though the Hubs is Catholic, he never had the same love and desire to have a strong relationship with God. But he put up with going to Mass because it was important to me to get married in my church. Working in a hospital setting, working the weekends is an expectation. It made it easy not to attend Mass. The Hubs never complained about this either. And it went downhill from there. We're just now getting back into the routine of going to Mass. Emmy isn't even baptized (it pains my heart to type that).
But I've always known something was missing in my life. That there was this void that I could never figure out how to fill. Aspects of my life are on the verge of spiraling out of control. There are times I don't feel like I'm the person/mother/wife that I should be or need to be. There were times where I felt I wasn't in control of my own life. It wasn't until recently that I realized what was missing.....my relationship with God. I had pushed aside the one thing that helped me stay grounded. The one thing that, no matter what was going on in my life, made me feel in control.
And I only realized this today.
When we go to Sunday Mass, I'm always distracted by the kids. Em doesn't like staying quiet for the entire length of Mass or she wants to go outside and walk. There are times when both she and Noah are utterly impossible to deal with during Mass. While this is no excuse, I have been allowing it to distract me from truly hearing the Word. I have been too distracted to open up my heart for the Lord to enter it. It wasn't until this morning that I realized this, as I attended Mass for Ash Wednesday, alone.
I was able to really take in the Mass, take in the Word. I was able to open myself up to the joy that I had felt years ago. I was able to allow God to speak to my heart.
So instead of giving up something for Lent (I actually can't think of anything since I usually give up soda...and fail miserably...and I've stopped drinking soda for over a month now), I've decided that I'm going to use these 40 days to really look into myself and get into a better place when it comes to my faith. I'm ready to start filling the void that has been present in my life for so long now. I'm ready to open up my heart to the Lord.
Pray for me (and the Hubs) as I try to use the Lenten season to prepare my heart and my life for the Lord and His plan for me.