Category Archives: My Faith

Struggling Today

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Yep, that’s right. I’m having a rough day. I mean, everything is working out okay, but I am struggling to understand why some people step into leadership positions (for jobs or otherwise) when they have no intention of being kind, considerate, or helpful to others around them. The biggest thing I have ever learned from teaching is that the job is NEVER about me. I have to force myself to look out for my needs, my health, and my happiness. Luckily, I like the job, but unless I focus on doing things for myself, they don’t get done. Other people have equally (or more so) selfless jobs, but not everyone treats those jobs the way that they should.

Why am I struggling with this in particular? Because at the same time that I land a job in a religion-based private school, I am also having to switch churches. Don’t get me wrong, my faith is not changing or being swayed by anything going on, but I have never been so ashamed to be in a church before in my life. Moreover, the person who is supposed to be giving me religious guidance is doing nothing really but to make me wish people weren’t so gossipy and selfish.

As I sit here writing, I’m trying not to sound selfish (or feel selfish for that matter) about the decision I have made. I’m trying to remember how much it means to my grandmother for me to attend church with her (though she’s never said so out loud). I’m trying to remember how important family is to me and how I feel so amazing knowing that I am sitting in the same pews that my ancestors have sat in for over 80 years now. And yet I cannot bring myself to go back.

So this week, I’m determined to go to the same church that our wedding officiate will be attending. In fact, he’s the senior pastor there and is more than understanding of circumstances that change your life in ways you never see coming. He, thankfully, has recognized that I am trying to lead a faithful life and to be a more regular attendant at church. And more than anything, he believes in me and would sit down with me any day at any time to give me advice or help through any situation.

I haven’t had a super great pastor or reverend to look up to in a long time, and I’m not excited about switching churches (again), but I feel like this is a change my life needs right now. I just pray it turns out well and that I can find myself with less anxiety about simply attending my church on Sundays. Here’s to hoping!

Stations of the Cross and Update to my Faith

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I learned something new at work the other week. And, honestly, I quite like it. For those of you who are not Catholic, just try to follow along.

Each Friday, the kids travel to the church to participate in what they call Stations. It is actually the practice known in Catholicism as “Stations of the Cross.” Not being a Catholic myself, I did not understand that first day what stations were or why they were important. After my second day of participating (today), I have realized that this is a pretty unique process that truly means a lot.

Basically, there are 14 stations, or images, depicting the last few days of Jesus’ life and his resurrection. The priest, along with three students holding the cross and candles, walk around the church and stand under 14 different “stations”. These are statues on the wall that depict Jesus being nailed to the cross, Jesus carrying the cross, Simon helping Jesus, etc.

Along with this practice, there is a book. Each student has a copy of the book. As the priest names the station, the students kneel. They then say a short response, followed by a reading of the situation Jesus was in at that station. The priest follows with a prayer, followed by a congregational prayer. Then, a three-line hymn is sung while the processional moves on to the next station.

It sounds really boring, pretty long, and not very important if you don’t know the details. But what has been the biggest impact to me about this practice is the prayers that the students and congregation recite. At points they thank Jesus for dying for their sins. At other times, they are praying that they will never take for granted their ability to go outside on a sunny day when Jesus couldn’t even leave the cross. For each station, there is a prayer that the students hope will help them to lead better, purer lives. But these prayers are simple and truly connect to the children’s actual lives. I too find myself wishing for many of these prayers to be heard in regards to my own life.

Anyway, as I continue to work in the Catholic schools and attend church each Sunday in my own Lutheran church, I find that God is an important part of my life. I have found myself praying during my days at the public schools, and hoping that even my future plans will all work out okay. My faith truly is strengthening as it did a few years ago when I first started this blog. I hope it continues to do so.

In the meantime, if you are interested in more details about Stations of the Cross, try this website: http://www.catholic.org/prayers/station.php

~B

Church of Drama

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I haven’t written in a while about anything religious. For that, I apologize. I know some of my followers like the posts when I talk directly about my beliefs and my opinions. Unfortunately, the reason that I have not been writing about these topics is because they have fallen a little bit to the wayside in my life lately. No, I have not stopped believing in God or praying throughout my days. I have just taken more of a backseat in my church lately and have been very frustrated with the organization that we call church.

Here’s the thing: my church joined up with these other churches in town to form a group that is “run” by a board. I think of it sort of like a school district with a school board and superintendent. Anyway, I know that church attendance is going down all over the world, but joining up with these other churches has hurt my church in particular way more than just struggling for attendance on our own. For the past few years we have been sharing pastors with other churches in the area, have changed all of our hymnals to new books that some of our members cannot even read or follow, have amended the way that our services run, and have even changed the types of meals and items that we offer during our summer picnic.

Now I know that everything must change to adapt to the new parts of the world that arise over time. I’m not saying that I expected everything to stay the same forever. All I’m saying is that my church has become (at least in my eyes) more about politics than speaking of God or singing those songs that I grew up loving to sing with the choir. Now I go to church… pretty much never, and I try to participate as little as possible. After I volunteered one time to read the scriptures, the coordinator decided that I had elected to read scriptures for an entire month in a row at random intervals. I feel like the worst person in the world to admit this, but I was unable to attend church during some of those weekends. There were one or two when I would have been available, but even then I came up with something else to do simply because I was upset that I had not actually been asked to read. It’s nothing like thinking you are walking into a group of like-minded, kind, and understanding people only to find out that they don’t understand your schedule or priorities at all. I still stand by the fact that I fully believe attending church is not necessary to be able to believe in a God or higher power. I also don’t think that I need to attend church for God to forgive me when I make mistakes or that I need to attend so that he does not stop listening to my prayers.

In any case, I’m getting tired now and don’t have much else to say on the subject. Part of me feels like more people in the world need to believe in some source of good to make Earth a better place. The other part of me sees how much drama and politics are being brought into my church right now and I don’t understand at all why anyone would want to start going or go back to a religious service again. It’s going to take some convincing on my own part to get me back to a service. That, more than anything else right now, makes me sad.

Perfect Snow Days

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I know already that today will probably be the last snow day that I have this winter, so I’m trying to soak it up and enjoy it. So far I have successfully finished some school work, had some fun with a friend, watched three movies, taken a nap, eaten a decent lunch, and had an overall great day.

At one point my friend and I had sat down and gone through a list of questions to help people get to know each other better. Some of the questions were silly. Others didn’t even make any sense because it was ten am and they were asking things like “what is the best thing that happened to you today.” Needless to say the best I could come up with is that I got to sleep in.

Now, as I sit on the couch watching Mystic River with some people I care about, I feel nervous about nothing in particular. Maybe that Mom won’t come home and ask fifty questions, maybe that my friend isn’t feeling as uncomfortable as I feel like he is, or maybe that I have nothing to worry about but am just tired or stressed for some reason.

Regardless, I am finding myself relying heavily on my faith right now as I try to remain calm and sort out my tangled web of thoughts so that I can successfully settle myself enough to be able to enjoy the rest of my evening.

It’s funny; though many people disagree with my beliefs because I an either too religious or not religious enough, when I sit down and think about it, I think most people would understand my faiths if they just asked me to explain it.

Faith to me is this… believing in some thing, some person beyond myself who can control more than I can. It might seem silly to believe in something I cannot see, hear, feel, etc. but it doesn’t make any sense that someway, somehow, I can feel like crap one minute and feel better the next. There are moments when anxiety and nerves can get so huge and encompassing that it’s impossible to focus on anything else. And when that same large effect continues for any length of extended time, there just seems to be no hope that it will ever go away. So I have to have faith. Because if I’ve already given up on myself then who else is going to believe in me but some higher power?

Along similar lines, if I don’t have someone who believes in me in heaven or some other unseen place, then How can I ever expect to make a difference in this world. Most times I know I am smart and caring, but sometimes I have very little self-confidence and even less belief that I do things because I care about others rather than because I am selfish.

I might write again later but for now I just need to ask this: How can anyone know what is right or wrong for another person unless they are psychic? I’m ridiculously scared of hurting other people, particularly with my words and actions. So how do I know which things are okay to say and do if I don’t have my own psychic powers? I guess I’ll just have to pray about it and hope that somehow I get an answer before I hurt someone else in my life.

With Every Day there is Despair

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I never thought I would be writing a post like this, not the day after Christmas; maybe never at all. But things happen in life that God has planned for us that never really come up on our radar until the moment of impact. And that’s when it all changes…

Angels


I cannot stop thinking about one of my friends today, as they mourn the loss of their brother. I don’t know what this kind of loss feels like, this heart-wrenching, deep, awful pain that he must be feeling. I’ve lost people in my life, but never something like this.

On the night of Christmas, a young man passed away, and no one knew until they awoke the next morning to find him unresponsive in his bed. What a shame and a tragedy this must seem to those who found him lying there, to those who realized what it all meant. 

But even more the tragedy, this family does not deserve this pain. This life, this young man, he still had some living to do. God found it right at this time to take him back and use him for a greater purpose. And all we can hope is that things work out so that some day we see the importance of losing this loved one so young. 

I am going to sound like a bad person by saying this, but I’m truly glad that I did not know this lost soul. It’s hard enough for me to know his brother and to be so slapped in the face by the pure facts of it all. What it must be like for them to even begin to comprehend that their loved one is gone. With no explanation, no cause… all they are left with is the hole in their heart and the aftermath of it all. I pray that one day they will fill that hole with all of their memories of their son, their brother. I pray that things work out for them because that’s how God wants it to be. And no matter what, I am praying right now for them, that they may find the peace to understand why God needed a piece of their heart at this celebratory time of the year.

No one ever thinks that a death is going to occur in their family when it happens. A large majority of the deaths in this world are by accident or come as shocking news in some way. I pray, that whatever happened to this poor boy, his parents and family knew it was coming and were able to start preparing for this loss. And yet, as hard as I pray, I’m pretty sure this is not the case.


To all out there who have ever lost a loved one close to the holidays, on a holiday, or on any other day of any other year… I pray for you. I hope that you have found the peace and the love that you needed to understand why death is a necessary evil in this world. I pray that you are close enough to God that you understand why death is important and how your loved ones will go on living in your hearts and as angels in Heaven. If you do not believe in the same religion as me; well for you, I pray that whatever you believe or whatever you do not believe leads you to a life of happiness again. Because regardless of the circumstances, everyone deserves to be happy. 

~Me

Christmas Wrap

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So here’s the thing about Christmas. I get the point. I’m a Christian and this is possibly one of our biggest times of the year for celebration of Jesus. (It’s between Christmas and Easter, in case you were wondering.) For all of the years that I have been aware of what Christmas is, I have also enjoyed the thought of Santa Claus and all of the magic that gift giving and peace-wishing entails. 

Christmas

My family is not immune to the magic of the holiday, both the religious aspects and the commercial aspects of shopping, wrapping, and giving gifts to our loved ones. We have made it a tradition to view lights one night before Christmas Eve, eat a special meal that night, watch the Polar Express before bed, and make sure that our tree is embedded in a sea of gifts. Our house is all decorated, even down to the small tree that lights up beside my bed each night. So I get it, I really do.

But at the end of the day, Christmas is not what it used to be for me. Today was absolutely amazing in the morning. Last night was great as well. This is the first Christmas that I have my puppy, it’s the first Christmas that I have had as a full-time teacher. I am getting so many extra gifts and so much extra love that it’s crazy. I also feel grateful for the fact that I am able to donate some more of my money to good causes this year. I have made it my mission to do random acts of kindness throughout the year, but giving monetary donations to any cause is normally something I shy away from. (Not because I’m a grinch, but because I am very careful with what little money I do possess.)

So how has it changed in my eyes? Well this year I didn’t get to say Merry Christmas to my fiance; I don’t have a fiance to tell. There were no surprise gifts of vacations to South Carolina or wondrous things that I have always wished for. This year I was so wrapped up in others that I sort of forgot about myself. That’s how I wanted it to be; I didn’t want to think about my hurt or my wish to get over past memories and hurt. And so, I get it now. I get that this is how the holiday is supposed to be. Looking back, I believe I’ve been building up this idea and this perspective for years now. Slowly but surely this holiday has become less about me and more about others. This year was just the icing on the cake, the telescope staring me in the face. This year, I fully understand.

Yes, Christmas is not what it used to be. There were no card games with my cousins, showing off gifts to my aunts and uncles. I didn’t have a moment of pure ecstasy when I opened up a brand new computer or unveiled a new outfit that I had been eyeing for weeks. But maybe it’s better this way. 

This morning when my family woke up, I had the joy of watching my baby pup unwrap his gifts. He was so excited to do it all on his own. By the time his last gift was being unwrapped, he had even come to understand that his mission was to find the toy INSIDE of the paper, rather than to eat all of the paper itself. He was so happy that after his gifts were done, he tried to help everyone else. Then, immediately after breakfast, he crashed in his new bed, surrounded by his new toys. As if nothing in the world could make his life any better in that one moment of pure joy.

My sister and I did so good on shopping ideas for our mom this year that she cried. Twice. She said it was from the same pure joy that Jasper had apparently been experiencing. 

My sister, so excited to get her new outfit and gear for her vehicle, immediately gave us a fashion show, placed her new accessories in the truck, and started to fill out job applications. On Christmas. Because she is just that determined to put her new suit to good use!

Dad got a lot, but I guess some things never change. He had everything guessed correctly before he even touched the boxes that we had “hidden” his gifts in. Smart man, that one. Too bad he hides that pure joy that everyone else had shown.

As I sat there on the living room floor thinking about my family and seeing their smiling faces, I didn’t want one thing to change. The only thing I could do in addition to what was already being done was to pray for my kids, to pray for their families, and to pray for my friends. Those from my past and those from my present, that they may have experienced such perfect bliss as that moment in my life.

As I lay here now, wondering if I missed this amazing miracle every other year of my life, I am content in knowing that there will always be another Christmas. Whether I am still here with my family or somewhere else in the world, I will be looking out for that miracle. It’s the greatest gift that I could have received this year; to know that my family is okay and that one thing, at least that one tiny thing, never changes.

Of course going to my Grandma’s house was not nearly as stellar as that miraculous realization. But I was armed and ready with weapons. I think it’s so weird that I have this huge family (actually, 21 people) and I never really talk to any of them. Except for Mom, Dad, my sister, and Grandma. But the thing is, each of them is so wrapped up in talking to those family members that we only see twice a year (Christmas and Easter, who would have thought!) that I might as well be invisible. Which again, is okay now that I realize the true TRUE meaning of the holiday. 

Yet it’s so awkward for me. Have you ever taught a class before or given a presentation? You know how everyone’s eyes are always on you. Maybe they are waiting for you to perform amazing work or maybe they are waiting for you to mess up; the reason for their attention is not important. What is important is you, at least in that one moment. This is how I feel when I teach my kids. And no, I do not do it for the “fame” or the attention, but it does feel good to not be the child in the back of the room who is too shy to speak out anymore. It feels amazing to be part of the conversation and part of the world that all of these other people are experiencing. 

So try showing up to your family get together on Christmas and realizing that you’re back to being the wall flower. In one room are the boys (or men rather) who fall asleep immediately after the meal and are only there because their wives or mother made them come along. In the other room are the cousins, none of which are within 3 or 4 years of my age. Which is cool, except my older cousin had a baby a few years back and now all they do is sit around and “slobber” over him. Cute, but the kid is going to be starstruck before he’s 4! Finally, the kitchen is full of those people who are worried about Grandma. This year was her 61st Christmas dinner (add that up once), and she always over exhausts herself trying to cook for us. (For example, our intake of mashed potatoes tops 15 pounds, and the 21+ pound turkey is too heavy for her to even lift on her own.) So everyone tries to baby Grandma in the kitchen. 

I’ve tried to find this place where I belong in the jumble. Logic says that I would belong in the room with my cousins, the “young generation”. But I don’t fit in there; two of my cousins are in their thirties and are either 1) sleeping with the men or 2) chasing their son around the house. The younger ones are always giving googly eyes to the baby and seem fairly fake besides. Just the fact that they don’t even acknowledge me when they walk in the door tells you how great of a relationship I have with any single one of them. It’s fairly sad really. But the cousin room, for whatever reason, is out.

Then there’s the adult room. They all just sit there staring at each other and discussing people that I have no idea even existed. Or the topic revolves around what car part is necessary to fix so-and-so’s truck and what was the best part of the Christmas meal. So okay, I can hang out there for a bit, but after a while, a conversation where you give absolutely zero input (because if you did, you would point out to everyone that you are such an outsider) gets boring.

On to the next room, where everyone is asleep. And, with no explanation needed, it’s on to the kitchen. 

I tried to clean up dishes this year and set up desserts, but they told me that there were already too many people in the kitchen at the time. That’s fine I guess, since it was actually true. Grandma’s house is not built for a seven-person chef team. Yet that’s how many were there, trying to be equally as helpful as I was. So, being the youngest and least stubborn of the bunch, I got booted out.

Last year during this time, I ended up in my Grandma’s office, texting my fiance on the phone. He was at his parent’s house celebrating, and I was with my family. It was great. This year, I don’t have that luxury…

So things have been great today, and yet things have been awkward. I get where I belong but I also still feel like I’m lost in a sea of confusion around my extended family.

The only thing I know for sure is that my pup was dreaming at the bottom of my bed and he just woke up with a whimper. (Ironically, this occurred at the exact moment that I said I felt lost….) He immediately stood up and come to the head of the bed, where he is now laying with his shoulder on mine. Looks like it will be difficult for me to type more now, and it also looks like I’m getting some sort of sign that everything will be okay. 

So to end this post, Merry Christmas and I hope you all experienced at least some of the joy that I have experienced today. But whatever you do, don’t forget that your life is never totally stuck in a rut and that you never have everything figured out. Good luck learning more and more thought!

~Me

Come Hell or High Water

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The past few weeks have been rough. The past few days may have been better. But now, as I sit here in my room contemplating my life and having just a few more minutes in the night to relax, I wonder if things are really better or if people just know how to mask their hurt and confusion.

I wrote that Dear John letter and successfully have made no attempts to contact my ex. It makes me proud to know that I am so strong. Yet tonight, for whatever reason, I sit here wishing things were different. Honestly, it may not even be him I want; it’s more that I just need a friend to talk to, one who I can trust with anything. Lately, I’ve been too scared of opening up to anyone about my feelings.

Life has been busy lately. It’s been absolutely insane. I’ve worked over 13 hours in a single day recently, and woke back up the next day just to do it all again. Sometimes I wish I had never returned to school; knowledge is something I thrive off of, but sometimes the stress and time consuming process seems less worth it than I had originally thought it would be. Studying for my Praxis exam may or may not be the death of me….

I guess it’s really not that bad, my life. I have plenty of things to continue to focus on. Tomorrow I am attending Church for the first time in the past few months. It will be good to do some singing in public and get a (hopefully) meaningful message to help me through the coming days. I feel bad for not going to the service each week, but I just cannot risk my mental, emotional, and physical health by waking up extra early on my only day off from work every single week. I, thankfully, know that God understands.

I’ll be reading the Scriptures tomorrow. I emailed my Pastor and asked him for help in setting me up with the readings. I know my grandma will enjoy it, and I plan to surprise her completely by doing the whole thing! Yet, even though I’m a teacher, I’m nervous about the entire thing. I even pulled out my Bible to practice reading the Scriptures to make sure that I am less likely to stumble over any words tomorrow. Not that anyone would care if I messed up a little… no one but me anyway. 

I’ve been keeping my Bible on my library shelf since I do not have any room right now on the nightstand beside my bed. This is actually the first time that I’ve pulled it out in a while. I took a few extra minutes before I turned the lights out to read a few extra verses and see what I could find. I’m going to try to be more in tune with my Spirituality. It’s so important for so many reasons.

I need to write another post about my kids at school. We had a very interesting conversation on Friday about the “Winter Break” and the use of the term Christmas versus Winter. I also did an amazing lesson on Privilege and helping others, that I know some of the other teachers in the world would be amazed by watching. I’m tired for the night though, so stay tuned!

~Me

God Has a Plan

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In lieu of doing a Reader’s Choice post today, I’ve decided to do something a little more like my Sunday posts. Unfortunately, no one has been sending me ideas for Reader’s Choice topics, so I’m out of ideas on that account. 😦 While it’s sad, that was probably meant to be for today. I have something much more pressing that needs to be written. 

My doggy passed almost a year ago now. I grew up with him, since he had been a Christmas present in the year that I attended first grade. (I’m in my 20s now if that is any indication for how long we have been together and how close we became). When Max first got sick, I always thought that it wasn’t right to put him down; we didn’t know how much longer he may have lived, and we would be cutting his life short by putting him down. He ended up living for well over a year after the vets predicted he would make it. We’re pretty sure it was cancer, and it was a long, slow process to adjust to his way of life as an older dog. At the same time, we held on because he showed no signs of pain and was just as attentive and special as ever. When we got back from a trip in October of last year, he started dwindling faster; we could tell he didn’t want to eat as much, his legs hurt him more, and he was so skinny that it was almost scary. But he continued to fight. And then, one week, I just knew. Before he even began to whimper or cry, I knew that he was ready to go and that God had called him to His side. I’m not sure how I know, though I attribute some of it to my closeness with Max. That’s when we decided it was best for him to go where he was needed. 

DSCF0058 (Max in 2012)

The decision to put Max to sleep was by far the hardest decision I have ever had to make. My family took it really hard since he was our first (and only) pup, and it was even harder for me knowing that I had been one of the first people to say that it was time. But God sent me a message somehow and told me that it was right. I didn’t realize it then, but I realize it now.

I’ve wanted another dog since… well, a long time. I thought Max would love a companion, but it turned out he was too protective and selfish in his own cute way. So he was an only dog, and loved every minute of it. It didn’t take long for my love of dogs to return to me, and I’ve been wanting a pup ever since. Unfortunately, the rest of my family was hesitant to move another animal into our lives after such a horrible loss. And then, miraculously, yesterday my parents said that it would be okay. I’m not sure what happened to change their minds, but Mom said she had been feeling it for a while now, and my sister was on board with her too. It took a few days to convince my Dad, but at the end of the day, he just wants us happy and we all know he (secretly) loves dogs.

I spent a lot of time last night searching for dogs on the Internet. It’s not the first place that I would go to find a puppy, but I was trying to find out what the best location to visit would be. I particularly wanted another schnauzer, but after some tears from pictures that looked too much like Max, we opened our options a little bit more. 

After everyone went to bed last night, I couldn’t sleep. I decided to keep searching and came across this local organization that rescues animals from high kill shelters and surrenders from households. Many of the animals are young, but not all of them. I searched the entire list. May I just say, it’s sad to me to know how few places there are to help these animals considering how many animals there are. I have always known about animal abuse and overpopulation because people are stupid sometimes, but I never realized just how bad it was. I started leaning towards adopting a rescued pet instead of buying one from a breeder. 

The website that I was searching, funnily enough, had a picture of two little schnauzers on it. They were mixed breed schnauzers, and looked slightly larger, so I sent an email inquiry and then moved on. I figured that, with their long legs, they would be giant schnauzers instead of miniatures. 

This morning I checked my emails to no avail. The company hadn’t returned my inquiry yet. We went in town to run some errands and have some fun at a town festival, and then we planned to head to the SPCA to check on some other dogs that I had found. Here’s where the huge irony hits… the organization that had the little schnauzers was at the town festival! And the dogs were there! 

Needless to say, I did fall in love with the little boy, and even filled out an application. Then, more wonderfully yet, our vet showed up at the festival and was able to give a great reference to the organization on our account! As I sit here now, I keep frantically checking out the adoption agency’s website to see that he is not pending adoption yet- this is great news for me! And the more I sit here and think, the more I feel that this was a sign. The stars aligned just too perfectly in this case for it to be anything but a small act of God. I believe that my family was destined to get a pup, destined to make the decision this week as we did, and destined to run into little Jasper at the festival.

 Jasper

I‘ll leave you with two thoughts to end this post. 1) Spay and neuter- I don’t care how much you have to pay to get it done! Be responsible. Seeing so many animals in shelters (even non-high kill shelters) killed my heart and smashed it into pieces today. If I could have adopted them all, I would have! 2) Remember that God always has a plan and it’s only after the fact, and through some deep reflection, that you may ever see the path that He has led you down. But, regardless, be thankful. Everything happens for a reason and God does indeed send messages to those who wait and open their ears to hear him.

Wish us luck in this new adventure, and I’ll be praying for greatness for all of you too!

Sunday’s Sermon: Shutting out the Bad, Letting in the Good

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Sunday Sermon

I’m writing today because there’s nothing else for me to do. I feel pretty stuck at the moment, though it’s not because of my anxiety. Instead, I feel stuck because my life is changing drastically and I don’t know what to say about it. I suddenly feel like I don’t understand other people, like I have no clue how to see situations from an outsider’s perspective. Normally I’m pretty good at seeing things from different points of view, at least to some extent. But now I’m feeling sort of lost in that department.

I won’t get into specifics to explain why I am feeling so incapable of a normally easy task, but I will say that one of my friendships is taking a very drastic dive because of this issue. And the worst part is, I cannot tell if the other person is simply being illogical and not thinking about anyone but themselves (as it is starting to seem from my point of view), or if it is the case that I just cannot see things from their angle to really know what to think.

I also feel like I should not be thinking into this nearly as much as I am, but I cannot stop myself. My brain has no turn off button, and it is pre-programmed to focus on the most stressful things in my mind first. Hence the way this day is working out to not be as good as I thought.

I would like to solve this issue, come to some sort of agreement with my friend, move on. My goal in life is to be happy and to become closer to God, but these issues are just clouding over everything right now. It’s increasing my anxiety, upsetting my stomach, and making me sleep even less. Those, unfortunately, are then reacting with other situations to make my life even harder. 

I didn’t go to Church today (that’s another story in itself) but I have been sitting here praying to God to show me the way through this muck. He seems to be telling me that I should just leave things lay. Something will change or occur on its own, so I’m trying to be patient. It’s a very hard thing for me to have patience, so I am also praying about that. 

It’s funny how God answers our prayers in ways that we wouldn’t originally want or expect. I don’t want to sit around and wait for things to occur; I’m the type of person who needs to get things done and settled to move on to more goals and accomplishments in my life. Yet I feel that something has been pushing me to just drop this subject and see how it will turn out down the road. Maybe God is telling me to calm down and leave it be- maybe that is the answer to my prayer. It might seem to be an odd one to a person seeking a direct answer to get something solved, but if not solving the problem is an answer, so be it. 

Along with everything that has been happening lately, I finally got up the nerve to participate in a Church event. I volunteered this weekend at a picnic that my Church hosted. At first I didn’t really want to help out, especially after I heard that everyone else in my family would be working and unable to go with me. But I was specifically asked by one of the ladies to help, so I felt bad for saying no. It seemed like the golden opportunity to participate in something. I’ve been considering Church choir or another religious-related activity- I’ve just been too nervous and wimpy to try anything new. 

The deal that I made with my sister was that I would go to the picnic for about two hours until she got off of work, and then she would come out and help me for the rest of the evening. By the time she got off of work, she was too tired to help, so she went straight home. My dad also left because he thought it was too hot outside, and my grandmother left an hour or so later because she had finished all of the baking and things that she was responsible for. 

Truth be told, I don’t know a lot of people at my Church. I go for myself, and sit with my family through the services. There are very few extra activities that my family attends, and as I stated, I don’t participate in any of the organizations. By the time everyone I really knew left, I felt that I was alone. With the way my stress has been amplified lately, and the way that my nerves have been reacting to other situations in my life, being there with a bunch of strangers was too much for me to handle. It seems silly, but it was true.

I ended up coming home early. I felt bad about it, but there was nothing else I could do. I could have stayed and stuck out the rest of the night, but everyone there would have seen my visible distress. I tried to control myself, calm down, and focus on something better, but it was one of those days where even the most powerful control doesn’t stop my thoughts from running rampant. 

In the end, I’m glad that I got to do some good. I fear that I’ll never feel comfortable enough at that particular event to volunteer there again (for reasons that I also don’t care to explain). However, I hope that one day there will be people at my Church whom I will know or come to know, so that I might participate in activities involving other people who share my Faith and would be willing to give and get support from a person like me.

To sum this all up, I guess we all just have to keep praying. Volunteering will also help us become better people, at least in some way. And even if it doesn’t all work out perfectly, my advice is to reflect on any situation and find something that you may have learned. Or, if you can find some way in which you have grown, that can turn into an equally good lesson. If you enjoy volunteering or have anything to add to this post, let us all know!

Sunday’s Sermon: The Seed That Kept on Giving

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Sunday Sermon

I went to church this morning, partially because I haven’t been in a while, partially because my entire family finally had the opportunity to go today. It may too have had something to do with the fact that I was searching for some kind of answer as far as how to deal with everything that has been going on lately. Needless to say, I didn’t find it…

The Parish that my church is a part of has a single pastor, three churches. We take in students from the local Seminary to give them real-world experiences for a year at a time. Our most recent student, a girl, just finished her time with us. I didn’t realize that today we would be welcoming a new member into our arms. Well, let me rephrase- I knew we were getting someone new since we were having an ice cream social for him after the late service. What I didn’t understand was that he would be giving the sermon today.

Though no big deal right? Everyone preaches differently, everyone “deciphers” the Bible differently, but I am quite used to new pastors, reverends, etc. Today was different though. Today I was really searching for something, some sign of comfort and guidance from the service. I didn’t get it. Maybe that’s why I was so disappointed by the sermon itself, though maybe it was just the fact that the sermon was given by someone who’s name I didn’t even know. 

Regardless, I learned a lot about mustard seeds. In fact, the entire sermon focused on it. A parable in one of the Scriptures we read involved the seed. Unfortunately, by the end of the sermon, I couldn’t remember what the parable had said. 

So now I’m wondering- is this bad of me? Maybe I was too distracted by the newness of the situation, maybe the sermon was just too long for my attention span… Regardless, I feel really bad about the fact that I got nothing from the sermon and spent more time focused on the little baby in front of me. I’m sure that doesn’t make me a bad person, but I always feel like I should walk into church and walk out with at least one new thought, feeling, etc. Today, I didn’t.

I guess I did walk away with one thing, though not what I was searching for, hoping for, or used to. It got so hot in there that we all started sweating and having a hard time staying cool. (Yay for no A/C in the church!) Someone that I hold very dear got so overheated that they had to leave early. In lieu of going into more details on that matter, I’d just like to say that they are okay now, but I need everyone out there to send a big prayer for them just in case. This isn’t the first time that a dizzy spell has been a part of their day lately, and it worries me that it won’t be the last.

So maybe in the end, God wants me to focus more on my loved ones than on myself. I feel like the wires here are getting crossed; last week I felt like I was focusing too much on making everyone else happy and it was hurting me and making my anxiety worse. Now though, I feel like if I don’t focus more on everyone else than myself different things will happen. First, I’ll lose time with the ones I love that I cannot get back whenever I feel like it. Second, I will stay so stressed about my own life that I’ll never get out of this hole. 

So now, along with focusing on nature, being thankful for the simple things (as I talked about yesterday), I need to focus on other people, especially those that I love. Let’s see how this goes…

In ending, this scripture from John 15:13 sums up the focus that I am going to try to maintain:

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.