7 Quick Takes Vlog style about Wounds, People Throwing Shade and Everything Else

I need to talk more. I am the most socially awkward person alive right now, so I decided to Vlog my Quick takes this week. It’s awful, but I didn’t want to redo it because I laughed so hard at how crazy I am and figured others may need a laugh. I apologize for how long it is, I know there is probably a rule about that, but I suck at rules.

I have a radio interview on Tuesday, you can listen to it live here, it will be a 9am. Please pray for me.

 

10527901_10103822699596186_1683800346195071863_n

It is my favorite season in Texas, Boot season! WHOOT!

Astrid, me and my grand daughter Aaliyah! It was a great way to start the day.

Astrid, me and my grand daughter Aaliyah! It was a great way to start the day.

 

Here is a link to Leila’s Blog Post that I mentioned.

 

Go see Jennifer for more Quick Takes! PEACE!

The Deaf Can’t Hear

I hear the word “disordered” all the time when talking about gay people and I really would like for people to stop using it as if gay people are the only ones walking around disordered. We are all disordered because we all sin and all sins are disordered.

I suffer from anger, laziness and selfishness among a lot of other habitual sins and they are all disordered because they are not part of God’s plan for my life. They show themselves in all kinds of ways especially my snark and coveting of other people’s lives and material things (and babies). We are all marked by original sin. It is called Concupiscence.

Concupiscence:  is an ardent, usually sensual, longing. In Catholic theology, concupiscence has the name “Fomes peccati”, as the selfish human desire for an object, person, or experience.

If you are a human being then you have a desire for things that lead you away from God and that desire is at the root of every single sin of yours and mine. And it is a disorder. Not just gay people, but everyone.

It is always easy for us to justify our sins and find the reasons for them and then turn around and think the sinner next to us is really messed up. It may just be me, but even when I sit in the confession line I do it. I sit there listing all the ways that I have failed to love my neighbor and before you know it I’m looking at the person next to me and thinking “man, that lady seems grumpy, she must be….” And there goes my examination of my neighbor’s conscience. When I finally click then it just gets added to the list of my own sins.

It could be because of my own personal experience with people in my life who are gay. I have seen the pain that they go through, the fear of not being accepted and the tears that they have shed when people told them that they were going to go to hell if they didn’t “repent”. I know that words like “disorder” and “repent” all have meaning, true, unemotional meanings, but when someone has heard the people they love most use those words to attack them, then those words take on a different meaning. There is power in words. There is a reason that I flat-out say that I was a hoe, and that is because never will anyone make that obvious statement to me and it hurt me. Kind of like Fat Amy.

16425

Not everyone is aware of why certain words hurt them. And if what we are saying is adding their wounds, then what good does that do? We feel good about proclaiming the truth even if that truth is said in a way that hurts someone else? And I don’t mean it hurts them because they are sinners and don’t want to hear that, I mean hurts them because someone used those words as weapons on them once before.

Jesus made things simple for people to understand without comprising the truth many times, mostly in parables. (one hint as to who exactly had an issue with that approach) It isn’t a new thing. None of this is new. People will twist anything to make it sound the way that they want, it’s what humans do. No matter what, it will get twisted. It’s been like that ever since sin was introduced to the world. We cannot worry about that really, it’s happening. Souls of those who don’t feel welcome into the one place where their hearts can rest are being lost every day. Instead of those of us in the Church being concerned about the Church teachings changing, or being twisted, we should worry about those who are walking around this world in despair who feel like they have nowhere to take that pain. I have lived in that darkness. I know people still living in it. I want them to come to the place where I found love like I’ve never known in my life. Do I want the Church to stop speaking the truth? No, I want them to be healed by love so that they can hear the truth. Sin makes us blind and deaf; you can’t speak truth to a deaf person and expect them to hear you. Jesus was capable of healing people, hearing their confession and forgiving their sins all at one time, but He is Jesus, we ain’t.

I hope that at the end of the day we all realize that we all want the same thing and that is for the lost to find God inside the Catholic Church and that the how is what we are debating. We will figure it out, one way or another Holy Spirit will figure it out, but for now, we just need to drink a little wine and laugh. Tomorrow will be a post on lipstick or kittens or something.

Being a Wife

On October the 7th, my husband and I were married for four years. I could say so many things that I’ve learned being married to this man in that time, but the one thing that sticks out more than anything to me at this moment is that for the first time in my life I understand that love is hard. I always had this crazy idea that when you found the right person you would marry them and that everything would be fine after that. From what I understand that is a classic idea in this country because of the way the media that tells us that is how love goes. The rising divorce rate is caused in some ways by the fact that when people hit that hard place where they no longer feel “in love” they just think that means they never loved this person, get divorced and move on. I have done that before. I have also left plenty of men and have been left. Not once did anyone think about trying to be better in their own life to make the relationship work.

I think that everyone knows how attraction works, you meet someone and you like them, then you want to spend every moment with them. You stay up late at night talking and laughing and enjoying every moment with each other. You talk about them to your friends so much that you friends are sick of hearing about how awesome this person is and how they are perfect for you. In those special instances when you end up in the wedding of your dreams, you think that is it. You have found your prince charming and life is going to be dreamy. I have found that my wedding day, as perfect as it was, was the beginning of me learning what love really is.

Love for me was always about me getting a man to protect me, work for me, take care of my kids and make all of my dreams come true. I never thought that day would come, but then I married my husband who is the best man a woman could ask for and he did every single one of those things. The way that my husband looks at me makes me feel like the prettiest girl in the world. I married a real prince and he is everything that I could ever have asked God for. Pope Francis said that when you marry someone you should never forget that they are a gift from God and say thank you as much as you can. I have failed to do that for the last two years. My husband has dealt with so much pain and all I cared about was whether he was making me happy.

At some point our marriage seemed to come crashing down. It has taken therapy, a priest and a lot of self-examination for me to see just how much I have been a spoiled child and not a wife to this wonderful man. Is he perfect? No, he has plenty of flaws, flaws that man him who he is. Flaws that I never thought to see the beauty in. They are beautiful because they make him human. I was too concerned with myself to see any of it. Until I thought I was going to lose him.

That is when I began to love him, because I realized that he was not made by God to be my wish granter. He was made by God to be himself, and it is a privilege to have him call me his wife. He has his wants and his needs and his opinions and his way of doing things. All of the romantic movie crap that I had built my idea of love on burnt right down to the ground until there was nothing left except me and my husband looking at each other and me making a choice to stay in this marriage. Not because I am stuck here, but because there is nowhere else that I would rather be.

I came to that place in my relationship with Christ too. That place where He asked me if I was going to leave and I could only answer by saying “where would I go?”. The same thing happened with my husband. Where would I go? Who else cares about my well-being like this man? Who else loves my children the way that he does? Who else snores like he does? Who else drives me bonkers like him? Nobody. Nobody else was given to me by God Himself to care for, make bacon for and to love when he feels that he is alone in this world even with me sitting right next to him. Nobody else is a rugged Texas country boy who looks good in wranglers and a cowboy hat while jamming Lil Wayne in his truck. Only my husband is that person. He is a unique thought of God and I should never try to make him anything else.

After four years of marriage I am finally accepting him for who he is and loving him the way that a wife loves a husband, which is a choice not a feeling. Through good times and bad, this is where I will be, standing next to the hottest man on the planet.

There will be more hard times, there will be more fights, there will be more late night trips to Adoration when I ask God why the hell He ever thought that I could be this man’s wife, but I know for a fact that God always keeps His word and that my marriage will be filled with Grace that neither one of us can earn.

My wedding day was great, but my marriage is beautiful. Just like Christ intended it to be.

Pharisees and Spades

I woke up this morning to news of the mid-report from the Synod. Things just got crazy pretty fast from there. Elizabeth Scalia has two great posts up already and then Simcha Fisher wrote this:

“The mid-term report described as an “earthquake”  is nothing of the kind. It’s a reassertion of the constant, consistent teaching of the Church, and even the constant, consistent teaching of God the Father toward His wayward people: Come to Me. Please, come to me. Yes, I want you to change, and I will demand things of you. But we can’t get anywhere unless you come to Me.”

 
I just had to let it sink in. By “sink in”, I meant write about it. I had planned to write a whole other blog post, but man did that sentence hit me. The reason is that is exactly what God said to me in my car the first night that I attended RCIA and heard a sweet little mesican man say to me “God loves you more than you think He does, no matter what you have done or how far you have turned from Him, He loves you, He thinks you are good and He wants you to come to Him”. When I got in my car that night I sat in the parking lot for a long time sobbing. I never really have been able to put my finger on what exactly made me cry except that I knew God was calling out to me and asking me to come to Him. I now realize that it is because He was calling to me because He loved me, not because He wanted anything from me. For someone who had never had anyone not want something from me, that was exactly what I had looked for. That is how my conversion to Him began. The road that led me there began somewhere else years before, but this is when God Himself came to me. Maybe it wasn’t, but it was the first time that I knew for sure that it was Him and that He wanted me just as I was.

This is the thing: not once in the next 9 months did anyone tell me that I was a sinner  who was too far gone or  that I was “bad” or that I needed to do anything to become Catholic. They told me what repentance was and they let me argue with them about what sins were, but they never told me that I was wrong. Instead, they held my hand, guided me to the answers and then hugged me when I sat in front of them sobbing because I knew that I had screwed up a lot in my life. I already knew that I was not living life according to God’s plan, that is why I was even in Austin, because I was sick of the life that I had lived. I was sick of being used and left behind by man after man. I was looking for love, long-lasting, life long ,sacrificial love. The kind of love that would hold me up and make me feel like I was good and worth something. I found that love in the Catholic Church.

If someone had called my spade a spade then I would not have gone from a woman who was proud to have Crazy Bitch by Buckcherry dedicated to me in a club by two guys that I was “dating”, to a woman who is faithful my husband, loves Jesus, my children and is working hard to learn how to have healthy relationships with them. I didn’t need anyone to call me out, I called myself out as a piece of shit every day of my life since the first time I realized that I had lost my virginity at the age of 5 to a pervert in his garage. There would never have been enough people to tell me what was wrong with me that could ever have outdone the things that I told myself every single fracking day of my life for as long as I could remember. I walked in that parish knowing that I was bad. I also tried to make excuses for it, I was so broken and desperately needed to be LOVED, not scolded. My mother had lost her voice telling me what a disgrace I was since the day she found me in bed with my boyfriend at 15. What I needed, and I know God knew this and that is why I am so thankful for the people who He put in my path, was to know that I was loved. That I was good.

As Catholics we are so good at calling a “spade a spade” to those who already know. Maybe some people do need to hear it, but it is an act of discernment to know when it is not the time to do so because sometimes that is not love but it  is abuse. That is taking someone who is wounded and telling them that their wounds make them less than. That is not what the Incarnation of God was for. In fact, Jesus said so to the Pharisees all the time. Anytime that Jesus goes off on people it is to those who think they are holier than everyone and want Jesus to point out the faults of sinners and Jesus stands between them and always defends the dignity of the sinner while calling the Pharisees vipers and hypocrites. I know, I know, it is only cool to call out the sinners, but heaven forbid you point out any Pharisee like tendencies. Funny how that “spade” isn’t really called a spade so fast by anyone so willing to point out the fault of public sinners. But I digress.

Look, I am not sure how anyone else feels, maybe some people will never want to make the changes demanded by them from God once they encounter Him, that is their right to do, He gives it to each of us every single day. I do know that as someone who walked into a parish office waiting for the people in it to tell me that I needed to do a list of things before being good enough for them that I already knew I was a horrible sinner. Just like the woman at the well knew that the man she was living with was not her husband.  The voice of the evil one in my head told me that I would never be accepted as I was. Thank God for those people who did accept me as I was and loved me. They still love me when I fail. I would not be where I am today if they had not been there and instead had called my “spade a spade”. Forget spades, what people need is mercy and love. The world is starving for those two things. How Jesus lets them know that He wants to give them those things is by putting people in their path who show them mercy and love in the first place. That is what He has called us to, the rest is His job.

The Wounded Bird

I read this book on love addiction called Facing Love Addiction by Pia Mellody after watching an interview that Oprah did with Alanis Morrisette. Of all the things that I have read about alcoholism, addiction, and codependency this book by Pia Mellody spoke to me like none other has ever spoke to me in my life. There is a chart that shows the phases of relationships of love addicts and I almost cried when I saw it. It was like looking at the phases of every single relationship that I’ve ever been in. When I saw the joy that Alanis was radiating I knew there had to be something to this stuff, because let’s face it, she was the man hating poster child. There was a reason why I loved her music. We were fellow wounded birds.

pia love addiction

 

There are a lot of things happening at once in my life. First, I have an official spiritual director for the first time. Fr. J was like a spiritual director for me when I went through my conversion, but it wasn’t official and I was learning how to be Catholic from being a pagan. It is easy to discern good from evil, the hard part comes when you are discerning the greater of two goods. That is what I’m working on now, kind of. Second, I have been in therapy for eight months. I tried therapy a few times before and it was always helpful for me, but there is something about this therapist and my weariness of pain that makes us a power duo. I am getting a lot done and overcoming a lot of things, but there is so much more to deal with. Finally, I’m taking a class at my diocese on the Catechisis of Human Love which is going awesome. I really feel like God is talking to me every single day in huge ways. Also, I’m no longer a newlywed. I’m sure some of you seasoned spouses get what I’m saying. My head is no longer in the clouds (or up my ass) and I actually am facing the humanness of my husband. Not to mention learning a lot about myself and how I’m not really a ball to be married to either. There is a reason God made marriage a Sacrament, because any husband would need a lot of Grace to be married to me.

All those things combined have really had my brain on overload. I think that there is an epidemic of codependency in our country right now. I believe that it started a long time ago and is getting worse.  All stemming from broken marriages, fatherless children, parents with no concept of how to parent, money causing stress, and the good old sexual revolution which made us all think that the orgasm is a god that we need to worship. Now, unlike most secular views of codependency, my theory is that really it is caused by the breakdown of the family which causes the breakdown of relationships which harms our relationship with God and leaves an open door for us to create idols of things. If we cannot relate to God as Abba, Father, then it is very hard to have a relationship with Him. Elizabeth Scalia’s book Strange Gods was probably the beginning of my newest conversion. I’ve look at my life and see that I just plug in one idol for another and have no idea that it is even happening.

For me, the language of Catholicism worked because I was looking for somewhere where giving my entire self for love was the norm. Most of my life people have said that I am to “intense” and that they can’t handle that.  The way the Catholic Church talked about marriage made me think that when you get married you become one with your spouse and for me that meant being with him 24/7, knowing everything he was doing, losing all my friends, never doing anything on my own and never expressing any of my needs or wants because that was “selfish” and I was trying to die to my “self”. WOO HOO! Finally I felt validated in my idea of what love is. The problem is that 1. That isn’t what the Church means by any of that and 2. That isn’t love, that is codependency and that isn’t healthy. God’s first and foremost concern is for our wellbeing which includes our mental health, our sense of self and for our ability to care for ourselves. That means that even though I thought I was hearing that to love my husband my world needed to revolve around him, that was not what was being said. Love means working with someone towards the same goal and I was not doing that. I have not been working with my husband; I have been acting like a helpless child while he carries the weight of this family all alone. I have a distorted way of thinking of love and because of that I have not been able to really be in a relationship with anyone, including Christ. Yes the crucifix is the perfect symbol of Love, but even then in that moment Jesus didn’t lose who He is, He always kept His dignity and identity. God is a relationship of three distinct persons who make up one God, not mesh into each other.

I also made an idol of my own terms. I created the idea of what I wanted my husband to be like, what we would do as a married couple, how he would act in certain situations, and just what our overall life would be like and I expected everyone around me to play their part and get with the program. I never allowed them to be themselves and I never respected their right to have opinions that weren’t the same as mine. I was full of unrealistic expectation and I expected everyone to meet them. When it started to fall apart I started thinking that it was time to get a divorce. That is the normal progression in marriages these days. For a lot of reasons, that isn’t the road  I even wanted to go down. By the Grace of God I ended up in the office of a Catholic divorce lawyer who looked at me and said “You don’t want a divorce, you just have no clue how to build a marriage, figure it out”. Any other divorce lawyer would have just drawn up the paperwork and taken my money.

After reading Elizabeth’s book I began to ask God for two things: to make His Will obvious to me and to take away anything that was standing  between me and Him. He has been doing just that. It’s been humbling and it’s been hard. I’m in the trenches so deep that new converts, newlyweds and motivational speakers make me nauseous. But I’m here. It is where I am supposed to be. I am not supposed to live in the past, it’s over and I can’t live in the future because I need to get rid of my expectations which are all rooted in dreaming about the future roles of everyone in my life. All I have is this moment, right now, to do the best that I can to be who God made me. Detaching myself one idol at a time is how I will slowly be more of my true self and less of this wounded bird that I’ve been my entire life so I can truly love God, my husband, my kids and myself. I love being this man’s wife and the mother to these kids. They are worth all this work and so am I.

Isn’t this the case since the beginning? Man trying to connect to God again.

Hands_of_God_and_Adam