A Sinner like Me

This year it has hit me for the first time since becoming Catholic that my sins are the ones that hung my Lord to His Cross.

I have meditated at the foot of the Cross before when I’ve been angry with someone and had to leave my anger and that person there so that I could get off the road to hell that anger was paving. I have left my children, one by one, at the foot of the Cross begging Jesus to keep them safe.

I have thought about the Blessed Mother and Mary Magdalene there crying and weeping watching Jesus get nailed to the Cross and standing with Him until He was taken down and put in Mary’s arms.

But never in four years have I looked up and seen what I did. That every time I chose to hate someone because I don’t like them or because I know of some fault of theirs that makes me feel like I have the right to think myself better than them, that I add a blow to the face of My Lord.

This year I see it.

He didn’t just “die for us”, He handed Himself over to us to kill Him. He knew that I deserved hell, and that there have been many times when I have asked for hell and yet, He died for me to be saved from the depths of hell.

He not only hung on that Cross for me, but He walked into the fires of hell, where I was having a blast and He pulled me out of there. I was kicking and screaming, fighting the idea that I needed saving. But oh, did I ever need to be saved.

I love Him. Even in my brokenness, He died for me. Even when I fail, He loves me. Even when I’m dead wrong, He comforts me.

How can I ever repay Him for what He did for me? And still does for me every day that I wake up? For all His Mercy and Love?  I can’t. It’s impossible.

All I can do is offer Him my life.

Jesus is beautiful. He is a great friend and for Him to ever care about saving me when I was so happy to be living in the depths of sin and hell is something I will never understand.

I still fail as a disciple every day. I fail as a wife and as a mother. And it is sad, because I have been blessed beyond anything that I deserve.

Even though I fail, and even though my marriage struggles, He is always there to make things new. Just like He did when He carried His cross and allowed Himself to be hung on it for me and for my sins. It’s what He does.

I sit here today looking at my life and it is beautiful. Beautiful, painful and full of joy.

All I can do is mourn the death of my loving Savior who would die for someone so twisted like me. Who paid the price of all the sins of a lost soul like me. He picked me up, put me on His shoulders and brought me Home.

Oh, Jesus, how I love you.

“Jesus is alive, and what He has done for me, He wants to do for you. He loves you more than you think He does”. Those were the words said by Noe Rocha, my RCIA director when I began RCIA 4 and a half years ago. They changed my life.

I pray that I never forget them. I pray that I never forget what my Lord has done for me and that someway, somehow that anything I share about my life, my struggle, my tears, my brokenness , my sins, and my love for Christ brings other people Home to Him.

It’s all I have to offer to the Man who died on a tree for me. It might not be good enough for some people, but Jesus takes it and that is all that matters to me.

Jesus, my Lord, my Savior, my Beloved, my Friend, my Beautiful Master, my God, my Everything have mercy on me, a sinner. Please give me the Grace to never leave Your side.

Lead me Home.

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I have a Confession

Confession: I signed me and my husband up for Obamacare and I’m kind of excited to get to see a doctor on May 1st for my leg and to see my Catholic NFP OBGYN for other things, including maybe trying to get pregnant. I still think that this stupid law is going to bankrupt us as a country, but as my mentor said “It passed, might as well use it”. I think I will blog about it. It’s already been a PIA to be honest. We should have been covered March 1st, but since the website SUCKS, our application didn’t get finished until after March 15th.

Also, we signed up with Blue Cross, Blue Shield and I’ve had them before and they were awful. I had tonsilitis once and they tried to stick me with the bill since it was a “pre-existing condition”, so we will see how this goes with the ton of people they will have filing claims now.

I’ll be honest, I have only had health insurance twice in my life. I was on Medicaid with 3 of my pregnancies and because I had private insurance with my first child, the same ObGyn delivered my last two even though he didn’t accept Medicaid. He made an exception for me and it was a pain for his office. My kids all had Medicaid growing up and Medicaid doctors are not the most caring of doctors. I always felt as if my kids weren’t getting the same level of care as the kids with insurance were getting. A lot of times I just did the best I could to help them get over colds, the flu and allergies. I am all about having healthcare for my kids. But here’s the thing, if Obamacare is so great, then why all the twisted wording?

As I was reading the website and signing up, I started reading and it was full of crap. They didn’t even call the fine a penalty, they called it some flowery name like “helping your neighbor have healthcare fund” or something. Why not just call it what it is? Oh right, because we don’t call anything what it is, we use other flowery words so people don’t get their feelings hurt.

After I signed up, I felt the need to barf and take a shower. I still feel as if this is going to be doom for us, but as long as I’ve got it, then I will use it to help me have as many pro-life Catholic babies as God will give me and we can call it even.

The Drama of being Catholic

Ever since I became Catholic it has become clearer and clearer to me that being Catholic means having drama. There is always a debate about something going on. Whether it is about abortion, contraception, whether or not to go to invalid weddings, to hold hands or not to hold hands during the Our Father, immigration, whether it is smart to say that your future spouse will never do X or the many other things that Catholics argue about.

One day you can write something that has someone sing your praise and the next you write about something else and they hate everything you have ever written.

We divide into camps like those who like Noah and those who think ROCK PEOPLE! or those who like Matt Walsh and those who don’t or those who love Fr. Barron and those who think he’s the greatest heretic of 2014. We even debate every word that comes out of Pope Francis’ mouth.

We are drama queens. And we are family.

I used to think that all of this arguing on Facebook was scandalizing to those on the outside who probably wonder why a group of people claiming to love Jesus and follow Him can’t stop being snarky to one another for an entire day on the internet.

But today it came to me that it is not scandalizing at all. Anyone who sees any big family interact with each other will see exactly what plays out online with Catholics everyday. We laugh, we cry, we mourn, we fight, we are snarky to one another and we whine to our Father that “she won’t stop brrreeeathing on me!!”

We are brothers and sisters. Some of us don’t get along and some of us do but then disagree on some things. But no matter what, we are united by God our Father and the Church our mother.

What brought that home for me was reading this post written by a priest about a man who was mugged and killed yesterday morning. My newsfeed (which I shouldn’t even be looking at) has been filled with stories of this man and this particular post by a priest talking about the goodness of this man, my Catholic brother, that ended with a prayer for God to forgive the men who killed him. It  just hit it home to me, that for all our fighting and discussing , we love each other.

There was also the story of the two little girls who died in a car accident a few weeks ago who belonged to a Catholic family. Calah Alexander wrote this post that dripped with that love us Catholics have for one another.

In my parish, one of the members of our pastoral council and the daughter of a friend of mine died in a car accident the day after Ash Wednesday. As I sat at her Rosary and Funeral Mass, I looked around and saw my family. Sure I didn’t know some of them, and sure I had been angry at a few for whatever reason, but right then at that moment, in prayer for a sister who had started her way to Jesus, none of that mattered.

It is dramatic to be Catholic, we are crazy. We all have different gifts, different preferences, we are smart, philosophical, scientific, reasoned, opinionated and diverse. We have big mouths and big hearts.

When tragedy happens we are there for each other regardless of differences.

There is no other family I would rather be a part of than this one which is full of the kindest lunatics I’ve ever known.

Please consider pitching in for the funeral expenses of this fine young man if the Spirit leads you, and please pray for his family, his murders and for the repose of his soul.

 

Marriage is Beautiful, Painful and Real

It seems that my blog post for Catholic Stand may have given a few people the idea that I don’t think marriage is beautiful and that mine is “sad” and a chore for me. So, let me clear up a few things.

Anyone who thinks that I don’t love my husband and realize that marriage is beautiful has obviously not read my blog much. There are examples here, here and here, that show how beautiful my marriage really is. It is beautiful because it is real. There are three people in this marriage: me, my husband and Jesus.

My husband and I have struggles, not because we sometimes get on each other’s nerves or don’t like each other, but because we are sinners. I am not going to blast my husband’s faults on the world-wide web, as he says, but I will tell you that I am the most selfish person to ever live. My husband deserves better than a selfish wife. He really does.

My husband is a wonderful man. The kind of man who hates confrontation and who would do anything to avoid it. If I wanted to, I could run all over him, take advantage of him and treat him like a door mat. And I’ve done all those things, because I am selfish.

The crazy thing about becoming Catholic and resolving to let God make me a saint is that being a selfish wife is no longer an option for me. And that causes conflict. If becoming a saintly wife doesn’t cause conflict in your life, then you are not doing it right. It is that simple. Not one single saint has lived a conflict, struggle free life. NOT ONE. If there is one, please tell me who it was.

My struggles might not be the same as yours and yours might not be the same as mine, but for anyone to mock the struggles of others is rude.

It is hard for me to love others more than I love myself. My whole life has been one big ball of “me, me, me, me, ME!”. I’m happy for people who have not lived the life that I have, but for most of my life I have walked around this world looking for the life that I felt I deserved and never once living the life that GOD gave me. From the moment I would wake up in the morning it was about me getting to work so I could make money, so I could go out, so I could find a man to love and go home with, so I could feel good, so I could be happy, so I could take care of my kids. The I is lord of the addict’s life. I was addicted to “happiness”.  I had to do whatever it took to get my happy fix and screw everyone else. Replacing that I with Jesus, is not easy for me.

Anyone who thinks that being married is supposed to be easy needs to look a little harder at Jesus hanging on a Cross. That is LOVE and it’s not without pain, struggle, falling down, and tears. It IS beautiful, and yet messy. And guess what? It’s not a fairy tale. It is reality, just.like.marriage.

It isn’t “sad” that my marriage has had struggles. St. Paul says that where sin abounds, Grace abounds all the more. (Romans 5:20) So, in a weird way, it is by struggling in marriage because of the struggles with sin, that it is filled with Grace.

So, don’t be sad for me, I need that Grace.

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7 QTs Blog Battles, Marriage, Writers and Termite Swarms

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1.

Sooo, I have been cheating terribly on my Lenten fast. That really shouldn’t be news to anyone who reads my blog. I have stayed off of most Social Media, but I found a blog post by Simcha Fisher and it sent me down the rabbit hole of a blog battle. Honestly, I think that everyone is saying “blog battle” because Jennifer Fulwiler brought up rap battles. Anyway, I entered into the ring of the battle and wrote this piece. It was linked in quite a few other posts on Patheos which I am humbled by. Mostly, I think it was a good discussion which brought up tons of other issues, which tends to happen when the Catholic blogosphere explodes.

2.

I think that there were hurtful things said from parties on every side of the Marriage Blog Battle of 2014. Which makes me wonder if people who start blogging, especially when they are Catholic, understand just how much of a thick skin you have to have when you put yourself out there on posts. or books. I say this as someone who gets my feelings hurt because people take the bitchy things I say on Facebook to heart and don’t invite me to dinner parties, so that isn’t a jab at anyone, because I do it too. There comes a certain amount of crap that gets flung your way when you blog openly about your life. I say especially Catholics because there is always someone waiting to show you Cannon law # whatever the crap to prove you are a heretic or don’t know your faith. But that is part of the deal. If you can’t take the heat, then don’t blog. I mostly am saying that to myself.

3.

Marriage is one of those things that is hard to discuss without bringing in your own personal experience, therefore some of what you say and some of your opinions are subjective. Most of them are, but some things are not. All the theology and knowledge of virtues doesn’t change the fact that humans are free and with that freedom they can easily do things that another person thought they would never do. There are plenty of examples of that. It also means that people are free to think they are the exception to that and that they will live in blissful happiness where they are proved right in their opinion that their spouse will never do X. I pray that they are right. We can’t simply stop discussing the fact that some people have difficult times in their marriage though.

4.

Termites swarmed today! That might not be big news for anyone else in the Catholic World, but for me it is HUGE! Please pray for my husband and son. We own a pest control company and this is our busy season. Trying to get hard working men to sleep and eat well when they are busier than a cat trying to bury a turd on a sidewalk (that’s my husband’s saying) is not easy.

5.

I just read Heather King’s memoir “Parched” and it was awesome. I could related to so much of what she wrote about being in bars and drunk. I had those days and reading her story made me remember all of it and why it’s not something that I should ever miss in my life. She is a great writer and you should check out her books if you haven’t already.

6.

So, how is everyone else’s Lent going? Mine is going pretty good actually. I am so excited to start learning how to pray the Liturgy of the Hours and I feel like things with my husband and I are back to being right again. There are still a few things to work out, but when isn’t there in life? Over all I feel like my relationship with God is back on track as well.

7.

I’m about 3/4 of the way done writing my first draft of my memoir. I am hoping to have it done by Easter. And that is all I’ve got! Blessed Lent!

For more 7 Quick Takes visit Jen at Conversion Diary.