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Friday, August 6, 2010

Day Fifteen - A Moment, Phrase, or Song That Changed Your Life the Most

The day I met Casinodad? The day he proposed to me? The day we got married? The days when we got the positive on the pregnancy tests? The days when each of our children were born? Yes, each one of those days changed my life in so many ways...none more important than the others, just in different ways.

I think the one moment that really changed my life the most happened a couple of years ago. I am a Cradle Catholic. If you're not familiar w/ that term, it means one who was born & raised into the Catholic Faith. I'm also the daughter of a deacon. My dad was ordained when I was eleven years old. I went through our church's CCD program even after I was confirmed, had my First Reconciliation & First Communion in 2nd grade, was confirmed in 8th grade, & was a member of the contemporary music ensemble (singing & playing flute) from 7th grade until right before we had our 1st munchkin. I even continued going to Mass throughout college...a time when many Catholic young adults stop going & leave the church for a while. I give you all this background so you can get an understanding of where my moment came from.

Several years ago, I went through a big bump in my faith. I start questioning my beliefs, wondering if there really was someone "up there" listening to my prayers. I didn't want to leave the Catholic Church, but I had so many doubts & questions. I wasn't sure how to verbalize them & the more research I did online & in books, the more confused I became. I'm sure Casinodad got tired of hearing my litany of complaints & issues, but I didn't know who else to talk to. You're probably wondering why I didn't go to my dad since he was a deacon. Truthfully, I didn't feel like I could. I felt like he was too close to the situation.

My mom suggested I talk to a mutual friend of ours. She too had been through a similar situation & Mom thought she might have some insight or advice. So, we started getting together for an occasional lunch. We would talk about the walks we were taking in our faith & I opened up a great deal about all my doubts & questions.

One afternoon, she said something that really opened my eyes to my situation. I had never "chosen" the Catholic Church. When she told me that, it seemed like everything clicked. I'd always gone to church, even most Sundays through college when other young adults slip away. I went to church as a child because it was what we did as a family. I continued CCD through high school even though it wasn't required after Confirmation because I didn't want to disappoint my parents. I had done everything because I was supposed to do it according to my parents & teachers. I never had that time in my life when I said, "Yes, I CHOOSE to be a Catholic. I CHOOSE to accept the Faith I've been taught. I CHOOSE because God is calling me, not because someone else says that I have to." My parents & teachers did what they were supposed to do, but I had never acted on the free will God had given me. Once I made the CHOICE, I felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.

Does that mean that I'm now the perfect Catholic? No. Does that mean that I don't need God's forgiveness for my sins? No. Does that mean that I understand everything & all my questions were answered? No. I'm FAR, FAR from perfect (as my family will gladly attest!) I still make mistakes in my walk of faith (they'll attest to that too!) I still have times of doubt & questioning, but I know that God is always there for me & won't leave me. Do you remember the poem, "Footprints"? The last part of it says, "The Lord replied, 'My son, My precious child, I love you and would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you." So comforting!

He never said the road would be smooth & easy, but I have made the CHOICE to walk w/ Him & will call on Him when I need His help. I think that's why the song Never Alone by Barlow Girl means so much to me. It came out around the time of my doubts & was so comforting to me.

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