"Time may change me.....But I can't trace time..." ~ David Bowie
I am apologizing in advance for jumping around all over the place in this blog entry. My brain is going faster than I can type... and some things maybe don't fit... but... here they are... in hopefully some sort of semblance...
I feel I must explain... even partially... (since how can you fit 2 to 3 years into a blog post?) that in the last few years, I've changed.... but in ways that perhaps someone who has not been around me, and just briefly talks to me, won't see it. But it's there. I have grown in my faith... I don't wear pants any more. I'm strictly a skirt girl now. :) I'm veiling at mass now. And now more than ever, I will stand up more for what I believe in... my Catholic faith... (even if it's not always the popular thing), and I am now *more selective* about *who* I choose to be around... and *who* I allow my children around. Desired is the kind of friend(s) who are positive, not two-faced, and encourages me in my walk with Christ... for a TRUE friend would never try to lead me away from God, and into worldly things... I have enough struggle on my own, (since I happen to be a very flawed, sinful person all on my own)... God knows, I don't need help being sinful. (I am a professional sinner, trust me on this one) Wrong is wrong, even if the whole world is doing it. And Right is Right... even if you stand alone. And sometimes you do have to stand alone, and speak truth aloud... even if your voice shakes when you do it. We must stand up for what is right. Forget what's politically correct. Jesus was NOT politically correct! And since we have the Holy Spirit in us, and our bodies are the temple of His Spirit, should we not reflect Him? Yeah, I know... I need a truckload of Windex. But we can't 'not' try, every single day.
Spiritual warfare. Don't gigglesnort and roll your eyes, and think I'm being silly, or a huge dork, or that I'm superstitious... trust me I'm not. (Okay, fine I'm dorky.. sue me!) All joking aside... Padre Pio said once:
“If all the devils that are here were to take bodily form, they would blot out the light of the sun!”
Yeeeeaaaah... that's seriously creepy. (I don't know about ya'll but that really freaks me out!) So I will tell you all straight up... if you, (any of you, I don't care if we are related), are even remotely dabbling in anything pagan... witchcraft, spells... any of that stuff. Do NOT expect an invitation to dinner. Sorry. I may love you and God knows I will pray for you every day... but you are not coming in my house. I have children and as their mother it is my duty to protect my family... and yes that means even from anything evil following you around just because you think your new Ouija board is the bee's knees. Please do not fool yourself into thinking that there is a 'safe' kind... nope!! There is no difference between "white" or "black" magic... it is ALL evil, despite the lies going around, (and sadly fooling people).... So many insist that 'black' and 'white' are "different". Sweetheart, I'm sorry to tell you...that's a lie.... it's all of the devil, and it's all bad. The devil will look for any... ANY little opening... I beg of you... please don't give it to him. Old Smut Face doesn't deserve you... or anyone. Rebuke him and turn away... I have been asked point blank about my scapular and medals. Sweetheart these are not good luck charms. Old Smut Face does not care a fig about some little charm. (or your little 'spell') But he trembles in fear at Jesus name. My medals are blessed... God gave us sacramentals and I personally am quite appreciative of them and admittedly I don't use them nearly as much or as often as I ought... but I know in my heart it is NOT the "medal" or the "charm" that makes Old Smut Face cringe.... it's the power behind them!!
Oh, and the "I don't believe in God//the devil".... well Sweetheart, you might as well because they sure do believe in you!! Personally, I think it takes a mighty lot of faith to believe there's NOT a God .... especially when there's evidence all around you. :)
"Higher Power"? That smacks of indifferentism. Like, 'it doesn't matter what you believe since it's all the same'. Hogwash. That's not 'truth'... that's just 'feelings'... and that's fine if you aren't a Christian. But ALL Christians know that our 'higher power' is named Jesus Christ... God Incarnate. Get to know Him. He loves you more than your own Momma! :)
Anyhoodles....(sorry, off that soapbox now), and no disrespect meant to my beloved friends for what I am about to say... but in the last few years I have learned to 'float alone', so to speak. I had to 'grow up'... in the spiritual sense. In years past, I looked outside my own home for what I, (at the time), thought was "fun", and "entertaining". I participated in things that I should not have, and did things I am not proud of. Looking back, most of it I am now embarrassed by, and wish I could just sweep it under a rug somewhere. However, it is what it is. I am past that, and confessed it, and I know God forgives me for it. I have learned to look to my own family and within my own home... my husband and my children, as well as my Faith for contentment and to fill that emptiness I was always trying to fill. I am not saying that I don't still get lonely sometimes. I guess I AM saying that, (again, no offense), but I have been burnt so much I am pretty darn reluctant to repeat any of that. I highly doubt if I will ever again be able to fully open up... again.... to 'anyone' outside my immediate family or to my confessor. Sorry. I've touched that 'hot stove' and gotten burnt too much... and I am in no hurry to touch it again. If again I ever do. I look 'inward' for my joy now. You say, "center yourself"... and I say, "Cool!! Because our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit!" (Putting my focus on God!) My kids, my hubby, my faith. (Notice I said Faith and not "higher power"!) Sure, I have times when I am lonely... who doesn't? But it's not the same as it used to be. There's nothing 'out' there for me anymore. That's why my blog is called "Barefoot in my Catholic Bubble". I LIKE my bubble. I like it and have no intention of wandering out of it. And why should I? It fills me!!
I have come to understand... not just in my head... but in my heart... that being a mother and a wife is not just my "job". It is truly my vocation. One I have chosen. And if I had it to do all over again, I would not hesitate to choose exactly the same. A man and a woman become one. He is mine, and I am his. Yesterday, we went to my niece's 40th birthday party. I enjoyed coming in with my husbands arm around me. I love that feeling that I am loved, and feeling safe and protected and proud of my children. None of this is anything I have done. All of this is a gift to me from God that I in no way have ever, or ever will, deserve. I am not going to try and convince anyone that I am Susie -Homemaker and that every day is a bed of roses and every moment made in Heaven, (LOL!!!), because I will tell you straight up that is a lie of Satan. :) There are days I want to knock Mark's head clean off at the shoulders and bury him in the back yard. :) There are days I want to sell my children to a band of gypsies. But I love them so much, even when they drive me completely crazy, (short trip for me!) HOWEVER... I trust them and love them... and when the cards are down... we all have each other's back. It saddens me that I ever even remotely considered my life a drudgery and that I had to look outside of my own home and life to find what I 'thought' was 'happiness'. Boy oh boy... was I ever confused and mislead. The devil is sneaky that way. And that's what "old smut face" hates more than anything is family. Why? Because the family is so precious to God.
When things were making me unhappy, it was convenient for me to blame my husband. Looking back though, most of it was me. I was not respecting him, myself, or our marriage vows. I was being selfish, self-centered, and inconsiderate. That's hard to admit to yourself. Trust me, I don't like the taste of crow any more than anyone else. But God was merciful... He put the right persons in my life at the right time and I was shown my very very ugly reflection of my actions... and how they very well could have cost me my marriage... and any shred of self respect I may have remotely had left. Thank you Lord, for that right path... I was off the path quite a while.. and I am indeed thankful and grateful to have both my feet, (no longer barefoot, but Birkenstocked!), on it! :)
Remember that old song, "Looking for love in all the wrong places.." Well, that's exactly what I was doing. Not in 'that' way. *ahem*... but spiritually. Not that I didn't care for my family before... of course I did... but... I can't explain... but it's different now. Yes, we homeschool. I'm way past just teaching the basics now though... I am more concerned with my daughters faith, their souls... modesty, chastity... their catholic faith. We have not always been faithful with our church attendance in the past... that has changed too. It's not, "oh, look at us, such goody-goodies!!" No, no, no, no, NO!! Lord have mercy.. quite the opposite. We actually (to be completely honest here), NEED to be going every single solitary day! Aren't we all 'flowers' in God's garden? Well I don't know about anyone else, but personally I need all the sunshine and "plant food" I can get!! This "flower" wasn't doing too hot sitting in the dark all the time.
I have always been a 'reader'... I LOVE books!! I've been buying//reading, and buying//reading... devotional books to help keep me straight. Trust me I need all the help I can get!! Through reading, I've learned MAYBE one or two things... One thing I have Definitely learned... it that our home... is literally the domestic church. Our HOME is where we every day exercise our faith... love, forgiveness.... love and worship of God... where I teach our children about God. Where we live our faith... and we are "in our Catholic Bubble"... because oftentimes the world is sadly against Christianity as a whole. I have learned that my faith isn't just saying, "I love Jesus" (I do, of course), and it's not just going to mass on Sundays. I have learned that my faith is in EVERY THING I do. The way I teach my kids. The relationships I have from my husband to my kids to my family to my friends.... my faith is part of even what we eat, how we dress, and what kind of books we read or television programs we watch... (if any). My faith is who I am.. not just what I do. My faith is me making the Sign of the Cross every time we drive past a Catholic Church. A car accident. Praying when an ambulance rushes by with their lights and siren going. My faith is what keeps my head up when my mom goes in for chemo. My faith is what keeps me from 'cracking' when someone hurt someone I love... and instead of hating that person, (which was my initial reaction), to instead pray for that person's conversion, and know that vengeance is the Lord's and that person will be dealt with in God's own time.. not mine. I am not going to lie and pretend that's it's always easy and a bed of roses... but faith is what keeps me going. My grandmother, God rest her soul... one of the last things she ever said to me was, "Susan, you keep the faith." I am Grandma. I am. Even when it's hard.
I have a beautiful friend who recently taught me about children. Lord... I love my children as much as any mother ever could or would love her kids. They are everything to me. I love them so completely... they are part of me. Seeing my children, is watching my heart walk around outside of my body. What my beautiful, beautiful friend taught me... through her own tragic loss.... is that as much as I love them.... God loves them even more than I ever could. It's hard to imagine that ANYONE could love my girls more than I do. They're MINE!! Carried them in my body for nine months, gave birth, and made them the center of my world.... but guess what... they are not mine. Not really. They are God's. God in His Love and Mercy let me love them for a while. And I pray to God that He will let me "go first" before them... but I have to have faith in Him that He knows far better than I what His plan is... My mother was not much older than me when she was diagnosed with cancer. My youngest sister was still pretty young... elementary school. We were so scared... I mean SCARED.... but God got us through all of it... and still does. She's had some bad, BAD times. I am sad to say I am pretty sure there will be more bad in the future. But I also believe that God takes suffering and uses it.... I guess the only way I can think to put it... it's like we are all precious metals, but with impurities... I believe that suffering burns off those impurities... not just for ourselves... but for all the injustices in the world. All the bad. That may sound cruel.. I don't mean it that way.. It's actually a gift, I believe. But perhaps that goes back to faith. I don't know. I do know that when the doctors told me my youngest was going to have Down's Syndrome, I prayed like I have never prayed in my life... guess what... NO Downs! Sometimes He says 'yes', sometimes 'wait'. It's hard to blindly trust. But we must. Even if God had chosen to bless me with a severely impaired child... His will be done! Yes I know that's easy to say when I don't have that... but we thought we were, and I said it then too. I was scared... my voice shaking, and me sobbing... but yes... His will be done. Because He will give me the strength and courage I need to get through anything.
There is not a one of us out there that does not have our own cross to bear. I do.. you do... Mr. Smith up the street does.... and all of us struggle under the weight of our crosses. I used to look 'out' to find ways to escape my cross any way I could. I'm still not 'in love' with my particular cross, ;) but I know that it really will be okay... and God will get me through it. I do still have trouble giving things to God... it's a pride thing, you know, when we don't give it to God and we think we can handle it ourselves. That's something I've struggled with (one of many things, but I digress). Just take whatever it is, and say, "Jesus, I am giving this to You" and then you have to make yourself back off. I still have to kick myself in the rear every time. :) And sometimes I do go take it back and then have to go through this a few times, (I am extremely hard-headed and I admit it) but we 'have' to do this. Everything.. good and bad... it's all His anyway!
Kids. The very week that my eldest turned 18, she went downtown to become a registered voter. She realized how important it was to add her voice. My kids are not perfect... (none of us are!)... but I know that my girl will vote pro-life.. and she will stand up for what is right. I am proud of the woman she has become. (remind me of that when she is driving me nuts) :)
One more thing... *jumps up on soapbox one more time* ... the argument that "anyone" should be allowed to get married. That "no one should tell you who you can and cannot love". No one said *not* to love!! In fact, God commands that we love our neighbor. So why on earth would I ever say, "oh, no.. you CAN'T love that person." Too, I have never EVER said that gay people didn't deserve love. That is idiotic. Of COURSE they do! We ALL do!! Gay, straight... whatever... we are all human beings, made in the image of God. Regardless of your race or religion or if you are gay or straight... we are ALL worthy of love and respect... one the same as anyone else. However. NO ONE has the right to re-define marriage. Not me. Not you. That does NOT make me 'closed minded' or a 'gay basher'. That means that God said it and I believe it and that settles it. :) Marriage is between a man and a woman. Period. It is a gift to us from God. Two men cannot produce life. Two women cannot produce life. It takes a man AND a woman... anything else goes against natural law. Marriage is a gift. A sacrament. It is a Holy Vocation. I am not uncompassionate to gay people. I have a gay cousin. I have a gay friend. My gay friend is even against gay marriage because he KNOWS it's not right!! It's not about discrimination or a lack of respect. People can argue "feelings" til the cows come home. Most rational adults know that a marriage is built on more than just 'feelings'. Making same sex marriage legal is not going to bring absolution or inner peace to gays or anyone else. And yes, you'd better believe some are just pushing this to absolve a guilty conscience. Some just want public approval and social acceptance. Marriage between one man and one woman is natural and life giving.. period. I am sorry if this has offended anyone... but some of the "politically correct" views offend me, and my faith. We all have free will. Free choice. This is not being mean, or prejudiced, or a basher or closed-minded or mean... it's what's right and what's wrong. Period.
To sum it all up... I am not making excuses or backing down on my faith or what the Church teaches. I stopped putting 'me' first and put God first, then family. I am choosing quality over quantity... after all... I can have the key to every library in the world, but why would I want that if God is excluded? I won't walk on eggshells because I might 'offend' someone... I've said it before, and I'm saying it again... Wrong is wrong, even if the whole world is doing it. And Right is Right... even if you stand alone.
Let it be done unto me according to His will.