Sunday, March 16, 2014

Spiritual Sunday

Happy Sunday!

I know I've posted about my past tense love for Sundays before, but today I want to talk about my spirituality and relationship with God.

Some of my FAVORITE and most fond memories are of my family going to Sunday mass followed by a trip to Brueggers Bagel.  I was quite the picky eater, but I remember getting a plain bagel and feeling like I was at a five-star restaurant while my dad would discuss the message of that day's mass.  I feel so blessed to have been raised in such a spiritual family where God was truly the center of all that we did.  When things went well for our family, we thanked God, and when we were struggling, the first advice given was, "Pray about it."  I hope to implement that same religious stability in my own home, for I'm so grateful it was in the one I grew up in.

Faith is such a broad term.  I've journaled quite a bit about the concept and how relative it is to each person.  I find my relationship with God to be very intimate and personal, and sometimes I wonder if others share a similar relationship with Him.

I'm not deeply connected to a church, or specific religion for that matter.  I first identify as Christian and then Catholic.  There are a lot of things about the Catholic religion that I don't agree with, yet it is still the religion that I know most about.  Until I become more educated on others, I plan to practice the Catholic religion and have my daughter baptized Catholic.  I see my relationship and devotion to God more important than defining myself as a specific religion.  

First thing, that may be authentic to my beliefs or similar to others, is that I do not believe in coincidences or luck.  Frankly, I don't understand how any religious person could.  Does one truly believe they got a raise during a time of financial instability by chance?  Or it was "just a coincidence" that you ran into your soul mate one day?  Any time something happens that one would identify as a coincidence, I instinctively look up and smile.  I know God is with me at all times, and to my core I know that all of the good is his doing, and all of the struggle is him strengthening me.  I like to call these "coincidences" God Winks.  There is a great book, When God Winks at You, that I fell in love with.  If you're unsure whether things that happen are coincidence or God's doing, then read this book!  It is filled with short stories that you can read one at a time.  

Next, I am not afraid of death.  It sounds weird, especially coming from a 23 year old, but I truly believe that when I leave this beautiful life of mine, it will be God's doing.  Whether it be in one hundred seconds or one hundred years, I believe that God will take me when He is ready for me.  

A lot of the non-believers wonder, "if there is a God, then why do bad things happen to good people?"  While this doesn't make me question my faith, it does make me stop and think.  Because of my faith, I know that it's in God's plans.  While we have plans of what our lives should amount to or how the lives of these "good people" or people we love should look, God knows better and has a greater plan.  To me, it's like trying to imagine what one billion dollars looks like, that is just as unconceivable as trying to figure out God's purpose in every facet of life.  Look at what his son went through, who is identified as perfect.  He gave up his life while suffering.  At the time, no one knew God's plan, but it later became clear when we learned that Jesus gave up his life for us.  Similarly, when you lose a loved one or endure an unfathomably, difficult, and dark time, you wonder, "WHY?"  Or, sometimes even worse, if it's not you, you wonder why someone so "good" could go through something so horrific.  When you question this, think of Jesus and his suffering; it wasn't always clear there either, and like your situation, it will become clear.

This next thing is a hard one for me to swallow.  I'm a planner.  I know I've mentioned this before, but I don't know that anyone could match the amount of lists I make per week OR how far ahead I look ALL OF THE TIME.  While others may see it as me not living in the moment, it is what makes me feel stable and secure, knowing I am always ready and prepared.  However, I know that God's plans for me so far surpass my own.  Do I live my life understanding that?  Maybe not.  For example, I always thought I would be extremely successful in my career, financially stable, and married before I started a family.  I would have conquered much of my bucket list, traveled the world, etc.  That's when, Surprise!  God is actually ready for you to start a family right now.  In my mind I'm like, "But that wasn't on my to-do list for this year…"  As a reflect on it, I wonder if I would have put time aside to start a family, maybe I would've become married to my career, or maybe my independence wouldn't have allowed it.  God knew better, so he has graced me with this blessing sooner than I planned.  This is why this is one of my favorite quotes:
As I mentioned that I look to God at my successes and I find his purpose in my struggles, I also try to do some daily scripture reading.  I have yet to read the entire bible, that's on my bucket list, but I really like this book, Jesus Calling.

There is a reading for every day of the year (Even on leap year, how about that!?), and I find myself able to relate and find meaning within each one.

Lastly, I find myself having a "third wheel" in my relationships.  Guess who?  God.  With each struggle I face in every relationship, He is who I turn to.  Specifically, I see marriage as a covenant between two people (of any sex) and God.  The relationship that he will soon be playing a larger role than in any relationship I've had is the upcoming one, the one with my unborn daughter.  I aspire to serve Him while raising her, and it's something I take very seriously.  I hope to make Him proud in all that I do as a mother, but I'm sure I'll be faced with the constant question of, "Am I doing this right??"  Because of these fears, I recently bought the book, The Confident Mom, which is all about raising a family with God's strength and wisdom.  I like it so far, because it often refers to imperfect mothers from the bible.  I'm not very far into it, but I'll be sure to share how it is!

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!!