Grace, Amen.

I' wanted to post an update and couldn't narrow down what I wanted to write about. So today I'm going to hit two completely different but totally related topics.

Grace. It is by the grace of God that I am where I am today. I often forget this. I had a suicide attempt 12 years ago and for some reason God decided that it wasn't my time to be with Him. I know there are several beliefs out there and many conflicting theories on where one goes if they commit suicide. Catholics believe in Purgatory and not all religions do. I am Catholic so, for the most part, that is what I was raised to believe. Suicide along with several other circumstances landed you in Purgatory and it was up to your family, friends, and the Lord himself to get you into those pearly gates. I am a spiritual person, not always outwardly and not always spiritual as I would like to be. But I consider myself as such. I also am not 100% confident about Purgatory and everything that goes along with it. Anyways, when I tried to end my life God intervened. He didn't have to, but He did. Everyday I am thankful for that. As far as me being a spiritual person, I am not under the impression that many people know that about me, or honestly, that anybody cares to know that about me. I keep my beliefs out of work and since most of my relationships at this point involve co-workers it's not something that gets discussed. I also don't push my beliefs on anyone so unless someone brings it up or asks a question, again, it doesn't get discussed. When I was growing up I thought of every excuse in the book (except an in-grown toe nail, my brother got that one!) to get out of going to church. I would run home really fast after Sunday school, hide under the bed and eat candy. My reasoning was "I ate before communion so I can't go!!" My parents NEVER fell for it or let me get out of going. I had to be pretty sick to get out of church. I hated them for that, but I am thankful for that now. We went every Sunday as a family and then we went home and had the same ol Sunday meal......roast beef. (I also HATED roast beef) The older I got the less resistant I got to church. In fact, I even began to enjoy going. A lot of that had to do with priests that we had at the time. I even attempted to start up a youth group (it was a huge fail)!! Then I was introduced to a Non-Denominational retreat that I started going to twice a year when I was 15. (Except.....when I bailed on my very last opportunity to go the day before I was supposed to be there....another story for another day.) I made some great friends there, at T.E.C (Teen Encounter Christ). I also learned a lot about the Bible. Probably more than I learned at my Catechism classes at Church, even. Most of those friendships lasted for quite a few years beyond the T.E.C days. Unfortunately, now, most of them are non-existent. As an adult I really suck at going to church, reading the Bible, and being an outward spoken Christian. For a long period of time when I lived in Aberdeen I would go to church pretty religiously (ha! see what I did there?) and ALWAYS felt better afterward. I would occasionally go with a friend but typically preferred going alone.  I think at some point in the last two-three years I started to have some conflicting feelings about Catholicism and that has contributed to my lack of church going. There are several different things that factor into this but I'm not going to get into those today. One thing that has always been consistent is my love for (what I call)  Jesus music. I love Christian music of all sorts. I listen to it on a pretty consistent basis and especially if I am feeling extra anxious or depressed or if I can't sleep at night. It has a very soothing effect on me and can work wonders. I have been more intentional about my daily prayers as well lately. While I know there is far more work to do I have started with a simple prayer each night before I go to bed. The same, consistent words.
 "Lord, please wrap me in your arms and ease this pain and anxiety. Show me the way to positive relationships, give me the strength to fight my demons, and allow me to have a peaceful night of sleep, Amen"
One of my other goals for the very near future is to purchase a daily devotional book. I have been researching some online and it's really overwhelming. I need to just pick one and give it a shot.

Self doubt is a heavy, heavy burden to carry. I have been carrying it on my shoulders for longer than is comfortable for me. I understand that everyone has some form of self doubt at different times in their lives, but when my self doubt settles in and makes itself comfortable in my life it is very hard for me to kick it out. I feel like this topic of self burden can be related back to how I am trying to improve my relationship with God, because in His eyes I am perfect. And his opinion is the one that really, truly matters. I need to learn how to put my trust and my faith in Him, and in return crush the self doubt that is taking over. I have not felt this amount of self doubt in such a long time that I don't know how to fight through it. Not knowing what to do about self doubt is a gateway for feeling hopeless, worthless, pathetic, unimportant and a slew of other negative emotions. it becomes a vicious cycle that is so exhausting to be in. It leads to shame. Shame is a monster in and of itself.

With a little bit of grace and a whole lot of God, I will conquer this self doubt.


                               Grace Upon Grace:

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