Renewing Your Faith and Finding Your Purpose

60301_1448010392695_8048544_nI have spent the entirety of my 30s trying to figure out what my purpose is in life. In my 20s, I thought that I had it all figured out. I, of course, was wrong. Life threw me enough curveballs that it left me at times wondering which end was up. Determined as always, I kept pushing through. Somewhere in my mid-30s I started to get interested once again in my catholic faith. I found the answers to my questions in the most unlikely place – Pinterest. I was searching for other content and catholic oriented posts started to pop up. Intrigued and clearly distracted, I got more and more immersed. (Pinterest has a way of doing that! ūüėČ ) Now I’m 39 years old, and it’s all starting to fall into place for me. It’s not necessarily what¬†I want. It’s what God wants. I am where I’m meant to be. Sometimes it can test my patience, but in the end, I have life lessons to learn. Some are “light bulb moments” and others are hard.¬†Really hard.

As cliche as it sounds, I really have found answers to questions that I have, or advice on how to deal with this or that, in the bible. I found a peace that I’ve never known before in praying. I’ve said the same prayers since I was a small child (the Our Father, Hail Mary, Nicene Creed, Apostle’s Creed … ), but only now are they starting to have meaning to me – the level of meaning that is truly deep within you; within your soul. This wasn’t an overnight process by any means. This was over the course of a decade or more. Everything that I’ve ever been through in my life (good, bad, indifferent, mundane, and torturous) all leads to this. I see the world with a sense of vision that is completely new to me and is the beginning of something wonderful and beautiful. Within it all lies the inquiries of:¬†what is the true meaning of life?¬† and¬†what is my purpose within that life? .

Those closest to me have listening to me complain (yes, I mean complain) about, cry about, and outwardly think about my life, who’s in it, who’s not, and why. When I say these were long conversations, I mean they were¬†long. And repetitive. They had the patience enough to listen to me flip flop between one thought and another as I tried to figure it all out. And I’ve received a lot of amazing advice over the years. I will be eternally indebted to them for their selfless and unconditional love, patience, encouragement, and support. I could never have made it this far in my life’s journey without them.¬†In this lies what I consider to be the first of many truths to the meaning of life: find the people to have in your innermost circle that will¬†tremendously bless you¬†in ways that you may never be able to reciprocate.

Through all the tears, the moments of frustration, moments of anger, and the pain of physical injuries that¬†life experiences can bring, I saw my purpose unfold. Since I was a small child I wanted to be a wife, mom, and homemaker. That’s it. Simple right?! Tell that “simple” desire to¬†any wife, mom, and homemaker, and they will surely laugh because there’s¬†nothing simple about it! As a small child everything is simple. We don’t have limitations and inhibitions as small children. We, as small children, approach the world with wonder, curiosity, and sometimes even complete disregard for what (and who) is around us – not intentionally of course. That’s what makes children who and what they are. Somewhere along the way as we grow and evolve into adults we lose quite a bit of that. We become jaded and skeptical, maybe even selfish and greedy at times (whether we realize it or not). Maybe not the selfish and greedy part, but I absolutely became jaded and skeptical as an adult. With a great amount of introspection I came to realize that I was living the life that I wished about as a small child. Beneath it all wasn’t the actuality of being a wife, mom, and homemaker. What I wanted out of life was to be a nurturer, and someone that created a home that was viewed as a haven, sanctuary, and all around “soft place to land”. And¬†this is at the very heart of what it means to be a wife, mom, and homemaker. As a small child I instinctively knew what my purpose in life was. And as an adult, I couldn’t see it. Until now, the point in my life where I turned back to my catholic faith. The point in my life that I chose to “go all in”, dedicating and devoting my life to continuous learning, prayer, reading, and introspection, was the same point that my purpose became increasingly apparent. There was no way that I could¬†be oblivious to¬†it. Herein is the second truth to the meaning of life: no matter what your faith is, you¬†have to “go all in”. You have to 100% devote and dedicate your life to continuous learning, prayer, and introspection.¬†

Thomas Merton Discovering Vocation

Now that I’ve discovered that I was living my purpose all along (just not with the exact appearance that I thought it would have), I have found a great sense of peace. If you follow the writings of christian women (many of them are wives, moms, and homemakers – sound familiar?! ūüėČ ) , you will inevitably come across writings that mention homemaking being a ministry. Without getting into actual bible verses, because that’s not my forte or something that I want to get into here, I have found that when I use those passages in the bible as a guide, more of what I had longed and dreamed about I already had – just not in the appearance that I thought it would. It is a both an implicit and explicit ministry of faith in a way that only a woman can provide. It’s that “special touch” that we as woman have. Our work is by no means easy. It is, however, vital to the success of our ministry and our purpose in life.

As a young adult, when I thought I had it all figured out (ha!), I used to say “I’ve never been married and I don’t have children because I refuse to lower my standards.” This is still for the most part true, although some of my standards have evolved. What I was completely wrong about (because I wasn’t wise enough to see it), was that it wasn’t what God wanted for me in that station of life. I was 100% miserable at times, and I lost count years ago of how many nights I cried myself to sleep because I wasn’t married with children like the people around me of the same age. Looking back, God¬†really did me a favor! So many of them had aspects of their lives that I did not find appealing. That could’ve been me, had I not been so involved in my daily activities to notice. Don’t get me wrong, I had my only challenges to deal with and someone looking at my life may say the same thing about me. My take away from this observation is¬†be careful what you wish for! God was definitely listening to the sweet and tiny voice of my younger self when I expressed what I wanted out of life. I got exactly what I wanted, it just didn’t look like how I thought it would. What I got, was what I¬†needed it to look like. That was where my life lessons were.¬†

So what does my life look like?! The short brief of a very long story is that my life has been filled with trauma, tragedy, trials and tribulations … and I’m still here.¬†Nothing has stopped me from living my life with purpose, even though I didn’t really understand what my purpose was or the fact that I was already living my life with purpose and didn’t know it. Long before I was diagnosed at 26 years old as ADHD/Dyslexic, I was an advocate for those with disabilities. Little did I know that I would have to be my own advocate for the same reason. I’ve come to know the frustration of feeling like no one is listening, let alone caring about those with disabilities. I learned by having a full blown anaphylaxsis reaction that I was allergic to peanuts. That near death experience taught me (and continues to teach me) about how food products and ingredients are processed worldwide. Furthermore, it taught me how careless companies can be in this regard and that some of them have no intention of changing their ways because profits are more important. After 19 years of intermittent studies, I earned a Bachelor’s Degree that focuses on political theory and history prior to the 19th century. I was bound and determined that no matter what life had in store fore me, I was going to set that goal and accomplish it. So I did. I never anticipated it would take nearly two decades.¬†I persevered because I set a goal in relation to something that I was passionate about, and I accomplished it. When you find something that you love and are passionate about it, stick with it.¬†

There’s a part of me that feels like I’m playing a game of “beat the clock” because I’m approaching 40 years old and I have yet to realize my lifelong dream of being a wife and mom. And that makes me incredibly sad. I don’t know what the future holds for me in this regard. What I¬†am certain of is all that I’m blessed with now. It took a¬†really long time to not just know it intellectually, but to feel it in my heart; to know it with every fiber of what makes me who I am. For the longest time I was so focused on what I didn’t have or what wasn’t going right. When I started to look inward for a really clear introspective look at my life thus far things began to change.¬†It’s important to “get right with yourself” and to “get right with God”, what ever that means to you. You’re the only person that can tell you what that means. It may take a lot more work and time than you anticipated. You need to power through and get it done. Do the work you need to.

Thomas Merton Courage Faith Hope

I’m not perfect. Far from it. I’m not an expert by any means. I’m simply sharing my perspective. I’m sharing with you what has worked for me. There’s a lot that I’ve left out because I don’t put every detail of my life out there. Regardless, I can still make the points I need to in order to share my perspective. The absolute bottom line is¬†no matter how poorly I was educated in religious classes in my youth, no matter how long my separation had been with my church, no matter what happened in my life, my faith was¬†always there (whether I realized it or not). God was there with me and for me whether I realized it and felt it or not. The first relationship I’ve ever had that involved absolutely unconditional love was from God. Beyond that, the best relationships that I’ve had are with those in my innermost circle. It’s decidedly not perfect, and I haven’t been the best version of myself. In spite of that, they have shown me unconditional love, support, and encouragement. I’m blessed beyond measure. And for that I’m eternally grateful.

For the moment, the time we’re sharing is drawing to a close. The lasting impression that I have is that no matter how much I want something, no matter what timeline I have in mind, it really does happen in due time; if and only if it’s truly meant to be. I will continue to focus on what I¬†do have in the fully blessed moments I live every day and take it all one day at a time.

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