I left off my last installment at depression and suicidality. Sorry about that.
I want to pick up a couple years later. After I tried doing things My Way.
"what is my way?"
Really, I was going through a process, but it took me these years, and I had not found yet how not to fall into my old patterns.
What, you may ask, made the difference? I had been a Christian for some twenty-plus years, I understood the Gospel, I read my Bible, I had experienced the filling and touch of the Holy Spirit. Why was I not able to live in accordance with that? Why were my wounds and sins dictating my actions?
The single biggest factor was that I knew Jesus, but I had not been exposed to His Real Presence in the Blessed sacrament, nor had I received Him in the Eucharist. I had the knowledge, at least most of it; I had brushes with the Spirit of God, and I had received Jesus into my heart, accepted and believed. But all that was coming from me. What comes from Him, what He offers, is Himself. He adds Himself into the equation, joins to our flesh when we receive Him in communion, and MAKES IT POSSIBLE for us to have the power to overcome the world, the flesh and the devil. Up until that, it is all effort. I wrote about my conversion more here.
I was that sheep that wandered away, and I needed Him to come and find me, which He did when He brought me to Himself in the Catholic Church. He knew I loved Him and wanted to again live as His daughter, but did not know how anymore to go about it.
If you know me at all, you know I do not bash my Protestant/charismatic roots, as I was given good teaching, guidance, love and care along the way. But I also was one of the walking wounded, by the very hands that 'fed' me. Going by the Word, the leadership of the last couple churches instructed the congregations to "have nothing to do with that one" --(have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed.-2 Thessalonians 3:14)-- trouble is, while I was definitely doing things that were sinful, nobody seemed to recall what I, the person, had just gone through for the last 13 years (or more), and that I was the very same person that, not that long before, was considered in good standing in the church. You know, while I was being abused, demeaned and despairing for myself and my children. Not to say that that verse has no meaning or no truth. If it's in the Bible, it is true.
I now know I simply did not have the tools. Jesus needed to come and get me. Praise God, He did. I hold no anger for my previous churches or friends, but I do still occasionally feel the hurt at the lost relationships, or when the sting of being ostracized pops up here and there. I resolved not to do that to people that lose their way, nor judge their hearts. Or contribute in any way to making them feel as though God doesn't want them anymore.
This is one of the problems of the independent interpretation of scripture.
But with His help, and the glorious power of His presence within me and without, He drew me. He gave me back, music, the love of all my wonderful children, who, each in their own way, gave, and continue to give love, joy, wisdom, meaning and direction to my life. I may have played a part in giving them life, but they truly have kept me alive and loving life. He gave me a wonderful husband who loves us all.
He has not 'taken away' all depression or anxiety, insecurity or all effects of my past. I offer any small suffering to Him or ask the Blessed Mother to use them for her intentions. I am glad just to be able to be with Him, and I appreciate each day He gives me.
It is simple, but not easy. If we take that one step toward Jesus, He will take us up and go with us the rest of the way. It is not easy to have trust, humility, abandon and docility. To discipline our natural laziness, forgetfulness or self interest. To let go of our own motives. I have not mastered any of these things, but I know I can always ask for what I need.
Start by asking for what you need. Do you need the gift of faith? Do you need the desire to pray? To go to mass? Ask.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, [then] I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me.*
Thanks for going through my journey with me. I hope it in some small way can touch someone who deals with depression, anxiety, lack of faith, or doubt.
God Bless you~
Looking forward to homemade chocolate cake for Fat Tuesday and then a peaceful, fruitful Lent!
God Bless you~