Tag Archives: beautiful things

An Open Letter to a Single Momma

25 Apr

You were sixteen when you found out you were pregnant. You were alone and ashamed. You had no idea how you were going to finish high school with a baby.

But you knew that the baby inside you was alive. You knew that that baby was special and unique. Most importantly you knew that that baby was not just your child, but God’s child as well.

How did you face your strict Christian parents? How did you look them in the eyes and tell them your secret?

How did you face the teasing – the cruel jeers about your body and your sexuality that your peers felt free to make? How did you find the courage to walk down the hallways of your school each day?

I wish so badly that I could go back in time and hold your hand during those hard times. I wish that I could un-do the cruel and careless words said about you and your beautiful baby. I hope and pray that some day I will have just half of the strength that you had during those nine months – and the years after.

You’ll never know how much I admire you for the beautiful words about your baby that you shared with me last week:

From the moment I knew he existed he was my reason for breathing.

I love you so much sweet lady. I love your soul and your strength and your love for God. I love you because you loved your baby more than you loved yourself.

I am proud that someday I’ll be able to call you mother-in-law. That beautiful baby that you gave birth to grew into the best man I’ve ever met. He is my hero and I love him with my whole heart. Thank you for giving him life. Thank you for giving him to me.

God did a great work in you. He took what Satan intended for evil and made it into a love more beautiful than words can describe – a love between mother and son, a love between man and wife, and a love between mother and daughter-in-law.

My First Confession

14 Mar

Well…I’ve made my first confession.

I hadn’t been nervous about it until it was time for me to drive to the church. I got in my car and I was shaking so badly I could barely drive. I rarely drive with the radio off, but today it was grating on my nerves. I snapped it off impatiently.

When I walked into the church, the secretary said hi to me, but I couldn’t force a response out of my mouth. Father saw me and knew immediately that I was more than a little unnerved. So rather than go to the confessional he suggested we sit in his office and talk.

I pulled out my two page list of sins and glanced down at it. “There’s no way this can cover the nine years worth of sins I’ve amassed since my baptism,” I thought.

I looked at Father.

Then back at my list.

Then back at Father.

He folded his hands in front of him and said, “I don’t have anything else scheduled for this afternoon. We will take as long as you need. Even if all you need is to collect your thoughts.”

I sat for a second and took a deep breath.

“I…I…I have taken…” and that’s when the tears started. And they didn’t stop until I was two sins away from the bottom of my list.

It had been so long since I’d sat down and actually examined my conscience. I had forgotten what it feels like to ponder my own frail human nature. I had forgotten the feelings that accompany guilt – the terror of Hell, the desolation that comes from knowing you’ve hurt the One who loves you the most, the feeling of being despicable and unworthy of forgiveness – things I hadn’t felt since I gave up Protestantism.

This past week exhausted me for that reason. Ever since I had scheduled my confession with Father, I had been reflecting on the things I ought to share. And I began to feel much like I did prior to leaving the Protestant Church. I cried a lot this week, because I was afraid that I was entering into the same thing I am running away from.

Each time I remembered a sin, it felt like I was picking up an item from my room and putting it in a box. The box grew heavier and heavier as the week went on, and I carried it with me everywhere. Sometimes I would see someone or walk by a place and it would spark my memory – and then more things would go into my box. I felt myself beginning to despair because there was so much weighing me down.

“This isn’t what I want,” I thought. “I am entering the Catholic Church to get away from this. Yet here it is, following me everywhere I go.”

And then I went to Confession.

When I looked down at my list, each line seemed to taunt with evil glee, “You’ll never be able to say me,” one would say. “I’m too embarrassing to confess, you’d better hold back on me,” another would suggest.

So I started at the top, with the hardest things first. And I overcame that list, line by line. And at the end I tried to look Father in the eye, but the guilt was still there. It was almost tangible, I thought.

But then something happened that I had forgotten was going to happen.

Father absolved me.

And through Father, Jesus reminded me that He didn’t condemn. He forgave. And He will continue to forgive and to ease my guilt.

Meeting the Bishop

28 Feb

Walking down the aisle to be accepted by the Bishop was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever taken part in. He smiled and his eyes sparkled when he drew a cross on my forehead to remind me of my baptism. In that moment I remembered the GOD I fell in love with. I saw Him shining through the Bishop’s eyes. And it was so wondrous that all I could do was smile and weep.

For years I believed the lie that no one loved me. Even on Sundays when the pastor preached on love, I still detected undertones of “God will love you if…” I struggled to fill in that “if.” I would lay in bed late at night and think about that “if.”

“If only I didn’t like that boy…”

“If only I was more patient…”

“If only I always knew what the right thing to do is…”

“If only I didn’t break my promises to God…”

“If only…”

“If only…”

“If only…”

If only starts to sound really strange if you say it a lot. You begin to blend the words together so that the consonants and syllables seem all slurred and blurry.

After a while, if only started to sound as strange to my heart as it does to my ears. I found myself questioning a god who would love me if I would only do what he wanted. I didn’t understand someone who would set a million impossible tasks before me and then dangle his love in front of me like some sort of sick incentive.

One of the first lessons I learned on my journey into the Church is that GOD’s love does not work the way I had been taught. His love for us does not follow our obedience; it precedes it. GOD loves us and because of that He desires us to do what is right, because doing what is right is good for us, and His love for us is meant to empower us to do right.

I realized that GOD does not use His love to incentivize us or to try to bribe us into goodness. He gives us His love because He wants to. And us doing right is just a way for us to express our thankfulness to Him. However, if we choose not to express our thankfulness, that doesn’t mean He’ll take His love away. It’s a gift that has no strings. Jesus is a gift without strings. And I love Him for that.