So I start the blog and then stop. I can’t do this, I don’t have anything to say…but there’s the problem. I do have something to say and it’s something I feel compelled by the Lord to tell….and not because it’s My Story…it’s His story within me. So here goes…I grew up as a cradle Catholic. I went to a Catholic grade school and therefore, knew about Jesus, the sacraments, and some of the liturgical year…but I don’t really remember much more than that. I drifted from my religion and my faith in my high school and college years only to attend mass for “C&E” (otherwise known as Christmas and Easter). I believed in God and would pray when times were tough or my little memorized prayer that I quickly said as a child to watch over me…but nothing really more than that. I continued down this path and did join my parish after I got married, in which I did start going a little more than C&E, but not much. I really didn’t think about it much more than that. I knew when we had children, I wanted them to follow my religion as I was the only semi-practicing and had them baptized into the Catholic church. When it came time for school, for some reason I pushed my kids to go to the Catholic school as well. The main reason was because I came from a small farm town with 13 kids in my grade school class and was terrified of having my baby enter this huge school and become lost in the mix of all the kids. And…because I wanted her to follow God and knew the school would teach her what I didn’t know or couldn’t.
As for my personality, as St John Vianney would cite it, I was only “Christian in name”. I loved pleasure, sought comfort, flew from anything that might spell suffering or was risky, was over-anxious about the small stuff, complained often, and became incredibly impatient when things didn’t go my way. I put work at the top of my priorities often at times and always strived for pure perfection. Being the perfect worker, perfect mommy, and overall just getting things done my way. I strived to quickly move up the ladder at my company and become very successful…which I did! I was a great mommy and wife, but was just exhausted in my strive for perfection.
So my real story (His story) started a year ago - I was on a trip with girlfriends to run a half marathon at Disney. At the time, my company was going through a merger, friends were getting laid off, and I had a major proposal about to drop any minute in which I was to manage. We were also in the midst of putting our first house we've ever lived in as a family on the market as we grew out of it. Needless to say...I had a lot of stress going on. Back to Disney...first night, I couldn't sleep and out of nowhere anxiety set in. I had my first panic attack there at night by myself worrying about not sleeping and what was going on. I went all nights with little sleep. I've never had an issue sleeping in my life, so this was very scary. When I got home, I thought I'd be better, but it got worse, the anxiety, the sleeplessness, the fear. I ended up going to the Dr who put me on sleeping meds...then anxiety meds, which all seemed to make me worse. I wasn't eating or sleeping and lost nearly 15 pounds in weeks. I was in the middle of a nervous breakdown and had no idea how to escape or what was even happening to me. I realized the medicine made me worse and I made it my goal to wean off them and slowly ease back to normal life, which slowly started to happen, but then I relapsed as my mind panicked again. I went another few months living every day in fear, panic attacks, and little sleep...all centered around not sleeping and why am I not getting better. Then, one night I was trying meditation and coming up with a mantra to help and the only mantra I could come up with was "Kyrie Eleison" (Latin for Lord Have Mercy) as this was something I memorized as a child. As I'm saying it over and over and praying for God to release me, I felt His hand on my shoulder and He said "Hold My Hand, and I will get you through this" and I suddenly felt this warmth in my body and churning in my brain felt as though it was flowing freely. I immediately stopped having panic and had an immense sense of peace. His reach for me didn’t end there…God continued to reach me in the days/weeks after and spoke to me and showed me a way to heal….He showed me the Bible and told me to read it every day…led me to faith groups at my work, led me to a women’s bible study (which I finally attended)…and is slowly healing my mind. He givees me peace and comfort in knowing that He is with me at all times.
Amazingly, during all of this, He was lifting the layers off my eyes. I was seeing the world in a whole new light. I was starting to see blessings all around me that I didn’t see before and wanted to learn as much as I could. This journey has been so amazing to me that I wanted to capture it…and journaled the blessings as I saw them. I am starting this blog to help capture my transformation…and maybe help others that struggle with being “Christian only in name” or struggle with anxiety…or just want to ignite their faith.