Where Was God?

In a recent blog post, ” A 12 year old Atheist,” I wrote about my journey and what brought me to Atheism at a young age.

Deuteronomy 33:27 The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. 

In contemplation recently – a realization, an uncovering was made to me by God of all of the times that I had questioned His Presence.

Questioning God is not something that has happened in the past few years, but there were times when I thought my faith was so rocksolid, so definitively sound, I thought nothing could ever rock my world so much that I would say after the incident, “Where were You?” You know, in those times, it really did bother me a lot – to know that I was questioning again, His Reality, like I did when I was a child.

Isaiah 30:15 In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.

We have all had those critical moments in life where we are either on the edge, at a crossroad, or going into a place of desolation – wondering, where was He in that moment and if He loved me, why would He allow something to happen that would forever change the reality of life?

Isaiah 43:1 “Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine.”

As we age, along comes wisdom, understanding and knowing Him in Truth. And so coming from a different place, a healthier spiritual place, I was thinking about those incidences in my life …

* Where was God, when I cried myself to sleep, listening to my parents fight at night?

God was in the wind, outside of my window and He was in the trees, that gentle sound of the wind, just hitting the leaves to start a beautiful harmony that would comfort me – amidst the screaming. There was not one time that I did not end up falling asleep listening to the sound of the wind in the trees.

* Where was God, when I was living in a car and sleeping in shelters with my mother? Did He not care about me and my mom?

God was in the warmth of the comfortable bed that I had that evening. He was in the smiles of the volunteers at the shelters that made me feel like I was a human being. I saw God in the woman that hugged my mother and told her it would be okay.

* Where was God when I was being physically abused by my mother, leaving bruises on only the hidden parts that people could not see on my body?

God was there that day in school, when He told me to go see my school nurse, because the next time I may not make it out alive.

* Where was God when I did what it is that He asked me to do in school that day and I was then sitting in the office?

God was there when I was asked if I wanted to go live with my dad, I felt that brave surge, which I now know is the Holy Spirit, guiding me to say that I did not want to go with either one of my parents – that I chose a foster home instead. 

* Where was God when I would go to the foster home and I felt so alone and so unsure and was asking myself, “What did I just do?”

God was there, in the woman that He chose for me, would ultimately bring me to Him and to the Blessed Mother Mary. Jesus brought me to someone who would forever change my life.

* Where was God, the night that an adult man held a knife to my neck as a teenager and took my innocence away?

God was there, He was there on the way that the light was reflecting on the wall. The way that the trees played off of the light, it brought me to a different place for that moment, a place where I felt the Presence of God without knowing it was Him in that moment. God was there in the courtroom when the judge had compassionate eyes and made me feel safe to testify.

If we all stop and really assess some of the most defining moments in our life, we will see that God was there in each one of those moments.

Why doesn’t He stop things from happening? Because God has given all of us a free will.

What Jesus will do, is if each one of us is willing to take our crosses and to unite them with His Cross, with His Suffering, He will turn our tragedies around to help one of our fellow brothers and or sisters that have gone through something like what we have. This is the ultimate goal in life, is to help another fellow soul get through some hard time by showing that you are a survivor and you came out on the other side even better than when you went in.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Gods Ordained In Marriage

Each morning I would walk down to Saint Anthonys Church by myself where I lived at the age of 16 and would attend the 8 o’clock morning Mass.

It was and still is something that I enjoy to do, going into the Church when nobody is there. I would often talk to God before Mass would begin. Kneeling in the front pew, some of those conversations would be about my future vocation.

I wanted to live my life as a Bride Of Christ, a cloistered Nun. Two years before, I had met with my Parish Priest and told him that I wanted to live my life as a Nun and he told me to come back when I was 18 because that Gods Plans were not yet revealed to me. I remember feeling a crushing pain in my chest not thinking I was good enough.  If that would not happen, I wanted to serve in the Missions.

I wanted in some way to be able to serve God.

As a child, I was different. I knew I was different because a lot of the things that my friends liked, were things that I was never interested in. I was drawn more into nature, into solitude as a child. I remember when the Springtime would arrive and the ant hills would form. I was fascinated with ants as a child. I was fascinated at how little they were and the kind of workforce that they were.  There was so much new adventure everyday to be had outside. Nature was my best friend and that’s where I would naturally gravitate towards.

I was not antisocial, as I had a lot of acquaintances and I had a few good friends. I was outgoing, but when I had the chance to be by myself, I would choose to be alone.

I remember one time, I was around eight and one of my ant friends looked tired and hurt and so I made him a little cardboard box that I found downstairs in my basement and I put a soda cap of water in there with some leaves, some grass, just a little something to make sure that the ant would be really comfortable. I took care of that ant and released it. Whether I caused more harm than good to that little ant, I will never know, but taking care of that little life, was fulfilling.

When my friends and I became teenagers they would talk about getting married and having children and I always remember feeling the awkward one out because I didn’t feel those things. I never once even dreamt about a wedding dress or a cute home. I was determined to change the world at that age, in my own way, and that all started by me taking care of a baby ant. While most girls would take care of their baby dolls I was taking care of ants.

I was never planning on even having children because I wanted to serve only God; I never saw marriage as a vocation. When you are young, you see the world in a very different way. I did not witness a healthy marriage growing up between my own two parents. 

With no apparent answer coming in sight from God, I continued on with my daily life of walking back-and-forth to the two jobs that I had. One of those was retail and the other was working at a hotel. I was very self-sufficient even as a teenager and I always financially took care of myself, I never asked money from my parents, friends or family. Being seventeen and having no car, I would walk to do my laundry and food shopping.

During those walks, some of them being many miles, I had a lot of alone time with God. I was not in the age of electronics and cell phones were much too expensive for many to own.

The best part of those walks would have to be walking past the ocean. Living on Cape Cod there was always something beautiful to see.

 Jeremiah 29:11 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Two weeks later, God would have it that I would meet my future husband. 

Our first date was to Martha’s Vineyard. It was a wonderful time and we ended the date with having Ice cream. When he went to bring me home, we had forgotten that we had accidentally locked the keys to the car and it was so funny. We had to have the gentleman who was keeping an eye on the gates help us to get our car keys out of the car. It was a memorable and funny first date.

God saw that the relationship was good. We would go on to have two children and at the age of 32, I was no longer able to have children due to stage four Endometriosis. I already had two operations prior due to the Endometriosis.

I was told by a Boston GYN specialist that my case of endometriosis was the most severe that he had seen clinically since he had been an obstetrician. He was two years away from retirement when he took on my case.  The fact that my husband and I were able to even conceive children was a blessing and we both know that and are so grateful to God. Because many women in my situation are not able to have children and many of those women are in my own family, due to them having endometriosis.


Mark 10:9:
 “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Being so young, Joey and I did not know much about life. And I think the wonderful thing about that, is growing up together and learning about life together, being the same age and being able to experience the hard times, the good times, the births of our children, it has all been a journey that we have been on with God. Our journey is very unique and different from any other marriage.

My husband and I are both hard workers and we have always provided for our family.

Psalm 119:1-8

 You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. You’re blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him. That’s right – you don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set. You, God, prescribed the right way to live; now you expect us to live it. Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set; Then I’d never have any regrets in comparing my life with your counsel. I thank you for speaking straight from your heart; I learn the pattern of your righteous ways. I’m going to do what you tell me to do; don’t ever walk off and leave me.

A crisis would hit our marriage when we were in our early 30s (to be written in a future blog) I look back now and I realized that if it was not for this crisis, and the way that God had His Hand over our marriage, we still would’ve been going down the same exact path today and we most certainly probably would’ve been divorced.

It was a journey that we both would walk, fall, stumble and we still stumble – almost 30 years later etc. to a healthier future, being guided by the hands of God.

My husband and I told each other that one day, we would share our story about our marriage as we know that people need to hear about young couples who are still together in-spite of major crisis.

If our tragedies can be turned into triumphs and can help one marriage stay together – when perhaps it was going to end in divorce – then everything we have ever been through in our marriage was worth all of the pain and suffering.

… more to come

Chocolate Chips

Yesterday I made some chocolate chip muffins, (extra chocolate chips) and as I was putting the chocolate chips into the flour I tasted one. I’ve tasted chocolate chips, hundreds of times. I’ve never stopped and noticed in that moment what chocolate really tastes like and how God made it taste a particular way for our palate.

How many of us have had a chocolate chip cookie? A chocolate chip muffin? Just grabbed a handful of chocolate chips and tossed them into our mouth? Have you ever stopped and thought, and said, “Wow God, You know thank You for that, thank you for this wonderful taste, thank You that chocolate is so amazing and it’s celebrated throughout the world, through so many wonderful occasions.”

If chocolate chips can be forgotten about, how many other things in this life are we not thanking God for? Are we thanking Him for the beautiful sunsets and sunrises? Many of us take them for advantage.

Life is a set of moments and while we will not be able to capture every one, let’s start by doing our own part and say thank You for any and everything that you never said thank You for. It helps us to become better people, it helps us to appreciate the little things, like the smile on a child’s face, an elderly person, having so much confidence in being able to walk and witnessing that smile that they thought nobody saw – thank God for moments like that too.

Be appreciative on purpose. 

Our Priests

Our Priests are not dispensary machines.

I think as laypeople, it becomes very easy to think of our Priests as available 24/7.

It seems like it doesn’t matter if they have enjoyments and that God has given to them gifts – that He wants them to aspire.

When you see a Priest – you see Jesus – and also a human being.

May we remember the two-in-one and the one-in-two. There is a purposeful, beautiful difference.

Encourage a Priest to find time to discover and take rest in the Lord.

Broken Stones

I am amazed by these steppingstones. Started thinking about them… I saw each stone as an event in life. Some are ragged, some are cracked, some are not on the path with the others -and some have been consumed by weeds.

I then was fascinated by the tiny stones that are in between the larger ones. I started seeing that those were all of the times that we all have had little pieces break off of us and we wonder – where have these pieces gone to? We look around and we see little pieces of our life scattered everywhere and when we think about trying to recapture some of those stones – you know, the ones that look good, the ones that we remember that made us feel good, we overlook the stones that we don’t really want to think about anymore and the ones that gave us great sadness, those are the ones that we push to the side -we actually kick those ones out – and hope to kick them so far into the forest that they can never be found again. We all have that tendency don’t we? Of just picking and choosing what little parts of our life that we want to pick up and lay down?

Looking forward, not seeing more of the path I was thinking that was a nice few moments to consider the steppingstones.

I felt God tell me, you cannot see ahead of the bend,but it is much more of the same path and each one of those small stones that you were wondering about, I have collected all of those small stones. I have taken all of your brokenness, all of your fears, all of your sadness, and your happiness, your joy, your smiles, I have taken all of those and I have mixed them together to build you stronger steps that you will see will not be as ragged in the future, but I had to break you to make you who I wanted you to be.

A 12 year old Atheist

I walked into my dad’s bedroom to grab something and laying on top of his dresser was the divorce papers.  I remember looking at the paper and seeing that the divorce was final. In a way, I cannot say that I was too sad. 

The fights, the late night arguments were over.

During this time, between the ages of 12 and 13, I found some new friends in my school, people that I had already known, but a little bit of a different crowd. Hanging out and talking, I remember during one of those conversations, one of my friends asked me how everything was going and I told her about my parents divorce being finalized. She said that she was sorry and some of my other friends that were there said the same. I told them that it was fine and that I know that God had a plan. Why I said that at that age, after the way that I was feeling, I do not know, but I do know that in each one of us, whether we know it or not, whether we believe it or not, God is there and there are some things that you cannot shake, no matter how hard that you try.

It was at that defining moment that I did not realize what would happen within that conversation. My friends began to ask me that if there was a God, where was He with so many bad things happening in the world, where was He when I had asked the arguing to stop with my parents?

I remember going home that night and thinking about those questions and then thinking about my childhood. Was He really there for me?

It was that night, in my little, unknowledgeable and simple way that I said, “Well God, if you don’t love me, how can I love you? My friends are right, you can’t exist. Look at these wars in the world, look at my life. How can you be real?”

That phase would go to last on for about a year and a half.

During that time, I never knew God in the close personal way that I do today. What I knew of Him was that He existed and I knew that He was the creator of the world.

I was Baptized as a Roman Catholic when I was only a few months old. My family was never active in the Church. There was only a handful of times when we would go to Church and it was only Mom and us when we would go to visit Nana.

We never spoke of Jesus in our home but I would always see a picture of Jesus hanging up. My mother always had one above her bed. I would go to my mom’s bed just to sit and to look into the eyes of Jesus. Somethings so comforting to me and something that I still do today.

When my peers said, “how can God be real, he’s not real to us, where is he?” I remember feeling very indifferent to what it is that they were saying because when I looked into the eyes of Jesus Christ, in that photo hanging above moms bed, I knew what I felt was real. Being such a tender age and being at the age that I was changing in so many different ways and dealing with some other heavy issues in my life during that time, I see were Satan was trying to trap me. Because if he can get you when you’re young, that’s where he can try and take hold of you. All that he needs is that little doubt.

But don’t we all have that?

How many of us have doubted the truth of Gods existence when things in our life went down? Everyone may not have come out and said that they were an atheist, but some of us have. Some of our crosses were that heavy – that to even think that God could be around and not help, was nonsensical.

How did I come back from this? I came back from this through the Blessed Mother Mary. I will write about that at another time, in another blog. But during that time of me being a self-proclaimed atheist, Jesus had His Eyes on me.

I never picked up a book or ever studied atheism but in my heart I was sad to know that God left me. Even during that time, I would still always go to stare at that picture hanging above moms bed. While I knew of the Blessed Mother Mary, I thought she was just a woman that was someone who gave birth to a little boy and that little boy was really important and that’s all that I knew of our Blessed Mother at that time.

I went to Confession when I was in my 20s and I remember my Confession to the Priest about me being a young atheist of 12 almost 13 years old. What I learned is this is when most people fall in life, they fall in their teenage years because this is where they are most susceptible. And this is where the beautiful innocence of children can be had. Almost always, the influence is done by our peers. In many other cases, it is because of a violation by an adult. I had my peers on one side talking in my ear and on the other side – an abusive home.

I have been wanting to write about this for so many years and as of late, God has been working on my heart about this.

When I found myself having a hard time writing about this, I went into prayer. I asked God, “why am I having a hard time writing about this? “God told my heart, “because you lack humility. ”

I was very taken aback by Gods Response. When I spent time in prayer with Him, in front of the Blessed Sacrament, what I discovered was this about myself, is that because I live, in a way, a public ministry life that spreads the word of Jesus Christ, Blessed Mother Mary, the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church how would people look at me if I did come out and say this? My husband knew, my children knew about this, I was honest with them because I wanted to let them know, that listen, when you’re in school, don’t be surprised if things start to happen – if you start to feel a certain way about God, come to mom and dad, but always, go to Jesus Christ afterwards and go into a dialogue with Him so you can keep your mind and your heart set and straight in His Truths.

I sat down, opened my laptop and here is the end result.

If it is somebody who is struggling and thinking, how can I go back to God when I denied Him? Am I even worthy anymore? I was there before and I know how that feels and I can only tell you this, go to Confession, go in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

Know that you’ve been forgiven and live in Him today.

Everything in life is a stepping stone to bring us closer to Jesus.

Possibilities

A weed is but an unloved flower. ~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox

As a child, dandelions to me, were smiles in my back yard. If I could have put googly eyes on them, I would have had a backyard full of friends.

I remember going for walks and seeing people cut down a yard full of them and I thought, if those were roses, that probably would’ve never happened. 

As an adult, finding one always was and still is special.

When my husband and I moved to New Hampshire in 2015, the day of our closing, I was in the backyard with Joey of our new home, thanking God for His blessing and as I looked down, there was one below my feet.

I plucked it from the ground and I did what I have done 100 times, said a prayer, and asked Jesus, with each little ‘seed’ to carry it and let blessings be created where those delicate white wisps will land.

Everything in life, can be made into a prayer. When you see Jesus in everything, prayer becomes your second language, a natural way of seeing life.

While I will never know, in this earthly life, where every single one of those little white wisps went to, I do know that God knows exactly how many of those little white wisps were on each one of those dandelions.

So if you ever see one, maybe take a different look at it, try and look at life in a different way and see what happens, the slow process of change of your heart and mind. Ask God to help you to see moments the way that He saw them when He created each living thing on our Earth.