Friday, January 25, 2008

The Story behind the Affirmations

A long time and wonderful friend left the following comment on the daily affirmation I posted today.

Just wondering. After all these years I still don't know. Are you Catholic? I am. We have affirmations to the bible/ The Lord. They can also apply to your personal life. Just wondering where yours came from? I really like it! I have always known what a wonderful person you are. Are you just realizing it? I am sorry I haven't told you before now just how MAHVALOUS YOU REALLY ARE!

First, Tweety, thank you very much for the compliment. This means the world to me coming from you. You are such a tower of strength and love to everyone in your life.

I'm not sure of the answer to your first question, "Are you Catholic?" Well, kinda sorta. I was baptized for the first time in the Catholic Church. I have my certificate somewhere. If that makes you a Catholic then I am Catholic. But, then my parents were divorced when I was four. That's a big no-no for Catholics.

So, from there most of my religious up bringing came from attending Vacation Bible School with the neighbor's kids. Then, when I was ten I started riding a church bus with friends. I was the only one in my family to attend church. In my house, Sunday's were for nursing hangovers not for finding God. I went in search of Him.

I was baptized again in the First Church of the Nazareth. I was trying to wash the shame off. I was being sexual abused by my step-father and I felt dirty and shameful. Everyone said God was forgiving. God made everything better. Nothing helped. He didn't seem to be there.

So, I looked in the Baptist Church. I was baptized for the third time. The shame still hung like stench. It wasn't working.

So, I went to the Pentecostals. I was trying to understand the differences between the denominations. If the Catholics, Nazareth's, Baptists, Methodist and Pentecostals all prayed to and believed in the same God then why the different churches? The Pentecostals accepted me and I was baptized once again. I wanted someone to take me in and love me. Anybody. I still found nobody.

I tried a non-denominational Church. The messages in all of the churches were the same. Be kind. Be loving. Don't lie. Don't steal. Don't cheat. Worship only one God. Don't kill. But, I still didn't feel loved by others, myself, or God. I was angry that he didn't protect me.

I went back to the Catholic Church. I took Catechism classes. I went to Mass. I was doing everything the Bible told me to do to be a good person. But, my life was spiraling downhill. God still wasn't helping me. I was still full of anger, shame, and humiliation. I felt I wasn't worthy of being loved by myself or anyone else for that matter.

Then, when I was at my lowest point, He sent someone to me. I was headed to a remote area in Milton to OD on some pills I had stolen. Something prompted me to pull into a McDonald's parking lot. I think it was the fact that I was crying so hard that I couldn't see to drive. I sat there crying and started writing letters to my kids trying to explain that I loved them. That no matter what, they needed to know that. There was a rapping on the window. It startled me. A man was standing there. He motioned for me to roll the window down. He asked me what was wrong. I hesitated and said the standard lie, "Nothing". He pressed on. He asked me to come inside McDonalds and have a something to drink. For some reason I did. For the first time in my life, someone finally asked what was wrong. The dam burst and 25 years of shame and misery spilled forth. He sat and listened and listened. He explained that he was a Preacher from some Church in Crestview. I don't recall the name of the Church or even the denomination. He was just passing through. That "chance" meeting changed my life. I turned my car back towards home and went in and took my life back. It wasn't an easy journey. It took a lot of work and faith. I never saw him again. I never got a chance to tell the Preacher Thank you but I remember to tell Him Thank you all the time.

So, am I a Catholic? Yes. And a Baptist and a Protestant and a Methodist and a Pentecostal. I am a believer in God. I have Faith that there is so much more to life than just what we can see.

I can look through my life and see His work. But, I am human. Occasionally, I start believing what the world tells me and forgetting what God has shown me. That I matter. That I am special. That I can do all things through Faith. I have been given many Blessings in my life, my children, my family, and my friends. Now, I have been given another chance at love and marriage. God has given me so much. It is my gift to give it back to as many people as I can. That is the only repayment He requests. Lately, I started to forget again and He gave me a gentle reminder. So, right now, it is important to me to affirm my attributes to myself. I do this through my daily affirmations and through living my life to my highest potential. I keep my Faith and Spirit strong this way.

Thank you for asking.