When I was growing up, I remember going to church with my Dad a lot! We went to St. Michael's, a Roman Catholic Church. I never actually knew what was going on, I just copied my Dad. If you are Catholic then you know that during mass there is a lot of standing, sitting, kneeling and prayer said all together. Until a few months ago, I wasn't sure the meaning of all of this activity.
There are people in my support system who have wanted me to give my heart to Jesus for a long time. It wasn't until I was pregnant with Johanna that I started giving this real thought. Of course, I attended church every now and then and prayed but there was a point in time where I didn't understand whether or not God was real. It was only because I was not allowing myself to love him like I should have been. I was not allowing myself to actually dedicate time into the process of allowing him to love me back. It is not a snap of the finger like I always thought it was. Almost like a diet where you hope to have results in a few days. No. It takes work. It takes dedication and it takes an open place in your mind, heart and spirit.
When I had Johanna, I was going through a very difficult time in my life. I was in a place I never imagined I would be and I needed something or someone to turn to who I knew would accept me the way I was, all of my flaws, all of my heart ache, all of my pain. It was God who answered me. I began going to church every week when Johanna was about 3 months old. We began taking a class every week so that I could better understand the Catholic religion and the meaning of the Bible. Let me just say, I was overwhelmed with the Holy Spirit. There is something about knowing the Bible and opening up your heart to God that is freeing.
I made the decision to dedicate more time into my relationship with God. I read the Bible everyday, I pray multiple times a day, I go to church once a week and I still take my informational class once a week. This is all so that I may be baptized and initiated into the Catholic faith on Easter.
With that being said, I also made the decision to raise Johanna knowing and loving God. That started the other day with her initiation or baptism into the Catholic faith. I cannot tell you what an overwhelmingly emotional feeling it is knowing that I gave my promise to God to raise her in the Catholic faith. Here's the thing, she has no idea that she was baptized but I do. When she is older she will decide on her own if she wants to continue her journey and relationship with God by entering confirmation. As her Mother, I will support her decision either way. For now, I have decided that I want her to learn and understand the bible. Baptizing a baby means washing away the original sin of Adam and Eve. It means she has been welcomed into the Catholic church where she will have access to the fullness of the means of salvation. At this point in my life, I believe the best gift I can give to my daughter is a life in the Catholic church.
These days, it is so easy for people to turn to drugs, alcohol, sex, relationships with bad people or even social media for self fulfillment. What I want for Johanna is the opposite. Whenever she hits a hard time in her life or is feeling lonely, confused or depressed about life, I don't want her turning to these things to feel better. I want her to have a relationship with God because I will not always be the answer. I will not always be enough to make her feel the way she deserves to feel every single day. My hope is that she will find fulfillment in the Catholic community. She will make good friends and have positive influences through the belief that God is there and that opening her heart to him will bring a life of happiness and divine fulfillment.