So completely inspired by Kristyn’s post last week, I started contemplating my own spiritual journey. I say journey, because honestly, I don’t think you can ever stop growing in your relationship with God or the church, whatever either of those might mean for you.
Recently, as in the past couple of years, I’ve felt a connection with the church in ways that I haven’t in a long time. I grew up with church every Sunday, Vacation Bible School every summer (attending and then as a counselor) and when I was in college, there wasn’t a church family on campus that I felt connected to. As an Episcopalian, I wasn’t permitted to take communion at the Catholic service, but the protestant service just wasn’t for me- much more evangelical than what I grew up with. To be honest, the Catholic service would have been a much better fit, with a very similar service structure and basically the same prayers, but communion has been a big part of my church life since I was little. Although my church did have an official “First Communion” service for the kids in my age group, I was allowed to partake after several weekly lessons with my mom and proving to her that I knew what the wine + wafer meant.
When I came home from college though, I became a lot more involved at St. John’s Olney. Unless I was working (dang retail hours!) I went to church. I became active in the outreach committee with Baby’s Bounty and it was nice to go back to surrounding myself with the church family that watched me grow up. As with Kristyn, I found that moving into DC took another toll on my spiritual life, until I went to my friend Matthew’s confirmation and started going to St. John’s Lafayette with him and a group of EpiscoPALS. I had what I like to call at God moment at that church. It was the Epiphany service and there was a bit of a mini pageant when we sang We Three Kings. As we sang the final chorus, for the first time, I cried in church just because I was overwhelmed by God. It’s so hard to explain, but it was a moment I can never forget.
I was very, very lost for a few years, probably more than most people ever even saw. My heart had been broken over and over again and I wasn’t treating myself very well. I often look back on some of my behavior and cringe. But God stood by me, and kept listening. I recently had a long talk with a family friend about my engagement and he asked me, “do you know who had to do what to make sure that you ended up with Kendall? This was planned.” It was planned. I prayed for Kendall not knowing who he was or when I’d find him. So did my (friend’s) Grandma Bernice. She literally walked up to me at Tiffany + Patrick’s rehearsal dinner and said to me, “Hello I am Grandma Bernice. We know each other on Facebook and I pray on my rosary every night that you will get married and I’ll come to your wedding too.”
I believe in the power of prayer. As a little girl, I saw my congregation pray for a girl my age who became paralyzed during surgery and was never supposed to walk again. Within 24 hours, her toes could move and later on we ended up in the same high school dance company. I was stuck in a snow storm in a convertible and lost- Lord’s Prayer over and over until I could make it safely to a family friend’s house. Prayed for a special love all my life (literally since I was old enough to pray silently by myself) and to quote Kristyn: God showed up and showed off! I thank him every day for my blessings and the people in my life and a running list of things that I know are on the hearts of my friends as well. My mom may have been instrumental in getting me to church, but my relationship with God + my many guardian angels is one that I have had to foster on my own through the years. I’m nowhere near where I want to be spiritually, but I’m working on it.
I want to leave you with my favorite words from the Bible, you may have already seen them if you looked it up from my Instagram bio. This describes perfectly how I feel about my faith:
Do not remember the sins of my youth
and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
for you, Lord, are good. –Pslam 25:7