Last week was the end of Lent, and this past Sunday, we celebrated our Lord’s Resurrection! Jesus Christ is Risen – alleluia!
This month, the theme for Everyday Ediths is faith. Faith can take many forms – from having faith in the Lord, and His Resurrection, to living faith through the Catholic Church and her guidance, to having faith in others. It is also a theme I feel woefully inadequate to write about.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines faith in section 1814 as,
The theological virtue by which we believe in God and believe all that he has said and revealed to us, and that Holy Church proposes for our belief, because he is truth itself. By faith, “man freely commits his entire self to God.” For this reason the believer seeks to know and do God’s will.
And yet, this past Lent, I realized my faith is currently fragile.
It’s not that I don’t believe in God. Instead, I fully acknowledge I am currently struggling to seek to know and do God’s will in my life.
For those who do not follow my personal blog, I am expecting my third child. This little one was not in my plan for my life at this time – in fact, I routinely had spent hours last year asking for God to hold off on gifting us another miracle. However, God saw fit to bring this third little being into our lives at this time, and I am grateful for the impending birth.
As I look back at this pregnancy, the surprise of it didn’t sink in until a mere month ago – with one month left of the pregnancy. Even after it had sunk in and I began to get excited, I experienced a tinge of sadness as I realized I have spent little time during this pregnancy in spontaneous prayer with our Lord. From the outset of this pregnancy, I have had a flurry of emotions, ranging from anger, to sadness, to doubt, to excitement. And, because of that, I have put the brakes on trying to figure out God’s will for my life.
I’m not angry with God; rather, I feel as though my faith today is fragile. I spent the better part of Lent avoiding one pillar of Lent – prayer. I would pray my regular evening prayers; however, when it came to opening my heart and letting God in to speak with me, I slammed the door shut.
I’m not proud of my reaction to Him – and, to His will – at all. Yet, it is a fact. Spiritually, I feel as though I am in a raw, emotional place.
The root of all of my emotions stems from doubt – a lack of trust in God’s plan. It is a lack of faith that He knows His plans for my future and life.
And, this past Lent, I avoided committing my entire self to Him.
Believe it or not, this is not the first time I have felt this way in my life. Far from it, in fact.
So, where do I go from here, when I feel as though my faith is fragile, and I am withholding from God?
Simply – I fake it… until I make it.
I rely on my favorite prayer. My favorite prayer, given to St. Faustina for the inscription under the image of the Divine Mercy image, is, “Jesus, I trust in You.” It is my go-to whenever I am nervous or anxious, whenever I am praising God, and whenever I am doubtful. I have found, simply repeating that as a mantra helps me orient myself a little more toward opening myself to God’s will.
I spend time in Church. Lately, I haven’t been able to attend Adoration – between a mixture of rambunctious children, an added ball in my belly, and exhaustion which comes from the simple tasks of driving, I have not had the desire to head to spend time in Adoration. However, when I go to Mass, I sit there – and, I pour my heart out. I rant, I rave, I praise, I thank. But, I try to make the time in His presence count, since I have precious time to do so otherwise. At one point in my life, when I had spoken with a chaplain about my struggle with listening to God, I was told sometimes we just have to sit at the foot of the Cross – no words are needed. Just being at His feet is prayer enough. And, that is what I have done sometimes on my Sundays. Simply sat in silence at the foot of His Cross.
I rely on rote prayers. The Guardian Angel Prayer and the Prayer to St. Michael have been the two prayers I have relied on to keep my faith sparked. Sometimes, talking to the saints helps me, when I feel disconnected from God. Because of bedtime prayers with my son, I have also prayed the Our Father and Hail Mary almost nightly. And, while I am not at the juncture where I can open myself fully to God, I slowly feel the door being nudged open ever so slightly, each time those two prayers are said at night. Sometimes, I feel as though I’m checking a block – but, slowly and surely, my faith returns.
Perhaps, most importantly, I recognize when my faith is fragile. And, I embrace the fragility. Unlike Humpty Dumpty who could not be put back together again, I have the history that my faith will be restored. It will be fully intact again – and, as I write these words, I feel myself getting stronger, and more excited to see the next stage of growth in my faith. Because I know this is fragility is fleeting. When I look back on my life someday, I will see those times in which I was carried by our Lord – those times in which I was doubting Him left and right, and not wanting to open myself up to His will – and, they will measure but a short distance.
Like any physical muscle, this fragile feeling is building my spiritual muscles. It is stretching them, it is pushing them, it is strengthening them. And, I need to give in to the process, in order to grow deeper…
Deeper in love with Christ.
Deeper in love with His sacrifice.
Deeper in love with His resurrection.
Deeper in love with His will.
And, embodied deeply within his love – is trust.
Trust in God’s will.
How do you tackle struggles and when your faith feels fragile? As always, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below!