A Baptism for Liam, an Epiphany for Me

I’ve been to Baptisms before, but today’s was special because it showed me something important about myself as well as celebrating the new faith of my friends’ first child.

It showed me that I do want a family life and I do want a Catholic marriage.

My friends Jenni and Ryan celebrated their first child, Liam. He was born on Ash Wednesday into an Irish Catholic family! They have been close friends of mine since high school, when all three of us went to youth group together. They’ve never missed a birthday of mine! They are both responsible but are silly enough to keep each other laughing, too.

Being there with our other mutual friends– also from youth group– was wonderful. They all have families now, and their kids were playing together in the back yard. I’ve seen them all be pregnant. I’ve been to their weddings and showers. I just felt so grounded and comfortable today with all of them.

A statue of the Blessed Mother was in the left corner of the yard and I found her presence very comforting. I found out it was passed down from someone in their family. My own Godmother has a similar one in her front yard. I’ve always hoped that one day when I hopefully own a home I will have one as well.

I spent the afternoon just catching up with our friends, getting to know both their families better, taking pictures and eating great food! It was wonderful to see them together as parents as well, knowing they prayed and planned for this blessing in their lives. They both have this wonderful, relaxed glow about them. And a big reason for that is their marriage is grounded in a strong friendship and shared Catholic faith.

If I’ve had doubts about whether religion is truly a deal-breaker for me in a relationship, today they were dissolved. Jenni has always been my voice of reason, reminding me that it’s not an unreasonable expectation and showing me that it’s possible in her own marriage. I’ve dated enough Atheists and people who profess no faith. They were all good men but there was definitely something elemental missing. I am unabashedly a woman of faith.

And the highlight of the day? Of course, it was holding Liam. He was so calm and cuddly. He felt comfortable with me and I got to take a few pictures with him. And for me, holding a baby is so natural and it just makes my day. To know this little being trusts you enough to relax and let you hold them is such a good feeling.

I will know when I’m in the right relationship and I’m genuinely happy single for the time being.

I’ve almost renounced my faith in the past because I wanted so much to be compatible with a man who was not religious. I am more confident now and will not compromise my religion again for the sake of being in a relationship. Now I recognize my faith is not only fundamental to my my identity, but my happiness.

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If Someone Prays for You, or Wants to

it means we *care*.

It’s not an insult.

So many people seem to be offended if I mention that.

Now I sometimes ask, “Would you mind if I said a prayer for you?” Atheists are sensitive about it.

If someone wants to pray for you, please take it as a gesture of goodwill and friendship.

It doesn’t mean we’re trying to convert you, or that we think you need “saving.”

It just means you’re important to us, or if we just met you, that you did or said something that touched us.

It means that we’re thankful for you.

That we want to remember you.

And I Added Mary, and Found an Onyx Surprise

As I’ve said before, I frequently wear a gold cross necklace.

But I’ve noticed this year that most Catholics also wear a medal of some sort– a saint, or the Blessed Mother.

I was sorting through my jewelry box, when I realized I had a small felt bag filled with crosses.

Sorting through it, I found five silver cross charms, interchangeable for different necklaces. One angel charm. Silver charms of St. Michael, St. Luke, and St. Catherine of Siena, and one of the Blessed Mother. A silver pendant of St. Christopher.

And one gold charm, of the Blessed Mother.

Coincidence? I think not. I threaded it onto my gold chain, along with the gold cross.

The medal of Mary compliments the gold cross perfectly. As if they were meant to be worn together.

I just pray the clasp doesn’t break– it may need to be reinforced a bit.

But adding Mary makes me feel stronger. Calmer.

And on the same day, I also found something else I was wondering about. I have a box full of Catholic pamphlets, prayer devotion books, icon cards, prayer cards, and rosaries. A cross I bought, but haven’t yet put up. It’s made in Mexico and has sunflowers painted on it, beautiful. Reminds me of my home state, Kansas.

I found a silver necklace with a beautiful silver and onyx cross charm on it.

I used to wear it all the time, but couldn’t remember what happened to it.

That beautiful onyx charm was actually given to me by an Atheist friend. ¬†She herself didn’t believe, but she knew I did.

And I’ve cherished it ever since. Recently, we’ve reconnected after a few years of having lost touch.

She’s a thoughtful, hilarious and brilliant woman that I admire very much. And I love that just after reconnecting with her, I found the same cross that she gave to me years ago.

God works in ways that always delight me. I love the surprises of His will.