I feel nervous posting this. My heart is beating rapidly. Is it because faith is such a personal thing? Or isn't it, shouldn't it be shared?
This is my struggle. I struggle with what my faith calls me to do. If it even calls. Does it call? I DON'T KNOW!
See the struggle?
I've gone to church almost every Sunday (and sometimes Friday, during the school year when I was enrolled in Catholic school) for my entire life. I trailed off a bit when I moved out on my own and didn't have my mother guilting me face-to-face to come. I hadn't gone to church in several months a few years back, and I had gone to visit my grandma and she told me she wished I'd go to church, and that she prayed for me.
Wow. Somebody prayed for me? I pray everyday. Sometimes it's out of habit, I'm fairly OCD at times and I have to do things a certain way often. I pray whenever I see an ambulance, fire truck, or even a police car with their lights on. I pray when I know somebody is sick or in the hospital. I pray whenever somebody asks me to pray. My usual prayer is specific only in that I pray for forgiveness and I pray that my family and friends are watched over and taken care of and protected.
But pray to just talk to God? Um, not so much.
It's not that I don't want to. I just don't get it. I have been doing a lot of soul searching lately. I've come across some blogs that really make me think and dig deeper. I've read that God calls people to do things or give things or say things. How does that happen? Have I ever heard God? I don't think I have. Am I just not listening? I don't even know how to listen.
Am I just not capable of it? It's not a question of belief, I don't think. I'm very confident in my belief that God exists and God provides for me and it's God who has given me life and love. I've never questioned that. So why don't I get to hear it?
I read Linny's blog today, and it made me think. Honestly, I had to look up the word "tithe". I had no idea. I give when I can. I'll give every last dollar or cent in my purse, pocket, floor of the car to a person in need that I see on the street. I often go certain routes just to make sure that I see somebody who I can help, just knowing there's always somebody standing on a particular corner. I donate my clothes and belongings when I can, either to goodwill or to a family in need. We gave presents this past Christmas to a family who had none for their children, who posted on freecycle with their needs, and my 4 year old daughter helped me pack away some toys for another little girl her age. I give to church sometimes. We live paycheck to paycheck (and sometimes we're not even that lucky), and it amazes me that people in our financial situation can give regularly. How do they do it? I need to figure that out.
I could give more. I'm sure we could. Just...how.
I want to give of my time more.
I want to figure out how faith works in my life. I can give specific instances where I know somebody was there protecting us. A light bulb burst in a standing lamp that was directly over my daughter's head when she was a baby, and the glass fell nowhere near her. It wasn't possible, the glass should have hit her. But it didn't. Somebody was there, protecting her. I know it. But I need to know how my faith works in my regular day-to-day life, not just in specific instances. I know that one day, when we are financially better off and we have a house of our own, we want to become foster parents. I'm sure that to make that decision we had to have been called to it, but I don't remember a call, I don't remember anything like that. I just wanted to do it. When I go to school in the fall, I'm working towards a degree that will teach me and guide me to help people in need. Was that another call? It's taken me years to figure out what I want to do with my life - did I figure it out, or did I just finally listen? How do you know?
Reading Linny's post today made me want to write something. I know this isn't short and to the point, but I don't know that I have a point! I wouldn't know what to ask for, and I don't even feel worth of asking. I just know how I had to say something.
Today, right this minute, we are okay. Thanks to our tax return, our bills are paid, we have a new vehicle that fits our family safely, I have no wants. In a few months, we'll fall behind again, and we'll make ends meet like we always do, someway. We'll be going back to school in the fall (if all goes well, we both will!), it'll be challenging, but it'll help us in the future. We have no wants in relation to college, because as of now we both have enough grants and scholarships to cover the cost. The only thing I wish that could happen would be to send my daughter to the Catholic school she attends for pre-school, but the cost for next year is just outrageous. Even with the payment plan offered, we'd never be able to afford it. So I pray that the local public school will fit her needs and that I'll be put at ease, because I feel horribly guilty. Even if we had the money now, her grade for next year is full and there is a waiting list already.
So I don't know what I'd even ask for. I just am grateful for this post today, because it has made me think, and maybe by reading the responses and the requests I'll be able to figure out how so many people can understand and hear God.
I think I'd like to, too.