Ive surprised myself in so many ways this past year. Before I found God, I use to claim I was just a spiritual person and did not know what was really out there… but Id say I believed in an after life and heaven. I said that for years but I said it just to say really… I didn’t know what I was even talking about. It use to be hard to answer when people asked if I had religious beliefs and I just made it up when I was put on the spot, “I mean I use to go to catholic school and church” “Im more spiritual” like what does that even mean… THERE IS NO SPIRIT WITH OUT GOD.
It wasn’t until I truly became DESPERATE for guidance and a way to win this WAR inside my head. I knew I could no longer go on on my own, and that I needed to allow help in but I didn’t know what type of help I needed. I began going to therapy, and I hated it. The therapist was literally right out of college… Had no idea about life yet and hasn’t been through any feats of life just yet (nothing wrong with that but I have been through more than her and it was hard to relate) I guess I was looking for a wise older person that wears glasses and has salt and pepper hair to tell me what on earth to do (pretty much was looking for Dumbledore) but I had the young girl who I was older than and at that time I was 24 so she was pretty young. Her advice was nothing that I needed to hear, far from wise, and all I longed to hear was a way to heal my heart. It wasn’t until one random day in 2017 after I stopped going to therapy, I literally could not take the way I was feeling inside anymore that all of a sudden just out of the blue, OUT OF NO WHERE, after years of not knowing God, I was just like I need God, I need to go to church. I need him in my life, and I need to find my way to Him. It would take me a year after that epiphany for me to finally step into a church all by myself.
I was so deep into what I was going through that I was living in it everyday, and I drug my feet that entire year before I finally brought myself into a church, and that year will forever be remembered as a year of suffering for me. I couldn’t even be by myself with my own thoughts. I remember being sad to leave work and go home (I was a nanny) because the babies kept me busy all day and I just got to snuggle up with them and love on them not giving my personal hardships a thought and I was exactly who I wanted to be and it reminded me of who I was, the most loving, honest, caring, and kind person. Not sad or depressed. It wasn’t until I left work and I was alone in the car (stuck in an hour and a half of traffic) with my own thoughts that things would go so south… If I even typed out some of the things I felt inside at that time, I don’t even think people would believe that that was Catherine talking but depression and anxiety does not discriminate or has a preference on who you are, it effects who ever it wants, regardless of how good of a person you are… Does not matter, it does not care. It’s almost like an opportunistic infection, “oh their struggling, they feel so alone, and lost- let me jump on their back and make it even worse for them so it makes it harder for her to come out of her darkness and see the light”. I STRONGLY dislike thinking back to this season in my life because I can remember exactly how I was feeling and anxiety fills my belly just knowing that I really went through such a low time and how real it truly was for me. I feel like my heart is still healing from such a sad and hard time . Im still getting through hard feelings inside but I know if it wasn’t for such a season in my life, it would have never lead me to find God for myself nor would have lead me to where I am today and the person I am today. I am someone that I’ve always wanted to be.
One Sunday morning end of February 2018 (a whole year after I had the epiphany that I needed God), I woke up and realized I was out of Nespresso (can’t go without dat latte) so I grabbed my pup, Bear and we jumped into the car to head to the coffee shop for that much needed morning pick me up. My phone automatically connects to my car through bluetooth and the first song that came on was What a Beautiful Name by Hillsong Worship. Typically, I would just turn to the next song because it was a song I added a while ago at the request of my Dad (he told me to listen to it) but I didn’t listen to it often, if ever… but that day was different. I felt like I needed to hear it, felt like a sign, and it was beautiful. Back window down for Bear to stick his cute lil head out, with worship music (expressing reverence to God if you don’t know what that means) pouring out the speakers and into my soul just speaking to me. As I waited for my coffee just listening in the drive through, I googled Calvary Chapel Philadelphia (I have never even been there before, had no clue where it even was, and Ive only heard about it as my mother in law goes there but it came to my head to google it ASAP) and their service times. I was like OMG! If I get home pretty quick and get myself together I can catch the last service. So I get my latte, race home, and get myself together, and then race to Calvary. I rush in and all the doors were closed… I was so upset. I missed it. One of the ushers wished me a good morning and if he could help me with anything and I said I am here for the 10:30 service but it already started, and all the doors are closed. He smiled at me and says this is actually the 9:30 service and its about to end. You are an hour early, the next service isn’t until 11:30! Oh my gosh, I was like wowwwww, God is this another sign? You really got me coming an hour early so I don’t miss a second of this lol In the mean time, I explored the church and found the book store. I literally hung out in there until service started just reading books and looking at all the nice stationary that was in there with bible verses painted on wood. “Be Still and know that I am God” was painted on one of the wood decor that stood out most to me.
Service was starting shortly, and I go in and I sit five rows from the front and I was dead center. I knew I needed to take it all in and that it was important for me to be close so I could hear the pastor and His message to me. I had a feeling it was going to be directed right at me that morning- it was going to be FOR me. Service starts and everyone stands to sing, I was so nervous because I didn’t know any music its been so long and I’ve only ever been to a Catholic Church but fortunately, they have the words up in front on screens surrounding the stage so everyone can join in. I was so overwhelmingly nervous and just shy, I looked around at everyone else singing with no care and I stood up and sang anyway. I knew I needed this, and it felt so freeing to sing out. I even choked up standing there while I sang because I was overwhelmed at all the love in the room and by all the different people, all here for the same reason. Once we sat down and Pastor Joe started speaking about what we were going to be reading from the Bible and he says the story of Judas………….. I was like is this really happening? We are going to be talking about Jesus beloved friend and disciple who betrayed him and how even the people closest to us can hurt you and we need to find forgiveness in our hearts as Jesus forgave Judas and that people make mistakes (even Jesus’ own disciple). I knew right there, it was completely reaffirmed for me that I was exactly where I was suppose to be and everything that lead me to church that morning was not a coincidence. They were signs from God and I am so glad I followed Him.
I left that day wishing it would never end. The feeling I felt inside was indescribable. I felt like I just had an hour of PEACE inside my head and the war going on inside of me was finally waving the white flag. I could breathe. I was FREE. I surrendered right then and there. Even though I have surrendered and gave all my hardship and struggle to God, I will still admit this war inside of me is over but I still have my moments and fortunately now I know I am not alone and I have God on my side to get me through anything and everything. What I find that is sometimes hard is, you will be going through the thick of it and you just need to remember to stop and PRAY and give that stress, that worry, that sadness away to God, and he will take care of you and be there for you ten fold. He is always there ready to fight for you and we just have to trust in Him.
I feel stronger today than I ever have and I feel like I was literally born all over again when I left service that day and now every service I leave I feel changed for the better, inside and out. My eyes have been opened to something that I could never unsee and I could not believe I lived my life as I did, not knowing what I know now. I am so glad that I don’t have religion but a RELATIONSHIP with God. You can have a religion but do you have a relationship with God and Jesus and do you know Him? I use to be Catholic but I just did it because I felt I was suppose too, I was told too, and I did not know Jesus like I do now. I found Jesus for myself and wow, I am so glad I am where I am today. I literally have a relationship now, not just religion. I will never be the same again and I am so glad I won’t be. I’m better than I was with each passing day.
I have been sitting on this blog for over a week now because this is something that is so personal to me and people just don’t understand how it truly is to find God until they find Him for themselves, I mean I had no idea that this was what it is like to know Jesus. I seriously wish I could share this feeling in my heart to everyone around me so they can get a taste and see that “wow I could feel like this too.” I guess I get nervous I will be judged or made fun of for feeling this way but most of all I was nervous that I wouldn’t do this story justice and that people wouldn’t understand the depth that this has impacted my life, my soul. It has made me a better person, a better wife, a better daughter, a better friend, through and through. I am so happy and I feel like I need to share my story in the hopes I could help someone else who is struggling or someone who has been dragging their feet but want to get back into going to church, ANY CHURCH, doesn’t have to be Christian or if someone just want God in their lives. If you have ever felt the way I have and need someone to relate too please feel free to reach out to me on any vessel (whether it’s through my site, instagram, facebook, email) I would love to talk to you and give any help or insight I can on what worked for me to come out of my inner war. Also, if you have a story of how you found God please share with me. I would love to hear your story too.
This is such a fitting blog as Easter is tomorrow. If you know inside your heart that you are ready to go and be apart of such an awesome community, please look up your local service times and take a leap of faith and go! I don’t think there is a better day than Easter to get God back into your life. If you are nervous, please don’t be. It is the most accepting and loving place I have ever been… My pastor is a recovering addict and 40+ years sober, people of all different races and walks of life stand beside you, people of different sexual orientation, people with tattoos all over, literally biker gangs come to church, and they are not judging you, they want to support you, and shake your hand good morning. Everyones relationship with God is their own, and that’s the beauty of it. No one is perfect and yet he made us as we are! You are so loved! Never forget it.
If you aren’t there just yet and are hesitant like I was to step back into church. I made a play list on my Spotify called “Who You Say I am” and my Spotify name is CMARY5. Go look it up and please take a listen. If I could recommend my favorite song right now it is “Breakthrough” by Red Rocks Worship. I relate to the song more than I really want too lol Im just kidding but I just feel like I understand what it was written about, feel like it was written about exactly what I was going through 2017-2018 and breaking through all the hardship to see that God has your back and he will always always always FIGHT for you.
Psalm 23:1-4 1 The Lord is my shepherd, I LACK NOTHING. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, 3 He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.