Anxiety and depression are broad terms that describe a variety of physiological and psychological responses. It’s normal for everyone to experience some anxiety and depression in life, like feeling anxious before giving a speech or feeling depressed after a breakup. But, for some people anxiety and/or depression can cause significant distress and interfere with daily life.
Once I was in therapy, I was able to start talking through all of the messes in my mind. It has been a long journey for me, but as I’ve grown into loving and accepting who Christ has made me to be, I’ve been able to slowly let go of the eating disorder. I’ve come a long way, and I’m so grateful for all that’s brought me to where I am now. I still need to focus on managing my anxiety, which can get out of control if I don’t keep myself grounded, but I don’t struggle with an eating disorder and all of the baggage that comes along with it.
I used to think that if I loved God better, or if I were more lovable to Him (as if I could do anything that would make Him love me more or less than He does!), then my depression would go away. It made me realize, eventually, how harmful "prosperity gospel" thinking is, and also how easy it is to fall into that kind of thinking. Thankfully, my experiences have made me more aware of that and helped me to recognize it more in my own thinking and in others––and put a stop to it before it becomes harmful.
I continued to go to mass and pray regularly even though I wasn't feeling better, and this was hard because there were periods where I wondered if God had abandoned me or if I was doomed to live with anxiety and depression forever. Eventually, I came to realize that God was reaching out to me through the people he sent my way to help me sort through my wounds, my mess, and help me rediscover my true identity as a beloved daughter of God.
Mary’s obedience is an incredible inspiration to me, now that I understand it better. I used to think her obedience was almost some kind of weakness or pre-programmed thing. But as I have learned more about her, and prayed about it, I realized that her obedience in some ways may be her fiercest quality.
Mary’s faith inspires me. She trusted and believed in the impossible from the Annunciation to the foot of the Cross. As terrifying as it can be at times to venture into the unfamiliar, Mary’s example gives me hope.
…As someone who was not a cradle Catholic, Mary was actually my initial reason for NOT considering Catholicism... and now she's one of my favorite parts about it! My husband was interested in confirmation years before I was and I have one specific memory of him asking if I thought we'd ever convert and I immediately—I'm talking ZERO hesitation here—said, ‘No, I just don't think I could ever get over the Mary thing.’
Her image and presence is so essential in our homes and lives and so I love being a hand to bring her into the little things - whether a bandana we can wear as an accessory or a paper plate that a mom can serve her child pancakes on and talk about who she is and what her mothering friendship can do in our lives!
I was taught from a very young age that you either loved Jesus and did what he said and would go to heaven, otherwise you would go to hell; there was no middle ground. I struggled with this from an early age because it made me think I had to be perfect, even though Jesus was the only perfect human.
Since attending Catholic School, I have learned that God is a Father who is ever loving and forgiving and always reaches out to His children. However, when I was a teenager I could not imagine such a loving Father when the only father I knew was alcoholic and abusive.
In the summer of 2004 I toured Europe. The Catholic churches, art, and beauty called to my artistic soul. I had no idea that boarding a train to Rome would start my headlong fall into the Catholic Church. But it wasn’t Rome that pushed me there. I met a guy. A sandy haired, enthusiastic, charismatic guy. The first thing he asked me was “are you Catholic?” That’s a pretty lousy pick up line, but it still worked.
Growing up in Baptist churches where the Bible was read regularly, I was always confused by the many stories of Jesus giving blind men their sight or lepers being instantly healed as a sign of their faith. I’d often hear that illness and disability were a punishment for sin and that real faith could cure disease.
Femininity is not an affinity for pink, puppies, or frills and the like. Authentic femininity is quite something to behold. It pierces through a world that is thick in efficiency, that has forgotten the dignity possessed by every person.
I definitely believe women make unique contributions to family and society, but I also think the Church has a long way to go in communicating the implications of this reality. What does it really mean to be a woman in today’s world? What does it mean to be a man? The Church seems to be in the process of articulating answers to these questions in light of today’s gender-related issues.