Thursday, January 22, 2015

Sharing My Heart With Her

Before Rory and I were parents.. before we were even married, we discussed religion and how we'd introduce it (or not introduce it) to our future children. Rory comes from a family of mostly non believers and though Rory went to a Christian camp and was in a youth group, he never opened his heart to God. For Rory, the universe is just too big and too great for it to have been made at the hand of a God. For me, that is the exact reason why I believe there is a God. We live in an endless universe and yet, we're here because of God's love.
We talked about wanting to raise our future children with open hearts and open minds and we still very much want that, but something happened when Logan was born and my heart felt a little different.

I was raised Catholic. I went to a Lutheran preschool, a Catholic Kindergarten, Catholic elementary school, Catholic junior high, and a Catholic high school. There was never anything else but the belief of Jesus and prayers to Saints and God's angels.. my life was Church and faith. When I was 19, I made the choice to leave the Catholic church (because it filled me with fear) and I found myself more in love with God and worship at a non-denominational Church. I pray every day, I am a believer in Christ. I would say that I am not a religious person.. I am a person whose faith is very important to her life.
Talking about God and Jesus every day is not something that is odd to me so I found myself talking to my daughter about it as well. When she was a tiny little bundle, I would pray over her as she drank her nightly bottle.. when she got old enough to see that there was a crucifix in her room, we said "thank you and I love you" to Jesus.. last Christmas when she was more cognitively aware of the season, we talked about all of the pieces in our nativity and she loved that baby Jesus was already recognizable to her. Before she was born, I didn't have any visions of myself praying with her or talking to her about Jesus.. I just figured that her faith would develop naturally (if at all) in whatever she wanted to believe in.

Talking to my daughter about Jesus and His love for us is something that gives me an overwhelming sense of peace and love. My heart is full when she asks to kiss Jesus goodnight and I am cherishing this love that is growing in her heart as well.
There will come a day when she may not want to believe in God anymore and as heartbreaking as that may be, I believe in God's plan and in His path for her, so she may open her heart again one day. She may decide to be Jewish, Agnostic, Buddhist.. whatever it may be, as long as she is a good person and kind to others, I will be proud and happy.

My faith in God has shaped me and saved me.. it's not for everyone. Whatever it is that she wants to put her love and faith in to is her choice; nowhere does it say that you can't be an incredibly caring and kind person if you're not a Christian. I am looking forward to seeing who she grows up to be, no matter what her faith is.

xo
-Ali

Monday, January 5, 2015

I Am Healing

Without a doubt, 2014 was the biggest year of growth for me; bigger than becoming a wife, bigger than becoming a mother. Last year I reflected on why I was who I had become and I made a conscious effort daily to become a better person.

I spent many years very angry at anything and everything; I frequently felt attacked and subconsciously allowed myself to put distance between myself and people that were close to me. For a long time, I didn't think anything of it.. I just felt the way I did and that was that. I had settled for the person I had become; distant and very sad on the inside.

At the beginning of last year, I had secluded myself from family, friends and even Rory; I just held on tight to Logan. Somehow I felt this was everyone else's doing but my own. I believe that all of the sadness I was feeling inside led me back to a place I didn't think I'd be at again. I started to have the same reoccurring nightmares about my horribly abusive relationship that I had suffered from years before; I couldn't sleep, I would wake up and immediately have a panic attack.. every day I felt beaten down from these nightmares about a man who broke me physically and emotionally. It saddened me even more that I was not completely present with my husband and my daughter so I decided to step way out of my comfort zone and I started seeing a therapist. 

I was officially diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder; something I never dared to say because I felt that was reserved for war heroes. My diagnosis was a bit of a relief in that I felt like I wasn't just being dramatic or dwelling or I simply "couldn't get over it".. I was truly mentally and emotionally damaged from the years of abuse.

The label of PTSD empowered me and for once in a long time, my mind felt clear enough to really take a look at myself. Who had I let myself become? I didn't want to be secluded, I didn't want to be quick to anger, I didn't want to be alone. I had become that way because my traumatic experience changed me. Before meeting that man, I was a shy and sweet girl. I loved everyone and I trusted everyone. Spending three years of being hit, dragged, cut, yelled at, cheated on, belittled, and lied to changed how I felt about the world and how I felt about myself.

It's a new year and I feel like I am on my way to being at peace with what happened to me.. which I finally understand is much different than closure. Closure is something I thought I needed and now I know that there is absolutely no closure for a person who has suffered abuse, there is only forgiveness and strength to live the rest of your life without fear. 

Knowing why I became who I was has helped me take the steps to change in to who I want to be and who I was meant to be. Really, I am just allowing myself to be who I was before the abuse.

It feels good to be me. 

"I'm battle scarred, I am workin' oh so hard
To get back to who I used to be.."
-A Fine Frenzy "Near to You"

xo 
-Ali