Losing My Religion

I come from a family of very faithful Catholics. You may even put them into the "super Catholic" category. My grandma and aunts go to church everyday. Every. Day. They say novenas. They visit cloistered nuns in a monastery in my city. They attend communal confession (although I can't imagine what they're confessing!). They pray the rosary daily. They have a rock-solid faith, no matter what hardships come their way, which I envy.

I have had 13 years of Catholic school education. I attended church all my life, except for a brief stint in college when Sunday morning mass times didn't quite fit into my weekend lifestyle. I was married in a Catholic church by a priest who has been a family friend for decades. I attended mass at this church regularly, every Sunday, with my husband. The priest there is wonderful, intelligent, liberal, and compassionate, which I think are rare Catholic priest attributes these days. And then, a few months ago, we stopped going.

Infertility has shaken my faith. I'm embarrassed to admit it. This seems the ultimate in selfishness and immaturity. "God doesn't give me what I want? Well, forget him, then." I feel horribly guilty about this (as any Catholic is trained to feel). But at the same time, I feel in many ways that God has forgotten about me.

I didn't expect an easy time in conceiving a child. In fact, I've always believed it would take awhile. But why has it come to IVF for me, when I've endured so much medical hardship in my life, especially as a young child with ulcerative colitis and then later Crohn's disease? Why didn't God see fit to make this easier for me? I deserve that much, don't I?

I often wonder why God allows crack-addicted homeless teenagers to get pregnant, but he won't allow the same for a couple who so desperately wants a child. A child that would be loved, provided for, and wanted. How does something like this fit in his plan?

I have more questions than I have answers. I want to go back to church and renew my faith, but I remember kneeling on the pews, hands clasped together, with tears in my eyes, begging God to send me our baby. And then I remember the monthly disappointments, when my prayers weren't answered. I realize faith is an essential tenet of any religion. Right now, mine is gone.

10 Responses to “Losing My Religion”

  1. # Blogger Marie

    I can relate to where you're coming from, Kristi. There are so many things that don't make sense, like the things you mention.

    I have aunts like yours who pray Novenas, send mass cards, etc. They "storm the heavens" with prayer in difficult times.

    Like you, I often don't see how certain struggles fit into the plan. My struggles have been different from yours, but like you I've been away from the church and have been angry & thought 'why'?! In my case it's been many, many years though.

    We were talking about this recently at our house -- something I miss about going to church is being with others who are praying, and frankly I find the ritual of it all very comforting. Probably not the best reason to go to church, but that's what appeals to me.

    No answers from me... I have plenty of questions too!

    (Love the new look, by the way!)  

  2. # Blogger cara

    Kristi,
    My Grandma, who is not Catholic, but has always had a very strong faith has recently been wondering the same things. After two hip surgeries and countless other health problems, at 84 her faith is being challanged. I was not raised in a chruch so religious faith is somewhat foregin to me, but the answer that my Grandmother clings to is that God will not give you more than you can handle. I know you fell like he has, and that life has been unfair to you, but you will prevail. Your hardships have turned you into a wonderful person, they have helped shape you as much as the happiness in your life has shaped you. I have always secretly been jealous of people who have blind faith, it's a built in comfort zone that I do not have, and I wish I did. Hold on to it.

    I love the new site!!  

  3. # Blogger Christine

    I think in order to consider yourself truly religious you need to have questioned your faith at one point or another. Just because how can you be religous without thinking, and thinking inevitably leads to a questioning when things don't go as we had planned or hoped, especially in a situation as stressful as yours is. When you're ready to be faithful again, if you want to be, you will be.

    But this is from perhaps the most lapsed Catholic of them all... so you should take it with a grain of salt. Regardless, here is my advice: I say, do what makes you feel better. Be it prayer, or questioning, or just relaxing and doing something for yourself or someone else. Things will work themselves out.  

  4. # Blogger Dawn

    Kristi, I would love to give you some words of comfort, but being an athiest, I don't really believe I have anything to say that will make you feel better.

    I can only say, don't worry about what other people believe. Or what you're supposed to believe. Hope for good luck and try to feel good about your life. Whether or not you have children will not determine whether your life is good. Maybe you and your husband will end up adopting and saving a child or two from an otherwise tragic life. Maybe not. But regardless of the events of your life, you and your own state of mind will be the biggest determining factor of whether or not you have a happy, good life. And I wouldn't make any big decisions about your faith right now. I think that you should just let it lay, and in time, you will know what you believe.  

  5. # Blogger Alisha

    Kristi,

    First, I just love you! You are kind, and good-hearted, and funny, and just a lovely person.

    I am a very spiritual person, and Mitch and I have just recently began attending the church I grew up in. We have had many dark moments, days, weeks, where we have begged God on our hands and knees to please help us, only to have those prayers go seemingly unanswered.

    However, in time, we always find that God's plan for our lives is so much larger and more elaborate than anything we humans can even imagine.

    Mitch and I pray for you every night, and will continue to do so. The only thing I can think to tell you is to take your time, take care of yourself, go and seek out those things that comfort you. And if that's your church, open your heart to returning. If not, just give yourself more time.  

  6. # Blogger Kristi

    Marie-I know what you mean about church being a comforting ritual. I used to think "I'm surrounded by prayer and faith and spirituality, God can't help but hear me" and that's very soothing. Maybe someday we'll both find our way back.

    Cara-Thank you. I know everything I've gone through has made me stronger. And I long for that "blind faith" comfort zone too. I think the belief of giving all your hardships over to God is a powerful one. I wish I were able to do it. And your grandma sounds like one tough cookie. I hope she stays well.

    Christine-I agree. I think all faithful people have questioned their beliefs at one time or another. And what's faith if it's never tested? Believing during the easy times in life is easy. Still believing when your life sucks is hard.

    Dawn-Thanks. I know having children won't determine the quality of my life, and who knows what's in store for us. This is such an emotionally charged time in my life right now, and faith decisions should probably be made when things are a bit more...calm. Good advice. Thanks.

    Alisha-Awww.. Thank you! You're so sweet and kind. And thank you for the prayers. That means so, so much to me. You've endured so much hardship in your life, and I truly admire your ability to use your faith to get you through. In fact, I envy that. I hope someday I can have that kind of faith again.  

  7. # Blogger Kross-Eyed Kitty

    I'm not a religious person, and never aspire to be.
    I think, that sometimes our hardist struggles in life, are also the most valuable lessons learned.
    Religion is one part of your life, and if you have to set it aside for a while to focus on other, more important things, god will understand.
    Novinas, or no novinas.  

  8. # Blogger Kross-Eyed Kitty

    ok...and one day, maybe I'll learn how to spell. Or, use spell-check.  

  9. # Blogger Kristi

    Ramona-you are so right. I've learned so much about myself and my husband through this process. It's incredible, really.  

  10. # Anonymous Anonymous

    I've found a great therapy for relieving Crohn's systems and pain; check out my blog here: http://eft-healthandhappiness.blogspot.com/  

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    born in August 2006 following
    IVF and girl/boy twins born in October 2008 following FET. Come along as I document the search for my lost intellect. It's a bumpy ride. Consider yourself warned.

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