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Tomorrow January 30, I will be 49 years old! It is really hard to believe. Thinking about the fact that this will be the last year in my forties, I started to think about where I’ve come from over the last four decades.
Where my faith grows
Where has been my biggest growth and what has been my largest regret? I often take time to ask myself these types of questions.
This is because without asking purposeful questions about where you have been or where you are in life you will not appreciate where you are headed.
You will not have an understanding from where you have come from and you will not fully know the path you are currently traveling on.
So, as I considered these two thoughts, I can’t help but think of my Faith and my family.
Incidentally, the daily scripture reading today is about Jesus telling the parable about the seed and the sower. How the success of the seed depends on the type of ground it is sown on.
If you plant the seed in fertile soil it is more likely to grow and reach its potential. If you sow on bad soil the seed will not survive or will struggle to do so. It will not become what it was intended to be. So we must cultivate the soil of our souls with prayer and study to be ready for the seed of God’s Word.
But, let’s consider the seed. What if the seed is bad and the soil is good. What if without thinking we plant poisonous seeds or seeds of some kind of undesirable harvest or weed. I believe this can happen and we need to be just as cautious of the types of seeds we are scattering.
Seeds of Faith
It was a long time ago when I was very young, that faith in God was introduced to me. This seed of faith was planted in me by my mother.
She had a strong belief in Jesus & His Word. Often I would see her on her knees in prayer and she made sure that church was a major part of our lives. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and most of the day on Sunday were times you would find us there. Those Pentecostals are always in church!
As I grew in years and in my own faith, I witnessed God answering prayer and moving in my own life frequently.
But, after my high school graduation, my faith would falter and diminish as some of the close people around me, and even some in my own church community would turn their backs on me.
They felt justified in their behavior because some of the decisions I made didn’t meet with their approval.
The way I was treated and some circumstances, I myself help create by my decisions, led me away from the routine faith life I had grown up with.
But thank God – that seed was there.
I still prayed, but, for the rest of my faith life, it became a ‘dormant seed’ for a while.
But, unknowingly to me, the faith my mother had planted would one day, blossom into life and faith I could never have dreamed of.
My Pentecostal upbringing would one day lead me into the Truth and fullness of the Catholic Church.
Praying for a future
As I was pondering my life, the reason my mind was drawn to the thoughts of my faith and family, is because they are so closely connected. My faith grew my family and my family grew my faith. These simple words describe exactly why my life is what it is today.
You see, because of those ‘unapproved of’ decisions I made after high school, I was alone. Divorced with two little children. A single mom, working to pay daycare and buy diapers. I had no faith life, except for the occasional prayer here and there, but that was the extent of it.
Until one day I decided to get down on my knees and pray from the heart. I knew from past experience that God could and would answer my prayer if only I would listen and surrender to His Will.
And he did answer! Working through my normal daily circumstances and other people he began to plant the possibility of an undreamed-of future. Shortly thereafter a friend of mine introduced me to my now-husband.
As I continued to water my planted faith with prayer, I was led to my new husband – and a whole new family. My husband is Catholic. And like I stated earlier I, at the time we met, was not going to church or worshipping God in any way.
So when he invited me to attend a Catholic Mass with him I felt no obligation to my childhood church or any other church for that matter, and so I was free to go.
But, I was unaware that there were bad and untrue seeds about Catholicism that had also been sown in me. Like statue worshipping (not true) and praying to Mary. I was taught that these things were very wrong and that Catholics regularly practiced them.
So, when I first walked into the Church with my husband, those negative seeds started to awaken. I saw the statues. And I even saw a statue of Mary. What was I doing here?! All I had been taught was obviously true!
Of course, with the gentle patience of my husband, I soon learned about the undeniable Truth & Beauty of the Catholic Church. I did not cultivate those negative seeds. I starved and strangled them with the undeniable Truth I was discovering.
This new, rejuvenating, beautiful, and powerful rejuvenation of faith led me to the faith & family that my husband and I share today.
If not for the teachings of the Catholic Faith, we would not have 10 children between us. How could we? It was not in our plan. Openness to life and many babies were seeds gently planted by learning the Truth.
The truth and beauty of the Catholic Teaching on Life opened our hearts and home to the beautiful gift we would receive, a child, or children in our case. We were gifted many souls to raise and we couldn’t be more fulfilled because of it.
But it also meant that in this family we have been lovingly given, we were going to be asked to tend, nurture, and grow our ‘seeds’ so that they would become faithful followers of Jesus too.
Growing Our Seeds
My Faith comes into play daily. Give us this day our Daily Bread…Forgiving those who trespass against us. Yes, it is a daily practice! Little trespasses like, temper tantrums, dirty clothes on the floor, name-calling, or a dirty cup left under the couch, or a toilet that has not been flushed – it happens…
You get the idea.
I also have to ask for forgiveness for a snarky remark or impatient response. So, humility automatically grows in family life too.
These ‘trespasses’ create the opportunity to cultivate, put into practice and to grow all the little ‘faith & Word’ seeds that have been planted in our souls into fruit like
So, with frequent whispered prayers in trying situations, frequent confession, and endless opportunities to say sorry or to forgive, our Family grows in our faith.
My Faith grows because of my family
Because of my family, I have grown in my Faith. I have seen glimpses of fruit. Consistently being asked to step beyond my protective comfort zone. I have been given the opportunity to really move beyond what I had ever dreamed would be my future.
Truthfully I can say that forty-nine is just a number. It is a reminder that there have been seeds that have long ago been planted in my soul. Some have grown and some have yet to sprout. My responsibility is to recognize the good, true, and beautiful ones and to neglect and choke out the bad.
But for the most important seeds in my life, the seeds of Faith & Family…My Faith grows my family and my family definitely grows my faith.