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Lent Part 2

3/8/2015 
 I can't remember my thoughts from the last post about Lent but one that has been recurring as of lately is that one that is prompted by the ever lasting argument I seem to have with a friend of mine that Lent is only observed by Catholics. I literally only learned about Lent maybe two years ago, I did however grow up with the knowledge of Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and of course Easter Sunday. I had heard about Ash Wednesday when I was a child, who attended St. Edwards Catholic School. I, however, could not tell you what it was about or for I just knew that the people were walking around with ashes on their forehead... and that holy water was salty. (I don't even remember how old I was it's a distant memory that somehow stays but is never truly clear.) I've gone back and forth about this and my friend stated that his church hasn't observed Good Friday or Palm Sunday. "Well it sounds to me like maybe you need to find a new church..." Was my response to his statement. "You're right, and I'm not even sure if I believe." Was his.
Again I started this one way and my thoughts are ever moving and am probably taking in another direction. What troubled me about this statement is that I have known for years that he has been agnostic; please don't confuse that with being an atheist.
Agnostic- A person who holds that the existence of the ultimate, cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience. 
2. A person who denies or doubts the possibility of ultimate knowledge in some area of study. (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/agnostic?s=t)
Atheist- A person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.(http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/atheist?s=t)

He's gone to church and he's tried. He's really tried to come to an understanding. He yells at me if I preach at him. I don't know what it is he is looking for, however I can see it and here it in him that something is missing from his life. He seems so lost. Where and how do we fail as a church as a community as sisters and brothers in Christ that such a lost soul is still so lost? I stop and think about myself and how things were when I was lost on the road searching for understanding. The thing about agnostic people is that most if not all of them grew up in the church. They grew up doing as they were told and believing as they were taught to believe... and that right there is just it. For many, especially those with very strong minds, believing because we were taught such just isn't enough after awhile. We are grown now. We can make our own decisions... and the devil feeds our doubts. I spent a long time pondering the same things my friend does currently. The who, what, when, why, and how. It's hard to be lost in doubts especially when you are reaching out for help and you come up empty handed. Most of the stories I hear from people who were desperate to believe desperate to know more to understand more but didn't follow through, gave up, or just said that they no longer knew if they believed anymore were people who were left stranded without someone to help them along the journey. 

I often wonder if his church has extended their hand to him? Have they made him feel welcomed or is he going there because they are traditionally what he is used to in a church. There is a root cause as to why after about 4 years of knowing him that he still does not know if he believes. I also wonder if it really is that he doesn't know if he believes or if he just believes that he is not worthy enough to be forgiven. I ran from Christ. I doubted his forgiveness in me and my worthiness to receive it. "If I can't forgive myself why should God forgive me?"
"I need to be able to forgive myself before I allow God to forgive me."
"What if I follow you God and believe in you and I die only to find out that there is nothing after death? What if there is no bigger purpose to life, other than living it and dying?"
I myself can't answer those questions. I've thought them I've grown enough to pray about them and find peace within of the knowledge that, God Is. 
I am convinced that the above questions are not questions that can be answered by any one person on this earth in this earth and of this earth. I wish that I could help my friend. I wish that I could tell him that one church is better than the other. I wish that I could get him to believe. No I am not Catholic, I am baptist and I am observing Lent because I wanted to make a commitment to Christ and keep it even if for a short period of time. I didn't feel as close to God as I wanted to be. There was also just so much going on in my life that I just wanted to take break from it all and really get to know who I am supposed to be as a Christian.

If you have been following and have forgotten what it is that I have given up for Lent I have given up, Facebook, Alcohol, and Sex. You might notice a repeat of at least two of those I have tried to give up in the last year... I'm a 30 year old woman with three kids, of course I'm not perfect. It's been two and half weeks since I've given up those things, yet longer since I've actually engaged in them. I don't have the actual time limit on them but I am pretty sure that it was almost two months ago 



3/16/2015
I think that I have made it past the hardest part of my journey. I feel better. Not as anxious. Taking this time out to pray and get closer to God has brought me great joy. I have an idea... a calling in my head that I am not sure how to bring to fruition. Its something that I believe I have always wanted in some form or fashion, I just didn't know and still don't know how to bring it about. 
My thoughts are not really in this particular post at the moment. I just have so much running through my mind. So much I want to do. I know that one of the things that I am strongly leaning towards is giving up sex. When I make it to Easter I am almost certain that I won't have the desire for it. At least in the sense that I made it that far, I could make it further. Not to mention I have long been tired of meaningless sex. I may have stepped on an ex boyfriend or two's toes with that one but truth is the physical of it just isn't worth the self doubt and stress that comes with it. Well I have updated all I am going to update at this time. I will check in with you all later.
3/17/2015
So I ended that last section abruptly. I feel like I ended it just when I was really getting into the good stuff. I wanted to address the things I wish I knew and UNDERSTOOD about sex before I actually had sex (and children). My home church first of all drove me absolutely crazy. By the time I got to high school I was so sick of hearing about sex And STDs I literally skipped health because wonderfully enough half the semester was spent on just that. I cared... But I didn't care. One I was less corrupted then and still planned to actually wait until marriage. (I wish I had) as an adult I realized that they spent so much time scaring us with talk of STDs and teen pregnancy they failed to effectively explain the reason why it was important to wait until marriage. I can only speak from a woman's point of view but goodness gracious! I was a heart breaker in my day... Ok maybe not, but I tossed boyfriends at the flick of a wrist. No emotional ties. I wasn't giving it up.  Deuces ✌. No more thoughts about it there wasn't a physical connection. Let's break the list down to what i figured out late in life just a little too late. 
1. Cuddling is a gateway to sex don't believe me think back on all those times you were just cuddling. (side-eye)
2. Heavy petting can cause just as many emotional attachments as actually having sex. Which can keep you blinded by hormones and cloud the vision of who a man really is compared to who you envision him to be.
3. It's so much easier for women to become emotionally attached to a man than the other way around. Sex adds to that. 
4. Sex And validation DO NOT go hand in hand. Marriage validates sex. Marriage before sex says, I chose you as you are, for who you are, good, bad, and ugly.  Marriage before sex is as sincere in love as anyone can get. 
5. You do lose a part of yourself every time you have sex outside of marriage.  That is not described right though. Described correctly it would go like this.  Every time you have sex outside of marriage your self image diminishes. You can only question what's wrong with you. You may not like the person in the mirror. 
The list can go on and on. These are just things and thoughts I have learned to overcome. 
There is just one more area in which I believe parents fail at when it comes to their kids learning about sex. from someone who had been there...  DON'T LET ANYONE ELSE TALK TO YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT SEX BEFORE YOU DO!!!!! Yes it's uncomfortable but the truth is they need guidance and if we shield them, under explain, or don't explain any of this stuff to them at all.  They will learn it somewhere else replay the mistakes of their parents before them and feel crappy along the way. Seriously I plan to explain to my children everything I can about sex And the effect it has on not just the body but the mind and soul as well. Well time for bed now.  Goodnight until I write again. 

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