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I need help understanding my feelings...

(17 Posts)
thankfeckitschrismas Sun 15-Dec-13 21:25:51

I'm rc, but not devout. Tbh I'm kind of jealous of those who are devout because they don't have any doubts.

I have so many doubts, that I'm paralysed with indecision.

When I was a child I went to a Catholic school, but only went to church spasmodically. In my teens I thought : if there is a God, he knows how I feel. If there isn't a God then it doesn't matter.

I married my husband in a register office because he'd been married before, and the church wasn't important to us at the time.

13 years we tried for a baby, then we conceived through ivf. My dad (who doesn't go to church at all, but claims to be catholic) said "what you are doing is against God, and you will get what you deserve"

I thought she was a gift from God , and we had her christened. I took her
To church every week for five years.

Then my world started to fall apart. I lost my job. Made redundant by the most spiritual man I know, he hugged me and told me he'd look after me, then he got his subordinate to sack me. Incidentally when he sold his company he made it a condition of the sale that my colleague was kept on while I was cast aside.

I got a temp job, was rammed from behind in a car crash, spent weeks in hospital and lost that job. I started to fall behind on my bills etc

I found out I had tumours on three of my organs....the list goes on.

While I was in hospital noone from the church visited, noone missed me.
Then I got thinking, why was all this bad stuff happening while I was going to church?

In all the years I hadn't been practicing things hadn't been so bad, but now...things were just awful.

So I stopped going and things got worse and worse, lost 3 more jobs, unemployed for a year, finally made bankrupt in 2011. Then I was too ashamed to go back.

Then two years ago stated my own cm business, and it's doing okay. We are making our bills

my now 10 year old dd has said she wants to go go church agan, and I took her tonight

The prestigious did look pleased to see me at the end, but all the prayers have changed...I feel like a complete fraud and hypocrite. I don't feel worthy and I don't belong

Is there anyone out there who can talk to me about how I'm feeling and help me understand?


Tuo Sun 15-Dec-13 22:45:26

Hello TFIC. I am not a Catholic (I'm Anglican), but I did waver for a very long time (nearly 30 years) before going back to Church and committing to it fully again, after going throughout my childhood and stopping in my late teens, so I do empathise with your feelings of not belonging, feeling like a fraud, etc. For a while, after I went back, I thought that everyone would magically be able to see all my doubt and fear and lostness... that they would know that I wasn't 'one of them'. But it never happened like that. Instead people seemed pleased I was there, so I stuck around, and the lostness and fear started to dissipate first, as I felt more comfortable there, and finally the doubt went too.

So I guess my advice would be not to feel as if you need to deal with the doubt first, before you can start to fit in and feel you belong. For years I put off going because I didn't feel properly 'qualified' - I wasn't sure I could recite the whole Creed without crossing my fingers for the bits of it I wasn't sure about... and I felt that unless I could do that then I somehow shouldn't be there. Whereas what I now feel is that church is exactly the right place for people with doubts - the best place, in fact, to get those doubts resolved.

It's great that your DD wanted to go to church. I have found that having my DD with me (I have two - one comes, one doesn't - it's up to them...) has been a great help in getting to know people and also getting a bit more involved in things.

I'm so sorry that you had such a rough time in the past and I am glad that things are looking up for you now. I'm also sorry that you didn't feel that your church was there for you when you needed it. Have you gone back to the same one now, or are you trying a different one? Personally, I don't believe that God makes things happen to us, nor do I believe that 'everything happens for a reason'. It sounds as if you dealt with your difficult times with strength and energy and resilience. It's clear that you don't need faith as a 'prop' to get your through the hard times. But maybe there's something else in it for you. For me, I have found greater peace of mind and greater happiness than I had before. To all external appearances my life has barely changed at all - and yet I feel that it has changed - and that I have changed in it - utterly... and for the better.

I hope that that may be your experience too. Meanwhile, remember that Jesus explicitly sought out those who felt as if they didn't fit in, people who'd struggled or were struggling, people who doubted... and he ensured that they felt his love for them. I don't have all the answers - I wish I did... But I wish you well.

CanYouKeepASecret2 Sun 15-Dec-13 22:52:58

I'm not RC, but I didn't want your post to be left un-replied. You really sound like you've had a rough time and thanks be to God you are now coming out the other side. Crap things do happen to good Christians and it is so hard to understand why.
Your feelings at church were totally normal. We are all lost and sinners that is why we need Jesus. I think we all feel a bit unworthy; I'm reading How to Be a Bad Christian at the moment and a lot of it is really touching a nerve with me.

I know very little about the set up in Catholic churches, but can you make an appointment to talk to your priest and tell him everything you've told us here? Surely part of their job is the spiritual and pastoral support you are needing? Someone to talk all these issues through with; someone non-judgmental and loving?

thankfeckitschrismas Mon 16-Dec-13 08:09:34

Thank you both. I think i will buy that book.

I went back to the same church, but a different service. I don't think I could talk to anyone in the church least of all the priest.

I fear judgement the most, and I still feel that if there is a God he knows what I'm feeling.

aroha77 Mon 16-Dec-13 13:25:44

Just wanted to say I'm sorry you've had such a hard time. And I think life and faith is always confusing, anyone who pretends it's not and has no questions for god are just avoiding thinking about it I reckon!
I can see why you would find it difficult returning to the church where you didn't receive support. I wonder if trying out somewhere else would help?
For what it's worth i agree that God knows how you feel/what you're thinking and I think his love for you always outweighs any judgement xx

thankfeckitschrismas Mon 16-Dec-13 15:39:05

I don't worry about God's judgement.

It's us mere mortals! Still, the priest seemed happy to see us.

Tuo Mon 16-Dec-13 15:39:21

In great haste, sorry, but just to say that if God knows what you are feeling then He knows that you have come to Him in a genuine spirit of searching for answers. He doesn't expect you to have the answers already. He wants you to question and explore and debate. But I believe he'll still be there for you at the end of the process.

Good luck!

sunnyspot Tue 17-Dec-13 18:34:04

Churches get it wrong - they are made up of humans.
We had a recent experience where one lady didn t come to church for a while. Everybody missed he, but everybody thought somebody else had contacted her to see if she was ok.
In the end she came back- she'd had a bad back- and was understandably upset no one had contacted her.
We were all horrified and ashamed that no one had in fact contacted her.
We are now trying to rectify this and have set up a team to notice when people are not there for a while and contact them.
It was inexcusable, but wasn t because we didn t care.
You are not a fraud or a hypocrite, you are worthy and you do belong !

thankfeckitschrismas Tue 17-Dec-13 19:41:04

What are the 'rules' on communion, an independent allowed totakeit straight away or do I have to go to confession first?

I have been confirmed and made my first holy communion

Gingerdodger Wed 18-Dec-13 19:13:37

I am sure most churchgoers welcome back anyone who has been away, we are probably not always very good at showing this and telling people.

The rules around communion are that you are supposed to be in a position where you have examined your conscience and I believe believe we are supposed to go to confession at least once per year. If I am honest though I dont know how widely this is practised and different churches do reconciliation differently, some doing a kind of group reconciliation (not sure how this works as ours doesn't do it this way). If you have been away for a while I think you may find confession really helpful in thinking through events and what has brought you back to God. My experience is that nobody sits there checking if you have been to reconciliation before taking communion! I think it's between you and your conscience (although better Catholics than me might advise differently!).

Thinking of you.

springythatlldofornow Fri 20-Dec-13 14:05:02

ah, you've really been through it. I'm so sorry.

Delighted to hear you have no problems with God's judgement though - phew, that's the most important. I agree that he is close to the broken-hearted and doesn't judge in the way people can. You are forgiven and loved by him and that's the most important thing. He's with you all the way.

I find religion a bit erm baffling tbh. It doesn't seem to have much to do with God! I don't believe, eg, that ivf is wrong - it sounds to me that your daughter was a Godsend, loved and cherished by both you and God.

I had my time away from God - hated his guts tbf - but when I limped back, there he was, as constant as ever.

thankfeckitschrismas Fri 20-Dec-13 15:17:25

Thank you, she is. When we are having our sessions before she was christened, the priest was telling,lingerie us that Jesus brought light into the world...I csnt remember the exact words he used

But I thought...that's it! She has brought light into my life. She is the light of my life and I have to thank God for that.

Ps I don't believe that many of the things done in God's name are his work. I think some of the sins committed by members and representatives of God should be viewed seperately as sins of man. Iyswim

Italiangreyhound Fri 27-Dec-13 01:36:19

thankfeckitschrismas no real words of wisdom but so happy you have your lovely daughter. Mine was born form fertility treatment too. I don't think your good or bad luck equates to going to church or not going to church. I'm really sorry you've had such bad times and hope the future will be brighter. I am not a Roman catholic. I am a Christian who goes to a free church (but in my heart I am C of E!). I hope you will find someone who you can talk to who can help you. In the Anglican church we have a tradition of spiritual directors, where you meet up about 2 or 3 times a year with a person who can help to guide you. This is very useful to me. All best wishes.

thankfeckitschrismas Fri 27-Dec-13 22:23:44

Thank you

HoneyandRum Sat 28-Dec-13 17:33:24

Dear thankfeckitschristmas it sounds like you need some loving Catholic friends. What part of the country are you in? I know of various groups and organizations around that you might be interested in contacting. As much as you love your beautiful daughter, God loves us more and keeps us in existence. Please don't fear any judgement, Jesus has healed any breach between us and God by coming to us as we are. You don't need to do anything differently to come to church. Have you looked in your parish bulletin/newsletter to see if there are any groups or pastoral leaders you could connect with?

thankfeckitschrismas Sat 28-Dec-13 22:12:26

Our parish is tiny, I'm not on the mainland so it makes things quite tricky!

See I'm trying to take onboard what everyone said about there being no correlation between events and attending church, but I don't quite believe it

HoneyandRum Sat 28-Dec-13 22:31:03

Are you familiar with the Book of Job? Job has a long run of very bad events in his life and he asks God "Where are you in this? "

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