My mother is a Deacon. She’s been one for quite sometime now. She would often ask me to attend church on certain days and I would begrudgingly go. I tried hard to like church and to have some sort of faith but I couldn’t do it. When I had gotten engaged, I tried again and the Pastor at the time made me feel so pressured to get married and have children quickly. He invited me to sit with other ‘planning’ couples and I was just so bothered by this that I told my mother. And it wasn’t just one letter. It was one after another because I hadn’t responded. She was very upset, because this wasn’t supposed to be the intention. Yet, it happened and I decided I wasn’t going to be forced to feel welcome in a church where the Pastor has made me feel so uncomfortable.
I don’t know if I was pregnant at the time, maybe it was early on or right before…but my mother told me that we had a new Pastor at her church. She told me that he was younger and that she knows that I’d really like him. My mother had never forced religion on me even if she had asked me to go to certain days – Mother’s Day, Easter, Christmas Eve…I could do that. But not every Sunday, that was my rule. But here she was, telling me about the new Pastor and I promised her that I would go to church that following Sunday.
And that is when I decided it was time for me to figure out my faith and my walk with God.
This isn’t going to be preachy. Like I said above, your beliefs are yours and I will not judge nor try to sway you the other way. I didn’t like it being done to me and I would never put that on another person. Most people who knew me back when were a little confused to find out that I was becoming a member of Grove Reformed. “She’s into God all of a sudden?” “Since when is Marie religious?” So rather than ask questions like that, wouldn’t it make sense to ask, “What made you decide this was the direction you wanted to go in?” And you would find out that it had zero to do with anyone pressuring me and everything to do with knowing I was about to become a mother. That changed everything for me, and changed the way I looked at things.
Yes, the new Pastor had delivered a sermon that had me thinking, “He totally gets it!” and that’s where it pretty much originated – but make no mistake about it, I was walking gingerly. I was going to leave religion up to my husband, or let it be something my child does with one of his grandmothers. That was truly my intention but it didn’t last too long. I found myself regularly attending service, enjoying it, and taking a lot from the messages that the sermon was delivering. It was nice to also feel like I wasn’t being judged for prior beliefs and feelings. But I was being judged by others who didn’t believe, and others who knew the old way that I thought.
And that isn’t really fair, right? If I’m not judging them, why are they judging me?
Look. If you don’t believe in God, fine. You don’t have to. If you believe in God, fine. You don’t have to do that either. I don’t sit and preach religion, throw it in anyone’s face, or force anyone to attend church with me. It doesn’t change who I am just because I’m a member of a congregation and I believe in God. If you have your doubts about God and all things religion, don’t worry about what I will think of that. I only think it’s hypocritical if you’re out here getting ashes on Ash Wednesday and talking about giving something up for Lent when you haven’t set foot in a church in years nor practice any sort of religion. But hey, God doesn’t want me to judge and maybe I should check myself.
Just know that my walk in life is not yours. Yours is not mine. You believe what you believe, and I will do the same.
Part of my reasoning for going this extra mile is for my son. I want him to be a healthy little dude; he was born a bit over a month early. He was on breathing apparatus for awhile and was in the NICU for a week (and maybe plus one day – it’s a fog to me now). While some mothers may say that I’m obsessive or insane, I say that I’m just taking proper precautions. Unfortunately, other mothers feel that they have a say in what I choose to do for my child’s well being. Remember: what works for you may not work for somebody else. You don’t know their situation. After downloading the Think Dirty app, I felt like I had failed in my label reading and extensive research. The product I have been using on my son since infancy is full of chemicals and for lack of better word…dirty. And it’s a product that I thought was supposed to be good for you – maybe it’s the price point that made me believe that. I fully intend on doing an overhaul on the products that I use for him – his health and well being is my priority.
Another part of my reasoning is because of my own health. I have a thyroid disease. There are certain additives in food that make my thyroid go nuts and not in a good way. There are foods that I need to avoid completely and foods that I need to limit. I don’t eat a lot anymore, seldom am I eating sugary things or snacking late at night on junk food. I’m not starving myself, I’m just becoming better with what I eat, what my portions are, and reading those labels! This goes back to when it came time to start thinking about what he should bring to school for lunch. Do you know how much crap is in a Lunchable?! Seems like it’s an easy option, right? Easy, yet full of sodium. Sodium, sugar, carbohydrates – all things that I need to be careful of because of my thyroid. So if I’m not eating it, my child certainly isn’t. Unless his father is in charge. Or a grandparent. But lucky me! My child LOVES fruits and vegetables. FRESH fruits and veggies! He makes grocery shopping easy, I know just what to get for him. And for myself, I read labels and ask my doctor questions. I’ve lost ten pounds. Not working out. Not starving myself. Eating the right portions, the right foods, not snacking late at night, hardly anything sugary, and oh hey, water. Usually with peppermint essential oil because it helps with bloat, or lemon essential oil because it detoxifies and curbs those cravings.
When it comes to my husband, he’s a skeptic on all of these things. We read a book that was written by a MS patient who said that going gluten free helped him big time with his battle. I told my husband that I would go gluten free in solidarity with him and he said no. He refuses to do it, even if it may benefit his health. My husband has lost a ton of weight – between a new job that keeps him active, not eating take out for lunch every day, and him trusting me with incorporating new and healthier alternatives into our meals…he looks terrific. But his weight loss doesn’t mean his MS has gone away. If only it were so simple, I keep telling myself. But I also try to read up on things that can help him, too. He might not be a label person, but when I can ‘show him the light’ so to speak, I will. Part of my journey with essential oils is because of him, and how I’ve read how beneficial it can be to MS patients. It’s not a cure, let me get that out of the way. It’s only going to support his wellness and keep his aches and pains to a bare minimum.
The foods we eat, the shampoo we use, the products we clean our home with – I have gotten a little manic about it because that’s me being Mama Bear. I also want to feel good as well as look good. I have a new regimen at nighttime – from washing my face to rubbing coconut oil on the bottom of my feet, it takes me about 15 minutes to do all of this before I get into bed. It’s a process, it’s a little bit of a long road and sometimes not very cheap but I know in the end I’m doing what’s best. Remember: what’s good for me might not be good for you, so do your research!