Thursday, January 21, 2016

St. Therese and Vocation Doubts/Fears

Something funny happened to me earlier this week as I was finally putting all my living room books (which are the ones I actually want to read; not like the ones in "storage" in my book cave) to the bookcase: a prayer card I don't remember purchasing or receiving of St. Therese's was casually on top of one of my books. I didn't put it there. In fact, I had no idea I even owned this prayer card. That wasn't the funny part -- the book it was on top of was the funny bit.

If you're still wondering why I find this funny, it's very simple: she's one of the three saints I've prayed to regarding my vocation over the years and this after some vocation doubts. (side note: St. Raphael and the Immaculate Heart of Mary are the other two.) Look at the cover a little closer and you'll see that it has red roses adorning the border of the cover. I see what you're doing, Little Flower. ;)

The timing is impeccable because, as I've said, I've been having some... I don't want to say doubts but something in between doubts and fears regarding my future husband. Yes, I'm still single but a conversation I had earlier this week put some of these negative thoughts into my head.

Basically, this person and I were talking about my food allergies/intolerances. I've never been formally tested for an egg allergy but I display some of the symptoms of one... or did the last time I had any eggs. I'm getting a dairy allergy blood test done in March but I also had some of the allergy symptoms when we took it out of my diet over a decade ago. While the gluten intolerance blood test came back negative nearly 2-3 years ago, I've noticed that I feel lethargic for a couple of days after I eat a lot of wheat. When I take it out completely, I'm full of energy. I'll have to talk to my doctor about whether I'll permanently remove it from my diet or just reduce the amount that I eat but, for now, I'd rather not have any of it.

All of this -- plus what I've gone through in recent month -- made the person I was talking to say "wow, your poor future husband. What's he going to eat? I was sort of taken aback by this comment. "What do you mean?" I asked them. "Just because I can't eat something doesn't mean no one else can't. I make mom dishes that have dairy and eggs in them, no problem. I just make myself something else." The conversation then went into a place which I don't like visiting: the dungeon of fear regarding my vocation and future spouse.

In this dungeon of fears resides my biggest fear regarding my vocation: marrying the wrong person. It lives with its brother, Who the Heck is Going to Want to Endure What I Go Through? (or "Good Luck, Pal" for short) and its sister, Maybe You Didn't Discern Your Vocation Properly ("Nagging Nelly" for short). Between the three, I can have some pretty awful moments in which I question my vocation. While none of these have escaped from the dungeon in recent weeks, I got a glimpse of them during this conversation.

I'll be honest and say that, yes, I do wonder if I'll ever meet a fella who is going to say "your life isn't easy but I'm willing to endure this with you." I've always had stomach issues, even when I was a little kid. I can go weeks, months, or even years without issues as long as I take care of myself. Because of how bad recent stress levels have been, my stomach has been a pain to deal with. Thankfully I'm learning what triggers it (stress and anxiety) and what I can do to help it heal faster. Now that I'm also noticing which foods can aggravate it, it's getting better. Still, I know some people must go "wow, poor girl. So hard." A lot of people aren't aware of the multitude of options I have. I've learned to substitute eggs in baked goods with applesauce, bananas, and other things. Need flour? There's rice flour. Milk? There's so many options. I cut wheat out of my diet almost a month ago (reintroducing it briefly as part of an elimination diet) and I've still managed to gain a little bit of weight (which I'm excited about).

Sometimes I wonder if guys see this as a big obstacle. I don't like to go out to eat without checking menus and ingredient lists online first. I'd rather cook at home. In fact, I sincerely enjoy it. I just want to keep myself healthy, you know? I'm sure some guys see this as a huge hassle. Then we have other obstacle... which I personally don't see as an obstacle: my mother. Yes, there is a reason I brought her up; she was the second part of my conversation.

My mother is part of the packaged deal. While she doesn't meddle in my affairs (she's always let me make my own mistakes so I can learn and grow from them and I know she won't get involved in any squabbles I may have with future fella), I know guys don't like that. A lot of guys have basically said "oh... she's in your life that much? See ya!" I'm always going to want to live as close to her as possible because of her memory issues. I can't abandon her, you know? What a wretched thing it would be; to leave her to fend for herself during her moments in which she needs someone to help her. However, this is also part of my fear.

Taking my food intolerances and stomach issues, my occasional anxiety (which is getting better, thank goodness), and my mother being close... I sometimes fear that I'm going to stay single because no guy is going to want to deal with that. I try to remain optimistic and say that someday a guy will look at these things and go "oh, those aren't deal breakers; I want to go through this with you. We can do this together." That's my mentality most of the time... but the terrible trio of doubts will occasionally try to trip me.

Seeing the St. Therese prayer card on top of a book about dating was a sort of "hey, don't listen to those doubts; just keep praying" sign for me. No, I don't need signs but it was a lovely reminder to trust God. St. Therese was so sure of her vocation, even when she had to wait years to be allowed to enter the convent. Maybe she and I should have a conversation in the form of a novena. Maybe she can inspire me to do something more. I pray for my future husband but maybe not as often as I should. Maybe I should step up my prayers for my own vocation as well. Yes, I also pray that God prepares me for my future husband as well. I've entrusted this to the Immaculate Heart of Mary -- to help guide me to be the best wife I can be to my future husband and the best mama our future kids can have. I want to have strength where he may be weak and I'm sure God is preparing him to be strong where I'm weak.

Anyway, I'm writing this past midnight (it's almost 1 a.m. right now) because it's just something that I felt a strong urge to share on this blog. I'm not sure if I'll chicken out and delete this before it gets published but, if I don't, I hope that these rambling thoughts make sense to someone. I rarely see blog posts about fears regarding their vocations as future spouses so I hope this helps someone in the same boat.

Alright, I should try to get some sleep. It's already way past my bedtime.

I hope y'all are doing well! :)

As always, thanks for reading and God bless!


AnneMarie said...

That Jane Austen book looks adorable :) And St. Therese is the best! I hope that she's able to bring you some peace amid those fears. I think it's good that most of the time you're able to keep the positive mentality, because that's definitely a big part of marriage. A man and woman marry-maybe knowing the struggles ahead and maybe not knowing the struggles ahead-to be in it together and help each other out. One of my friends has tons of serious health problems, and they've gotten pretty bad since she got married 2 years ago-but it's been a time of great grace in her marriage, because her husband married her for HER-health problems and all :) Also, I just find it weird that the person you spoke with made that comment. Maybe it was meant as a joke? But it's a weird comment to make in my opinion.

Emmy Cecilia said...

AnneMarie - I remember not being totally in love with in the first time I read it a few years ago. Maybe I should re-read it to see if my opinion has changed.

I love St. Therese. And, agreed about the comment. Even if it was simply a joke (which I think that's what it was meant to be), it was still a very odd one to make.

Anonymous said...

God is much bigger than our fears! So, if there is a husband out there, he will accept you just the way you are! Who knows, perhaps he has even chosen to follow a diet similar to the one you must follow? God is amazing, and we just don't know the future! So, don't fear and just put it in the hands of God!

Anonymous said...

I've had a strong call to the Carnelites. But, I will be a traditional laity of the Carmelites. I think if I had never married, I would have been a cloistered carmelite nun like Saint Therese, and Saint Teresa of Avila. I love Carmel. If it was not that one, it would have been the Dominican, or the one Saint Clare founded, the Poor Clares.

Anonymous said...

Sorry should have mentioned that I felt that was my vocation, and strongly do. I love my hubs, he is a superb man. Sure, his mom doesn't approve of Catholics, or her son marrying one, but we don't let that spoil our happiness. I have a lot of health issues too, but my hubs is pretty supportive of it.
He is happy that I want to be a traditional Carmelite lay person. Best wishes to you!

Joe Potillor said...

Prayers of course for you my friend,

I suppose it's funny story time for me too.

Initially before the girl who happens to now be my girlfriend, I rejected her so to speak (well, those are her words, I tend to think I was saying how I wanted things to be)...

I didn't think it'd be possible for me to possibly give myself to someone who had children before, let alone 3, but, boy was I wrong, turns out many blessings came of this situation.

Which one of these days, come our next catch up day I'll have to tell you more.

It seems well enough with the grace of God, that anyone who is willing to give of themselves will deal with everything in stride and approriately. Though I can't imagine anyone who would not love momma.

Do keep me in prayer too :)...