So, before I really begin writing this post, I just want to point out that this one and the one before it are strongly related. It’s all about the journey I’ve been on the past two or three years of my life, and the fact that I really am not out of that desert yet, but this past summer and current school year have really been more of an oasis on the journey (as I’m beginning to realize).
As a woman, I think we all have some general issues that we ALL face, ladies, you know what I’m talking about. Self-doubts, feelings of imperfection (that are incredibly hard to overcome), insecurities, and dare I say it, but doubts about our woman-hood, and that it truly means to be a (capital W) Woman. At first, I actually wasn’t sure if this post was going to be relating back to Mary, but oh goodness how Mother likes to sneak up on me like that. For me, the past few years (and heck, even further back then that) I’ve noticed that I had an extreme lack of confidence, and lack of the knowledge of my worth. Evident by the fact that when friends have told me they learned something from me, I’m dumbfounded each time. I always have to ask what they learned from me, and it’s funny because they almost always answer with the same thing: how to stick-through (tough-out) and overcome struggles, and how to keep their faith and trust in God through those struggles. I’m pretty sure the last time I was told this, I laughed out loud because this last bout of struggles I’ve gone through I very much did not keep my faith or trust in God. But, as I’ve learned over this past year or so, I do have this uncanny ability to bounce back from these incredibly difficult hardships and trials that I’ve gone through in my life. And at the end of the day, it happens because I have placed my trust and faith in God.
Confidence has always been a struggle for me, and it something that I have to keep gaining in order to overcome the depression I suffer from. I hide myself behind all of these things, because I don’t think I’m worthy to be seen. But when people cannot see me, they cannot learn what I have to offer from my heart. And I, like everyone else, have beautiful gifts to offer the world. Every single person has gifts to offer the world.
This Lent was not fruitful for me. I gave up close parking spaces, at at times it was a sacrifice, but at other times it was actually pretty great because no one likes to park out far and I didn’t have to deal with people getting in my way. But that was not why this Lent was not fruitful for me. It was because I lacked the understanding that just as I have gifts to offer this world, a gift was given for me to be able to do this, and I did not think myself worthy of it. It was because of my lack of confidence that this Lent was not fruitful for me.
Now I’m sure that everything I’ve really said up to this point has been very desolate, and desert-like. Not the oasis of which I speak of in the title. This is where it comes in:
Lent was not fruitful for me, but in that lack of fulfillment, it is my understanding that it was not fruitful for me and WHY that I have found this oasis in the desert. I am sure that for years to come I will have self-doubts, reservations about my worth and what gifts I have to offer the world. But I just have to keep in mind that through all of those doubts, those reservations. There is a truth that I have understood before, and will understand again. I AM WOMAN. (hear me ROAR). I have worth. I have meaning. I have gifts to offer the world.
The thing is, we all have gifts, even when we don’t recognize them. There are several which a dear friend pointed out to me that I had no idea I had to offer until she did. Gifts of love, of strength, of peace. And I am a very weak and troubled person. But it is because I suffer through those trials that these are my greatest gifts.
That I believe myself unworthy of love is where my gift to love unconditionally and without prejudice comes from.
That I believe myself weak is where my gift of strength through unbearable hardships and sufferings comes from.
That I believe myself a troubled person is where my gift of peace in the face of troubles comes from.
It is from my greatest weaknesses that I have such strong gifts to offer. It is in my spiritual desert that I offer a spiritual oasis for all others to come to when they are weak, weary and thirsty from their own deserts, and it is there that I meet them, and it is there that I show them how to continue on. To complete their trials in the desert so they may move forward and be greeted with love and triumph.
I believed myself to have forsaken God and Mary throughout these last trials that I have gone through, but just as through my weaknesses sprouting great gifts, they have been with me, changing me, carrying me, and working in me and through me this whole time.
It is in our weaknesses that we find true strength, because eventually we will realize they are not truly weaknesses at all, but ways to offer ourselves for the good of others, and in doing so become closer to God.
I did not have a very fruitful Lent, but in not having one, it changed me in ways I could never have imagined, and led me to the oasis of my spiritual desert.