Not Watching the Clock

This week, we had the second anniversary of the day we lost my aunt to suicide. It was something I had been dreading… the lead up to that date is always tough, and then figuring out how to navigate the day itself and the days surrounding it hasn’t been easy.

We have a few anniversaries… the date she died, the next day when we found out she died…and a few more along the way as well.

In the weeks after we lost her, I became a detective in the worst sort of way. We were able to piece together a timeline of what happened, and a lot of “this is when she made that decision” “this was her last communication” types of things.

And because we have that timeline, it’s been very tempting for me to ‘watch the clock’ on the anniversary dates, to remember what she was going through at the exact moments she was going through them. But also, the decision to watch the clock last year made me feel extra sad.

So this year, I called my mom to check in and we talked about our plans for the evening and how it was weird to decide what we were going to do and how we would spend our time. I shared that it was hard for me to not watch the clock and she said the same.

We both decided that this year we wanted to try to have a normal evening, and to intentionally not watch the clock and instead choose to engage in some self-care. For me, that meant watching a show with JP and eating chips and salsa and microwave s’mores.

And I honestly think that was the best decision I could have made.

One, it made the night much more tolerable.

The other big thing is that two years ago, when my aunt died, a very deep darkness won. It is horrible and awful and it will always be horrible and awful that darkness won that day.

But we don’t have to keep letting the darkness win each year on that night.

I pray for Jeannine every day. I intend to keep praying for her as long as I’m alive. I grieve for her. Sometimes I grieve deeply. That is a part of the process too, and I respect that and validate that when the waves of grief crash heavy on the shores.

I also think it’s important for me to make the choice each and every day to live. For me, this year on the sad anniversaries that surround February 4th for our family, I chose to engage with my children. To visit with friends. To eat snacks and snuggle with my husband. That felt more powerful to me than forcing myself to relive the darkness by watching the clock and letting some of that darkness in.

It’s a tough balance, managing a loss like this one, but this year I’m thankful for the conversation my mom and I shared, and that we both were able to, as much as we could, not let the darkness claim another victory by stealing from the precious time we have.


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Southern Hospitality and Sharing My Story in Texas

I had the amazing opportunity to give my talk, “A Protestant Interrupted,” at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Angleton, Texas last weekend.

Mary’s got my back 🙂

Father Victor Perez had seen my Journey Home episode, and reached out via Twitter to invite me to his parish. I have to admit, at first I wasn’t sure if it was a serious invitation or not. Tweets are mysterious like that. But sure enough, he followed up via email, and soon we were talking about dates and travel arrangements!

And Southern Hospitality is a real thing, y’all. I met so many kind people, including Judy, who was my airport transportation and lunch companion, and Dan and Rita, my awesome hosts (and providers of early morning coffee and Tex Mex dinner.) Along with so many others.

Most Holy Trinity is a beautiful, energetic parish, with lovely music and passionate people. It was a pleasure to meet so many of them before and after I shared my story.

The one tricky aspect to this trip was early departure times from the airports. I wanted to make sure to get home in time to spend Sunday afternoon with my people back in Wisconsin, so there was a slight shortage in sleep over the course of the weekend. But that was a small sacrifice for time well-spent. Plus, on the way home, I had a layover at the Dallas Airport, in the terminal that contained a Ben and Jerry’s. I walked, wide-eyed up to the lady at the counter and was all like “I am so glad you are here!” She may have looked at me like I was a little crazy, but she was certainly generous in her scoopage, and for that I am eternally grateful.

What a joy it is to be able to share some of the many reasons I love the Catholic faith with some new friends. I hope to be able to visit again soon. 🙂

– Lorelei

For more information on booking Lorelei for a speaking engagement, please see our Speaker page above, or click here.


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Celebrating Our Ten Year Wedding Anniversary!

Ten years ago, JP and I entered into the Sacrament of Marriage.

We celebrated our anniversary on May 26, 2017. It was a beautiful day, and we are so thankful for each other, and for God growing us in love this past decade. We started the week off by watching our wedding video, and looking at pictures from our relationship, and some of the notes we have given to each other over the years. Turns out back in the day we celebrated “month-versaries” of dating, and got each other a card for each month we had been together. We talk in those cards of all the “memories” we had made in the past one month, or two months, and it’s pretty dorky and funny, but also kind of sweet. Ten years in we now believe we actually do have some great memories together… so feeling pretty legit.

But, without further ado, here are some highlights from the actual anniversary day.

We drove up to Green Bay, which is where much of our early relationship took place, with plans to take the kids to several of our “Love Spots” in the area. We thought it would be good for them to see us celebrate our relationship together for the first part of the day, and it was really cool to have them along, visiting places we never knew we would be bringing our three kids a decade later.

We went to Zesty’s where we had part of our first date, and got ice cream.

Then the kids sat on the bench where we sat and had one of our first conversations. I remember I had my mom scheduled to call me so I could have an excuse to “bail” in case things weren’t going well. I forget what the code word was, but I clearly didn’t need to use it. I liked the fella’.

First Date Bench by the Fox River

We also took the kids to Scray Hill, where JP and I went on a few dates to overlook the lights of the city. It’s also where he proposed at night on a vacant lot, which sounds sketchy, but actually wasn’t. Turns out, the proposal location is still a vacant lot! (Side note: JP does not enjoy selfies, but he humored me with a joyful spirit throughout this part of the day.)

Where we got engaged.

JP went to St. Norbert College in De Pere, and De Pere is where I (Lorelei) grew up. So St. Norbert played a big role in our relationship as well. We took a walk there, also on our first date, and JP cheesily picked me a flower from a bush. Much of our early relationship, looking back, came with a side of cheese. Maybe it does still, cause we went back to that bush and took a picture.

JP picked us all a little flower. Yeah… stil cheesy 🙂

About this point in time JP and Lissie start acting a bit fishy. I knew we were planning to visit the church where we got married (which was the Catholic church Old St. Joes on St. Norber’ts campus. How we ended up with a Catholic wedding looooong before I was Catholic is a whole ‘nother story. But was also a grace I didn’t even know I was receiving at the time.)

The time was nigh and JP suggested we head over to the church. Once inside, Lissie looked at me with a smile and said “Mommy, I have to go to the bathroom.” I take her, and she admitted Daddy told her to do that to keep me busy for a minute.

We finshed up, and I couldn’t find JP. Turned out he was inside the church, and he asked the kids if they wanted to see what it was like when Mommy and Daddy got married. Then he handed me my actual wedding veil, and a piano player started to play Pachelbel’s Canon in D. (At this point I’m very impressed with my husband.)

He took his spot down the aisle, and the kids ran and took their seats. I walked, once again, to the place where we married each other, and JP, I kid you not, ten years later, had tears in his eyes.

Things looked a littled different from my end than they did ten years ago. First of all, there were two humans who we created sitting by JP. And, my husband was holding our infant daughter as I walked to meet him. It was all surreal and beautiful and very cool.

I figured he would have some sort of love note for me or something, and I turned to smile at the kids. But when I looked back, a Priest had popped out from behind a wall, and he said we were there to affirm our wedding vows.

So we stood, in the empty Church with a Priest and our Children, and affirmed that which we promised to each other ten years ago that day. For richer and poorer, in sickness in health, until death do us part. It was a most wonderful surprise.

Where the magic happened ten years ago.


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After our vow renewal.

After that, one set of Grandparents babysat the littles for the evening, and we put the camera away while we went to enjoy a fine bottle of wine and the Chef’s Table at Chives in Green Bay. Highly recommend it, especially for special occasions. We were joined by a good pair of friends, and ended the night with some awkward karaoke.

It was wonderful to be able to spend a day just celebrating all that has happened in this first decade of our marriage, and to realize how far we’ve grown, and how much our love has developed and matured from those early days.

The Sacrament of Marriage has been a huge gift to us. One which I think we are just beginning to really appreciate, and to understand for what it is meant to be. We are both looking forward to what the next decades bring.


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5 Things A Catholic Can Do To Help A Protestant Feel Comfortable at Mass

Having a Protestant friend visit Mass may seem like a big deal, or not, depending on you and your friend. But I know, as a Protestant, there was a lot that confused me during Mass, and I often didn’t feel super comfortable. The following things all would have been helpful to me as a visitor, and I hope they are able to help others as well. Because Mass can be a rich faith-building experience for Catholics and other visiting Christians alike.

1- Explain what the Holy Water/Baptism font is and why we stick our fingers in there and cross ourselves.

Hint: It is not a bird bath. But seriously, just a simple explanation that we utilize the font to remember our own baptism, and cross ourselves, which I write more about here, as a recognition of the Trinity, will go a long way in making that particular practice less odd to a visitor.

2- Show them how to use the Missalette (and find one for them).

What we do when during Mass becomes second nature for a practicing Catholic. But, as a former Protestant, speaking from experience, I was lost for a long time when attending Mass with JP’s family. Finding a Missalette for your friend, and showing them how to use it is one of the greatest kindnesses you can do for someone visiting Mass. They can then follow along with the readings, find the songs, follow along with the prayers, and the whole order of service. They will have something to guide them so they know what is coming next, and what words they should be saying during the Creed, for example, or at other times, like the Penetential Rite.

3- Prep them on when we will be standing/kneeling ahead of time.

Just as a general rule of thumb, explain that we will be kneeling in front of the Eucharist (which you might need to explain is Holy Communion. Also see #5 of this article.) Explain we will be standing when we pray and out of respect when we hear the Gospel. And explain we sit when we are listening. My article here goes into a bit more detail about what we do when and why, but a brief overview will help a Protestant friend at least be aware of the general purpose and timing of our bodily postures during Mass.

4- Encourage them to participate! 

There are so many ways a Protestant can participate in Mass. Things just might look a bit different, so might be worth going over.

Here are a few ways Protestants can comfortably participate in a Catholic Mass:

  • The Penetential Rite. Most Protestant churches I have been to have some sort of brief moment to acknowledge our sins. The Catholic version is more extensive, but is basically the same concept.
  • Listening to the readings
  • Listening to the homily
  • The Lord’s Prayer (we all have that one!)
  • The Creed (Protestants can totally recite the Nicene or Apostles Creed. It’s all stuff we agree on. Even the part at the end that says “One holy, catholic and apostolic church.” The word ‘catholic’ there is lowercase, and is referring to all of Christianity, the Universal Church, not only Catholicism.)
  • The petitions
  • Most of the songs. There are times when we sing a song to Mary, or sing about the Eucharist in a very Transubstation-oriented way, and they may prefer to stay quiet during those times. But so many of our hymns are theologically in agreement with all of Christianity. They may find they even recognize one or two from their own faith tradition!

5- Explain the Eucharist.

Briefly share why we kneel in front of The Blessed Sacrament. Share that it is because we believe it is truly Jesus in the form of bread and wine, and kneeling is an appropriate response to being in His presence. Give your Protestant friend grace, though, if they choose not to kneel. Obviously it is the True Presence whether they acknowledge it to be or not. But they don’t know it/understand it. It may even be an entirely new concept to them, as Protestant churches view Communion as symbolic.

I remember sitting in Mass with JP’s family as a Protestant, scooting forward in the pew so I could give the person behind me room to kneel, but myself not kneeling because I just didn’t get it yet. I wasn’t trying to be irreverant to Jesus. I just honestly didn’t know He was there.

Also, explain to them about who is able to receive Communion. That it is appropriate for those who believe in the True Presence, and are in a state of grace. Invite them to come up during Communion time, and to cross their arms over the body and receive a blessing. Encourage them that no one will think they are weird for staying back, or crossing their arms. In fact, they are showing respect for our faith by not receiving irreverantly, or feigning agreement in an area where they disagree.


If we have Protestant friends/relatives visiting us in Mass, these 5 things will go a long way from them feeling like outsiders, to being able to follow along and participate as they are comfortable. I know they would have been helpful to me as a Protestant. They were things I learned over time, but I spent many an awkward Mass as I tried to put the pieces together. Protestant services, especially contemporary ones, can be quite different than Catholic Masses, and helping bridge that unfamiliarity is a great step in helping our Protestant brothers and sisters to better understand all that is mysterious to them about the Catholic faith.

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What Happened At Our First Catholic Small Group

A couple of months ago, JP and I decided to make an attempt at starting a small group for adults in their 20’s-40’s from church.

The Protestant churches we came from were really good at connecting people via small groups. Everyone we knew at the church we were at just prior to becoming Catholic was in one. The groups met weekly, in people’s homes. And it was just a nice way to get connected in our faith, make friends, and do some life together.

We found there wasn’t anything like that at our Catholic parish. There were programs that would probably best fit people who were older, or who didn’t have young kids at home, or programs for youth. We felt our age range was underserved, and decided to do something about it.

A huge barrier for people in our phase of life is the fact that many of us have young children. It’s tricky to focus when there are littles running amuk, so we knew we would have to do something to remove that barrier. Hence, we found babysitters.

We also knew food and drink would be an extra enticement to get people to show up. We offered beer, wine, and snacks to help set up an atmosphere of hospitality and fellowship.

Our initial plan was to host the small group weekly in our home. We don’t have a huge house, but we figured it would start small since it was such a new concept.

Well, much to our surprise the interest exceeded the size of our living room! Which was great news, but we really wanted to be able to follow through on our promises of a babysitter, and still maintain the small group structure, so we had to make a slight adjustment to our original plans.

We were able to meet in the St. Lucy school cafeteria, while the kids played with the babysitters in the gym. We split up into two groups for discussion, and spent some time getting to know each other, with plans to start the official study next week.

And… it went really well!

JP and I tried to plan very thoroughly to make this first meeting a success. The only hiccup came towards the end of our discussion time when the fire alarm went rogue and sounded off, forcing us all into a foyer-type area to wrap up kind of early, and in an odd way. Fire alarms weren’t, unsurprisingly, a contingency we planned for. 🙂 But it seemed like everyone took it in good humor, and one couple had brought ice cream cups for the kids, which we then used, and which helped keep them busy and happy.

When all is said and done, it looks like we’ll have between 18-20 adults in this first round. We will be doing a Bible Study called Lectio Eucharist, from the website Formed. It’s a high quality study with great discussion questions and excellent content. We hopt it will help us all grow in our faith and understanding of Holy Communion, and that we’ll be able to develop lasting friendships within the group.

Down the line, we would still very much love to have this group split up into people’s homes, and then offer common fun events where everyone could get together. But, for this first time through, I think it’s good that we are able to model the feel and structure of a small group, even though we need a larger meeting place to do it.

We are praying for everyone to feel welcome, and for potential home hosts to develop over the course of this first study. And we are so thankful for the opportunity to fill a need in our parish, and to connect some of us 20’s-40’s folks together in a meaningful way.


P.S. Our first small group did not, as the photo for this blog post shows, include a bonfire in the grand canyon. But we do have a bonfire on the calendar for Memorial Day weekend, so… close enough. 🙂

What about you? How have you been able to connect to people at your church/parish? What are the challenges to connecting with others in your particular phase of life?

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On Being Misunderstood

Has there ever been a time in your life when your actions have been misunderstood… or, worse yet, you have been misunderstood? When someone took a piece of something you had done, or a piece of who you are, and then turned that bit of truth, or added to it, or took away from it, or scrutinized it so severely that the context got lost? So much so that what that person ended up with was not an accurate representation of you or your actions at all?

I am sure many of us have been there, at some point.

It happened to me personally this week, regarding my Catholic faith. And it was in a situation where I was unable to say anything back at all. Because the person misunderstanding me was in a video on YouTube.

A friend of mine was sent a video by someone she knows. A video sent to her because some people in her life are concerned she is spending so much time with a Catholic. Because some people in her life are concerned she has attended Mass with us a few times.

The person in the video was a scholar who studied theology from the Reformed (Calvinist perspective). He was being interviewed by a couple of people on the problems with Roman Catholicism.

Truth be told, by now I have heard most of the arguments that Reformed theologians have about my faith. But when we were converting, none of it made any sense, as I had never before come fully into contact with the Reformed perspective’s wrath against the Catholic Church. And it’s still never fun to hear.

In the video (which I cannot recommend at all, and thus will not be linking to,) the scholar said Catholics and Christians have a different gospel (this is the Reformed perspective, not all Protestants believe that). He strongly implied that Catholics believe Priests to be some sort of deity. He said Catholics had no means of experiencing true Shalom (peace). He implied transubstantiation was not believed by the majority of Early Church Fathers. He misconstrued the relationship between Scripture and Church Authority. He said the Catholic Church was incapable of reforming. I could go on…

When I started watching the video, I was chuckling. When I finished, I was unbelievably sad. Because when misunderstanding and half-truths are being spread about something important to you, it hurts.

This video reminds me why some people from the Reformed church we left to become Catholic, no longer continued a friendship with us. And it reminds me why Pastors from that church sat in our living room and told us we were not, and never had been, Christian.

If that surprises anyone reading this, I understand. It was a very jarring experience to go through. If you are reading this and that is your perspective, I hope this helps you understand what that experience was like, and also challenges you as to where you choose to receive information about things you disagree with.

It’s a lot easier to joke about the number of conditions a Catholic would have to meet to receive salvation on a YouTube video, sitting next to people that agree with you than it is to look another human being in the eye and do the same.

It’s a lot easier to propagate stereotypes and misconceptions than it is to share a meal with someone, and get to know them and their faith personally.

Because I bet if anti-Catholics did that, even if they never experienced an inkling of desire themselves to become Catholic, that Catholics and the Catholic faith in general would become a lot less scary and mysterious. And who knows, maybe they would make some new friends.


I will say the Reformed (Calvinist) view of Catholicism, the view that says true Roman Catholics are not Christian, is in the minority among Protestant Christians. People in the Calvinist tradition don’t even think it appropriate to serve alongside Catholics in ecumenical ministry. Now, just because something is a minority, doesn’t make it untrue. But, the fact that among Protestant Christians, Calvinists stand apart as very anti-Catholic, while other Protestant groups and Catholics view each other as brothers and sisters in Christ at least is something worth mentioning.

But, my main point is this.

If I wanted to accurately learn and understand democracy, would it make sense for me to interview an anarchist about the democratic system? Would someone anti-government be a good and reputable source of information to accurately understand government?

If I wanted to learn about and understand the history of minorities in America, would it make sense for me to interview a white supremacist? Would someone with extreme prejudices against a group of people be a good and reputable source of information about the history of the people they are prejudice against?

If I wanted to learn about the Pro-Life movement in America, it’s motivations, history, strategy, and practical implications, would it make sense for my primary source of information to be someone adamantly Pro-Choice? Would they be likely to give an accurate representation of those that believe life begins at conception?

I hope we could agree in all of those cases that the answer would be an emphatic No!

It follows, then, if you have only learned about the Catholic Church from anti-Catholic sources, is that likely to be a a good and reputable source of information about the Catholic Church?

I hope our answer again is, unequivocally, no.

I know this based on logic. I know this based on the misunderstandings I have experienced in this regard. But I also know this based on my own faith experience.

The man in the video said Catholics cannot have Shalom. And, I admit, he rattled mine a bit for a couple of days. But, the reason I lost my peace wasn’t because I’m Catholic. I have never been at more peace in my life than I am now living out my Christianity through my Catholic faith. I lost my peace for a bit because I was reacting to being grossly misunderstood.

I realize I didn’t have to give that man the power. I think it all stems back to my desire to be liked, which I recently wrote about in detail, because it reminds me that people I have cared about stopped being friends with us for some of the reasons the man in the video stated. And I also think part of it was a just reaction to a legitimate concern. There is a difference between communicating our faith with each other, in the hope to help bridge gaps, and spending one’s time defaming another faith, with the intent to increase divisions. There is something beneficial to understanding each other better. There is something terribly dangerous about spreading half truths.

My friend sent me the link to that video because she wanted to know, from a Catholic perspective, if the things he said were accurate. And, even though it was difficult to watch, I’m so glad she did. She went to the source and she valued our friendship, and she wants to know me and my faith because she cares about me as a friend. This is all good stuff.

And it feels a lot better to get my thoughts out in some capacity, even if I can’t respond directly to the man in the video. I’m ready to move on.

Because, at some point, as another good friend of mine often says, we need to meet at the cross, and work together to get out and be the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting world. And I am so happy to do so with my many Christian friends of various faith backgrounds who are willing to serve alongside me. Because we can accomplish more together. Because we are the Body of Christ on this earth. And because we have much work to do.




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I Want You To Like Me (and why that’s a problem)

When I was a teenager, friends were very, very important to me. As they are for most adolescents. I remember keeping a journal, and writing in it a list of all the friends I had at the time. I like having friends, and I like having friends be happy with me.

Now, full disclosure, I was not a popular kid in school, if we are using popular in the sense of “cool.” I had this one shirt I loved in 5th grade that had a cartoon picture of two cuddly cats on it. It originally belonged to my grandmother, and I thought it was the best, so she let me borrow it. I wore that shirt to school with pride. In an era when name brands were starting to become a big thing- Gap, American Eagle, Abercrombie and Fitch… I was wearing cat shirts.

At this point, it may not surprise you to learn that I was also kind of a “nerd.” Which I’m sort of thankful for nowadays. I avoided a lot of drama by being nerdy. I wasn’t cool enough to get invited anywhere I could get myself in trouble. But, even though I was nerdy, I still cared a lot about what other people thought of me, and being different was often hard.

I think in many ways, it’s normal to want to be liked. No one is like “Man, I really hope people hate me today.” So, this is probably a universal thing.

But I think where my own struggle began is when I started to associate part of my own value as a person with how many friends I had at any given stage of my life. Like somehow how many people liked me somehow correlated with my value. Like I said, I like to keep people happy.

Friend Count

Now, there are seasons in life when it’s normal for one’s ‘friend count’ to go down. Situations in which you don’t actually lose friends, but when your normal peeps are inaccessible. Moving comes to mind. But I wasn’t really prepared for the shift that occurred when we transitioned to the Catholic Church.

We lost some friends because of our decision. We drifted away from others due to not seeing them at church on a weekly basis. And others, we thankfully were able to keep. But talking about the Catholic Stuff, which has become a huge part of our family life, still is a bit weird and awkward, and sometimes avoided altogether.

It’s difficult to not be able to talk about your faith openly with your friends, because you know they disagree with you. It feels like an entire part of my being, and theirs is not okay to bring up. And that’s really hard.

It’s difficult knowing that some people I know think I’m at best a bit misguided, and at worst a bit crazy for becoming Catholic. I know that reaction, because I’ve had it too towards other people who make what I think are odd decisions or hold what I think are incorrect beliefs. There are times when I’ve been like “man, I really like that person for a lot of reasons, but in this one regard I think they are a bit out there… too bad.” Becoming Catholic, to some people, means I’ve lost some street cred. It means everyone isn’t totally in love with every part of me, which, let’s be honest, they probably weren’t anyway to begin with. I may or may not have my fair share of flaws. And that’s something I should be expecting from people anyways. I know that’s my own weakness talking because the only One who is ever going to love me completely is God. I don’t need to seek to have that hole filled by people. It isn’t a fair expectation to make.

Another tricky thing about this, I think, is that women in particular base friendships on commonalities. You become friends because you have things in common. And then, when you have a friendship formed based at least partly upon a certain common thing… when that common thing changes, it adds some challenges.

And now, writing on a Catholic blog when many of my friends are firmly Protestant holds its own unique challenges.

And, I’m in this really interesting place because I know both Protestants and Catholics and people of other world views are reading what I write.

And I need to be authentic to my faith.

On Being “Safe”

It’s almost been like… it’s okay to many that I became Catholic if it has helped my faith walk, but I think maybe if we don’t talk about it too much or I don’t write about it too much then people can attempt to think I’m only Catholic in the “safe” ways to be Catholic. Like with the connection to history, and the liturgy, and the reverence. All the things that set the Catholic Church apart, but don’t offend people who disagree with the Church. And this has mostly come from me. I’ve been the one to emphasize how much I like the “safer” aspects of Catholicism. Because I don’t know how to bring up how much I love The Eucharist to a friend who doesn’t believe in the True Presence, or how much going to Confession or Adoration recently helped me refocus my prayer life, or how much I love praying the Rosary. Literally I know almost all those things sound weird or crazy to my friends that aren’t Catholic. I know, because that’s how I felt when I wasn’t Catholic. Catholics were to be loved on, but also kept at a safe distance… because they were a bit loco.

But… if I only write about those “safe” Catholic things, then I’m not really being true to myself, or the totality of my faith. I didn’t join the Catholic Church for only the “safe” reasons. I am fully Catholic. That means I believe in the Authority of the Catholic Church, and the Communion of Saints, and asking for the intercession of Mary and the Saints, all the Catholic teachings on Mary and Purgatory, and the True Presence in the Eucharist, and Confession, and that the Catholic Church is the Church Jesus founded during His time on earth. I am Pro-Life. I don’t support the use of contraception. I also believe that everyone, without knowing it, who has a genuine Christian faith is to some degree, though imperfectly, united with the Church Jesus founded.

None of this is a recipe for having everyone like me, or keeping everyone happy. And that is something, as I mentioned, that I have really struggled with since my youth.

As a former Protestant, I know that many of those aforementioned things sting when you aren’t Catholic. And that they bring up many, many thoughts and feelings and reactions.

I know hearing that the Catholic Church claims to be the Church Jesus founded stings, because as a Protestant I felt like people were telling me that my own faith was somehow not enough. Even if that isn’t what they meant, it felt awful to have someone tell me that there was a fuller version of Christianity out there that I didn’t agree with. It felt arrogant. It made me feel defensive. It made me mad.

I had no idea what my Catholic in-laws were talking about when they talked to me about things like the necessity of Mary being Ever-Virgin. I thought they were super weird, and had no frame of reference to understand why that would even be important. I cried a few times because I had no idea what these people were talking about.

The idea of accepting the Tradition of the Church on the same level as the Bible was offensive to me. I didn’t have any context for what it meant, and I had grown up my entire life hearing over and over again that The Bible is the sole authority for Christians on matters of faith.

The Nature of the Claims

I remember watching a video series by Protestant Pastor and Author Tim Keller on The Reason For God. The book and video series were awesome tools in my own faith walk as I discerned whether or not Adult Lorelei believed Christianity to be true. Keller met with a group of people who were not Christians, and explained Christianity to them in a series of videos. They then had free discussion, where they would ask him questions, and he would answer them in a loving, yet truthful manner. One discussion was on the exclusivity of Christianity, and the idea of why are the perameters so narrow in the sense of Christianity having a corner market on Truth. Mr. Keller responded, basically, by saying, that Christians aren’t being exclusive just to be exclusive. It’s an inevitable side effect of the “nature of the claims” of who Jesus claimed to be. And if Jesus was truly who He claimed to be, by the nature of His claims, the perameters become narrow.

I guess I could ask my Protestant friends to pardon the seeming exclusivity of the Catholic faith. If the claims are true that Jesus founded The Catholic Church, then, by the nature of the claims, all the Catholic stuff is going to be true- the safe and the non-safe issues. I don’t know how much of a help that would be, but it is one way to look at it.

Finding an Answer

I often ask myself… Why can’t I just focus only on the nice things… parenting, and marriage, and all the other safe ecumenical Christian topics? And I do enjoy writing about those things, and plan to continue. But, again, it comes down to authenticity. And the passion deep inside my soul to help reduce the misconceptions about that which divides us. So I need to write about All The Things. Not just the easy or comfortable ones.

I desire to get better at this. To get better at being fully myself, and allowing others to be fully themselves without feeling like I need to censor so much. And I do so much love writing about my faith. It just hurts to know that what I write might cause any amount of pain or discomfort in another. I think in some ways it is God allowing me to feel the pain he feels at the divisions within Christianity. He meant for us to be one.

So… how to live and write authentically when you know a lot of people close to you disagree with what you believe? I don’t think the answer is to stay away from the controversial stuff. Avoidance inhibits authentic relationships.

I suppose I could take the attitude of “they don’t have to click on it if they don’t like it,” but that isn’t who I am. I care… perhaps too much at times, and not enough at others. But I care about the feelings the things I write bring up in those that read it. But I hope I’m learning not to care so much that it impacts how I feel about my own value or worth. Or so much that I’m scared of sharing that which I believe to be Truth.

I think perhaps the answer is to be authentically me, but also try to write in a way that explains my thinking as clearly and graciously as I can, for those who read that aren’t coming from a Catholic worldview.

Imperfect Me

I think God allowed that side effect of our journey to Catholicism, at least in part, to help reveal an area of sin in my own life. That I care far too much and too often about keeping the peace, and being liked, to an extent that I tend to lose myself when I am in a position of being different.

And I know I won’t be perfect at this. I’ve lived long enough to learn that there is no way to have an opinion about something and also keep everyone happy. And writing is all about having an opinion and sharing it in ways that other people can relate to, or can learn from, or that helps people see things in a new way. But at least this is a way to move forward, and do what I can to be open to conversation, and bridging those gaps.

So, I want to take a moment to thank both the friends and strangers, Protestant and Catholic, and whatever other background that have been reading this blog, especially those who took the time to read this post in its entirety. I respect you, I care about you, and I respect your faith life. I can’t promise that what I write won’t ever offend, or puzzle you… but I can promise that I am going to do my best to be authentic and gracious. I am always happy to answer a question. I hope if you aren’t Catholic, that you are able to learn a bit more about the Catholic Church, and I admire you’re willingness to learn about a worldview that differs from yours. I hope if you are Catholic, that you are able to find a place to be encouraged, and to learn more about this faith we share. And, I hope we can move in a direction of greater authenticity with each other.

What about you? Has your faith ever caused you to feel misunderstood by others? Has there been any part of yourself you didn’t know was safe to share with others? How have you learned to live more authentically in your own life?

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