So don't feel afraid of never getting married. There only thing we have to fear is living a life without God's love, and that's the one thing we can always, always count on. There's no place for worry in the heart of a woman.
Why? Because when you lean into it, there's always more. When you run away, it's still there.
I started to feel the pressure when I was still in middle school. Maybe even earlier. I struggled with my weight. I didn't feel as pretty as my sisters. I wasn't sociable. I hadn't had a boyfriend like most girls had when I started high school. So when I decided, my sophomore year, to not have sex until I was married, I was surviving on hope - on hope alone.
Fast forward fifteen years and I still identify with the Charlotte Lucases and Edith Crawley's more than any other character. I always date, but am rarely happy. I discerned religious life but didn't feel the fit. Through all of the spiritual direction, there seems to be a place where you have to take a leap of faith despite your comfort, your expectations and definitely despite your emotions.
I did that once and it didn't work out. So I shyed away. The only problem with that is? There's really no going back. And the moment of deciding whether to lean in with God or to respectfully surrender it to Him, and let it go... I never seem to get it right.
I'm completely comfortable with being uncomfortable. As a good friend of mine said to me earlier this week, we could easily be married and divorced a few times. That's why I'll be the patron saint of break-ups because I've always erred on the side of safety, sayonara and stating over. Giving away my hopes, dreams and body, my heart and my family, requires more than just love for me. I'd rather wait for the fairy tale then be happy with reality. The sad thing is - no one else wants to see me settle either. Talk about pressure.
All of this just comes down to mean between the self-fulfilling prophecies and the endless cycle of hot/cold immaturity, I might just be single the rest of my life.
I have learned a few things though, and have been able to stay friends with most of my recent exes in the last few years. Mostly because my spiritual director told me I really had to. But also because I've grown up.
I've learned enough to be able to tell you one important truth. If the only reason I went through the infernal dating age that I have is to tell you about it, then so be it - you're worth it.
So God’s will is that I tell you this: There is more than the dirty hallways of your high school. Than the gossip and pettiness of your office. I know what it's like not fit in when everyone else is holding hands. I know, and you might be surprised to hear that you're not single because something is wrong with you. But I will tell you that you might still feel lonely even when you're in a relationship. So put that in your idealistic pipe and smoke it.
There is more than drinking, or not drinking, going to church, or not going to church, staying in on Friday night, or going out with friends only to get annoyed with them and wish you’d stayed home. There is more than marriage, or not being given in marriage, children and infertility.
There is more than make-up, faking it, striving, and failing. There is more than sports, getting that higher level team, making friends that make you more popular, attaining achievements so you can get attention. There’s more than feeling like you’re better than other people. More than keeping up the Jones'.
There is more than good grades. There’s more than bad grades. There’s more than the endless pile of homework, the continual cycle of early mornings, tiring afternoons, and a life that is punctuated by eight periods in a day. There’s more than covering up – lies, insecurities, secret relationships. There’s more to the world than whether you have a zit on your chin.
There is more than uncool adults trying to identify with you, than bible-beating Protestant friends trying to save you, than confusing messages on TV. There is more than rules. There is more than breaking all of the rules. There's more than getting people to do what you want. There's more than being able to afford it. There's more than travel.
There is more than having a flat stomach, a bra size that attracts boys, a pair of jeans that makes your thighs look miniscule, and there’s more than Ugg boots, super straight hair, and there’s even more than smelling like a Victoria’s Secret model – because no one really ever looks like one. So stop telling yourself that you have to.
There’s more than getting that popular guy to like you. There’s more than making him notice you. There’s more than stooping low, and getting labeled for something you did, to get his attention. There’s more than judging other girls who do the same thing, only they went farther. There’s more than winning. There’s more than losing. There’s more than getting what you want. There’s more than losing it all.
There's more than looking like you have it all.
We must place our every wish, desire, dream, fantasy… whatever it is that you think about when you’re falling asleep at night… all of the hidden lists of things you work so hard for every day… the people that you care about and want to protect… we must put each of these things in God’s hands. We have to pour them out, literally, squeeze them out of our hearts like we are wringing out a sopping wet towel, and dump them into the reservoir that is God’s hand.
We must let him be our fortress. We must let him be the keeper of our heart. We must place every drop of Hope in Him.
He is our safety.
He is our only refuge.
Do not lose hope. He will not disappoint you.
If you don’t know the way back, ask him. He will make the path for you. He will even lead you back if you are so lost you can’t even tell which direction to turn.
We promise you this: His way of peace is greater than your dreams.
Jesus murmurs in our heart,
When I called St. Clare, I told her: My protection will never fail you. She cut off all of her hair, left her family & riches behind, and followed. Have you ever actually left something behind? Or are you always running back to get it?
When I called St. Therese, I told her that her little way would find her in my arms. She left behind her father and sisters, to be my little Queen. Are you really interested in being a queen of heaven, of marrying poverty? Or this just a phase until something better comes along?
When I called St. Agnes, my little lamb, she chose ridicule, flames, torture, humility, over impurity. Only when they had finally removed her sweet head from her body, did she let get of her life – for my sake. She chose me. Have you ever actually chosen me when other people aren't looking, when no one would know if you did or not?
What is it that you desire more than my love?
Who is it that you think can make you happy than I?
What are you waiting for?
You are to be defended. You are meant for protection.
Unveil beauty, my darling daughter.
To know your dignity, my sister, my bride.
This way will take courage...but it is not as difficult as you imagine.
Yes, because now, beloved, we are Leaving Eden.
My protection will never fail you.
I will always be with you.
From the desire of being lusted for, deliver me Jesus.
From the desire of being used, deliver me Jesus.
From the desire of being idolized, deliver me Jesus.
From the desire of having control, deliver me Jesus.
From the desire to manipulate others, deliver me Jesus.
From the desire of exterior beauty, deliver me Jesus.
From the desire of having power, deliver me Jesus.
From the desire of other’s good opinion, deliver me Jesus.
From the desire of seeing others fall, deliver me Jesus.
Untwist our want for intimacy
Untwist our want for a boyfriend
Untwist our want for power
Untwist our obsession with appearance
Untwist our obsession with
Untwist our desire to be the best
Untwist our desire to be the most beautiful,
Jesus, teach us the beauty of a journey with you
The worth of a man who appreciates our beauty on the outside,
But seeks to know the innocent girl on the inside
Help us to make you the keeper of our heart
Help us to guard our bodies, our minds, and our spirits
From attaching to things and feelings that aren’t worthy of us
Lead us from temptation,
And hold us by the hand,
As we place all of our hope in you
Trust in our future
Confidence in your promise
That we will be loved
We will be cherished
We are captivating to you
In this present moment, we are loved by you
And you are entranced by our beauty
Not by anything that we have done, but because we are created in your image
Work in our desire to make this world more beautiful
More pleasing to you
And help us to unite with our sisters, instead of competing with them,
Help us to form a bond of strength as we unite in Your name
And pledge ourselves to Your sacred heart
Remove all that is keeping us from you
Help our brothers to be brave and give them the tools they need to defend us, and themselves, from impurity and anything that robs humanity from our God Given dignity
We ask this in your sweet and holy name
Through the intercession of our sweet mother
And all of the holy martyrs and virgins