Seeking wee bit of advice

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Joannes23
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Seeking wee bit of advice

Post by Joannes23 » Thu Nov 01, 2012 12:52 pm

Hi everyone,

I posted an introduction as I am a newbie here.

I have been looking for some one to talk to other than my partner about this particular subject and I hope that some of you can give me good advice :-)

I was brought up believing in the Lord. I used to be a member of the baptist church( my whole family are protestant). But now I am engaged to a wonderful man who is a practicing catholic i have decided to broaden my faith and take RCIA instruction at our local chapel. I will be baptised, receive my first holy communion and be confirmed in april 2013 and I can't wait.
My mother always said to me that I was to make my own decisions and take the journey I wish to follow the lord.

The thing that worries me a lot of my family members do not approve of my conversion and one in particular has turned his back on me completely. He has said to me that I am letting my self down by converting to Catholicism.

I feel so drawn to my partners religion and I feel so strongly about my decision to convert. I want to take this path as I feel it will bring my closer to god.

I also have a wee boy, from a previous relationship.
What concerns me here is that he will feel left out as he grows older and wonders why he is not catholic? But because his dad also disproves of my catholic conversion he would disapprove of our son becoming one to.

I can't help feeling a bit guilty for converting and possibly leaving my son out of this?
If me and my current partner (we are marrying in 2014) have children, they will be brought up catholic.

Is there any advice any one can give me? I just need a wee bit of clarity that what I am doing is ok.

Why do my family object so much? Why do I feel guilty, yet I cant wait to go through the whole process?

bless you all for taking the time to read this xxxx

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Ros
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Post by Ros » Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:40 pm

I think this has to be your own decision, so I am reluctant to comment on what you should do. However, you ask:

"Why do my family object so much? Why do I feel guilty, yet I cant wait to go through the whole process?"

And it seems to me that these are important questions.

The first touches on a long history of prejudice and distrust between Christians of different denominations. That can be a huge barrier to overcome. Whatever you decided, you would still find yourself standing between people of two different understandings. And that can be a hard place to be.

Your second question seems to me to touch on your own feelings - concern for your son as well as the feeling of leaving something behind you that has helped to form the person you are. What your question says to me is that perhaps there are things you still value about what you are leaving behind?

I'm wondering if perhaps that might be something to think about a bit more? If members of your family are finding this hard, then maybe it will help them if you can talk about some of the things you value in what they have given you?

Just a thought...

:votive1: :votive1: Prayers for you and the family - for the grace needed to work through this.

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Ernest
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Post by Ernest » Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:08 pm

Your issues are ones that trouble many when discerning whether a particular course of action is right or wrong for them.

Ros has given you some pretty good guidance on this, so I don't propose to add to that, just to draw a comparison from my own experience.

I was born, baptised and raised as Roman Catholic. At a particular stage in my life, I was let down quite badly by the Church due to differences over a broken relationship and the attitude they took towards me.

I was hurt and fled the church and God until, many years later I found an Anglican Church that was welcoming, and who took me as I was, broken and damaged goods.

I converted from being Agnostic to a worshipping faithful Christian as an Anglican, seeking to live out my life as best as I can to be a disciple. The thing about this change was that I felt 'called by God' to be where I am now.

In my case, my Children remain Roman Catholics, but have not condemned my conversion. Other family and friends are just delighted that I have returned to Christianity.

The decisions you make are going to be difficult, and I will hold you in prayer as you try to work out what is best for all of your circumstances. :votive1: :votive1:
Where there is hope and love there is life!
God is Life!
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colyford
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Seeking wee bit of advice

Post by colyford » Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:33 pm

Throughout our lives we are members of families and many other entities such as school, youth group, university, and we become a part of other groupings too, such as our place of employment, our church etc etc. In all of these phases we are part of an organisation that is bigger than just us.

Now let us fast forward to the final moments of this life. There comes that time when we are simply a precious individual about to meet Christ. As I see it we are, at that moment, not part of a group. We are an individual meeting with God, just you and God. This is not a moment when we are complying with the wishes or expectations of other people. The most important moments of our spiritual journey are climaxing at the point where we are about to meet God, and we are doing it alone.

Sorry for this preamble but my point is that for me it is important to be true to myself, certainly as far as my faith is concerned.

As I see it, it has to be your decision based entirely on what your relationship with God is telling you, not what your peers or family are wanting you to do, nor is it a sound basis for a future marriage, in my opinion, to follow a spiritual path based on the hopes or needs of another individual.

I recognise this as a very tough call, it is certainly not easy. I simply hope that my few words do more than add to any confusion.

Very best wishes
Mike

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Michael Allen
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Post by Michael Allen » Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:31 pm

Hi colyford,

As with the other replies I would advise that you follow your own path. I'm sure most will adjust to that.

How old is your younger boy? If you feel that the Catholic Church is the right place for you then why not bring him along as well?

God bless - you're in my prayers.

Michael

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colyford
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Post by colyford » Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:08 pm

Hi Michael,

I think your reply was intended for Joanne.

Mike

Joannes23
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Post by Joannes23 » Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:13 pm

Thank you all for your kind words, my head is a bit jumbled just now with words from family and words from every person I have spoken to.

I am not stepping into any change for any one, but for my self.
I stepped away from my previous place of worship as I felt I did not belong there. May sound crazy as I know a church is gods home, and i would be welcome, but I feel more at home in the chapel I am going to now and I love it there. I feel a warmth and more in touch with god.

My son is 5 yrs old, and I guess every decision I make I have to think about him.
I just get a bit worried in case some decisions I make are selfish on him.

But for once I would like to feel confident about making a decision that is good for me and good for me alone.
But every parent puts there child first, which I do on most, or every occasion.

I'm sorry if this all sounds confusing, but actually telling you all this is a huge relief as I have had no one really to talk to apart from in my prayers.

Every step i make towards this journey, has me asking questions. And I guess thats the only way I will learn, and make the right decisions.

I just wish my family were easier to talk to regarding this.
But least I have found you guys :votive1:

xxx

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Pam
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Post by Pam » Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:24 pm

Could I suggest a book?

Chosen by Michele Guiness is the autobiography of a Jewish girl who was drawn to the Christian faith and eventually became a C of E vicar's wife.

I know the situation isn't identical, but it may be helpful to read about someone else experiencing the same sort of inner conflicts that you are experiencing.

The other thing I would say is that it seems to me you feel a bit rushed and as if you are or may be burning your boats.

Is there really any massive rush to complete the process? I'm sure you will be warmly welcome whether or not you have been confirmed into the Catholic faith. Of course you won't be able to take communion until you become a Catholic, but I am sure that whoever is instructing you would rather you took your time until you feel completely happy about completing your journey. This may be hard for you because you clearly want to belong fully, but in another way it may help you feel more in control of the decision and give you a bit more time to talk it through with the people you would like to support you.

In the end though, I don't think your relative can possibly feel as strongly about you becoming a Catholic as you do, so while they have every right to express an opinion, they can't expect you to put it off because of how they feel. If the position was reversed would they make a similar sacrifice for you? Would you expect them to?

:votive1:

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Pam
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Post by Pam » Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:26 pm

PS If you (or anyone else) decide to buy the book please consider buying it through i-church's Amazon bookshop as we get a small commission!

:thumbs: :flowerface:

Joannes23
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Post by Joannes23 » Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:13 am

Hi Pam,

Your reply is much appreciated. And i will be sure to purchase the book.

I do not feel rushed in to anything. I guess im just afraid of 'letting my family down'.
I have wanted to complete this journey for a while now and i truely cant wait. My worry boils down to my family.
Maybe i just need to 'grow up' and follow my heart.

End of the day i Am not letting god down, he is with me all the way.

Truely thank for all you comments!

X x x

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Pam
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Post by Pam » Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:53 am

Joannes23 wrote:I do not feel rushed in to anything. I guess im just afraid of 'letting my family down'.

I have wanted to complete this journey for a while now and i truely cant wait.

My worry boils down to my family.

Maybe i just need to 'grow up' and follow my heart.
I wonder if, like me, you have been brought up to be the peacemaker/people pleaser in the family?

The statements I've quoted above are saying both 'I really want to do this' and 'I really don't want anyone else to be upset by what I do.' And I think you are recognising that you can't as things stand have both.

I realised when I was quite well into adulthood that I was only really given approval when I was a child if I was fitting in to what everyone else wanted me to do. There was never any sense of doing what I wanted - everything had to be measured by its effect on other people.

I carried this habit into adulthood with me, until I had some counselling and realised (believe it or not) 'I won't die if someone disapproves of what I'm doing'. My fear of displeasing people was so great that I actually did feel very (irrationally) frightened of what terrible things might happen if I insisted on having my own way.

Of course it is a very good thing to be able to do what other people need you to do some of the time, and as a mother you will spend a lot of time overriding your own wishes to put your son first.

But actually - all that is going to happen if you do what you truly believe you should do, against the wishes of this person, is that they will be displeased with you.

It's pleasanter if everyone is pleased with you all the time, but sometimes as you say being a 'grown up' means taking responsibility for our decisions even if someone doesn't like it.

:votive1:

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Michael Allen
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Post by Michael Allen » Fri Nov 02, 2012 3:29 pm

Hi Joanne

I see your son is 5 years old. They are usually prepared for first holy communion at the age of 7, so I think you have some time to explore the faith yourself and then decide whether you want your son to join first holy communion with other children of his age. Of course he'll be welcome to join at any age, but it might be nice for him to be taught the basics of the faith along with other children of the same age.

God bless +

Michael

Joannes23
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Post by Joannes23 » Fri Nov 02, 2012 4:16 pm

Hi Michael,

Thank you for your kind advice.

I can not take my son along to the chapel or put him through first communion as his father disapproves :sad:

of course when he is grown up he will be able to make his own decisions...

so the real dilemma I have in my head is whether or not it is selfish of me to join the catholic church without my son?

I wish things were simple :votive1:

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S0phieSue
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Post by S0phieSue » Fri Nov 02, 2012 5:13 pm

Follow your heart for that is where your treasure is. God will bless you.

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Ros
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Post by Ros » Sat Nov 03, 2012 2:24 pm

Hi Joanne :)

From what you've said so far, it seems that your main concern in all this is your son. It's like there's a part of you that is feeling that perhaps you shouldn't become Catholic because of him?

However, I'm wondering if *your* decision is really the only thing at issue here? You said:
Joannes23 wrote: I can not take my son along to the chapel... as his father disapproves :sad:
And I can understand the sad face because I'm thinking that this little boy is as much your son as he is his father's son? So a blanket ban on his setting foot in a Catholic church, when you have chosen that church as your own, is going to feel somewhat harsh...?

I'm wondering if perhaps a much happier decision would be one in which your son has the freedom to move between churches... and hence be permitted to begin the process of making his own decision now, rather than in the future?

It may be that this is just not possible at the moment. I don't know enough of your situation to know. However, I put it to you because you have talked about your worry "in case some decisions I make are selfish on him..." and it feels to me as if this isn't really just about your own decision, but his father's as well. To me, it's not a case of you "abandoning" your son. It feels much more to me as if his father's wishes are perhaps being honoured more than your own...? His father gets to choose where he goes not you...? Hence your confusion...?

I suspect this is going to be a tough one to work through. It may well take some time. But I hope that talking it through will have helped... and that you will find the courage and strength to do what you need to do at each stage of the journey... whether that be standing firm on your son's behalf or letting go yourself.

:votive1: For you - for guidance, strength and peace

:votive1: For your son

:votive1: For your family - for the grace to support your son in the way that he needs

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Post by Isobel » Sat Nov 03, 2012 4:41 pm

Hi Joanne,

Nice to meet you.

If perhaps in the future your son's father is able to compromise on your son coming to chapel with you sometimes but not on him making formal commitments such as first communion then I have heard that a lot of RC congregations have members who are accepted as part of the local church community despite not officially being Roman Catholics. And as you say he could always make his own decision to join when he's older.

As a child I just accepted that my dad didn't come to church with the rest of us and it didn't bother me. Hopefully if you are able to resolve some of your own anxieties then your son will accept whatever situation is around him, including you going to a different church than his dad.

This might not be possible or appropriate but could any of your family members visit a RC church if they haven't before? How much do they know about the RC church?

I hope you find a way forward that you can feel comfortable with

:votive1:

Joannes23
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Post by Joannes23 » Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:42 pm

I feel really honored by all your lovely words, and talking about this on here certainly has made me feel better, along with the amount of talking to god I have done lately!

There is quite a few complicated matters within my family, and the area I live in Scotland, the divide between catholic and protestant is still rife.
My son goes to a protestant school, which is shared with the catholic campus, two different schools in the one building.
This area I live in is known for the orange walks and sectarian abuse. This is where my family have issues with me choosing the catholic religion over what i have been brought up with.
I have a wee while before I delve in to the full conversion, and this will give me more time to think things through.

Today I went to Mass with my partner, and this evening I went to holy communion in the baptist Church with my grandfather. I love both of the churches.

I guess I just need time to work through whats right for me and for my wee boy.

I don't think i am doing any harm attending both services??

Today I am feeling happy :flowerface:

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Emle
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Post by Emle » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:39 am

Joannes23 wrote: This area I live in is known for the orange walks and sectarian abuse. This is where my family have issues with me choosing the catholic religion over what i have been brought up with.


Today I went to Mass with my partner, and this evening I went to holy communion in the baptist Church with my grandfather. I love both of the churches.

I guess I just need time to work through whats right for me and for my wee boy.

I don't think i am doing any harm attending both services??

Today I am feeling happy :flowerface:
Hi Joanne..I have not commented before now as I felt the above may have been the case. It is a very difficult place to find yourself and I think the fact that you are taking your time and trying to work through this with as much consideration as possible says a great deal about you :hug:

In my opinion, there is no harm at all in attending both Churches as you did yesterday and I am pleased that you found happiness in doing so.
:votive1: My prayers are with you

Joannes23
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Post by Joannes23 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 2:37 pm

Hello Emle,

Your probably aware of the divide in greater Glasgow, this area is still very much caught up in the dark ages :lolol: .

My grandfather was pleased that I had went back to the Baptist with him, and everyone was happy to see me again. It felt really nice. I enjoyed the singing and the preaching.
But I love going to Mass as well with my Stephen.
But like many have said there is no rush to make any decisions.

I have done a lot of soul searching recently, a lot of reading and research, and now I have found this website, full of wonderful people to help my quest in Christianity..

THANK YOU

:cross: :votive1:

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truthseeker
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Post by truthseeker » Mon Dec 17, 2012 4:21 pm

It is difficult one, but I think we often put relatives or family on a divine pedestal, and actually only God has this right.
I had very tyrannical father ( he is still alive) and he wanted and still wants to control every piece of independent thought i have. He would do that if I allow him.
Needless to say i bore the contact with him decades, just for the sake of: he is a family.

to be honest again, i think if people don't accept you the way you are, they simply don't love you, even if they say so.

I picked up myself in hands, decided with whom I'll keep in contact and it is not an easy journey, but God blessed me with a partner who accepts me unconditionally, with all my spiritual interests and doesn't want to change me at all.

He wants ME in his life, not someone else, that I have to dress into in order to please him. For me spiritual freedom and personal freedom is something that has the greatest value in life.

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Beth
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Post by Beth » Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:30 pm

Have you heard of "The Seven Dimensions of Faith" Joannes23?

They were developed by an academic named Ninian Smart. He was a Christian, but tried to stand outside his faith. He developed a seven tier system to evaluate world religions and their various branches and denominations from the point of view of a believer.

I read some articles of his earlier this year and found them very helpful in understanding the benefits religions offer to social groups and individuals, even though believers may practice faith very differently. An important point is there are many similarities in attitude between Protestant and Catholic traditions even if we manifest our beliefs in different ways.

There is a museum in Glasgow, called the St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, that explores the material dimension of faith. Maybe it's somewhere you could visit with your family as you decide what you'd like to do in the future?

Here's a link to a clip from the museum explaining what they do:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xh1Ck4lvFto

Joannes23
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Post by Joannes23 » Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:41 pm

I have been offline for a while and I am pleased to have came back and there are more words of kindness left for me :)

I am pleased to say that I am carrying on with my RCIA classes and St.Aidens Chapel is where I feel at home. I am now at the stage in my learning of the Catholic Church I can now follow every one else for communion but instead of taking the Eucharist I can be blessed by Father C.

I have a huge list of problems looming just now surrounding my son and my ex partner that are causing real grief in my family life, the chapel is my haven where I feel a bond with God. I really feel at a loose end at times with the way things are at the moment, I need to carry on with this journey as its keeping my head up high and has kept me from turmoil.

Many thanks to all who has took the time to answer my troubles..

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and Happy new year...

:votive2: :cross: :votive2:

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Joyce
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Post by Joyce » Wed Jan 02, 2013 2:03 pm

I have just come across this thread.
You are right to consider the needs of your son, Joannes23. Any normal mother instinctively puts her children first when they are this young. Decisions our parents take when we are children can affect us for the rest of our lives. If you do some research into the effects of having a step-parent when the original,estranged parent is still alive and involved, you will find that your instinct is valid. You'll also discover that religious differences and the addition of more children add to the chaos. Talk to some adults to whom it happened when they were children.
American statistics on marriage and remarriage show that when there is already a child the chances of a second break-up are doubled so that the child loses a home twice. When new children of the remarriage come along the chances of a break-up are doubled yet again. Religious issues cause confusion enough without any of the other problems.
Of course statistics don't mean anything in individual cases. Even if your chances of success were only 1% you could still be in that tiny group. Prayer can overcome much however great the odds stacked against us in what we call reality. I personally have never come across an exception,however. The important thing is that you have been forewarned by your mothering instincts and you can take time to read up on others' experiences and give thoughts to how you can avoid adding to the damage already done by the position your wee boy is in by having estranged or conflicted parents.
Your fiance is engaged to marry you, your child and the involved father,not to mention gaining a stack of disaproving in-laws. If he knows what he's letting himself in for he must be a brave bloke indeed.
Have you considered waiting until your son is grown up before taking the steps of conversion and getting remarried ?

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Ros
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Post by Ros » Sun Jan 06, 2013 3:28 pm

Joannes23 wrote: I have a huge list of problems looming just now surrounding my son and my ex partner that are causing real grief in my family life...
:votive1: For wisdom and guidance as you seek the way ahead

:votive1: For strength to do what's right

:votive1: For resolution of the difficulties you and your family are facing

:votive1: For the New Year and the opportunities it presents for God to do something new in your family

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Emle
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Post by Emle » Sun Jan 06, 2013 4:44 pm

Ros wrote:
Joannes23 wrote: I have a huge list of problems looming just now surrounding my son and my ex partner that are causing real grief in my family life...
:votive1: For wisdom and guidance as you seek the way ahead

:votive1: For strength to do what's right

:votive1: For resolution of the difficulties you and your family are facing

:votive1: For the New Year and the opportunities it presents for God to do something new in your family

Amen :votive1:

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