From Then to Now

 

Spirituality can take on many forms… religious, peace/enlightenment, growth, purpose/direction, love, truth, etc. People turn to spirituality for many different reasons. There is no right or wrong way when it comes to spirituality. It is an internal and personal journey.

 

In the past, I discussed my struggle with infertility and how that path led me to explore my own spirituality. That journey opened my heart to God and to self-acceptance.

 

I was raised in a Catholic home. We attended Sunday mass on occasion, said grace before dinner and had religious artifacts decorating the house. However, once I graduated high school and started making some of my own decisions, religion was not a big of my life.

 

I never turned my back on Catholicism, but I also never made it a priority.

 

After my husband and I were married, we started to attend mass more regularly in an attempt to make God more present in our lives. Yet again, it didn’t seem to become habit. It wasn’t until we had our first daughter that we made religion more a part of our lives. We wanted our daughter to grow up with the same religious values we both did. Therefore, we made sure to attend mass every Sunday and on holidays, we added prayers into mealtime and bedtime and overall God started to enter into our conversations.

 

When we began our journey with infertility is when I truly opened my heart to God. I started to really listen to the homilies and make them a part of my life. We became more connected with our church community for a greater sense of support and guidance.

 

But more importantly, my faith allowed me to accept the struggles put before me and understand how they can make us stronger.

 

This led me to have more appreciation of myself. I am far from perfect, but those imperfections have always weighed heavily on me. I have learned to be more accepting of what God has given me and not fret so much on the shortcomings.

 

This wasn’t as easy as it sounds. When I realized I would not become pregnant naturally again, I felt an enormous sense of rejection from my body and failure as a woman. “I was able to make one perfect being, why can’t I do it again?” Yet, as I opened my heart to explore my spirituality, I realized that God had a plan all along. Thankfully, we had the right medical team and resources to get through our journey unscathed and with another perfect little girl. That path allowed my husband and I to become closer at a time when our frustration was causing us to drift. It allowed us to connect with people we normally would not have. It allowed me to value the moments with my older daughter and see her beautiful spirit more clearly, without the fuzziness that comes along with parenting.

 

I am not saying that this roadblock was purposeful to “teach me a lesson.” What I mean is that this challenge allowed me to pause and take notice of the world around me more fully.

 

The little things I once stressed about, seemed unimportant now. The what ifs, could haves and abundant wants, ceased to exist. I was more focused on the blessings already in my life. I have started to take hold of the feelings of acceptance and gratitude and make them a priority as I continue my spiritual path.

 

It’s not a perfect science and it is definitely not easy. Some days I find myself returning to my old ways, but I don’t beat myself up about it. I just pick up where I left off and remind myself of the strides I’ve already accomplished.

 

For me, spirituality is the hardest part of self-care, but it is the most rewarding. We maintain our hair, or nails, or wardrobe, but what about our inner beauty? Have you stopped lately to really look inside and focus on what is most important?

 

Take some time for yourself. The mind is a powerful thing. If we let ourselves get too caught up with the less important factors around us, they will take over and drown out the beauty that should be most present. Whether your spiritual journey is about faith, or growth or just peace, make it your own and allow it to become a part of you.

 

Jen

Formerly a publicist, Jen Billeci changed careers ten years ago to start teaching. After receiving her Masters Degree from Fordham University, she spent six years as an elementary teacher. For the past four years, she’s been teaching middle school English & Special Education. She believes the best part of teaching is seeing the sparkle in her student’s eyes as they develop a love for reading and writing. A wife and mother of two wonderful little girls, Jen enjoys everything from gardening to practicing yoga and traveling with her family.