Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Best Day of My Life

Do you know me?  If you were to describe me, what would you say?

I am a wife and mother of seven. A homeschooling mama. A homemaker. I am an organizational diva. A master of living simply. A laundry "nerd." I don't do crafts or scrapbooking. I'm horrible at home "decorating" (but my home is neat and organized!)  I love writing. And speaking. I am a good teacher. I love to crochet, and sew a bit. I love cooking and managing my kitchen. I shop at TJ Maxx (not Target). I like good coffee and dark chocolate and red wine. I love tamales. My number one greatest weakness is ice cream. Or maybe food in general!

I have been to death's door and back several times. I have lived in times of plenty and in times of poverty.

For those who know me best--those of you who feel you have had a glimpse of my heart (you have if you have read some of my blog posts)--I would hope you would say you know I love Jesus. I passionately seek God and His truth. His ways. His best. I desire to honor Him in all that I do.

I hope you will say you have seen a life that has been upheld by God, led by the Holy Spirit, provided for by God, and characterized by prayer, study, meditation, and obedience (as much as this sinful soul can muster).

Maybe you have read how God has saved and redeemed me, and made me a new person. How He rescued my  marriage and my family, healed me from mental illness, and led me into a blessed life of peace through many happinesses and many trials. He has taught me. Grown me. Tried me. Refined me. Changed me. Loved me. Forgiven me. Blessed me. Chastised me. Saved me.

I would hope you would say that. If you know me, I think you would.

I feel like that has been the underlying theme of my life for at least the last 15 years, or even more. Seeker of perfect truth. Perfect love. The Perfect One and His Perfect Ways.

If you would agree that you know this to be true about me, then I hope you will still have faith in me when I share my continuing testimony of my faith journey, of which this last step has been momentous.

Saturday evening, April 26, 2016, I was anointed and confirmed as a member of the Holy Catholic Church.

It was, without question or contest, the best day of my life. It was the day that everything my heart has ever longed for was fulfilled.

It has been a gentle journey of four years, led lovingly and surely by my Shepherd, which, truth be told, I tested severely and even fought fiercely at many points along the way.

And towards the end, these last few months, since starting RCIA classes, He has tested me. Would I hold fast to this gift He gave me in answer to my fervent prayers for truth and a faith that is finished?

I say with complete confidence that my faith has now been finished. Perfected.

I finally have a absolute peace about Jesus and His work on the cross and what that means for sinners. No, I didn't have that before. In the Protestant church there are too many differing doctrines.  Faith as a Protestant means having to choose which statement of faith you think is best.  In the Catholic Church, there has only ever been one doctrine on salvation since Jesus and the Disciples themselves.  

I now feel united in Christ with all my fellow Christians, even my dearest friends who even themselves differ between them on doctrines.  Now I am able to simply love Him with those who love Him and are laboring for Him, because my faith journey took me back to very Jesus himself, and the beautiful faith He entrusted to His disciples to unite us all as Christians as one in the body of Christ.

Maybe someday He will give me the grace to put my testimony into words. I would hope so. I blogged for years under the blog title "Growing in Truth." Because that was my heart. I longed to grow in truth. Many times during those years God clearly called me to be His "mark." To take a stand in faithfulness and obedience when others around me did not. And I set my face like a flint, pointed toward Jesus, and would not be moved.

The moment I knew that He had brought me home to the Holy Catholic Church, I closed that blog and opened this new one, "Surrounded by Truth." That is definitely how I feel now. I have found the pillar and foundation of truth, and am firmly planted on it. Within it. And thereby, I have made a new "mark". I have claimed and held fast to what He has told me, and followed in obedience, and I will not look to the left or the right, and I will not let go.

It was a big move. For a big answer to a big prayer--the fervent prayer of a soul preparing to meet God. But it was a sure move. For the surest thing I have ever known. 

God bless you and give you His peace and faith.

-Camilla "Therese" Anderson

Friday, March 4, 2016

Why Don't You Just Stop It?

One of my friends and I used to have a little running gag. We would send each other a bottle of "Stoppit Spray" if we needed to: stop complaining, stop over-eating, stop making excuses... stop anything.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could just spray this on ourselves to stop an unwanted behavior or thought process?

I think this sketch by the famous TV-psychiatrist Bob Newhart is equally hilarious:

It's funny because on the surface, it seems absurd. But I think on a deeper level, it's funny in an uncomfortable way.

I mean, why DON'T we just STOP IT?

I will tell you why.

We are human.

We are sinners by NATURE. Which means, at the very core of our being, we desire selfish things which conflict continually with the well-being of others and the good of all things.

I want my way. I don't want to wait. I want to be recognized. I want to be respected. I don't want to work. I want to eat that (and that, and that, and that...). I want to watch that. I don't want to exercise. I want to be angry. I deserve respect. I'm afraid. I can't help this. I want to speak my mind. I want revenge. I want justice. I want sympathy.

I want, I want, I want...

Me, me, me...

I once read an interesting quote, and because I studied psychology for years, it struck a very deep chord:

The root of all mental illness is selfishness.

I know this is not true of all mental illness, of course.

But it struck me because I was mentally ill, and it was true for me at that point in my life. I spent many years looking for someone to label my selfishness, my weaknesses, my problems, my lusts, my laziness, and my chosen lack of self-control. I didn't want to take the blame--and wouldn't have to if it was an illness.

But it wasn't an illness.  For me... then, and now, I know that I just need to remember to STOP IT.

The Bible has much to say on this matter.  Have you ever stopped to think about how many times it tells you in the Bible to simply "Stop it?"  Repent. Turn from your wicked ways. Avoid fleshly lusts.  Why would God tell us to do something we were utterly unable to do? Why would He say simply, "Stop it" if we simply could not?

We can.

Are you sick or are you selfish?  There is a sure way to find out.  Shut down your mind. Lift up your eyes and your head and look around. Start looking, listening, helping, and serving others.  Live for others for a few days.

Your family, your husband, your children, your siblings, your parents, your friends: Listen, love, hug, encourage, help, serve, smile, give.

Your home: Be grateful for it, care for it, clean it, make it pretty as a gesture of thanks for God's provision.

The world:  Remember that all you see are needy. They may be discouraged, tired, hurt, sick, depressed, stressed, or struggling. Listen, encourage, smile, help, and give.

Try this for a few days. If you start feeling better, you are not sick. You are just selfish.

That indeed is good news. You can just STOP IT!