The Religion My Family Has That I Don’t

The Religion My Family Has That I Don’t

Whatever happened to freedom of religion in your own home?


Disclaimer and content warning: This is my story about my religious journey. I don't mean any disrespect and I'm sorry if this story offends anyone. I will talk about mental illness and self-harm.

From a very young age, my family had a specific view on religion. We all had to believe and follow it, no matter what. As a Peruvian-American girl, I was expected to believe in Catholicism, go to church, and follow the ideologies my family had imposed on me.

It's definitely safe to say that I've struggled with finding faith as I was severely bullied growing up. I used to believe that I had done something wrong and God was punishing me, the way he punished bad people. I believed this whole-heartedly because I couldn't figure out why things in my life were going so poorly.

This is the first time I began to doubt my religion. I would look at all the stained-glass windows every Sunday and question whether or not Jesus existed and whether or not he really did die for my sins like my mother had told me.

By the time I reached 13, I had completely given up. I lost hope in the thought of God being there for me and became an atheist. This is also the same moment I became suicidal. After pretty much giving up on myself, I met my first boyfriend who was very religious. He invited me to his Christian church after seeing my self-harm scars.

I felt like I should try it if my boyfriend at the time believed it would help me feel useful. So for almost 3 years, I attended a Christian youth church and I believed that I was actually being holy and positive. I was even baptized as a Christian.

Unfortunately, I began to feel like I was cheating myself. Like I had committed to a relationship with God and I didn't believe in it with my heart.

After my relationship with my boyfriend at the time ended, I felt the same way I had before I dove into Christianity. It was here when I was split between believing in God and believing there was no God.

I went back and forth in my mind and I didn't know what to believe. Today, I am agnostic. I don't know what's out there, but I definitely feel like there is something above us. A supernatural or divine God is possibly behind our existence, but I don't think I'll see it until I die. That's when we all discover what the afterlife has to offer.

I may not be religious, but I still respect my family's religion and I know that though they may not understand my agnostic views, they still love me.

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A Letter From God To Help You Finish The Semester

God sees your struggles and He's here to give you strength and motivation.

My Child,

The lack of motivation towards the end of the semester is normal. You are mentally and physically tired, but you are almost at the end. Don’t stop walking down the perfect path I have for you. When you’re going along and you come upon a speedbump, I want you to go over it and keep driving. The paper you have to write and the test you have to study for are just small speedbumps I have given you to make you wiser. You can write that paper and you can gain motivation to study for that test. I am here to give you strength, and am here to open up your mind and give you motivation.

You are so loved. You have such a beautiful mind. The light of Jesus shines through your eyes and your smile brings comfort to the world. There’ll be times you feel like you’re carrying a heavy load. There’ll be times you feel like the task I have given you is impossible to perform. But remember this: I would never put anything upon your shoulders that you cannot carry. If I put you in a certain situation, it’s because I know you are strong enough to go through it.

When you feel like crying, cry to me. When you feel like a failure, remember how much I love you. You are not a failure and you are not going to give up. I will hold your hand through every second of your life. I will seek your heart through your darkest moments. I see you, I see your heart, and I see your burdens. And remember that I have your heart which means I also have your burdens. Follow my footsteps and you will be free from the doubt. Remember Mark 4:40-41: “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” I have the power to calm any storm and wave. I have the power to calm YOUR storms and waves. Set your doubt, anger, and tiredness in my hands and simply be patient.

Romans 8:14-15 says,“For those who are led by the spirit of God are the children of God. The spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again, rather the spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.” Nothing can separate you from my love. Not even your lack of motivation. You have no motivation because you do not feel good enough. You are more than good enough. You were perfectly made by me and when I look down at you, I think of how proud I am of your heart.

Throughout the last few weeks of this semester, you will stumble upon speedbumps. But hold the hand of my son Jesus and you will be able to go over that speedbump with ease. Go write that paper, go study for that test, and go get an A in that class. I know you can because I have given you power.



Cover Image Credit: Margaret Carnes

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8 Phases Of Lent As Told By 'Jane The Virgin'

Nobody understands Lent like Jane.


Every person that participates in Lent knows that there are different phases — almost like the stages of grief. Now that Lent is coming to an end, I wanted to review the challenges we have all faced so far. Easter is just around the corner and we have earned it. Although everyone's Lenten experience may be a bit different, we all know the struggles of giving something up, cheating, remembering to skip the meat on Friday's, etc. The pain is almost over, so enjoy a recap of everything you've been through in the past few weeks. Here are 8 scenes from "Jane the Virgin" that understand your struggles.

1. Thinking of what to give up

jane the virgin

Thinking of what to give up for Lent can be so stressful, especially when your whole family won't stop asking you about it. Leave me alone!

2. Fat Tuesday

jane the virgin

I hope that every Catholic family out there is having a full-out FEAST on Fat Tuesday! Don't worry about your food baby; it's called Fat Tuesday for a reason, right?

3. Getting weird looks on Ash Wednesday

jane the virgin

You just know everyone is looking at you like this when you have that big, black smudge on your forehead. But hey, at least when you pass another ash-covered face you can give each other a solid nod. They know what's up.

4. Cheating

jane the virgin

This is how every Catholic grandma looks at you when they catch you cheating during Lent.

5. Telling yourself you won't cheat again

jane the virgin

You tell yourself, "hey, we can do this, no more cheating during Lent." You are happy and confident.

6. Cheating...again

jane the virgin

Let's face it. It just isn't your year. Don't worry, Lent is almost over and the shame can finally end. Be gone, shame!

7. Eating a fish sandwich for the 100th time

jane the virgin

Fish sandwiches are delicious. That is until you eat one every week for almost 6 weeks.

8. When it's finally Easter

jane the virgin

Lent was long, but the wait was well worth it. Now go have some brunch and hunt for Easter eggs!

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