As I wrote in Eve’s Apple, I was raised on a dairy farm in Wisconsin in a Roman Catholic family. We went to church weekly and frequented the sacraments. My mother even brought us to a local farm wives’ Bible study every week where we learned about God’s word. Though I had the tools to be confident in God’s love for me, I allowed peer pressure of what others thought of me define who I was instead of his love for me. Being a shy, awkward, skinny and undeveloped teenager, I struggled with what the world saw as beautiful instead of what God said was beautiful. I started to believe the devil’s lie whispered to me that I couldn’t be popular or loved by God.
After I left for college I started to fill the void of wanting to be fully loved with other things. I packed my schedule with activities, boyfriends and even premarital sex. I stopped going to Mass every Sunday and slowly challenged the healthy guidance and moral boundaries taught to me through the Church and my parents. I did not believe Jesus was real in Holy Communion. Because I didn’t really believe God could deeply love me, I had a problem believing he would have a real active relationship with me. Perhaps this is like my feeling I could never belong to the in-group at school so I surely couldn’t be in God’s loved group either.
Searching for my role
I actively pursued a US Army active duty officer and pilot career that would make me look prized by others. At first it was a role I could handle and I found happiness in it. Soon like all the other things in my life it was never enough. I pursued a role suggested to me that was beyond my training. I listened to the pressure of what others thought and the worldly promise it provided instead of what God thought was best for me. This position of Apache Commander of the Calvary and Attack role without the proper training led me to a very serious struggle in my life.
Because I always wanted to have a sense of belonging, I ended up in an affair with the top gun of our unit, became pregnant, divorced my husband and remarried. I was asked to leave the military and my beloved career. My new husband, who I thought really loved me, started to physically, emotionally and mentally abuse me. I ended up in the emergency room and he in jail.
Because of his large debt and now the debt we had incurred trying to make a new life, we ended up in bankruptcy in just two years. He started to have an affair and wanted a divorce. By this time, only three years, we now had two boys together. I found myself a single mom of two small children without credit, status or material goods.
Where is the joy?
God allowed the lesser evil to work in the worse evil of my lukewarm heart. Losing everything, I found myself reaching out for help to the God I didn’t think loved me.
Exhausted and broken-hearted, I called out to Jesus one morning before work. Hugging the family’s big white Catholic Bible, I asked him, “Lord, where is there joy in my journey? If it weren’t for the boys, I would just want to…” I cried for all that I had done, for my poor choices, for the hurt I had caused and the place I was left in.
That’s all God needed. He reintroduced me to Bible study groups, slowly showing me through visions, dreams and miracles that he truly loved me and was there all the time. I received the grace to forgive my husband, seek an annulment and reverse my tubal ligation.
As God’s blessings continued, I found a home and a good-paying job. After five years I came back with a passion to the full truth of the Catholic Church and its healing. God brought a man into our life that loved the kids as his own and me as if I was his virgin bride. I am now happily married to my husband and spiritually to my Lord. I now follow God’s lead, guiding Bible studies, speaking, writing and many other things God brings along my path. I no longer let the world define who I am, but define myself in whose I am.
About the Author: Marie Therese Kceif
From farm life in Wisconsin, Marie Therese Kceif went on to have a varied full life. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Mathematics. Marie became an active duty US Army Captain and pilot, automotive manager, Bible study leader, RCIA guide, lector, speaker, writer, mom and wife. She lives with her husband in Fenton, Michigan. Read Marie Therese’s story in Eve’s Apple and contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.