By accident, I was led to this forum on the internet, and I’m glad I did. I would like to share my story with you, and ask for your Christian advice, if I may. I’ll try to keep it short, but I apologize if I go overboard with your time!
I just turned 36 years old. I come from a very devout Greek Orthodox family, and as of my late teens I consider myself very devout. Mostly because of what I had to deal with as a child…
My mother had a regular pregnancy/delivery with me. However, eight hours after I was born, the nurse had me on my stomach, and somehow, I moved my head to the point I started to suffocate myself. The nurse was reading a magazine and was failing to notice. By the grace of the Lord, during that time my father was on the elevator coming up to see me. According to him, he approached the glass window, saw me blue in the face, banged on the window (which startled the nurse,) had her attend to me with CPR and basically saved my life. Years later, upon maturity of course, I realized this was the Lord’s divine intervention, and His will that I suffer this. From a perfectly normal baby, my diagnosis led to what is called “cerebral hypoxia.” Similar to CP. But I have to say, it is hardly noticeable. Again, by God’s grace, my childhood was fantastic, I had great friends in school, teachers treated me as their own child, and I grew to be a very happy child – now a happy adult!
However, one thing I really lacked was self-esteem!! Upon realizing my “problem,” I started to think people are staring at me and I developed the self conscious issue of tensing my body too much, to the point walking would be difficult. For example, carrying a tray of drinks is impossible because along with tensing came shaky hands. My speech sounds shaky, as if I was crying. It was in my late twenties that I realized that 95% of that was what is called social phobia. My problem just exacerbates this.
But I really want to get over this self consciousness, especially regarding my problem. I always felt too shy and embarrassed. I’m also at a time in my life where I really want to be married, be a mother and have children. The last decade of my life where I should have been trying to find a mate, I was feeling very self-conscious. But in many ways, psychologically, I simply wasn’t ready. Now I see all my friends married with young children and I’m the only one left without that. And it has really upset me.
I recently spoke to my priest, about a year ago, and asked him for advice. I told him my story and what I seek through prayer, and he simply said to pray "The Jesus Prayer," which is something I have been doing recently. I'm also one who goes to church 3 Sundays a month, on average, and all the holidays.
So, you can imagine what I pray for…or have been praying for. I started praying at 13 years old and every night ever since. Or at various periods of the day. I remember vividly I had a dream where I was in this monastery I regularly visited, and Christ was sitting on a chair dressed in white and faced the alter, and I was circling Him, yelling why did you gave me this problem!! Years later, he appeared to me again and said (dressed in white) I gave you this problem for a reason. I started to cry and woke up with tears. I have had many dreams of being in churches/monasteries, seeing priests in my dreams. Recently, a dream I had was me in a full church of people, brightly lit church, and then Christ and His angels/saints came marching up to the alter! Would you believe when I tell you He seemed 20 feet tall!!
I’ve also had a dream where the Virgin Mary appeared to me. I was walking down a dark alley and then I appeared in a house that was brightly lit. I then saw children playing on the floor and a couple together on the couch. Then She tapes me on my shoulder, I turn around and it was the Theotokos! She embraced me very tightly then pointed for me to look at a wall full of icons. Then she gave me a rock that was made out of wood, shaped like a diamond though, and told me to look across. There I saw a young man waiting for me. I was so happy that I rushed over to embrace him and then I awoke from the dream.
I believe in the dreams I saw and that they’re real. I believe that the man the Virgin Mary pointed out to is the man I’m looking. That dream occurred about 10 or 12 years ago. I’m still waiting and looking.
In telling you my story, I just wanted to connect with people who have dealt with similar situations, and to seek their advice and how they handled them. I’m always reading the Bible and particular verses, like Matt 7:7 and Mark 11:23. I venerate many Saints who I’ve learned about and welcomed into my life for particular reasons – like Saint Nektarios of Aegina (Greece), Saint Ksenia of Petersberg. Saint Elizabeth, St. Nicholas, St. Anna, St. Menas, St. George, to name a few…I venerate one saint a day, along with Christ and the Theotokos. But I need to strengthen my faith. Is that all I need to do to get to where I want to be in life? How do you handle these kinds of things? I believe the Lord hears me. Patience is so hard some times.