Each day I am deeply inspired by Beth Davis and today wasn’t any different. Today I watched Blessed Is She’s “Teachable Tuesday” encouraging each and every one of us to tell our story of how Jesus Christ and the Good News have saved our lives.
It is no secret that there is a lot of uncertainty and despair in the world right now and times are hard. For a long time, I have kept most of this story hidden from the world because I never really know how I will be received after being so vulnerable. In all honesty, I’m terrified to even scrape the surface. This is by no means perfect, but I hope you get to know a bit more about my journey and just have hope that Jesus can and will save you too.
The short story, Jesus Christ saves my life with his love in each and every moment and I can’t stay quiet any longer.
Does this mean every moment of my life has been perfect? Far from it, but I know he is with me in every moment.
From the Beginning
I was raised as a “cradle Catholic” and went to Mass every Saturday. I journeyed through many years of religion class and was always the “know-it-all” just because I went to Mass on the weekends. Yet in reality, I knew maybe a grain of sand of what the Catholic faith ever had to offer.
Falling in Love with Jesus
For me, falling in love with Jesus was very much a journey, there wasn’t one moment that I just knew. The first major step in this long journey was joining the Spirit Choir at my church Prince of Peace right before I started seventh grade. Middle school was rough to me, as it is to almost everyone. But, the ability to have the backbone of so many friends who shared my faith was such a comfort to me. They helped me through so many moments in my life and they were truly sent by God. There are honestly no words to ever thank them enough because they showed me the love of Jesus in such a new and unique way through every moment I spent with them.
High School and Friendships
For most of my life, I had struggled to develop strong friendships; I felt like I just floated from person to person. High school was one of the first times I felt ridiculed for my faith. The ridicule mostly included some simple jokes from time to time, but over time, these “jokes” really started to make me question my faith. During junior year, I started to wear a cross necklace and my Confirmation ring which was the biggest step of faith- and it was terrifying. But that necklace and ring were such comforts during hard times, I just knew God was always with me. I went to a very public high school and I’m thankful for many of those experiences, but I was in a Bible Study club for three years with only four people in it. This may seem normal, but we had over two thousand people go to my high school so percentages weren’t great.
During the end of junior year, I felt like I had finally found a friend group and I tried to latch onto them for dear life. Overall, Jesus showed me (in a very painful way) that we weren’t a match for each other forever and it was better if we weren’t friends long term. That realization culminated the week before my high school graduation and the night before my 18th birthday. It is still really hard for me to think about. It has led to a long journey of forgiveness for all those involved.
The Struggles in my Life
There have been many little struggles that I have dealt with daily. However, there have also been a few struggles that have been a bit bigger in my life. I just shared some of my friendship struggles. These really led to me feel alone for much of my life and to have a lot of major trust issues with friends. Possibly the biggest struggle I have dealt with is my negativity and my bouts of depression. For so many years I was enslaved to the image I had of myself and the world. For many that met me, my deep sadness was one of the first things they saw. This pains me so much to write because I know how hard I was trying to be happy, and I felt like no one ever saw it – that they only saw my sadness and not how hard I was trying to be happy, that they could see who I really was. This sadness and obsession with what others thought of me chained me to the world through the thrones of habitual sin and Jesus is breaking those chains every day. He has cleansed my mind and continues to show me in each moment to look to him so he can show me how he sees me, perfectly as his beloved daughter. He has saved me and he can and will save you. I feel like such a burden has been lifted off my shoulders and I can smile now that I have accepted his grace in my life. Believe me, there are still hard days, but it is so much easier when I give it all to God.
For so many, college is a time to fall away from the faith. You are away from parents, make your own decisions, and honestly never have to go to church anymore. However, like many places in my life, I was a bit different. I embraced the ability to go to a Catholic college and ran with it. I loved going to Mass during the weekend and also Wednesday nights with just students. I had never been in a place with so many young adults who loved the Lord and wanted to go to Mass together. It became such a place of fellowship and friendship. About halfway through freshman year, I was introduced to the beauty of Adoration. I have met so many incredible friends that truly know me (and love me even because they know me). Daily, they remind me of Jesus’ unconditional love for me.
Since I had the ability to live literally connected to the church this year, I spent many hours of my weeks in church just laying on the floor in front of the Tabernacle just talking to Jesus like he was sitting right there (because he is). I’ve had the ability to be on the executive board for Chiara, the Catholic women’s group on campus and am inspired so deeply by each one of them. My hope and joy of each day is found in Jesus and even in rough moments, I felt so consoled by him and he just gave me the ability to smile. Each day I want to spend more and more time with Jesus and so many moments I spend with others bring me back to his love. So many nights are spent laughing with friends until we can’t breathe or crying at the pure beauty of friendship and the Lord.
Fast Forward to Today
Okay so maybe about a month ago. I was honestly at the top of the world in my life. I was really enjoying (most of) my classes and was having a really healthy balance of school, faith, and work. I was able to go Mass at least seven times a week, was preparing for a service trip over spring break in South Carolina, had the ability to go on a silent retreat over the Triduum at the Abbey, I was starting to plan a retreat for our Catholic women’s group for April, I was deepening some incredible faith friendships, and many other things were going so well and in the course of a week, most of that all came crashing down. Suddenly, I was being sent home until August because of the Corona Virus and navigating online classes away from my best friends and the Church I called my home. To make matters worse, now we weren’t allowed to leave the house. I went from running around over twelve hours a day to being at home with very little to do. But, I know each step in my journey is for the Lord to connect deeper to me and he knows every part of my journey. I have been forced to relax a bit this week and have been able to participate in so many incredible faith communities from across the country from live stream Mass, live Adoration, BIS VBS, and many other materials available to me.
For so many years of my life, I was so ashamed of my faith. I struggled for so long with depression and negativity and God continues to cleanse my thoughts and feelings about myself every single day to help me see him the way he sees me. Each moment of my life, he brings hope, he brings healing, he brings forgiveness, he brings happiness. I could literally go on for hours about how much I love the Lord; he is my best friend and I fall in love with him more and more deeply every single day.
Jesus wants a personal relationship with you, yes YOU.
Even though I am terrified to publish this, there is so much healing and greatness in vulnerability. Please never feel like a burden coming to me to talk about anything or if you just need a good laugh (or cry). Jesus took hold of my heart and I’m so glad he will never let go even if I don’t always feel his presence as much as I do right now. Thank you for each and every person who has supported me in each step of my journey of many mountains and many valleys, I look forward to continuing my journey through the ups and downs of life with you all as we travel with the Lord!