Oh, the amazing things God has in store for you when you simply LISTEN.
As many of you know, I was raised a Protestant, in the Southern Baptist Church – if you don’t know this, please read this to get better acquainted with our story. Craig was born and bred a Catholic. Luckily, when God asked me to convert, I did so. He asked me at a time in my life when I had pulled away from Him, but through a beautiful friend and co-worker was becoming more and more drawn to the Lord. And the Roman Catholic Church was perfect for me. The routine, the beauty, the ceremony of it all. I found peace in Christ, and while I was oh so far from perfect and the person God was molding me to become, I saw so many changes occurring in my life.
As a child, we went to church every Sunday. We went to Sunday School every Sunday before “big church”. We went to Family Night on Wednesdays. I sang in church. We were very very very involved in church. And then, slowly, the older I got, the more I pulled away – and for the wrong reasons. I pulled away because of PEOPLE, not because of BELIEF. Instead of finding a new church home in college, I just didn’t go to church. Sure, I went with my parents when I visited, but really, I was only “there” – I wasn’t paying much attention.
Fast forward to late 2008-2009, and there I was, in church every Sunday, albeit alone. I began to sing with the choir. I attended Mass during the week occasionally. I had this desire to learn and to grow. My life was changing.
In 2011, God asked me to make a bigger change. He wanted me to stop choosing my own dates. He wanted me to let Him choose for me. He led me to Catholic Match. He chose my husband – and what an amazing choice He made (believe it or not! 🙂 )!
When we first got married, Craig & I were attending a parish in Dallas, Georgia. We really enjoyed the homilies (sermons), but there were some changes being made we didn’t agree with. We felt God calling us. We left that parish and ended up at St. Francis of Assisi in Cartersville, Georgia, where we instantly were welcomed with open arms! We were both immediately received into the choir, and I began to Lector. It was WONDERFUL to be involved again! It was WONDERFUL to have a church family!
As a little more time passed and we discovered the ‘reason’ we hadn’t yet conceived a child, I felt constantly compelled to do more. Seek Him more. Serve Him more. Pray more earnestly. Spend more time with Him. I continued to listen, and I kept feeling that we should attend a Protestant/Non-Denominational church, in addition to Catholic Mass. I kept brushing that thought aside. We were comfortable in our routine, and besides, Craig wouldn’t go to both services with me – would he?
After repeatedly having this feeling, I audibly told God, “If this is what you want, then you are going to have to help me out. You are going to have to work on my husband’s heart.”
A week or so later, I was driving home from work and I felt the Holy Spirit pulling me, “You need to go to Wednesday night church. Don’t you miss that??”
Why, yes, as a matter of fact, I did ‘miss that’! Hmm…Our friend, Julia, goes to church on Wednesday nights… I should ask her if I can tag along.
Lo’ and behold, that very night, Julia texted me…that maybe I should join her for church on Wednesday nights.
Did you just get chills?
I went, and I loved it! In the next few weeks, I continued to go, and then, I mentioned to Craig I would love for him to join me…and that maybe we could go on a Sunday too – in addition to Mass.
And he not only agreed, but appeared delighted and looked as if I had read his mind… Isn’t it interesting how God works? 🙂
And as we continued going to church all over the place 🙂 I felt God pulling at a familiar heartstring…One I remembered feeling a loooong time ago…but had been kind of silent for a little while. I felt God telling me I needed to minister. And the more I discerned that call, the more I knew He was calling me to minister to singles – an demographic I feel is often very much overlooked by the church. And this time, instead of running away, fast and furious, I listened. I heeded His words, and I realized that no matter how inadequate I am, HE IS NOT! And, through Him, I can do all things.
This blog is another example of listening. What began as a way to keep family updated morphed into a daily message. We felt called to turn this into more than a mushy family update, and make it an expression of our faith. We were cautioned by MANY that much of this information was TOO PERSONAL to share, but we responded with our hearts – This is what God asked of us, and we have to take this leap of faith.
I don’t love airing our personal PCOS/infertility details. It isn’t always comfortable to share of beliefs with the world. But God asked us to make this blog about more than just us, so we have, at whatever expense that may bring.
So, as is usual now, last night I met Julia for dinner and had my favorite Salmon with Garlic & Herbs from Chili’s (I cannot get enough!), and then, we drove to Full Turn Church for our Wednesday evening Praise & Worship, and message from Pastor Alan. We sit on the second row, right in the middle. Julia always apologizes for wanting to sit way up there, but I love it. I love sitting in the front of church. It’s a challenge to be less distracted and more attentive to God. As usual, the message was an awesome one. I felt the Holy Spirit on my heart the whole time – mainly about praying over my infertility, and praying for faith and guidance. I prayed and prayed and prayed. And then Pastor Alan stepped off the dais and came to stand right in front of me. And my heart was beating FAST.
He said he was going to pray over someone, and asked for the anointing oil. Then he began to speak about faith and that with God and your faith in Him there is NOTHING that is impossible. He works in the SUPERnatural, not under the natural law. He mentioned Sarai, Abraham’s barren wife, in the Bible. Physical laws told her there was NO WAY she was going to have a child. She was in her 90’s! And still, Pastor Alan was standing right in front of me.
He sought me out, and asked about our infertility (which he would never have known about were it not for our blog!); he said he knew I had the kind of tenacious faith required for God to work miracles, and he said he knew the Holy Spirit had led us to Full Turn Church…and he anointed my forehead with oil, and the entire church prayed over me for my infertility, for our faith, for our future baby.
People, you should have seen me crying, and poor Julia’s hand probably still hurts today – I was squeezing it so hard, as I shook like a leaf.
God is awesome, y’all.
Look how He led us when we listened. From darkness to light, from light to pure joy, from joy to satisfaction and searching, from sadness and depression to HOPE and GRACE and PURPOSE.
And we haven’t even embarked on how I will minister to singles, yet!
26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Really, give your life to Him and LISTEN with BOTH EARS when He speaks – and He will speak! He can take you where no one would ever have thought possible, and accomplish through you the IMPOSSIBLE – by man’s standards. It may seem silly, and it may feel uncomfortable, but He has a reason for everything.
We are blessed with Catholic Mass to have a solemn commune with the Lord; We follow that with a fervent praising, worshipping, learning and growing in God experience at Full Turn; Wednesday nights are another opportunity to fully immerse ourselves in faith and praise. And
hopefully soon, I will be helping singles in our community stop and listen for guidance from our Lord and Savior all week long.
Truly, where would either Craig or I be if we had turned a deaf ear when He spoke?