I cannot believe that Lent is actually over. I mean it did not seem very long… well it kind of did because I could not even recall when it actually started but the time seemed to slip away from me very fast. And that was all my fault. I started off with a strong belief in what I was doing would be good, but everything just fell apart as the time continued to go on. All the things I had planned and wanted to check off the list became something I never did. In fact, for the past two weeks I have not, well yeah I haven’t prayed at all on my own will or time (except for adoration I made myself go to due to the fact I could see everything was going downhill). That is so bad. Truly I am frustrated at myself for letting it get to that point. I wanted it to be a strong Lent and go all in, but it turned out to be everything but that. And yeah I was super frustrated about it and I will admit I still kind of am. I did not want this to be a time that I just go through the motions, but I did. But the thing with this is, is that I am learning… and I will always be.
This whole year actually has been such a growing experience for me in pretty much every area of my life but more specifically on the faith aspect. Once I figured out a major thing blocking my growth process, I was able to see this new path. And no this path has been anything but easy but it has opened my heart and eyes to things I have never experienced or ever thought I would before. After and while at the retreat the things happening seemed to be so surreal to me. I mean having never witnessed such acts of the Holy Spirit being truly present, and like I definitely saw some crazy stuff go down at that time more than ever I just knew there was something so much more important and vital to our lives than what is visible to the human eye. It is just so much deeper than the surface level of our lives. That is until we decide to take that jump into the deep and explore because oh man I tell you that when you do, you are in for a lifelong adventure.
I so wish I would have realized this earlier on, but now I see it was all a part of a deeper growing process as everything will be. But I specifically remember an experience two summers ago in adoration when I was almost sure that it would be the absolute turning point in my life because from that point on I felt like I had experienced something that could move mountains. And for sure it could, but just my view from everything in my mind after that built walls around my heart. Yes, the experience was beautiful, but now looking back it seemed to be the classic “everyone will cry during Oceans and just sob because” kind of thing. And no I cannot exactly tell you what my 14-year-old self was thinking at that moment because I just had not experienced and grown in certain parts of my life as I have now, but that night was different. And since a few months ago, I have seen how that night was not the whole “turning point of my faith” I had earlier wrote about it as I did.
That night I did not have the intention of growing in Christ or seeking to grow in that I thought I did. I was just taking part in “the night everyone else cried” like everyone else and not looking for a higher standard or goal to be met besides that. That night I thought everything changed me and sure experiences like ones similar to that will have a lasting mark on you. I mean there were definitely other things that happened during that adoration that I will not forget, but my mindset was so much different then, then it is now. And to be honest, I did not really recognize this until about three months ago after hearing someone talk about it because it is just so true. I mean it was so much more and still proves to be then everyone crying just to cry. And yeah I did not see it then and I definitely do not fully understand it all now, but since figured out what was guarding my heart just as the beginning of this school year kicked off, all my adoration experiences have been peaceful. Sure I have shed a few tears, but they were not for the purposes just to cry or whatever, but because I genuinely experienced and saw a glimpse into something so much greater than myself. Out of pure joy, I was given the opportunity to be face to face with Him and I surely do struggle with understanding it, but I know in my heart there is something for me to always explore more deeply through Him.
This is super hard for me to explain, but honestly ever since this year has started, everything has been so different. Different good and I would stray from saying bad, because I just do not want to look at it that way, but nothing has been the same as last year. And the major part of that was the retreat at the beginning of this year because that was just insanely crazy and something I will not forget because wow I just simply cannot. But more than anything the journey and ups and downs of faith have really been present. I feel like I have been on the highest of highs, but also hitting rock bottom and lost in a desert too. It has been far from easy, but I have learned that it will not always be.
Before and truly just from such a small age I never really took my faith seriously, I mean sure I was blessed enough to go to a Catholic grade school and attended mass every weekend but I did not really understand anything. I did it all because it was a routine and I just knew Jesus loved me and there was sin and all the basic stuff like that, but when you get older, you learn there is so much more. And like I said, it is kind of all based off of whether or not you are willing to go deeper because there are things God wants you to be able to experience and witness but if your heart and mind are closed, there is no room for Him to work. By no means am I saying that He cannot work at all if this is true because He is working around us constantly, but whether or not we are open is a true game changer whether we realize it or not. And that was what I failed to do, big time.
For the longest time, I just felt so caught up in how people viewed me and I let their ideas control my faith choices. I never really let God work through me as He wanted because I was so afraid of what someone would think. I had people tell me they wished I would open up and share, but I could never bring myself to do so, and that took a toll on me. I had become so conformed to the thoughts of others in that aspect and I was really blind to it. I let it control my faith and it deterred me from going deeper and experiencing a life that was even better than I one I was living. I thought I had a perfect faith, but that fact took away from everything. I failed to find a flaw in my faith because of the wall I built around my heart. It was not good at all.
But since discovering that huge barrier, so many more things have been opened up to my eyes and heart. And the thing that is hard for me is that the kinds of moments I have experienced over the past months are something that I do not even have a word to describe. Some seem supernatural and well actually they all kind of have been because the reason behind why certain things have happened is definitely not a coincidence. Like I am 110% certain this is God working. I just know it is. And yes I am struggling to understand why these things have happened and why, but I need to trust and be patient. I am so bad and failing to do that.
All of this stuff is kind of a big deal and understanding it is something that has been getting to me because why would any of this have happened if I am not supposed to understand why? Well, even though I am still confused about most of the past events and experiences, I have been enlightened by many people to be patient and that there is a reason behind everything that I may not understand now, but will later (which actually I just realized was the quote I chose for 8th grade graduation…). And that is something I have especially struggled with because I have such a major trust issue with God because I have been told so many things and know that they are true but there is a fine line between whether I truly do believe it or not. And I am still growing like anyone so I am not expected to know it all but the fear of not knowing scares me again because of the lack of trust.
That is something I really need to work on because I know all of these experiences are happening for a reason and a part of a greater purpose. Even though that outcome and meaning is blind to me right now, I know that eventually, I will understand. And for sure it probably will not all happen at once because there have been little signs every now and then that could be a reason why but its all an adventure. And yes this is truly an adventure, but there is no other way I would rather spend my life than on it. It is not an easy road because it takes a lot of courage, strength, humility, trust, vulnerability, and many other traits and I for sure do not have it all together and never will but that is okay. It is all okay because He is there right there beside me the whole way.
Sure there are moments when I seize to understand that truth, but deep down I know it true. I understand that this adventure is a bumpy road, but is all ultimately part of a bigger plan for good which changes a lot. Yes I will suffer and yes I will feel so filled with wonder and awe, but altogether it is a big growth process. It will be far from easy, but so worth it for the glorification of Him and the Kingdom. And just as Casting Crowns says, “I don’t want to leave a legacy. I don’t care if they remember me, only Jesus.”
Truly though I could never stress or speak enough about how important and crazy everything surrounding our faith is. I do not really remember at what point this was earlier today, but for the longest time, I have been really drawn to Catholic speakers. So much so that yes, I too sometimes in the shower or in bed at night run through what I would say if I were to give a talk. I just feel so empowered and inspired by those people or in fact anyone who is a bold and true witness of faith. That really speaks to me. And so for a while now I have been thinking of pursuing my future in a ministry position of some kind and I am really serious about it. I used to just think of it as something I could do, but now I have a genuine passion for wanting to go through with actually doing something in it. Yes, I am only a freshman but if time keeps going faster like everyone says it will… my future is sooner than I think. I have looked into and talked to various people about NET, LifeTeen missions and other missionary or positions of the sorts but it truly is something I want to pray on. Well, I need to pray on. Because I feel like God is calling me to share my gifts in this area and maybe He is not, but I really feel like He is more than ever. I just have felt such a deep desire to share Him with those I encounter more than ever, and I want to give talks and share His wondrous life with others, and that is only possible through His grace. I feel like this is a part of why I enjoy writing so much about this too because my faith is something I care about so much and will always continue to dive deeper into. Writing this kind of stuff out just gives me a glimpse as to something bigger than myself and fills me with such great joy in Him. And maybe there is something else out there He wants from me, but hey. It is a growing process and I need to be open to what He has planned for me because whatever He has planned is SO much greater than what I ever could plan for myself, so I need to trust it.