Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My Calling

So I guess I need to start from the moment where I came back to God. It wasn’t that long ago, but it does seem like a lifetime ago. It is funny when defining moments happen in life. They are the least expected things. I think of the Need to Breathe song Lay ‘Em down. When you sincerely lay your troubles down at the feet of Christ, He listens and if you are open enough to hear Him, He answers. I have to admit, it is usually not the answer we want and we are usually too busy and loud to notice even when it is. But God shines in the little moments and proves He is there.

I had one of those moments this weekend at the lake. I was on a boat late at night looking at the stars. You could see the Milky Way and different constellations. I hadn’t seen stars like that in years. I stood in awe and realized just how small and insignificant we are in the big universe God created. I thanked Him for the beautiful scenery that I was looking at and thanked Him for reminding me that I am not the center of the universe. Thanked Him for everything He has given, the beautiful weekend, time with my family, everything. I was almost brought to tears just thinking of how lucky we really are. When I was about down thinking Him a shooting star flashed across the sky. It was just one of those things, I really felt God was just letting me know He was listening. I usually pray when I or someone needs Him, it is so nice to sit and thank Him and that shooting star was His way of encouraging thankfulness.

But anyway. Back to my walk back to God, or rather my walk back to the path that will lead me to Him. I wrote this recollection of the day about a week before I went to Haiti. It is a day I never wanted to forget and don’t know why I didn’t write is sooner. But here it is:

September 26, 2009

This was day one. The beginning of a new chapter, a new life for me. It is amazing how often coincidence gets the credit for so much. I have a hard time with thinking this might have been one big coincidence. There is just too much to it. There had to be a higher power, a plan, set out for me. I obviously was way to far off track to see it before. They always say be careful what you wish for. In my case it was what I prayed for. And I am so lucky to have been listening to the answer. And to see results in seven months.

I never knew how passionate I could be beyond my own child. But my eyes were opened on a Saturday afternoon. A light came on inside me and I hope and pray it never burns out.

Here is what I wrote reflecting on that day shortly before I left for Haiti:

It is hard for me to call this a calling. I mean, that is exactly what it was and is. But it was more of a slap upside my head. So many random things were said and happened that it has to be more then coincidence. If you aren't a believer in God, then call it coincidences, call it I finally found my passion, found what I was meant to do. It was a calling no matter how you look at it, no matter Who/what called me to it.

It was Saturday afternoon. I am Catholic and we have a Saturday night Mass that counts as our Sunday Mass. I was over at my parents with my son when my mom said they were going to go to church. I was getting my son around to go home. I wasn't going to go. I hadn't been to church in a while. I hadn't been the best Christian in even longer. I knew I was missing something that I figured was church of some sort but I wasn't ready to go back and I wasn't sure where I was going to go.

I was telling my parents ‘see ya’ and, well, my mom cornered me and told me that when I had my son baptized I made him a promise and God a promise that he would go to church. My son goes to Catholic school and my mom reminded me that this year (2nd grade) he was going to be making his First Confession and First Communion and he needed to be in Mass leading up to and after that. I love my son more then anything in my life and I would do anything for him. So, because of what my mom said, I took Carter and we went to Mass with my parents.

When I walked into my church a feeling came over me that this was where I needed to be. This was my 'home.' I knelt before Mass and prayed (its just what we do) and I had such a heavy heart. I knew I wasn't on the right path, I wasn't happy and I needed help. I know selfish prayers never get answered they way you expect and I never expect my selfish prayers to even get a second's consideration from God. But I prayed in the hopes that saying it to Him would give me something.

I prayed for God to help me get back on the path that He originally intended for me to be on, the one next to His. I asked for His help to be a better mom, a better Christian, a better example to everyone I come into contact with. I also asked Him to help me come to Mass on a regular basis. I saw my mom's dedication as a teacher in the Catholic school and as a Eucharistic minister and my dad as a cantor and a choir member. I wanted something to grasp onto to make me feel like a bigger part of church and Him. I asked for a project or something, a sign that I should be involved in anything, any committee, any program, I mean I was open to anything. By the time I ended my prayer I was almost in tears. I knew I could be a better person with God's help and that I belonged here but I was also sad that I spent so much time praying for myself instead of others.

I sat back down and Mass started. I zoned out like I used to when I went to church. I knew I didn't deserve an answer to my prayers, I didn't expect one either. And I think I knew and God knew that I was at a breaking point - you know, just completely lost without a spiritual anchor. I have my son and he is my anchor in life and he is my life, there is nothing I wouldn't do for him. But I was missing a part of myself without Christ in my life - I could be so much better with Him and His help.

Once the gospel reading was read were again seated and the homily started. I had tears rushing to my eyes. I do now, even thinking about that day. It was so life changing and perspective changing and a true blessing. What happened was my priest started talking about the possibility of obtaining a sister parish in Haiti. Of mission trips and projects for them and committees and I was fighting crying in church. I am not a crier and I was not going to let the tears flow in the middle of Mass. This feeling washed over me. I can't even explain how amazing it felt, it was every good memory combined and so much more. Words will never do that moment justice. A light bulb came on. Not even 20 minutes after I knelt down and laid my troubles down and asked for help I had my answer. I had never had a moment like that before. God heard me and answered me. Me! Little old battered and bruised and broken me. It is so true that God's fools are the ones who are called. He doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called. I was completely lost before that moment. Now I had a calling and a purpose. Other then being a mother, I have never felt so purposeful and passionate. I was called. Well, with as much emotion that ran though me it was more a smack upside the head. It was loud and obvious and something I don't think I would have ever thought of on my own. I go into contact with the person heading up this initial trip and have been an (over)active member of this committee and project ever since.

This calling is so far out of my bubble but yet I am so passionate about it. I am a scatterbrain and completely unorganized and all of my Haiti things are completely organized and I am on task with it. It is almost scary. This calling changed my life. I know Haiti will change my life even more. I just hope I can change some lives too in Haiti and here at home.

I am sure I haven't done that moment enough justice. No words will ever be able to describe it. But that is how I got my start. I am back to church every week. I went to confession (after 11 years of skipping it). I have, hopefully, started the walk back to God's path for me. And that path has led me to Haiti.

Today I am 6 days away from Haiti. 6 days and 4 hours and I will be stepping foot in Haiti. And 7 days we will be trekking out into the mountains to meet the people of Chateau. We are going in to do a community assessment to see what we can do in the future. I am so excited. I can't wait! I can't believe that in 7 months that calling has developed into a trip to Haiti.

That day made me realize that there is no such thing as coincidences. Everything happens for a reason. Everything happens because of Him and through Him. We just choose to follow His signs or ignore Him and go our own way.

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