When you want it the most
There’s no easy way out
When you’re ready to go
And your heart’s left in doubt
Don’t give up on your faith
Love comes to those who believe it
And that’s the way it is~ Celine Dion, That’s The Way It Is
And that’s the way it is…
“Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and speak to him, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, “Let My people go, that they may serve Me” ~ Exodus 9:1
Last year, when I was living in New York and working at a truly horrible job God graced me with several blessings in order to keep my spirits up. Those blessings were also key contributions to my journey with the Lord because they were constant reminders that while I was “in the trenches” at a terrible job I could always count on Jesus to be there enduring the terrors with me. One of those blessings was a friendship with a coworker. We bonded when we were both scheduled to work in the pastry department and were tasked with handling an extremely large delivery of cookies. It was a grueling task and one that we would have never been able to do alone. It was through that task that we discovered how much we could rely on each other for anything. Over time our friendship only grew stronger and after I left that job he was really the only person I continue to maintain steady communication with.
This friendship came as a surprise to me because we were so different. While working at that job I was quite open about my Catholic faith and he was quite open that he was not. I never felt judgement from him though and instead he asked and continues to ask about my faith. In fact, even though our religious beliefs do not always match we always end up agreeing on many “hot topics” that can often create major divisions between people. We both can see that we were meant to have this friendship with one another. He believes that it was done by the universe where as I know it was the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless we are united in the faith we were destined to be in each other’s lives and this belief was only affirmed last week. We had somehow found ourselves on the topic of my future wedding. To clarify, I am not engaged and I am not even dating anyone but we like to fantasize about the wedding day just because he is a florist and being the artist he is has already started picking out flower arrangements. It is no secret that one of my greatest desires for my life is to find that special guy and get married however I also have a deep desire to be a mother which I have not expressed to the general public quite as much. I have never had that motherly instinct and I do not gravitate to children like some do. It is because of this I question if I would be a good mother. In the deepest part of my heart I have that fear that God does not intend on me becoming one. Fortunately, the Lord knows my heart and knows what I need to hear and when I need to hear it. During that wedding conversation I was having with my friend he suddenly shifted the conversation from the wedding plans to motherhood. He told me that even though he is extremely excited to see how my future love story turns out he is even more excited to see me as a mother because he knows how wonderful I will be as a mother. This statement was so powerful I was left speechless. It was in that moment that I realized I had never heard that before. I have never heard someone consciously tell me that they think I would be a good mother without any coaxing from me. I have complete confidence that the Holy Spirit was using my friend to get a message to me. I told my friend that his statement was the most incredible and significant thing anyone could ever say to me because his words left me forever changed. I was filled with this new and enriched faith that I am meant to be a mother someday and that I can actually be good at it. The Holy Spirit is beautiful in His design and He can perform miracles in the most simplest of circumstances. I am so grateful to have this friendship in my life and it is because I know that it is a gift from God.
“Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts, or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support. “And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay at his house until you leave that city. As you enter the house, give it your greeting. “If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace. “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.” ~Matthew 10: 9-14
My time as a New Yorker will soon be coming to an end. Over the weekend I was finally successful in finding a place to live in New Jersey. I will no longer be a “New Yorker” but a “Jersey Girl.” Finding the right place to live was difficult mainly because it took me some time figuring out what I really needed. For the first time in my life I have a job that allows me to afford a place of my own. At first, this idea was extremely appealing. I could make a place entirely my own. I found an incredible apartment that backed up into a national park and nestled in a quaint little town completely separated from the outside world. It was almost a dream come true and spoke to my inner introvert. I would have the chance to make my own version of Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. I would have an entire national park to explore. I would be able to walk for hours talking with the Lord, the way I did when I first moved to New York and walked the streets for hours after work. It was on those walks that I truly got to know Jesus Christ and He reminded me who I was, a child of God. For awhile I entertained this idea of renting this seemingly perfect apartment. Something felt off though and as time went on I lost my feeling of peace about the property. I was forced to discern what was making me hesitant.
It came down to the fact that I would be making a solid commitment and making that apartment my true home. I realized I was not prepared to settle down. If I took that apartment I would have invested all I had into that place which was going against everything that the Lord had been calling me to. I was reminded of the verses from the Gospel of Matthew when Jesus Christ sent His disciples on their mission. Do not acquire any additional position and make your way from village to village proclaiming the Word of the Lord. During my journey in New York I discovered my vocation and what the Lord is truly asking of me which is to go out into the world and spread His message.
I am here today able to say with complete confidence that I have found my forever home and that is within the heart of Jesus. New Jersey is simply the next village where the Lord has brought me to but I will not be there for long. I am so grateful that the Lord brought me to a perfect house where they are renting out a small room. I knew it was the right place when entered and I immediately felt welcomed. It was worthy to give it the “blessing of peace” as the verse in Matthew said so perfectly. I truly do not need much just a place to rest my head. This house is in an ideal location and it is safe but it is not permanent. I need to be ready for when the Lord calls me to move again and when He does call I will dust off my feet and go.
It has been about a week since I returned to New York after my Christmas vacation. I gave myself a week to prepare before I started my new job. When I initially made the decision, it sounded like a great idea. I was still in that “vacation mode” and I simply did not want to return to the real world yet. To my surprise the week that I thought would be just another vacation week turned out to be a long spiritual trial and essentially ended me humbly approaching Jesus Christ asking for forgiveness.
The week was a gift from the Lord, I was given complete freedom to do whatever I wished. What I should have done was offer the time back to the Lord. Instead I used it for my own selfish intentions and as a result my spirit was left empty, nervous and anxious. Not having a set work schedule makes it hard to get up in the morning just because I really had no reason to get up. When I did manage to get up I was left to wander aimlessly. I did go apartment hunting but it turned out to be fruitless. My mind became consumed with the “what if ” thoughts. Everything I did was centered around my future plans which only lead to self imposed stress and fear. I was trying to control my future which I should know by now does not work. I should have surrendered the week to the Lord and trust that He would take care of my future plans. Being the kind and considerate Father that the Lord is of course He did take care of the future, I just made Him do it the hard way with me resisting at every step of the way.
By the end of the week when I had finally realized the error of my ways the Holy Spirit graciously presented a small opportunity for me to make amends. I was taking the subway home one evening and a man came into the train car I was riding in. He sat directly across from me. He had a plastic bag of leftover food and a large keyboard. It was evident that he was homeless and he planned to play the keyboard in the hope of making some money from the passengers riding the train. Normally, I don’t pay much attention to these “performers” mainly because they usually are just looking for a hand out but this man was different. He had a demeanor that reminded me of Johnny Depp. He was very talkative and said that he wasn’t looking for money just food. I was compelled to do something for him. I think it was because he understood the reality of his problems and did not wish to beg for anything. He had gone to college got a degree in music and technology but was unable to make a living with it. As he played the keyboard you could see his passion for what he was doing and just because it didn’t make him money didn’t take alway his desire to share his talent with others.
Before I exited the train I realized that I had a bag of Miraculous Medals in my backpack, I kept them there for moments just like these. I hesitated at first, I feared his reaction. It is not unusual for homeless to get upset with people when they give them seemingly useless things. I was able to overcome the initial fear with the belief that the Holy Spirit put me in this position for the very reason to give the medal to the man. I will never forget the reaction he gave me. When I first handed the Medal to him he graciously took it and said thank you, thinking that it was just some spare change, but when he took a closer look at it his eyes grew bigger and true excitement came across his face. Praise the Lord for giving me the opportunity to share Mary with someone that night. I can only hope that the Miraculous Medal lifted his spirits as much as it did mine. I owe that man a great deal because he helped get outside of my selfish thoughts and anxieties and brought me back into the world.
I said good-bye to my job yesterday. It was nothing less than surreal. This job had been my constant and my everything during my time in New York. I actually begged my boss to let me work on Thanksgiving last year because I didn’t want to be alone on the holiday. At that time the closest thing to family were my coworkers. During the last days at my job I truly was saying goodbye to my family members. Sometimes it is hard to see the impact a person has on your life until you have to let them go. I had to let a lot of people yesterday and in turn they had to let go of me.
I have been blessed to have this job and looking back I was able to recognize the reasons the Lord put me in that place. I was meant to have that job. I am not the person that I was when I was first hired. I was quiet, insecure, and subordinate. I had no concept of my worth. Through that job the Holy Spirit was able to enter into my soul and revitalize it. What was the greatest surprise was that when I opened up and allowed my true self to shine people actually saw it and appreciated it. I spent most of my life not being seen, countless times I had experienced feelings of being invisible which resulted in me believing that I may just be unimportant or worthless. I was just another person taking up space. This was the greatest lie fed to me by the enemy and I had been living with it for so long I couldn’t even acknowledge the lie. The Lord brought me into the truth and showed me who I am. I am a child of God and that in the most important role anyone could ever have. I can now leave that job because it has fulfilled its purpose. I know who I am and I can enter into this this world with confidence knowing that no one can take away who I really am. As I walked out of that job into the real world for a moment I felt alone, putting my work family behind me and venturing out by myself. But I was not alone, Jesus Christ was right there on the other side waiting to take me home.
This has been an unexpected and surprising Christmas season. In many ways it has not felt like Christmas. I have been so caught up with the crazy schedules of work it made it difficult to stop and take in the joys of the season. On top of that it has barely snowed, it has only rained. I love the rain but it does not bring the feeling of Christmas cheer. It wasn’t until I came to my final days at my job that I realized how much the spirit of Christmas had been present in my life all along. We are in the season of Advent and we are awaiting our savior Jesus Christ. I just quit my job, I should be terrified because I just lost my consistent source of income and my health insurance. What am I doing? I have no fear though and I have never felt more at peace. Jesus Christ has truly come and He has come and saved me. Instead of seeing doors closing I am seeing them open. The possibilities are endless because I am finally free.
What is next for me?
Everything! I want to do everything and be anything and I can do it because I know who I am in Jesus Christ.