Monday, July 20, 2009

My gift of HOPE.

Yesterday afternoon, AJ’s Godfather Max, told us he was entering the seminary… he has decided to become a priest! Words cannot describe my excitement. We moved from San Diego just over a year ago. I questioned if anything I did mattered, or was it just some frivolous “good times” type of memories. I put so much of my heart and soul into the campus ministry, all to get pushed and shoved away. I left feeling frustrated and hurt. Through God’s awesome gift of hope, given through Max’s announcement, I am once again reminded of God’s great mercy, and when we trust in Him, there is nothing to worry about.

I spent a lot of time this last year, completely overwhelmed with AJ’s severe reflux disease and quite honestly, feeling frustrated with how things “went down” before we moved. I had a conversation with God that went something like, “God, I’m really hurt right now. I’m really frustrated. I don’t know if, how, when, I can put my trust into another parish. I just need some quiet time right now, God.” Of course God doesn’t want us to NOT go to church, and no one should neglect God, spending time to worship Him, or forgetting to feed their soul. I know he didn’t want me to not go to Church, but between AJ’s reflux, Elijah’s asthma at risk, my complete exhaustion, being forced to a cry room (even if kids aren’t crying!), seeing questionable things and politics in the Church at our new parish, and my frustrations about San Diego, I couldn’t take it anymore. I just needed time to regroup.

God is the ever loving Father. I truly felt He understood my need for quiet time, my need for space, and was just waiting for me to come back. He was giving me the space I needed, the time to grieve over past campus ministry days, and the time to think about what the future has in store. Just like the prodigal son (or… daughter), he was going to be right there waiting for me. I’ve done this to Him before, on a much more extreme level, and yet His love for me, one of His children, is so great, He still puts up with me! Only being a Mom makes me understand how this works. No matter what, you will always love your children. No matter how much they drive you crazy, tork you off, neglect you, hit you, talk back, whatever the example may be, you still love them. You also know what it is that will make them come running back to you… basically how to butter them up again. ;) I think in some ways, we’re all like his toddlers. Sometimes we have our fits or temper tantrums; sometimes we just need to get it out of our system. But, God knows His children. It is remarkable how well He knows his children.

I don’t know about anyone else, but when I think of God’s gifts of faith, hope, and love, I always seem to forget about that “hope” gift, and how powerful that gift really is. Yes, yes, “the greatest of these is love,” but hope is still a fantastic gift. Over the last year, I was losing hope. I never lost my faith. It may have gone on the back burner, but it was still there with that little flame flickering beneath. But hope? Where did it go? I questioned where things were going. Is it okay to say I was questioning where my Church was going? Guess I just did. I was seeing things that were really making me lose hope in the future.

But, God gave me one of His beautiful gifts. He knows me so well that it would take a blindsided gift to renew my hope. He surprised me with this gift of hope – in a way I never would have thought possible! This package included reassuring me that I’ve made a difference in things I’ve done, and He helped prove it to me through our youngest son’s Godfather announcing he is entering the seminary! He is going to become a priest! A priest, a priest! I was taken off guard, but it is perfect, it makes perfect sense! I couldn’t be happier!

It amazes me how one decision, as our friend joining the seminary, can make such a big affect in my life. Who am I to take this so dearly? It is like a ripple effect, this decision is the pebble tossed into the lake, and it will make many, many ripples around him. I’m sitting here on the other side of this lake, but I feel that last ripple! It touched me, and that is exactly what I needed. Nobody else would notice this last ripple, it makes almost no change in the grand scheme of things, but it affected me. I was questioning many things in recent time. This decision has given me the hope I needed. I know God knows this is just what I needed to hear, it is what our family needed to renew our hope. Hearing that this fantastic person is giving his life to God is just what I needed to refuel my hope that yes, God knows what He is doing, and even though things may feel like they are moving with no direction, if I hold on to that gift of hope, I have nothing to worry about.

My life and my vocation are decided. This decision from our friend is life changing, it is a huge deal. I’ll be honest; I think I sound incredibly selfish sitting here with this “I-I-I” and “me-me-me” talk. I’m just a measly little stay home mom. Somehow, through God’s amazing love, He knew that one of His other children needed an extra boost, a recharge of the faith battery. He knows us so well; He knows our needs so well. He answered my needs, my prayers; He has refueled my spiritual soul with this awesome gift of hope. It’s like when someone brings you flowers to cheer you up, these are God’s flowers!

I don’t think I could have ever guessed that I would hit a “spiritual low.” I’m sure it is just part of the ebb and flow of life, but I’m so happy to say that this has given me the spark I needed. It has put God back on the front burner, back in perspective, back at Number One. I feel terrible I neglected Him, but He is ever so merciful, and I can’t thank Him enough for giving me hope back. He didn’t have to give me this gift, but He did! He loves us so much and works in ways I will never understand – not on this earth anyway!

I’ll wrap this up sharing a prayer to our Lord Jesus…

Thank you, Jesus! I’m nobody, and you still look to me when I’m in need. I’ve neglected you and hurt you, and you even died on the cross for me. I don’t understand how one little thing can make such a huge impact on my life… and I don’t need to understand. Knowing you, Jesus, is all I need. Your gifts of faith, hope, and love are what I need in life. You amaze me with your never ending love and mercy; I can never thank you enough, Lord Jesus!


Brother Mark Menegatti OSA said...

Ive been feeling rather inspired too by our friend Maximus. I think God was saving this sweet surprise for the right time. ;)
I remember you telling me that you and Max met over Myspace b4 he got over to SD. Its clear how much you have helped him get to this point, and I feel grateful to you for that hahaha!

Marlana said...

Bro Mark - you just got me all choked up and teary eyed. :D Thank you for that!