I’ve been taking some time lately to really reflect on this past year. Sometimes I feel like no time has passed and other days I feel like it’s been three years when it’s really only been one. I started out this year a fresh college graduate and a youth minister. I was fresh off my second visit with the sisters. I had no idea what I was going to do. I remember the time between the come and see and when I talked to the vocation director as being a crazy time. I processed my visit and I visited the T.O.R. website a TON but I just wasn’t sure what I was going to do. And then I talked to Sr. Della Marie and everything changed. I started the application process to enter religious life. I was full of so much excitement, peace, and joy. I wanted to scream it from the roof tops.
I went through so many different emotions this year because of this application process. It was definitely an emotional roller coaster. I had to find references and speak to a lot of people about my discernment that I wasn’t totally comfortable talking to about it. But it forced me to put words to my experience and helped me to see how the Lord has been working in my life since the beginning. I spent a ton of time with the sisters and started to be able to see myself there. I grew closer to the Lord through prayer and embracing the anxiety and confusion. I got to the point in the process where I couldn’t imagine what I would do if I didn’t get accepted and also made a plan for if I didn’t. And then, I got accepted. And a whole new array of emotions occurred. And I’m still dealing with all of it, but I can see even just through the application process, that the Lord is helping me grow. I am becoming more the person that He created me to be.
This year has really been full of some crazy events other than just my discernment. I spent the beginning of the year focusing in on my ministry and really developing relationship with the teens. I was finally able to talk to them about things that really matter and help them come to know the Lord more completely.
This summer I travelled to places I’ve never been before and flew in a plane for the first time. I went to Arizona for a youth ministry training and Georgia for Covecrest. I also went to Hocking Hills and St. Louis Missouri. I had so many incredible experiences that helped me to grow in confidence in my own identity and also in trust of the Lord. I had to learn how to be myself when people didn’t know me at all. I had to trust that the Lord would take care of me when I white water rafted and rode crazy roller coasters.
I met some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met this summer and in the last few months they have become some of my best and closest friends. They have taught me so much about myself and my faith. They show me how to be a better Catholic, youth minister, friend, sibling, and overall person. They challenge me but also accept and love me just for who I am.
The Lord has blessed me with so much this past year. He has shown me how to be myself in all situations. He has shown me the incredible joy that comes in spending time in community and in adoration of Him. He has taught me to rely on Him more than anyone or anything else in my life. He has truly become my best friend, confidant, counselor, beloved, savior, and Father. He’s helped me to appreciate my family for who He created them to be. He continues to teach me how to trust Him with even more of myself.
I am so excited to see how this next year of my life goes. It is going to be another year full of crazy experiences the Lord will use to draw me closer to Him.