not alone: Discernment.

not alone series

I am still just tickled pink (or some other color, since pink is definitely not my fave) about this series! This week we are tackling the topic of discernment and where we are at with discerning our specific vocation. So, if you will, allow me to share a bit of my story…

It was the evening before my seventeenth birthday and I was on {yet another} retreat. You see, once I came back around to the faith early in my junior year of high school, I could hardly get enough retreats, enough of that feeling of closeness to God and growing my relationship with Him. In order to go on this particular retreat you had to be seventeen years old, and I snuck in by the hair of my chin, since I would turn seventeen on the last day of the retreat. Saturday evening came around and before I knew it, we were in adoration. The priest came around to all of us, kneeling in a circle on the gym floor, and held up the beautiful monstrance before each one of us. I remember not being entirely sure what would happen, since I’d only been to adoration a few times before. The priest came to me and held up Jesus right before my eyes. If I hadn’t already been on my knees, I would have fallen down. In an instant I felt like I was in another place entirely. I closed my eyes in prayer and a beautiful scene unfolded before me. I was in an open field with a gentle breeze flowing through my hair as I watched my two children dance and run around in the field. I had so much peace and joy watching this scene unfold, and my peace increased all the more when I sensed my husband coming up behind me to watch our children frolic with me. Then, in an instant, I was back on that gym floor, laughing and crying with joy.

not alone discernment

Ever since my return to the faith (which is a story in and of itself) I’d been discerning religious life. When my heart turned back to the Lord, it turned back with a bang, and a sincere desire to serve Him and be as close to Him as possible. That Saturday night in adoration I had my answer, or so I thought. For a while, that answer, that peaceful scene and the joy that came with it, was enough for me. God had showed my vocation and that was that. But that is never really that, now is it? God always keeps us on our toes! A few times over the years I’ve felt a serious pull towards religious life, despite that peaceful scene God laid out before me the night before my birthday. {And no matter how hard I try, words fail to express the peaceful joy of that scene.} So strong was this call that I’ve been in spiritual direction, gone on come-and-see weekends at convents, and researched more religious orders than I can count. But each and every time I discern the religious life God gently whispers, “My child, you and I both know your vocation. I am grateful that you are open to wherever I choose to call you, but you know your vocation and you have for sometime. Though you may fear that the fulfillment of your vocation may never come, trust that I will bring it to you when it is time. God knows my heart. He knows that sometimes this whole dating/relationships/break-up thing gets to be too much for me and so I run towards the religious life. I run to Jesus who won’t ever break up with me or leave me feeling lonely and frustrated. I run to perfection because that is where we are made to run: to Him. Is the fulfillment of my vocation here yet? I don’t know. Maybe he is and maybe he isn’t. All I can do is make the most of the time He is giving me now, all the while begging Him to prepare my heart for the vocation He is calling me to.

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