Sometimes I would wake up in strange places. Sometimes I would wake up on the bathroom floor. Once I woke up in a bus station downtown after a baseball game, escorted by a kindly police officer to his waiting cruiser and delivered unceremoniously to a detox center in the next city over where I attended college.
Last November before my 20th birthday, I planned on killing myself. I felt I was worth nothing and had no purpose. I didn’t know what to do anymore. I felt as if I were a robot. I was working 80 hours a week and sleeping the rest. I was so lost that I dug myself into a deep well of depression.
At a young age, sporting soccer shorts and a mullet, all I cared about was climbing the next tree and wondering when the new issue of LEGO magazine would arrive at my door. I asked for hot wheels for Christmas and role-played as the boy character for all our childhood adventures. I looked around me, saw my friends and sisters and knew I didn’t fit the mold. My (little) heart ached and wondered, “why am I so different?”, “am I good?”
How much I still struggle to be in control, to know what’s going to happen and predict life. Yet in those quiet moments, He was drawing me into a greater reality. The reality that freedom comes through becoming like children in front of the Lord.
I had just clicked submit when I saw it: “Catohlic.” I felt like someone had slipped an ice cube down my back. I had misspelled the word Catholic on an application to a graduate program. Not just any graduate program, one to study theology.
Sometimes, you never really notice how you or your life are changing in the midst of it all. Gradually, things just become your new normal. But looking back, you can see how quickly things changed. That’s exactly how my love story with Christ has been.
The story of Jesus raising Jarius’ daughter from the dead is one I come back to again and again. …How often I’ve been in the shoes of these angry, grieving family members, and how often I’ve been this little girl, pronounced dead to the world.
As I sat in the Adoration chapel, I tentatively laid out my dreams before God. My hopes for my vocation, my dreams to serve and create, my hopes for life-giving joy. But I was pulling back. I expressed my desire for fulfillment, but I did not dare voice how I hoped they would be molded specifically to my own heart.
I cannot remember a time before anxiety. When I was young, everything had to be just right, and I always had to be in control. As I grew older, the prevailing worry was homework - had I done it perfectly? What if I’d missed something? And then more diabolical fears crept in - and I do mean diabolical in the truest sense of the word. I spent years wrestling with crushing, exhausting, terrifying guilt in my spiritual life.
The intricate design of the female reproductive system whether healthy or unhealthy evoked a sense of sheer awe and splendor. Ladies, we are fearfully and wonderfully made created in the beautiful image and likeness of God.
We must not forget that we are body and soul, and our bodies are a gift from God that we must not squander. It would be like if a friend gave you a beautiful plant for your birthday but you neglected it and let it wither.
I knew Jesus had room for me—he hung out with my crowd, loud mouth recovering know-it-alls trying to figure out how to follow Him. That wasn’t my issue. It was the Church, with its pearls and stained glass, its rules about candle height and liturgical music and specific wordings—that was where I wasn’t sure I was welcome.