Nothing is Ever Wasted
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I am writing to you who feel, or have ever felt, unworthy, unloved, misunderstood, alone, or adrift.
At nineteen I was already burnt out on life. I was burnt out on guys, friends, family, school, and myself. Growing up I was a quirky girl, a bookworm, and a dreamer. I rarely felt understood even by my own family. I was lonely and insecure. I became more and more resentful of the limitations and obstacles in my life over time. I was often angry and nearly always frustrated.
Growing up in a thriving music and entertainment city, immorality and vices surrounded me. As a teenager, I slid easily into that darkness and my brokenness became a magnet for users and abusers. I am not proud of the life I lived during that time. But my decisions and the things that happened to me are a significant part of who I am. God works all things together for our good even today. Nothing was or is wasted.
It was at this time that I quite miraculously made several pilgrimages to a Marian shrine with my mom. In that place, I found my heart, my life, my perspective completely transformed. Through Our Lady, I found my way back into the heart of the Church, into the Sacraments. So at nineteen I spent four months living in Bosnia serving the Church and caring for pilgrims from around the world. I met my first friends in Faith there. Through their influence, I discovered what it means to truly love one another in Christ and be companions on the road to holiness. That was 27 years ago.
One of the most important influences for me in these 27 years has been Pope Saint John Paul II. His words, manner, and heart for the young inspired (and still inspires) me greatly. When he addressed the young Church he did so with the confidence that we, I, could be everything God was calling me to be. And he gave me, for the first time in my life, the tools to become that kind of woman.
JPII’s approach toward the young enabled me to see that I could strive toward holiness and understanding of the Church’s teachings without losing myself. I could be me with all my quirks, gifts, challenges, and passions. I didn’t need to be a cookie-cutter of someone else’s vision of what a young Catholic woman should be like. I could just be “Christine”.
Following my conversion, my dreams were transformed. I still loved reading, writing, music, theater, and so on. But I now viewed them through the lens of Faith. Through God’s grace, I discovered a passion for evangelization and formation. I love ministering to others and creating events where ministry can happen.
In 27 years I have been a chastity speaker, youth minister, journalist, event planner, marriage ministry coordinator, youth leadership trainer, catechist, pro-life activist, theology student, Counter-Reformation aficionado, devotee of the saints, a homeschooling mom and now a “traditional” school mom, and a wife to my very best friend. My faith has never once held me back but has always, always, always been the thing that has given me wings. There is freedom, joy, beauty, and fulfillment in this wild life lived in the heart of the Church. And there is dignity. I am more myself and more aware of the blessedness of life than ever before. The Lord has surrounded me with beautiful, unique, unrepeatable women who make up my tribe of soul sisters to be with me on this journey. What a blessing that my own daughter is one of them!
Thanks be to God that you and I are sisters and pilgrims on this journey toward Heaven! I thank God for you, for what He is doing in you, and I pray that you will always love Him and love His Church - for in this is peace.
In Jesus & Mary,