New Year and New Graces

God has been so good to me in the last year, but more importantly, He is ALWAYS good to me. I’ve gone through some extended spiritually dry periods in 2013 and have often felt as though He was far away…and I let myself be angry with God. In 2013, I struggled to have faith that God has plans for my welfare and not for harm (Jeremiah 29:11). Now, looking back on 2013, I thank God for these spiritually dry periods that have given me the opportunity to grow in holiness. I really have strived this past year to continue believing in the Lord, even if I didn’t feel like it. That is, after all, the meaning of faith. It’s not a feeling. It’s a will to do, to believe and trust in something for which there is no proof. I may not have felt God close to me, but I know that He was, is and ever will be.

My decision to up my frequency of receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Eucharist in 2013 has done me so much good. I can’t emphasize how much good. If you know me in person and spend time with me, I’m pretty certain you can see the joy that has filled me this last year. God has taught me that that my feelings cannot be left in charge of my spiritual growth.

Three nights ago I was in adoration and as I prayed, I was asking God to help me grow in holiness and continue to help me bring the joy that He gives to others. I filled out an application to NET Canada and NET Ireland in October. NET Ministries entered my life 10 years ago, when an Infuse team was sent to my parish. I reaped the fruits of their work for the next four years with awesome youth ministry while I was in high school. I considered applying to NET right out of high school, but decided against it as I had my heart set out on going to university right away.

This past summer I was a chaperone for a youth group going to Journey to the Father. Witnessing these young adults encountering Christ set me on fire. It was so beautiful. Many of these teens had never heard a simple truth: They are loved by God. Not only does God love us, but He likes us. He wants our good. On my journey of spiritual growth, I am continuing and reaffirming my commitment to give my life to God.

In a month I will be attending a NET interview retreat. I am handing in my application on January 11th. January 11th is the Feast day of St. Theodosius the Cenobiarch. He’s not a much known saint, but he’s one I feel close to. He was a hermit, but before living in solidarity, he sought to obtain discipline for himself. I am an introvert and often seek solidarity. However, fellowship, though I don’t seek it naturally, has helped me grow in discipline and be a better follower of Christ. In applying to NET, I want to give God a chance to teach me discipline if this is His will. Being a missionary for eight months and having to raise your salary is scary, but only if you aren’t convinced of God’s love for you. I am convinced. I have faith.

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