Do you ever remember feeling this deep, dark hole in your heart that just can’t be filled, no matter how much you try?
My story began when I was a Junior in High School. I was the typical High Schooler. I played all the sports, hung out with the “cool” kids and even dabbled in some drinking. But it was when I was at my low point in life that I turned my life to God.
I’ve always grown up Catholic and was raised that way, but was rebellious. There was one day/night that I will never forget. I had lied to my parents and told them that I was staying the night at my cousin’s house in town, but instead spent the night in a car waiting to go skiing the next morning with my girlfriend and some other friends. After a long day of skiing, and on the return home, I received 7 voicemails wondering where I was. My grandfather had just passed away and my family was flying out to Baltimore, Maryland, but they couldn’t get a hold of me. When I returned home, all but my Dad had gone to the east coast to attend my Grandpa’s funeral. He stayed home to wait for me. When I got home, I laid in my bed crying my eyes out, trying to figure out how I could go on. I felt like the worst son ever! I knew my parents were disappointed in my actions. I knew that I had to change my life, but I wasn’t quite ready.
Shortly after my Mom and sisters returned home, I decided to turn my life around. I dumped my girlfriend, and stopped hanging out with my “friends”. I could have handled it a lot better but for me I needed to end it that way. Later in the year our CCD program was doing something called “The Great Adventure” by Jeff Cavins but needed to travel to a neighboring church to attend. The great adventure bible study was a study that went through the entire bible in chronological order and we were going to do it in two years. Little did I know that this would be a game changer for me!
It was the beginning of the second session (in January) that I felt like God was calling me to be something great. I never heard a loud thundering voice, but rather a steady calm feeling telling me that I was suppose to serve Him in a way I hadn’t before. My relationship, prayer, and sacrament life grew that year and the next. I was more attentive at Mass and I started alter serving again.
Fast forward to when I arrived at college my freshman year my heart was racing at the possibilities ahead of me. New friends, hanging out late at night, and not attending classes when I felt like it! Who wouldn’t want that? But, very fortunately, God had a different plan for me. The LAST thing that was on my mind was attending daily Mass, leading a bible study, getting involved with FOCUS, moving down to West Central Illinois and marrying my bible study leaders sister.
My “Coming to God moment” was my freshman year, fourth month, at college and I was just asked if I wanted to be a bible study leader. When I was lying in bed that night praying and asking God for some guidance, I heard Him say again, this is what I was preparing you to do. Over the next four years, my life with FOCUS and the Newman Center will be one of the key points in my life that has shaped and molded me into the man I am today. Even now, as I’m working to make a living my life has been amazingly blessed with the most beautiful woman in the world and a great job that has brought up lots of opportunities to share my faith with others. I’m also involved with the youth group at our parish and, along with my wife, am sub-teachers for CCD.