I should begin by saying that, in my life, I have been incredibly blessed. God gave me wonderful parents who raised me in the Catholic faith. I’ve attended Sunday mass with my family for as long as I can remember. They sent me to Catholic schools and were amazing role models of what it means to live a life for God.
When I went to college, I began going to mass less and less. Not necessarily because I didn’t want to, but because I had gotten so busy and didn’t make time for God. My faith had never been completely my responsibility until that point in my life. Prior to that, I’d always had my parents and teachers guiding me; I had the sacraments offered to me at school and had classes concerning the Catholic faith on a daily basis. Once I got to college, however, it was my responsibility to continue learning about and practicing my faith.
Also around that time, I had an injury that prevented me from running college cross- country, which for me felt like my life was over. I placed so much of my identity in my ability to do well in that sport, and when I wasn’t able to run it felt like I didn’t know who I was. I had planned this future for myself- dream school, college running career, a chosen major. Eventually, I came to realize that the college and major that I had chosen were not the right fit for me, and even after surgery, I was still not able to run competitively. It seemed like my world was falling apart around me. I couldn’t see at the time that God had so much more in store for me.
I decided to talk to my high school chaplain. I spilled my heart out and told him everything that had been happening. And when this priest told me that who I was had nothing to do with where I went to school or whether or not I could compete in a sport, but rather that who I was came from being the daughter of a King, a savior who died for me- my whole world changed. Something that I had heard but had somehow never really known finally sunk in. I started attending mass not only on the weekends, but on a daily basis. I went to confession often. I read my Bible. God’s work in my life became evident to me, and I was given opportunities and friendships and an increased passion for Him.
I think that somewhere in that process, my Come to Jesus moment came one evening when I was praying. I gave God permission to do His will in my life and to align my desires for my life with His. I learned that I needed to let go of the things that used to define me and the control that I was seeking to have over my own life and just let Him take over.