Friday, March 19, 2010

Why St. Joseph is so important to me . . . Episode 2

If you haven't read Episode 1, you may want to read it first! :)

. . . I praise God that I clung to Him during this time. I firmly believe that crisis' in life either make you, or break you. And though I was broken, this made me who I am today. God slowly and tenderly began to heal my heart. We broke up in March, and I finally truly forgave this man that summer, and was able to move on with my life. I was genuinely happy again, and just stoked for where God was leading me next. I was so happy to have moved past this time, and leave it all behind me.

It wasn't until November that God started moving in ways I wasn't expecting. I was leading a middle school youth group at the time, and our topic that night was "Are You Ready?" In small groups, we discussed many quesions. If today was the last day of your life, would you be going to heaven? If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, how would you spend your last 24 hours? But the one God used to show me his will was, "If today was your last day on earth, are there any relationships you would want to mend before you go?" I thought about how devastated I would be if this man died with the situation being as it was. I knew that if I died, he would be just as upset.

Immediately I knew that even though I forgave this man in my heart, I needed to tell him. God knew he needed to hear that. I decided to write him a letter. I put the topic on the back burner for a while, this wasn't a door I was excited to open. I knew that this letter would pull the bandage off the wound and pour peroxide inside. I knew it would clean it out and lead to healing, but I knew it was going to be painful.

A few days later, I was headed to dinner with a friend of mine. We were chatting and using our "outside voices" as we walked out the door of our dorm. Right as we walked out, a Eucharistic procession came around the corner. Our conversation immediately ceased, and we fell to our knees in silence as the Eucharist passed us. I quickly realized that God was speaking to me again, saying, "You're not ready, Amanda." I wasn't ready for Jesus that day. I didn't expect him to come and I wasn't prepared. It was clear that God was urgently telling me to write this letter.

I began to pray about what God wanted me to say, and when he wanted me to write it. Each time I would come to him in prayer, I would ask, "Do you still want me to write the letter." And his response was always, "Yes, but not yet." After about 4 weeks of this, he finally responded, "Yes, it's time."

I knew I needed to take time to write this letter in deep prayer. Each evening, I headed to adoration, prayed a novena to St. Joseph, and then write (and revise) the letter. On the fifth day of the nine, I got a letter in the mail. It was from him. I couldn't believe it! After nine months of literally no communication, we both wrote a letter at the same time. God is so good.

The letter was 7 pages long, explaining everything that had happened. He told me how deeply sorry he was for hurting me so badly. He explained the depression and how foggy things had gotten for him. He explained how difficult it had gotten for him to see the good in the relationship when we were arguing. He described the path he had chosen, and how much he regretted leaving God's path and heading down his own. He talked about hitting rock bottom and how horrible things had gotten. And then he talked about his slow return to God.

He said that he recently started going to Mass and praying again. And that during Mass more than a month prior to writing the letter, God intervened in a pretty big way. he said, "During mass, it felt like someone grabbed me firmly by the shoulders. Then a face appeared in front of me. He siad he didn't know if it was an angel or being or what, but it addressed him by name and basically told him 2 things: that he needed to get his life back on the right path, and that he needed to end the relationship he was in and wait for what God wanted for him.

That week, he ended the relationship, and slowly began trying to fix all the mistakes he had made. He explained that writing this letter was part of that. He told me he understood if I did not respond, and that that's not what he needed. That he just needed me to know that he was sorry for how he had hurt me.

Well, needless to say, I revised my letter a bit. I finished the novena, and sent my letter off 5 days later. During all of this, I never imagined that God would ask me to enter back into a relationship with him. I thought this was just healing and truly closing the chapter. We slowly began to talk, first through emails, and then, finally, I let him call me. After many tearful, emotional, and difficult conversations, we started to be able to talk again.

It was at this time that I asked him, "so, what was did it look like, seeing the angel or whatever?" "Well," he responded, "It wasn't like waht you would expect. It wasn't bright white or anything. I could only see his face. He had darker skin, dark hair, and a dark beard." We both paused and thought the same thing as I said outloud, "I think it was St. Joseph . . ."

I fully believe that it was St. Joseph that appeared to my now fiance. It was a clear answer to my daily prayer: "Lord, please send him someone to get him back on the right track. St. Joseph, please pray for him, protect him, and guide him." I remember later praying, "God, when I asked you to send someone to get him back on the right path, I was thinking a friend or something . . . but St. Joseph works too!"

And That is why this day, March 19th, St. Joseph's Feast Day, is quite possibly our favorite day of the whole year! I say with confidence that if it wasn't for God sending St. Joseph, I would not be engaged to this man, the man God clearly created for me!

Happy Feast of St. Joseph! :)

Holy Family-Danielle Rose

O loving Father make our home in Nazareth
where you may reign
A holy family of love where Jesus' manger lays

Help us to stay together Lord, in joy and sorrow as we pray
Teach us
to see Christ in disguise, upon each other's face, upon each other's face

Where two or more are gathered you reside
Mary be our Mother, Joseph
be our guide
to make your Son the center of our lives
Jesus may Your
name be glorified

We gather round our table blessed to share the
heavenly bread he gave
to strengthen us that we might serve our family with
to love each other as you love with humble hearts and patient faith
and to forgive each other's faults as Jesus Christ forgave, as Jesus Christ

Where two or more are gathered you reside
Mary be our
Mother, Joseph be our guide
to make your Son the center of our lives
Jesus may Your name be glorified

Help us take what 'ere you give and
give what 'ere you take from us
With smiles upon our faces as we place our
trust in You

Jesus may your name be Glorified


Jami Balmet said...

Wow this is a powerful story of the work of Chirst! Thank you for sharing this very person story!

And wow what a small world that you live near and know people who go to APU!

I'm following you back now to! Thanks for stopping by my blog :D

Jami @Intentionally Living...

Kimberly said...

That was an enriching story. I do believe that God speaks to us too.

If you let me know some things that you are interested in doing I can put together some spots for you.

SF Zoo is great. It has to be one of my favorites in the country. I like that there are some very old parts. Make sure you wear a warm jacket because it gets cold by the Ocean.

Are you interested in doing things with other people or just yourself? You can e-mail me if you like.

Angela said...

Oh this is an amazing story about how God works in our lives! I don't know what your priest requires for you to get married, but you should check out attending a Catholic Engaged Encounter weekend...they are awesome! My husband and I did it (required by our priest before we got married, and I totally didn't want to do it, but God really blessed us with a new understanding of the sacrament of marriage that w/end) and NOW, we are local coordinators for CEE for the Charlotte NC diocese! That's how much of an impact it had on us!
I love when people share such personal stories, b/c it has such an impact on others! Too cool! :) Oh and thanks for the back up the other day on my blog! Whew! I didn't know things were going to get so heated!
Sometimes people just need to hear the truth ya know, and then God does the rest to penetrate their hearts!

Debbie's L'Bri said...

God works miracles when we let him. Praise God for this wonderful blessing of St. Joseph.

StumblingServant said...

Thanks for your encouragement ladies! :D Glad I could share.

Angela, yes, we're required to go to an engaged encounter. I haven't heard great things about them in our neck of the woods. Word on the street (the Catholic street, that is) is their not too orthodox. Maybe we'll just fly out to Charlotte and do it with you! haha. And you're welcome. I'm always up for standing up for the truth of our faith. Their not a set of rules that we go by, it's truth that we believe in and follow. :)