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Calgary, Carleton, Dalhousie / St. Marys, Ottawa, Quebec, Queens, Ryerson, S.F.U., Saskatchewan, Testimony, U.B.C. -

He Never Lets Go

“The one, who does not love, does not know God, for God is love.” (1John4.) I didn’t know what love was. To me love was a warm and fuzzy feeling and that didn’t exist in my life. When I was 15, my relationship with my Dad got to a point where it seized to exist. It’s like he stopped loving me. I haven’t seen or talk to him since. My dad was a big part of my life. He left a void in my heart. Drinking would give me a false sense of confidence that helped me drop the little morality I had left and meet men who filled this void. I was mad at God. I never stopped asking God, “why me? I am a youth leader and cathechist… I do good things… So, why am I being punished?” By university, I was desperate to look for love that I even went as far as to lowering my moral standards. I knew that what I was doing was wrong and I was desperate for a way out; I didn’t know where to turn. It got to a point in October 2011 where I felt like I hit my rock bottom. That’s when I met CCO and they invited me to the fall retreat that weekend. But the thing was that I had planned to let my boyfriend sleep over for the first time and I was worried that if I cancelled our plans he wouldn’t love me anymore. For some reason, something didn’t seem right. I knew my morals were being compromised, and the retreat was my way to get out it. So I decided to go but I went into it thinking that nothing that you tell me would be new to me. I was raised Catholic. I knew all these facts about God with my head but I never experienced God’s love with my heart. During the Keynote talks, the speaker touched upon bad relationships with your parents, abusing alcohol, impure relationships and lastly, losing God. God was talking directly to me, so I realize that maybe it was time to take things serious and start listening. I didn’t think it had that much of an impact on me but what happened next sure did. He asked us to do something plain and simple. Take a post it note and write, “Sorry God, because I sin,” and stick it onto the crucifix. I knew this got the point of the exercise. The thing is that we were made for a relationship with God but sin broke that relationship. But Jesus died for us and carried our sins on the cross, which bridged the gap caused sin. As I walked up to the crucifix, I kept thinking how dumb this seemed. But when I got up there and when the paper touched the wood, I was hit by this overwhelming feeling. I didn’t know what was happening. I couldn’t help but start crying uncontrollably. I remember thinking that it was all a psychological effect that CCO had planted in my head. I tried to fight it. At adoration that night, I kept thinking that there is obviously a lesson here but I had no idea what it was. I gave in; God was trying to say something to me but what? I remember think that I wanted to change. At one point I started to fall asleep during adoration and I had a dream. I saw my dad holding me like he did when I was a kid, then my highschool mentor, who was there for me when my dad wasn’t, dancing with me at prom and then my various boyfriends along the way… Those pictures faded but then I saw Jesus, holding me just like my dad used to, every minute of my life, until that very moment saying, “Its ok. You’re home.” I tried to run away at various points but he never let go. He never left me! There wasn’t a doubt in my mind, that overwhelming feeling that I felt earlier when I stuck the paper to the crucifix, was God’s love. I wanted to change my life and all it took was to stop trying to run from Jesus embrace and accept it. But when I got back home the retreat high faded. I went back to the party scene and lived my life. But this time, while I was at those crazy parties, I didn’t feel comfortable anymore. I realized that this party lifestyle wasn’t for me. But the fact that I felt that hurt in the past really prevented me from fully giving in. I came to understand that God wasn’t punishing me. In fact it wasn’t in His plan that I would go through that suffering and pain. But when sin entered the world, it allowed my dad to fail to love me. God allowed me to go through those hardships because only good would come out of it. Without those hardships, I wouldn’t be where I am now! Now it was clear to me that living with Christ at the centre of my life isn’t a sacrifice because the Person that matters the most couldn’t be prouder. He couldn’t be prouder that I started attending mass again, something I haven’t done in 5years; Proud at the fact that just after 8 short months, I gave my summer up, to be an Impact missionary.  But to be honest, the struggles never stopped. I’m still not a saint. But whenever I look up and ask God, “How much do you love me?” I find myself at the foot of the cross looking up at my Lord as He spreads His arms out wide and say, “I love you this much…”as he bows his head down and dies for our sins. As hard as I fought, He never gave up on me; He never left me; He never let me go. It took me a while but now I know that, who better to fill the void of losing my biological father, than my loving Heavenly father, along with Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

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