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A Journey Home

My name is Denae Pellerin and I was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. I was baptized Catholic, received my First Communion and Confirmation, but I have never truly developed a passion for my Catholic Faith until this year.  I had a dream as a young girl to be an Olympic figure skater, and thanks to my parent’s dedication and support I pursued this dream with my whole heart. My family stopped going to Church when I was around 10 years of age, and from then on the only time I heard or talked about God was in my Catholic School and through the summer camp I attended. I always knew God loved me, but I never understood that I could have a relationship with Him, or that faith was something that was supposed to encompass my whole life. I entered High School in the fall of 2008 as an outgoing, energetic, boy-crazy, grade nine girl. Little did I know what God had planned for my future.  I was doing well in skating, and it became my ultimate focus as I began to struggle maintaining relationships at school. My grandpa was sick and my relationship with my family also became difficult.   Skating was the place I could be in control of what people thought, and saw, of me. It was my escape from reality. But the illusion began to fade as I realized I was still not happy or finding fulfillment in anything. At the start of June as I was competing in Long Jump, at Track and Field Cities, I tore my right quad and strained the ligaments in my knee. In a single moment, in a sport I just did for fun, skating was taken away from me. I lost my identity, and became depressed.  The start of the summer was hard as my grandpa passed away, and I couldn’t train for skating.  God heard my cries though, and with, His amazing grace; peace saved me from my despair. I had been going to Camp Kadesh since I was in grade six, and attended once again at the end of that hard summer in 2009. I didn’t want to go to camp that summer because I knew that all the people would be happy and carefree. I felt that they wouldn’t understand my pain. I was angry with God because I was alone, and I felt that He was the one to blame. Looking back on that time of my life, I am so grateful that God allowed me to hit rock bottom because I now know that, in order to get my attention, it is what He had to do.  That week of camp I realized that there was nothing in my life worth living for. Jesus was my last hope of a better life, because nothing I could do was making it better.  The moment I gave my life to God is something I will never forget.  I clearly remember the tears streaming down my face, and the feeling of a thousand pounds being lifted off my shoulders.  From that moment on, I could never be the same person ever again. Going back to reality was hard. God told me I needed to redefine myself in Him. I broke up with my boyfriend, left my group of friends, tried to skate again, and ultimately attempted to live my life for Christ. Looking back, I have no idea how I could have made it through that first year, so it is clear to me that God was with me. His strength and love surrounded me every step of the way. He never let go of my hand, and when I stumbled He would pick me right back up again. Throughout my High School years I became known as the “Super Christian Girl” and was excited to have that as my identity. God blessed me with amazing godly friends, as I became a Cabin Leader at Camp Kadesh for the summers to come. Every summer He would remind me of how He had changed my life, and how He has abounding and unfailing love for His children. I am so thankful for the youth group I encountered at Forest Grove Community Church. The pastors, small group leaders, and my peers taught me so much about how to have a relationship with Christ, and for that I am forever thankful. I was so blessed in my Grade Twelve year to be the Spiritual Coordinator for the Student Government, where I learned that everything I did was to reflect Christ. I wasn’t just supposed to love Him while at Church, or while saying prayer at school. I was supposed to share His kingdom everywhere I went, and with everyone I met. At the end of my Grade Twelve year God stirred up a curiosity in me to revisit my Catholic faith. I wanted to learn why I was Protestant and why I wasn’t Catholic. I needed answers to questions, I wanted to hear stories of people choosing one over the other, and I wanted to have people tell me why I should be Protestant, or why I should be Catholic. Well, as you probably guessed, since you are reading this on CCO’s blog, I chose Catholic. After a lot of coffee with revered Christians, journals full of notes, multiple library books and months of prayer, I knew God was calling me to the Catholic Church. One of the first Masses I attended, I cried throughout the whole thing because I knew that I was home. I had found the place my soul longed for. I had found the dwelling place of Our God. I am so excited to have discovered Catholic Christian Outreach at the University of Saskatchewan. The past four years have been an incredible whirlwind of change, but never have I felt lost because God is so good and He has lead me every step of the way. My Christian faith has given me more fulfillment than anything in the world, and for that I will glorify God the rest of my days. I cannot wait to discover the plans He has for me, and I cannot wait to fall more deeply in love with Him and His Church everyday. A few verses that I try to live by are Matthew 6:33-34, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” and Proverbs 16:7, “In his heart a man plans his course; but the Lord directs his steps.” These verses remind me that the more I look to God, the more my heart will be fulfilled; He will direct and mold my future into something beyond my imagination.  

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