You must accept your cross; if you bear it courageously, it will carry you to Heaven.
St. John Vianney
Reading today’s Gospel I think of how it can be so easy to follow Christ at times while other times it is heart wrenching. We visited our families out of town for Thanksgiving, and while it was a joy seeing them I was filled with anxiety and sadness. Just over a year ago I was blessed to marry my best friend. With this large life change came opportunities for growth. We moved about one hour from our hometown on our wedding night and to this day I still miss my hometown.
Every time we leave from visiting our families I feel depressed. I miss my friends and often feel very lonely in our new city, and “home” has never truly felt like home. I left a field of work that I love due to high anxiety, and now I feel I don’t know my place in the world. With all of this change it is hard for me to imagine leading others to Christ when I feel my life is out of control.
When Christ asks us to be fishers of men we will often be asked to be comfortable being uncomfortable. We will be stretched, and I know that this has been the case for me this past year. While my OCD and depression make me feel as though the world is swallowing me whole I know amidst the struggle God is providing the opportunity to lean on Him more and draw close to the Holy Spirit so I may meditate upon the mysteries of God. As I grow He will use me to share His redeeming love with the world. The struggles have purpose, and no matter how anxious I get God will make me more into the woman I am called to be as I come out the other side with Him clothed with the strength and radiance of Christ.
While someday I hope to be back in the field I love and move back to our hometown I ultimately desire that my will align with God’s will, that I die to myself and give up the desires that don’t align with His desires for my life. No matter the changes and growing pains you are facing trust that God will transform you into a fisher of souls in His own timing and with His perfect plans. Be comfortable being uncomfortable, and when it all seems too much I challenge you to ask for Our Mother’s intercession and pray, “Come, Holy Spirit”. God is with you, and when He asks you to venture into uncharted territory know He will be the one that is with you and working through you.
In Your hand I place my heart,
Body, life, and soul,
Deep feelings and affections mine,
Spouse – Redeemer sweet,
Myself offered now to You,
What is Your order for me to do?
St. Teresa of Avila
Nathalie Shultz is a joyful convert to the Catholic faith and a competitive swimmer with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). She loves to share her passion for Catholicism with others, including her conversion story and how God continues to work miracles in her life through her OCD. She is the Director of Religious Education for the North Allegan Catholic Collaborative of parishes. Nathalie is married to her best friend, Tommy Shultz. Her favorite saints include St. Peter the Apostle, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and St. John Paul II. She is also a huge fan of C.S. Lewis. If you have any questions for Nathalie, or just want her to pray for you, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.