Sometimes I can’t trust my head, other times I can’t trust my heart, and I usually can’t trust my emotions. I’m finding that the only fool-proof thing I can trust is the Lord (and his word) because he alone does not waver, does not change in the face of adversity or lose heart: “The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand for ever” (Isaiah 40:8). So when I find myself in a tough spot, I have to listen to faith, not to reason; to the Holy Spirit, not my feelings.
Over Christmas, Melanie, Danielle and I spent a little over a week in Austria. We spent most of it with the wonderful Ludwig Family in Vienna. After a good week or so of being spoiled with them, we took a train and headed a little outside of Vienna to spend a night and a day with the Immaculata Community in Mödling. We were given the opportunity to be a part of two different retreats they had going on, one for kids around 9-13 and the other for teens ages 13 and up. The night we arrived was the last night of the kids retreat. They had a beautiful prayer evening with them and the following morning we were invited to put on a session for them sharing a little bit about what we do and how we all have a mission. Afterwards, we had Mass and lunch and then the kids headed home. We had so much fun, but we were thankful that there was a break of a few hours before the older teens would be arriving for their retreat.
After helping clean up for a bit, Melanie, Danielle and I went up to Robert and Michaela’s house to have a little coffee and to discuss the session we were going to be leading with the teens that evening. As we sat around the table, I felt burdenend. I was feeling a combination of wanting to be home after being away so long, needing time for myself, and simply being tired. I said aloud, “I just don’t want to be here. I want to go home.” I knew that I was under spiritual attack and that I needed to be there and stick it out even though everything inside me wanted to leave. I knew I had to fight my selfishness, my tiredness, all of it, so I could be faithful to the Lord. I knew, though, that I couldn’t. So we prayed. I remember crying and just saying, “Lord, I give you my tiredness, this heaviness, this burden that I’m feeling, and I pray that you’ll give me the grace I need to do your will.” When we finished praying, I still couldn’t say that I wanted to be there, but I took solace in knowing that God was bigger than my tiredness and that his strength would shine through my weakness.
After the last little bits of preparation, the three of us headed down for the start of the retreat which was adoration (good start, eh?). After our prayer time, we all headed to help get dinner ready and Danielle and I learned how to make Kinder Punsch (mmm). As we sat down to eat, I still wasn’t thrilled about being there, but I felt like I should “be relational” and talk to the two girls next to me. What a blessing. We ended up having such a great conversation. We chatted all the way through dinner just laughing and sharing. We finished up eating and after clean up, I was talking with Melanie and Danielle and gushed that my time at dinner had been so blessed. I felt renewed, I was joyful, and ready to go. Our session was next up and it went so well! The Lord spoke so much truth to these young people and truly blessed our time with them.
As we were on the train home, we laughed and reflected on our whirlwind trip and the glory of the Lord. Now on the other side of the storm, I was reconvicted of the fact that I can’t lose heart or give up because the road gets rocky or because the Lord doesn’t immediately clear my path. Regardless of what my head or my heart says, I have to trust that the Lord will carry me through. I have to listen to David’s cry: “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; yea, wait for the LORD!” (Psalm 27:14).