A couple of weeks ago, I woke up from a really awesome night of sleep and I laid in my bed staring at the ceiling, thinking,”You know, I don’t think I really need to be open to religious life, because I’m pretty sure that God is calling me to marriage.” The thought of going on a discernment retreat had been plaguing me for a few months. A few minutes later I was reading this book called I Believe in Love, about the spirituality of St. Therese. The chapter that I was reading was about abandonment to Jesus, and it just kept talking about how if we really knew that Jesus loved us, that our God is a loving God, a loving Father, we would have no problem being totally and completely abandoned to His will. And I thought, “Crap!”
So I put my rainboots on over my baggy, dark blue, plaid pajamas and walked to the office. And I knew that if I was going to go on a retreat, I was going to decide it that day. And I also hoped that this unknown retreat would be sometime in the near future, so that I wouldn’t be able to freak out too much before going. So I looked up an order that I had once briefly thought about visiting. And it just so happened that their discernment retreat was only a couple of weeks away. So I thought to myself, “Yikes, well the plane tickets are probably really expensive, so I’ll just look up the plane tickets and when I find out that they’re hundreds of dollars, I’ll know that I don’t really have to go.” Five minutes later, I found out that the plane tickets were only sixty-four dollars. And oh man, Jesus had me cornered! He was making things so simple for me. SO EASY!
I went to the chapel and prayed. I remember thinking about this verse that I had prayed with on silent retreat. It was a verse from Isaiah 30 that basically says that God will speak clearly, telling you “This is the way. Walk in it.” And when I thought about that verse, I laughed out loud, because I felt that God had really prepared a path for me, so visibly that I could almost hear Him telling me, “This is the way. Walk in it.” I felt that God was speaking so clearly to me, that it would even be sinning to say, “You know, I don’t really feel like I need to go.” How could I say that I am a missionary? How could I even say that I’m a Christian?
So, tomorrow I’m going on this discernment retreat, and praying for openness and abandonment. I have no idea what the Lord has in store for me. It could honestly have nothing to do with discernment. Maybe I’m just supposed to meet someone at the airport. Maybe the Lord really just wants me to be abandoned to His will for my life. Maybe He just wanted me to be open with my family and freak them out a little bit. Sorry Mom. Maybe He just wanted me to know more about how good and loving He is, how perfect His will is.
In any case, I have faith that God will speak in this. And I pray that even if I hear nothing of His voice, that I would at least be more abandoned to Him. I’m learning that abandonment is not about doing whatever God asks because I know that I have to as a Christian. And it’s definitely not about logically seeing how exactly God is going to move in each specific situation. (I’ve learned that our God cannot be figured out. And anyway, if I could figure Him out, He wouldn’t God, would He? I mean, imagine a God who was small enough to be figured out by our human minds – lame!) Abandonment is really about really knowing and trusting in God the Father and in His deep, deep love for me. It’s about trusting that He has made me, that He created me with His loving hands, that He is molding me and shaping me. And it’s about knowing that even when He shakes my life, He is shaking it with hands that are holding me against His chest, so closely that I can hear His heart beating, and know that it beats out of love for me. Maybe it’s even His heartbeat that is shaking me, because it beats so strongly with His love.