I walked into my Steubenville conference this year a broken mess.
I had just been broken up with by a guy who decided to completely shut me out of his life. My dad had recently lost his job. A majority of my friends had left me to join the party scene. And with all the changes college was about to bring right around the corner, my life seemed to be crumbling around me.
Throughout high school, I thought I had the whole faith thing all figured out. I would go to daily Mass, had a holy hour of adoration, and led on my Church’s discipleship team. I would hear talks about having your identity in Christ so much so that nothing can shake you, and I thought to myself “yep that’s me.”
I thought “I’m joyful and I love God so that’s where it’s coming from.”
But it wasn’t.
The beginning of my summer was like God had put me in the middle of a hurricane, and I was completely knocked down by the weight of it all. With this feeling of loneliness, I began to turn to other people and things to give me that worth that I was so desperately seeking.
I realized through this that my foundation was not truly on Christ. I had been putting my worth and finding my joy in the love and affirmation others gave me. The breakup had left me empty and broken because I was not finding satisfaction in Christ alone. This was where I was when I walked into my Steubenville conference. I was a broken mess, praying and praying that Christ would help me.
During adoration, I had the opportunity to gaze at the one who truly loves me and even thought me worthy enough to die for. These were things I knew because I was taught that Jesus loves me, but I started to actually feel it during adoration that night.
A strong desire for the Eucharist suddenly came over me. I couldn’t get the image out of my head of myself receiving the Eucharist. Then it occurred to me that God was answering my prayers through that. He was giving me a deep desire for Himself. He was giving my heart direction and it was pointing straight to Him, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
I stretched out my hands and sang as loud as I ever had because I was completely overflowing with a joy I had never felt before: the true joy of Christ filling all of my cracks and healing all of my hurt.
Christ already fought for you on the cross and will continue to fight for your heart every single day. People will fail you and I realized this, but God never will. I learned to not be afraid to trust God with my whole heart because He will never abandon me. The world will tell you how to find satisfaction – being liked by a guy, getting plenty of likes on social media, having a lot of money – but it will all ultimately leave you empty.
By keeping my eyes fixed on eternity, I found true and unending love and joy.
God puts us through hardships so that He can groom us to go out and do His will. By taking away everything I could reach for, I had no other choice but to lean completely on Him. The storm I was put through, the hurt I dealt with, all the lessons I learned – this was God’s plan the whole time. This struggle put my feet on the foundation of Christ so my faith could be built up in a stronger and more authentic way.
Christ fulfilled me so much more at Steubenville because I was so broken. I now desire to share Jesus’ name to an even greater extent because my brokenness revealed to me the true satisfaction that can be found in Christ.
My brokenness showed me that I have nothing that will remain in my life but the love of Jesus Christ. There is joy in the shadows of heartbreak and struggle because there is joy in Christ. Jesus was broken to give us hope in our brokenness.
I still am a broken mess, but with my identity in Christ, He can shine through every crack in my soul and I will glorify His name forever because of that.