I love writing and talking about my faith, that’s no secret. Giving advice to others about it is one of my favorite things to do, because I need those words just as much as others do. Writing, thinking & talking about faith is my stress-reliever.
So, I decided to get super personal today and talk about something God’s been calling me to. There was a weekend where my faith really sprung back into my life, and I’ve never really told the whole story before. People know parts of it, and you readers probably no close to nothing, but I can’t believe that. I can’t believe I haven’t shared something so important to me, especially on this blog.
One of my favorite types of videos to watch on YouTube is where people talk about how they came into the Catholic faith. Some stories include dreams, others are just a feeling that transformed someone. They’re all unique but so awe-inspiring to listen to. I don’t think God intended for those moments to stay in the back of our minds, where they’ll never see the light of day.
He gives us our experiences to share them, because other people need to hear them.He gives us our experiences to share them, because other people need to hear them. Click To Tweet
I remember so many nights where I prayed God would just send me a sign to show me He was real. Now, I know that wasn’t the right way to go about finding my faith, but it’s what I thought I needed. I know that hearing those conversion stories would’ve changed my heart and been exactly what I needed, had I heard them at that time.
That’s why I need to talk about this. God is literally pushing it out of my fingers today, because He knows someone out there needs to hear it. Maybe you’re an atheist and think all of this is crazy. Maybe you are religious but have lost your faith recently. Wherever you stand, I hope you can get something out of my story.
I’ve always been Catholic, but wasn’t ever truly interested in my faith until college. Although some of my friends in college had some sort of faith, not many of them (including me) practiced it or ever talked about it.
In the back of my mind, God was sitting there, waiting, but I ignored Him.In the back of my mind, God was sitting there, waiting, but I ignored Him. Click To Tweet
There were long stretches of time where I just didn’t go to church at all or pray. I pushed it away, because it seemed ridiculous. And do you want to know something?
I was miserable.
Everything that I had believed in slipped away from me, and I didn’t even know I’d lost it.
Honestly, I’ve seen that happen to so many people as they grow up. They learn the world has a lot more to offer them than the tiny mindset they’ve been thinking in their entire lives, and they’re excited about it. The world tells them religion is insane, and they believe it. End of story.
That was me.
I met my boyfriend the beginning of my sophomore year of college, and he came from a very Catholic family. That entire first year, I learned a ton from him about faith and he was the reason I started attending mass again. However, even though I was learning, it still didn’t really click in me. I’d do things because they were important to him, not necessarily myself.
Then, during my junior year (and his senior year), we went on a retreat together through our church at school. It was completely college students and was held in a beautiful little town a little ways away from campus.
I’m going to honest: I did not want to go. It was going to take up my entire weekend, when I could’ve been doing so many other things and it cost money! Me, a struggling college student, did not want to pay for it.
However, something told me I should.
Before the weekend, I worked until six that night at an after-care program at an elementary school. I was on the playground with the children and a white dove flew literally right over the play set, very close to where I was. It was there one second, and gone the next.
I knew it was a sign from God, plain and simple. It’s not often that you see a dove on a playground, especially when it’s still late Winter.
Let me warn you: that weekend was an insane one. I saw and heard things that would make most people call me crazy, but I promise you I wasn’t.
The retreat consisted of stories from different people, small groups, prayers, adoration, and so on. It was an overload to say the least; at one point, I was bawling my eyes out to my boyfriend because it was too much to take it all at once. (Embarrassing? Maybe. Necessary? Yes.) Sometimes, tears are a good thing. They’re the way our mind works out what’s happening to us.Sometimes, tears are a good thing. They're the way our mind works out what's happening to us Click To Tweet
The theme of the retreat was something about the Holy Spirit. We learned so much about how the Holy Spirit is a real thing, that can come to us in many ways (like the dove).
I saw tons of people who spoke in tongues that weekend, which was something I’d never experienced before. (If you’re not sure what that is, look it up right now!) And to be honest, it scared the hell out of me. Hearing people praying and speaking in these old languages that they didn’t know at all…it was crazy. I knew it wasn’t them, but God speaking through them, but I still couldn’t believe it.
The amount of faith that group had was the most compelling part. I heard stories of so many people who had undying trust in the Lord and the amazing things that had happened to them because of it. I think the Holy Spirit touched everyone that weekend in a way they’re never going to forget.
Before the retreat, I used to think the Catholic faith was just in my head and something intangible. I was so wrong. I heard about miracles, demons, and tons of signs that weekend. Literal, tangible things that the Lord had given to those who believed in Him. Those aren’t just things that exist in the Bible, it’s real.I thought the Catholic faith was just in my head and something intangible. I was so wrong. Click To Tweet
After that emotionally-draining weekend (literally), I came back with a peace I’d never had before. I wanted to tell everyone I knew about these crazy things I’d seen and heard about this weekend. Some listened, but I don’t think anyone really took is as Truth.
SOLIDIFYING WHAT I’D EXPERIENCED
A few days later, all of those who went on the retreat were invited to a Praise and Worship & night Mass. I attended this, and it ended in tons of prayers. We got into small groups and just prayed over each other, asking the Holy Spirit to come into each of our lives and hearts. As some people were praying over me, a few started speaking in tongues. That was awesome to experience.
Then, the craziest thing of it all happened. One of my friends praying over me asked me if I was worried about a specific problem with a roommate (which I was at the time) and he told me it was going to all be okay, and just to pray about it. The fact that he knew exactly I’d been worrying about that day was a supernatural experience. The peace I felt after he said it was going to be okay was insane. I knew it was God speaking through him.
Of course, those things don’t happen every day, but they do happen.
Since then, I’ve opened my mind to stories where the Holy Spirit comes to people in ways like that, and it’s incredible. So many of these things happened to the Saints, because they had a faith that was unmatchable.
That realness I experienced was exactly what I needed to fall back into my faith, for real this time. Since then, I’ve never lost that fire I feel in my soul when I think about my faith. For some, maybe it takes a lot less than that to believe, but that’s what it took for me & God knew that.
I’m forever grateful for that weekend and it has completely changed my life since then. I’m aware that many people will read this blog post and not believe a single word of it, but I’m content knowing that it did happen, and that it will be read.If you're going through a dry spell in your faith, go on a retreat. Click To Tweet
If you’re going through a dry spell in your faith, go on a retreat. Read a book written by a saint. Open your Bible to the Gospel. It’s all there, and God is literally just waiting for you to start.
What amazing things have you experienced in your faith? I want to know! Comment below,