Yes, the lyrics to "Amazing Grace," with an obvious twist in the wording. You see, from June of 2005 when I made the decision to leave the convent, already suffering from PTSD, until this summer of 2013, my purpose in life seemed lost. Through those eight years of personal growth and much needed therapy, I regained focus on my vocation to serve by helping people - in general. Not being one with a lot of money, I held fundraisers of all sorts: rosaries for missions, toys for children in poverty, etc. Fortunately, with discernment and guidance through prayer, I found myself working again in the medical field. I recently received my Medical Receptionist certification and currently work with Scribes STAT implementing the new EPIC medical software at Peace Health in Bellingham, WA. But as we are all called to serve, and helping people anyway I can (even and especially when I give away my possessions to someone in need) is my life's focus, I still felt I needed a more specific purpose.
Only this year has it come to light what God made good of my brokenness. My experience at the convent wasn't for naught - in fact, it became a great insight for those still in the convent as to bringing to light serious issues that needed to be addressed, and they were (as far as I know from correspondence with several contacts, including the Mother General of the order). Then, a year or two ago, God brought to light how my pain and suffering didn't just help the sisters I left behind. My recovery and personal/spiritual growth from the pain enabled me to help a dying man with Alzheimer's disease to make peace with his past because he went through a similar experience in the seminary. As much as he talked to his family, even though it progressed to the point that he could no longer recount the exact stories, the sentences and thoughts that came to mind that he shared with me opened a door. I was able to relate to him, to what he had gone through and suffered, in a way NO OTHER PERSON COULD HAVE. To be honest, I didn't connect those dots at the time, but after he died only a month and a half after I met him, God answered my prayer by connecting those dots for me. I was concerned about employment, and I was this man's assistant home care aide (his primary HCA was his wife, a retired Hospice RN). Why did God give me all these temporary jobs when my family and I needed a steady income? It was because God was working through me - I was His tool help people in ways not many other people could.
Again, this has been made evident in the most recent happenings with a relative of mine suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder (aka Multiple Personality Disorder). Every pain, every emotion - I could relate to her and began to help her where everyone else around her could not even understand. It's the emotional trauma I'm referring to: the despair, the suicidal thoughts, the overwhelming feeling of fear and loneliness despite being with other people... The experience from my disorders became for me a tool to help her when no one else could relate. While others still consider mental illness a stigma, God turned my problems from stumbling blocks to stepping stones so I could make use of my suffering. "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I am completing in my flesh what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for His body, that is, the church." (Col. 1:24) If you would have asked me five years ago where I pictured myself, it wasn't doing this. This is God's work - it just happens. I leave myself open to the working of the Holy Spirit to help others anyway I can and this is what God is doing with me BECAUSE of all I've been through! Like any other human being, I cannot predict the future as to what will happen next, but I can testify that God DOES make good come out of evil. I never would have predicted this could've happened, the way I've been able to help other people the way I do. "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." (Gal. 2:20) What an awesome God we have, who takes care of us in every way to the smallest detail, even numbering the hairs on our heads! Open yourself to the Holy Spirit by giving God control of your life in everything, and watch the wonders He does for those He loves.