Saturday, August 17, 2013

I Once Was Lost But Now I've Found...

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.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Power of the Miraculous Medal

I have been a member of the Association of the Miraculous Medal (AMM) for over a year now, but it wasn't until recently that I started wearing a miraculous medal. I had received two medals when I first joined the AMM as a perpetual member, but it wasn't until I joined the AMM Monthly Giving Club and received a sterling silver one when I began wearing it regularly. For over 7 years, I have suffered from PTSD, Panic Disorder, and depression. I could not explain - I could not put into words my suffering from the thoughts of despair and pain (even suicidal thoughts) that would plague my waking hours nearly everyday. I found support in prayers, my family, my therapist - but no matter what I tried to get rid of these thoughts or just push them aside away from any consideration the moment they came to me, they would keep coming back.
When I began to wear the Miraculous Medal, blessed at the shrine of the AMM, that I began to notice the thoughts were gone - they no longer plagued me. As well as the absence of those thoughts, my whole being - mind, body, and soul - felt uplifted... For the first time in years, I felt like a normal person again. But even more than that: I felt the hope and love of God in and around me. No matter how bad the day had been, I had peace. Not peace in the mere absence of affliction, but a harmony by being in union with God. I had no idea such a blessing would be given to me, and I can't find the words to express my gratitude for it, but praised be Jesus and Mary! So many I know who suffer from similar afflictions I have sent medals and hope they make use of them. I continue to buy Miraculous medals to distribute freely.
I want those who read this to remember my testimony, for their sake or for the sake of a friend or family member who is suffering. Both the Association of the Miraculous Medal and the Central Association of the Miraculous Medal give a free medal to anyone who wishes to have one. Just go to their websites to sign up for one or to have one mailed to someone in need.

AMM: (go to the bottom of the page and click the blue medal link)

Thank you for taking the time to read this and God bless you!