I’ve been wrestling for words for some time now. In the season of resolution and new beginnings, I can’t help on reflect on the last 365 days in order to look forward to the future. As I read about people wishing 2016 “good riddance,” I can’t help but be deeply grateful for the last year. While a lot of bad things have happened in the last year, I’ve also been able to witness God’s strong hand in it all. The good, bad, pleasant, painful moments where you find yourself on the floor questioning everything that this life has brought into fruition.
To simplify the year in a brief sentence, I believe it would be this. This year has brought great burdens and trials yet greater blessings and incredible amounts of favor from the Lord. It was a year that reminded me that even in the midst of terrible things, our God is a faithful Father who eternally looks after our hearts and lives.
As MJ so tenderly reminds me when the darkness of pain from the past tries to creep on me, “leave the past in the past.” Therefore in the midst of my reflections, I need to turn my eyes to the future, and more importantly, to the present.
What does 2017 look like for me? Simply, I feel faith and healing is my theme and hope that the next year brings for me. One thing I have wrestled with passionately over the last few months is a secret I feel it’s time to share with the world. After spending my entire life in the Protestant church, on February 26, 2017, God willing, I will convert to Catholicism and be confirmed into the Catholic Church.
Everyone asks if I am doing this for MJ, and to be honest, the question completely frustrates me. MJ is the reason why I was even remotely interested in the Catholic faith, but at the end of the night, I am doing it for myself. In the six years I have seriously pursued my relationship with Jesus Christ, I have never been so drawn to seeking the word of God and ever searching and investigating my faith and belief system. I’ve never experience the desire to draw close to God through my faith in this way before.
As I write this, I feel the minds of members of my past begin to judge me. “Why would I do something so radical when I was just fine with being Protestant only months prior?” Without realization, I begin to ponder the judgement I will face for this decision. “Will people hate me for what I have done? Will they look at me differently?” You see, so many people in this world has a negative connotation of Catholicism, yet even more of these people cannot begin to comprehend the true entirety of the Church simply because they won’t take the time to learn. Or their hearts aren’t open to simply hearing out the other side of the story. In the midst of this adversity and questioning, I can’t help but develop a heart and passion for being and beacon of explanation to those whose hearts open to learning something beyond the norms of their faith. It’s all the same God, same word of God (even if Catholics have seven additional books in the bible), same story with a sudden disagreement and split of the Church.
You’d think I’m nuts… And maybe I am. But some of the great figures of faith weren’t entirely sane. Read about saints and martyrs. Read their stories and tell me that their names are etched in the great hall of Faith because they were normal. For radical change to occur within an environment, you have to be just crazy and bold enough to see the evolution of something change to instigate it.
And deep down from the tip of my head to the deepest part of my tip toes, I feel change is imminent.
God is desperate to move. He’s desperate to speak and spill His love onto the hearts of the world.
It feels like that moment when you find a book you’ve been waiting to find on clearance at Half Priced Books. You start dancing and can’t wait to get home to crawl up in bed with tea and devour the words and story line.
He feels like that. He wants to move, but his vessels are few and far between.
How exciting is that?
It reminds me of a passage in Isaiah 6,
Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” 9 He said, “Go, and tell this people:
‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive;
Keep on looking, but do not understand.’
10 “Render the hearts of this people insensitive,
Their ears dull,
And their eyes dim,
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
Understand with their hearts,
And return and be healed.”
11 Then I said, “Lord, how long?” And He answered,
“Until cities are devastated and without inhabitant,
Houses are without people
And the land is utterly desolate,
12 “The Lord has removed men far away,
And the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.
13 “Yet there will be a tenth portion in it,
And it will again be subject to burning,
Like a terebinth or an oak
Whose stump remains when it is felled.
The holy seed is its stump.”
It’s the year of change, of renewal and healing. Because our God is radical and crazy things are going to make their way into our lives this year.
Believe in that.
It is well with me,