This past weekend I got to come home for a short visit. Before I started college I thought that being away from home would be so easy. At times I really enjoy young adulting, but more and more I realize it isn't all it's cracked up to be. So I'm one of those rare college students who loves being home and enjoys every second of breaks from school. I also love coming home because, as I've mentioned in previous posts, I'm in a long distance relationship and coming home means seeing my boyfriend (Sam)!
My heart has been full of joy and gratitude for all the blessings God's given me in the last year. I had a lot of fear in my heart about playing soccer at UCA, and then later fear in my heart about committing to a long distance relationship. But I heard the Lord encouraging me to go on an adventure with Him by pursuing both those paths. Taking that leap of faith has bore a lot of fruit in my life. Following God seems so daunting and scary, but every time I abide by His will instead of my own it always turns out better than I had ever imagined.
Sam is going through the RCIA process this spring and will be welcomed into the Church this Easter (WOHHOOO!) God's played a huge part in our relationship and individual faith. We've needed a lot of pruning and strength from God (and still do), but we both strive to put Him at the center of our relationship. I used to think that putting Jesus first would be the easiest thing in the world, but I've learned that's far from the truth. Emotions are powerful and when you're invested in another person's life, it's really easy to unintentionally lose sight of the Lord. Any relationship in our life has the potential of taking our eyes away from Christ, if we allow it.
This weekend God reminded me, yet again, of how important His place in a relationship is.
As I said earlier, weekend visits are fabulous, but they go by so quick. Every time I see Sam we have such a great time. But no matter if it's one day, one week, or one month I always want more time with him. We spent all Saturday together. We spent the day exploring Ft. Worth and then went to Saturday afternoon mass. I was a bit salty that Sam planned for us to go to mass while I was there. Saturday was our only time together, and in the back of my head I kept telling God "it's not fair." I did not voice my discontent, because saying it out loud would make me a terrible person. But I threw a little fit in my head.
We went to mass at my home parish, where all my childhood spiritual growth took place. As Sam and I got on our knees to pray before mass started, I looked around and just took in the beauty that is St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church (SEAS). From the stained glass windows, pristine altar, and beautiful paintings, I was in awe. I always forget how magnificent this Church I called home for so long is. I saw a few familiar faces and thought about all the great memories and friends the Lord brought into my life. Then I glanced at Sam and then back at Jesus on the cross.
I've been meditating a lot on the ways in which Jesus is pursuing me as a lover. As I said earlier, it's really easy to leave God out of the equation when getting into a serious relationship. Sometimes we lose sight in pursuit of "the one," when in reality Christ is "the only One" our hearts yearn for. Christ is in pursuit of our hearts daily, and seeks to take our breath away in little ways. Sunsets, a single flower in a field of dead grass, finding a coupon for a free burrito, winning $100 off my rent, scoring a front row parking spot outside of Win Thompson, and so much more. These are just a few of the ways God entertains my heart. But as I sat in wonder of my home parish, I could see that all the blessings, good times, laughs, tears, friends, and so much more, were all from the Lord Himself, who was romancing me before I even knew He was. In that moment I could hear Jesus saying "Here I am. I did all this for you."
I think there is something profound about sacrificing things you really love for God. In a way, I think He does that with us every day. We are not just His creation, we are His children. He knew us before we knew ourselves, and knows us better than we will ever know ourselves (still trying to wrap my head around that one). He sends us off into the world away from home, and lets us have the freedom to choose Him. We go about our days, and He patiently await for us to call upon Him. I imagine every morning when we arise God gets super excited and calls all the angels to behold His children embarking on their adventure.
Sometimes investing in a relationship with God can seem mundane. The prayers get repetitive, I get tired of kneeling, there's no new worship music, and the list goes on and on. We can always make excuses as to why we can't give one hour a week and then a few moments of every day, to a Lord who gives us every second, of every minute, of every day, of every year. I love Sam, I love my family, I love visiting home, but I love God so much more. Taking time out of my weekend, where there was little time to spare, was a great reminder to me of all that God does and all that God continue to do for me.