"Jesus teaches us another way: Go out. Go out and share your testimony, go out and interact with your brothers, go out and share, go out and ask. Become the Word in body as well as spirit." -Pope Francis I

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Look Around You

On February 18, 2012 my life was changed forever. Four years ago today I met Jesus for the first time and devoted my life to Him. It feels like it was just yesterday. I can still hear the music that was playing and smell the incense in the air, as Jesus was precessed in. I can remember everything fading away. I saw my Savior walk in the room and  heard Him call my name. I'm getting chills just thinking about it all. 

A lot of things happened prior to meeting Jesus. God completely flipped my life upside down, which forced me out of my comfort zone, and into His arms. I don't want to go into all the details of what led me to that moment four years ago, maybe another time. Today I want to talk about friendship, because friendship was one of the major ways that Jesus brought me back to His heart.

Six months prior to February 18, 2012, I was having a sleepover with my two best friends at the time. It was our annual sleepover the Saturday before the first day of school. This year was different from the rest, because my friends were no longer going to my high school. They transferred to another high school in the next town over. One moment me and the girls were laughing and being silly, and then the next I was crying. "What will I do without you guys?" I couldn't imagine surviving the rest of high school without them. They assured me nothing would change, but in that moment I knew that nothing would be the same. My best friends were transferring schools, my other friend was moving, some other friends of mine were "too cool" for me, I didn't have friends on my high school soccer team, and my club soccer teammates didn't go to my high school. I knew that my sophomore year was going to bring about a lot of change and I was really scared. The night before my first day of school, I prayed to God a very earnest and desperate prayer. "Lord please don't let me be alone. Please help me make new friends who won't leave me." 

The Lord heard that cry of mine and provided. That first week of school I met a group of girls that I am still blessed to call my friends today. They're beautiful, driven, smart, hilarious, and virtuous girls. They were so different from any friends I had before and the Lord put them in my life because He knew they would make me a better woman. He knew they would push me to achieve my goals and follow Him. These new friends liked God and went to church regularly. Several of them were Catholic. I was not practicing my faith at the time. I actually really didn't like mass, but I was afraid that if I told them that, I would lose them. So I lied and made it seem like I was the most Catholic gal in town. They told me about youth group and how excited they were to get confirmed, followed by "hey are you going to youth group Sunday?" Even though that was the first time I'd ever heard of confirmation and youth group I said "DUHHH. SEE U THERE." When my mom picked me up from school that day I asked if we could go to Church, and that day I signed up for youth group and confirmation. The Holy Spirit works in mysterious ways, amiright?

These are my friends I met Sophomore year, they are lovely! 

When I first met my friends I had no idea how important they would be in my life and walk with Jesus. Now that I am in college, I realize that so many people were not blessed with friends like mine. I constantly hear stories of lies, betrayal, and humiliation as a result of friendship. I also know a lot of people who desire goodness and a relationship with the Lord, but are held back in their pursuit because their friends don't share their desires. This really hurts my heart, because I've been there. I know what it's like to desire something greater than clothes, sports, money, and popularity, but remain where you are because you can't imagine leaving behind your friends. 

The gospel from mass today says that for the one who "asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and the one who knocks, the door will be open to. (Matthew 7:8)" When I was 15 years old, my relationship with God was no where near it is today. However, I came to the Lord in need and with confidence. I shared the desires of my heart with Him and I knew He wouldn't let me down. Way too often we let fear get in the way of our pursuit of holiness. If there is one thing I've learned from scripture it's that God often calls us out of our comfort zone and into the realm of the unknown. But rest assured, you don't go anywhere alone. Even if you leave behind the friends you've known since Pre-K, Our Lord, who knew you before you were formed in your mother's womb, never leaves your side. 

As I sat in adoration today, in awe of Jesus, I am so thankful He took away all my friends. Even though some of them were kindhearted and sweet, I might not have met the Lord on February 18, 2012 if they remained apart of my life. Look at the friends you surround yourself with. I pray that when you look around at your friends, you will see confident, radiant, fearless, and humble men and women of Christ. I pray you look around at them and are inspired to be an authentic person of God. If that's not what you see, I pray that you will share the desires of your heart with the Lord Jesus. I pray you will trust that He will lead you to where you will find more fulfillment and joy than you ever dreamed of. 
When I look around at my friends I see that, and my brothers and sisters, that has made all the difference in my walk with the Lord.

P. S. Treasure your youth group friends as well
God bless you!


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