Maura Byrne from Made In His Image spoke to about 100 middle school girls this past weekend during our County Youth Day. She was fantastic! If you can convince your school or parish to have Maura come and talk with your girls about Modesty and Chastity, do it!
I was reminded during Maura’s talk that it is a blessing to be broken and sifted. It forces us to ask the question “God, what do you want from me?” Some of us ask this question at an earlier age than others, some never ask the question at all and sometimes the question looks more like this:
“God!! What in the world do you want from me?!?!”
“When you are going through something hard and wonder where God is, remember the teacher is always quiet during the test.”
When I was single, I asked that question of God and was met with silence every time. He let me wrestle with Him all the while not saying a word. Silence. It would have been a lot easier if He had given me a list of answers consisting of ‘do this and don’t do that.’ But, all I received was silence.
His silence exasperated me and made my face and eyes burn with tears of frustration. He held His ground. I accused Him of being unfair and of not really caring about me. He was immovable.
Gradually, I received the gift of brokeness. I had no one else and nothing else to turn to. He was my only hope.
Deep down, I already knew what I needed to do and what I needed to stop doing. But there is a difference between knowing and understanding. I wanted to understand why. I wanted to understand what difference it would make in my life if I followed His precepts and commands.
Joy, Pure, Light
“The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.”
So, I went to His word. I studied the scriptures. I studied the writings of the Saints. I prayed. I started living a Sacramental life. I started giving my time, talent and treasure to the Church. I sat in His presence in silence during Eucharistic Adoration. I studied all I could about the wisdom of Chastity and committed to it sincerely. Then, I closed my eyes and persevered through the next 10 years. Once I was following His precepts, I was able to see and understand what He wanted from me: Relationship
“…it was in these matters of the heart that my own heart was sifted and scoured and exposed, the process of purifying begun.”
Elisabeth Elliot, Passion and Purity
Through the process of not receiving what I wanted, I was sifted. The things I wanted God to deliver to me (marriage, children) had to be put on the altar. I had to trust that no matter what the future holds for me, our relationship is the one thing I could not live without. Our relationship kept that little itty bitty flicker of hope alive in me and kept me going.
“…the bringing of our unruly wills and affections into order will cost us something.”
Elisabeth Elliot, Passion and Purity
I am not sure that God “withholds” marriage from us in order to break and sift us. Delayed and missed marriages are happening for a variety of reasons but are mostly tied to the culture (contraception, fornication,abortion) in which we are living. Either way, I think He can use just about anything to get our attention. For me, withholding marriage was the best method.
Are you being sifted? Keep following His precepts. Are you wondering what God wants from you? He wants relationship. A relationship of dependency, trust, proper worship and love. Are you running low on hope? Trust Him, worship Him, love Him, wait on Him.
I know it is hard. You remain in my prayers. God love and bless you.
p.s. Recommended reading: Elisabeth Elliot, Passion and Purity
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