Life has its ups and downs. And when the chips are down, we may find ourselves consumed by painful experiences that we wish we did not have to face or go through.
Let’s face it – we all experience heartbreak, sadness, and difficult moments that can leave us feeling wounded. Left unattended, emotional wounds have a way of spreading in unhealthy ways and affecting our ability or capacity to be present in our relationships with others. Recovering from such challenging moments, I know from my own experience, takes time. During this time of healing, it is important for us to be gentle with ourselves, to practice self-compassion, and to exercise patience as the healing process unfolds in us and we let God heal us.
There are certainly many examples from Jesus’ life of him facing hardships—abandonment, betrayal, rejection, and being crucified. Jesus took these hardships to God in prayer, seeking to know and understand how to process whatever life experiences he encountered. In turning to God in moments of distress, Jesus found the strength, courage, and wisdom he needed to continue walking the journey he was on. As David declares in Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble,” and in Psalm 34:18, we hear the reassuring words that God is ever at our side when we feel broken, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
Our faith becomes our bedrock that sustains us through difficult times and healing becomes a spiritual journey that calls us to place our trust in God. When we look back at other periods of hardship in our lives, we can see God’s footprint in our lives, assuring us that God is always with us. The power of one’s faith is often cited in many biblical stories as being a factor in the healing process. One example can be found in Mark 5:34, where Jesus says to the woman, Veronica, “You are now well because of your faith. May God give you peace! You are healed, and you will no longer be in pain.”
So, if you are a woman discerning a call to religious life, knowing yourself is important. It is important to understand how you manage both the joys and the difficulties of life. This kind of self-knowledge is essential to maintaining healthy relationships. You might ask yourself, for example, how you handle relationship conflicts since you will likely live in community with other women. Do you withdraw or are you willing to work through conflict? Are you able to support women whose personalities and cultures are different from yours? Are you able to forgive and be open to reconciliation? Can you minister to those in need of healing? Where does prayer fit into your life? Do you seek God’s guidance in moments of difficulty?
If you are eager to offer care and comfort to God’s people, perhaps God is calling you to consider becoming a religious sister. We can help you discern God’s movement in your life. Contact us to explore where you are in your discernment.