My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I recently received this letter from a parishioner & teacher at the parish and school I was at before coming to Corpus Christi. I was so thankful to hear how much our Lord has done in this woman’s heart and life, and so honored to hear that He used me to be a catalyst. I might have planted a seed, but God watered it and caused the growth, so this story is about God’s amazing love and unwavering pursuit of our hearts. I thanked her personally, and I asked her permission to share parts of her letter in an effort to inspire others to grow in their relationship with God, too. As you will read, although she was somewhat (perhaps reluctantly) practicing her faith, this woman didn’t really know what it meant or looked like to have a relationship with God. I know many people who go to Mass could probably say the same thing. Not only will you see how much her relationship with God has helped and changed her for the better, but also the joy and freedom she feels now that she knows the love of God and is actively fostering that relationship. Notice how this relationship with God has changed her outlook on life, how much she is growing in trusting the Lord and putting Him in the center of her life, and how she truly is making great strides now in becoming a disciple (something we all are called to do).
However, this parish didn’t have Discovering Christ, which is a ministry I brought to Corpus Christi to help foster the type of relationship with God she writes about. So, as you read this and find yourself wanting more of what she has, consider this an invitation from me to sign-up for Discovering Christ. Our next session begins Jan 14th. I know God is pursuing you, calling you to a deeper and deeper relationship. Perhaps Discovering Christ will be the catalyst God uses in your life to give you the joy and freedom this woman is experiencing.
Through Him, with Him, in Him,
Fr. Chad King
Dear Father Chad,
I don’t know if you even remember me, but you and I met before you took on your head pastor position.
You have such a positive, energetic, welcoming demeanor, and I felt it was the right time, person, and place to to share my first confession with you in twenty years. I had struggled with my Catholic Faith for two decades, endured some truly difficult situations, questioned “God’s love for me,” and turned away from the Church. I had absolutely no understanding of Jesus, faith, and having a relationship with Him. I was lost. I was in an unhealthy, unhappy marriage, acted like a single mom to my only daughter, and felt alone.
You invited and encouraged me to reconsider my relationship with God, and I was petrified. I didn’t even truly know what you meant, but for some reason, you made it feel safe. So, you and I sat in church and I unloaded twenty years of garbage to you. I confessed my sins, shared my doubts, recognized the mountain of faults I have, and I gave it all to you. I was exhausted, relieved, guilty, ashamed, and unsure of what I expected should happen next. I didn’t know if I would “hear” God, maybe feel His presence, maybe He would give me a sign that He forgave and would welcome me back. But all I got was silence. You heard me, helped, but maybe He had too many other “big problems” that He was dealing with.
So, I began attending Mass more often, helped to guide both my daughter and school students, but I didn’t really “feel” different. Nothing had technically changed (maybe I expected independent combustion) and then I felt like I was just “checking off the boxes” of being Catholic. This was all about six years ago. Then you left the parish and… still nothing.
But my journey was taking very calculated, precise, planned directions without me even knowing it. It is only through hindsight NOW that I can see it. It all started in your office after school six years ago. I slowly began to build confidence in myself, gained strength through prayer, and began (ever so slowly) to give things to God. I began to think that my life “plan” wasn’t really even mine to begin with, and that every single experience I have had was pre-planned for me with a purpose. Maybe I understood why, maybe I didn’t, and maybe I will never know. I have come to know that’s ok; I don’t need to understand it. All I am is “along for the ride” and I need to embrace my life experiences because that’s what God has in my plan.
Fast-forward five years, and I sit on my living room couch, feeling the unexplainable urge to thank you for helping me. You were part of my plan.
I prayed for a sign, something, anything, to let me know I was not alone, and I got it. God didn’t give me a blast of bravery, or beacon of light, He gave me an inner peace that everything is going to be ok. He gave me all sorts of tough situations to develop the tools and skills I would now need to do this. I was not alone and had never been alone.
Now I am a healthier, happier, stronger, and more faith-centered woman. I am slowly understanding my relationship with God, recognizing what I contribute to our relationship, and it continually grows. I trust Him, and have trust in Him, and try to demonstrate daily actions that make Him proud. The gates opened, and I am receptive, eager, and wanting to enrich my love and understanding of God. I try to be a strong, positive role model for my daughter, try to be a kind, reliable, and honest friend, try to be there for those in need, all the while understanding that God made us all unique in talents for a reason. I may not understand the reasons why certain people come into my life, or why things happen, and that’s ok. I am not in the driver’s seat. I am merely a passenger along for the ride. And once my job here on Earth is done, it just means I am prepared for the next step. I can’t control it, so don’t bother trying, because I will only get frustrated and/or disappointed. Those emotions are simply wasteful.
I am closer to God than I have ever been in my life. Every day, my love and feeling loved by God grow deeper and stronger, and I am at peace. I am surrounding myself with people that are healthy for my soul, and help make me a better person. I know there are still many parts of me that are flawed, and that’s ok. I am a “work in progress” and it’s part of my journey.
I felt the need to write to you and thank you for the life-long impact you have made in my life. So often, we don’t know if our actions have significant impact, and thank-yous can be obsolete. But the need to thank you has been keeping me awake at night, so this is part of my journey, perhaps come full circle, perhaps to acknowledge how far I have grown in my faith, perhaps to help you in some way that I just don’t know. Father Chad, thank you from the depths of my soul, for being that one person that provided the environment to open my heart to God. You were my catalyst to beginning (truly, for the first time) a relationship with God. I always thought the “Footprints in the Sand” poem was cool, and a neat idea, but now I understand just how true it really is. I am never alone and I have Him as my very best friend.
I just need to thank you and needed you to know just how much I appreciate everything you did to help me in my journey.BACK TO LIST