Who are you when you say 'yes' to God? Jane Korvemaker discusses how God calls us in a special way through life's deserts.
Some say that the greatest fulfillment we can experience is to love and be loved in return. I have a tendency to agree with this, on a basic level. Yet sometimes when we love, we are not loved in return. I have been in churches where I felt invisible, as if my love was unrequited. I’ve been in Catholic communities where everyone’s life was already full of friendships and so had no need for another person with whom to share their love.
That lonely feeling, mama? I get it. I still struggle with it. I don’t have the close friendships in my life that I once had. It’s a desert of sorts, sitting in this loneliness at times, wanting to be known and to be loved in return.
The thing about deserts is that there is a precedent for what can happen there. We can look at the Israelites -- they were brought from slavery into freedom through that desert. The reason was to help them know God, and know who they were in relation to their God.
Years ago my family and I visited the International Peace Garden that spans the border between North Dakota and Manitoba. We discovered a Conservatory for cacti and succulents within the grounds, and wandered through it. It was very hot (for this northern gal) as the plants obviously needed desert-like conditions. As we wandered, we came across a group of cacti in full bloom! There were so many: these spiky, unfriendly looking plants produced such large and gorgeous flowers, it felt so unreal! Perhaps you’re used to these conditions and seeing cacti bloom, so forgive my child-like excitement in revelling in the beauty of these plants.
It got me thinking about the deserts in our life, such as loneliness. We can feel spiky like the cactus; perhaps we’ve become cynical or we try to keep people away so as not to be hurt. Yet our time in the desert can produce something beautiful if we can find out how to say ‘yes’ to God while there. I need to ask myself, ‘How do I need to grow closer to him in this phase of my life?’
So this time that I’m in -- and maybe you’re in it too -- we can ask ourselves this. Who am I in relation to my God? Here’s what I know so far:
I am Jane, beloved of Jesus, daughter of God the Father. I have been married 13 years to my husband and we have three children, whom we homeschool. I’ve received my Bachelor in Theology and am currently working toward a Master of Divinity because I’ve discovered on this journey that I’m a sucker for learning about God. During normal times I coordinate Catechesis of the Good Shepherd at my parish, where I work with young children to pass on the love of Jesus and our faith. I’ve lived through being sexually abused by a member of the clergy. I’ve also recently discovered I have ADHD and have found such a great help in treatment for it.
I’m a sinner. I want to love more. I want to pray more. I want to do what Jesus has called me to do, even if it’s only a step at a time.
I’m still learning; especially about how He is calling me to take entirely all that I am right now and give it to Him. I truly believe that when I offer Him my ‘yes,’ all that I am, that He can take it and grow that beautiful flower out of my cactus-self.
And every time at Mass there is a time I can bring my ‘yes’ to Him liturgically. During the Doxology when the priest offers back to God the gifts made by human hands and consecrated through the gift of the Spirit in the priest, we all respond, “Amen!” This “Amen!” is my gift back to God too: I’ve brought myself to Mass and I offer myself as a gift as I am, like the consecrated bread and wine, back to God.
The better I can know who I am in relation to Him at this particular time in my life, the greater the gift I offer to Him. If we are unable to attend Mass, our work is not for nothing. God hears our prayers and we can still offer our ‘yes’ to God each day.
Know who else wants to know you? I want to know you.
Who are YOU, Catholic mama?
Who are YOU in this time, this phase of life?
Who are YOU when you offer yourself back to God this Advent?
Copyright 2020 Jane Korvemaker
Images (top to bottom): Description:Gemma Chua-Tran (2019), Unsplash; all others copyright 2020 Jane Korvemaker, all rights reserved.
About the Author
Jane Korvemaker loves food, family, wine, and God (perhaps not in that order). She holds a Certificate in Culinary Arts, which pairs perfectly with her Bachelor in Theology. A former Coordinator of Youth Ministry, she writes from the beautiful and cold province of Saskatchewan, Canada. She works from home and takes care of her three very hard-working children. Jane regularly blogs at AJK2.ca.