I remember well the day my life turned around.
I was getting ready for work. I was a call sales manager for a local corporation and I always tried to look my best. Yet on this day, I couldn’t seem to look myself in the eye as I stood before the mirror. I was painfully aware of who I was and I didn’t like it. It was an awful, terrible realization.
I had been divorced for two years and moved away from my home state in an effort to leave the past behind. After a year in my new hometown, I was definitely on the path to rebuilding my life, but in a very different way than one would expect from a life-long Catholic. I had a successful career and new friends, and although I never missed Sunday mass, my relationship with God was very strained. There was no Catholic guide to surviving divorce at that time so I just did the best I could. I dated, because no one told me not to. And dating after divorce can be a very slippery slope, one I found myself slipping on in the worst way.
So on this particular day, as I stood before the mirror and could not meet my own gaze, I had a life-changing experience.
The Mirror Doesn’t Lie
In the moments leading up to it, I finally did look myself in the eye and recognized I had drifted so very far away from the person God created me to be. He had given me gifts, yet, I was squandering them. Despite the losses sustained by my divorce, He had given me blessings, but I didn’t recognize them. I was too wrapped up in myself. I had spent so much time being angry because I had been stripped of everything that was important to me. But I failed to see something truly important – the things I had lost were actually road blocks that had been holding me back from a closer relationship with God.
Then, I realized with serious regret that if I met the right man for me that day, he wouldn’t recognize me as “The One” for him. All I ever wanted was to be happily married to a good Catholic man, but my faith had weakened. I was hanging on by a thread. I was cynical and living for the moment, instead of living for eternity. It was at that moment God gave me a gift of grace I did not deserve, but was in such need of.
I was overwhelmed with sadness and at the same time, desperation because I realized how much I missed having a close relationship with God. I pledged I would change and I did. I spent a lot of time in reflection and prayer, deciding which changes I would make that would move me closer to being the person I wanted to be.
These changes were going to be tough. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I had to find a different job but more importantly, I had to quit immediately. The environment I was working in was rapidly dragging me away from my faith. I had no new job prospects, but I knew I had to quit, so I gave my two week notice the next day. God blessed this leap of faith and nine days later, I was employed at the National Catholic Register.
I also made an appointment for a general confession and spent an hour talking with the priest. I walked away from that confession feeling freed from a prison I had locked myself into.
I stopped hanging around people who distracted me from being who I wanted to be. After a few months, I moved to a completely new area. There were also many decisions I made to uproot bad personal behaviors.
These changes were extreme but necessary. I had to take a step out in faith. I had to write God a blank check and let Him spend it as He pleased. In turn, God blessed me for trusting Him and being faithful to Him.
In the end, God opened a new chapter of life for me through the annulment process, remarriage and the birth of three children, all of which would not have been possible had I stayed the course I was on that fateful day.
The reason I share this with you is not because I enjoy people knowing how badly I’ve failed, but to share with anyone who might be struggling with their own doubts, failures and guilt that it is possible to overcome these struggles. I’ve done it and so can you. Sometimes God strips us of what we love because it blinds us from seeing how much He loves us.
As we approach the season of Advent, I will be praying for you and hoping you, too, will consider giving God your own blank check.