Wow. It is here. I will be boarding a train today that will take me from Louisiana all the way up to Ann Arbor. I arrive tomorrow night and will enter Tuesday morning. I am leaving my laptop with my parents so this is it.
This is my goodbye.
This week has been a bit of a whirlwind, getting the last stuff bought (including my oh-so-fashionable nun shoes), labeled (everything’s got to have “Sr. Amanda” on it), and packed. Packing was an adventure – how do you fit that much stuff into two suitcases? Spending time with friends who I am going to miss so much it hurts. Spending time with my family and finally meeting my sister’s boyfriend. Running to do this and that and also trying to find time to pray and mentally prepare for the huge step that I am taking in entering religious life on Tuesday.
It has been lovely and while I have moments where I doubt this is all real and moments where I am sad to see all that I am leaving, I am also at peace. I truly believe this is where God is leading me – where He has been leading me all of my life. I know there will be struggles but I also think and believe that God will give me the strength I need in order to do this.
It is so amazing to see how good God is and how much generosity there is in the world. So many people, many of whom I have never met, have helped me so that I could dispense with my debt and enter at this time and I can never thank you enough! I have a notebook with many names and prayer intentions and it will go with me – you all with go with me in my prayers and I hope that God will shower all of you with endless blessings!
So I guess I will finally say thank you. I thank God. And now, I will embark on this beautiful journey with joy in my heart and prayers for all of you.
Peace be with you!
*** Important Note *** Please pray for one woman who was planning to enter with me next week. She was in a serious car accident and suffered several broken bones. We have heard that she is okay but she will not be able to enter with us because of the accident. I ask that you pray for her healing and strength at this time.
One weird difficulty for me has been attached to being a military brat. Ask any of us the simple question of “where are you from?” and you are bound to get an answer that has a caveat or two. In my case, I can say that I have been living in the Cleveland area for the last three and a half years but I was mostly raised in Louisiana but that was only after I was living in several other places. (When Sr. JA asked us to list where we are from, for their records or something, that was really a difficult question for me – where am I from?)
It also means that while I was living in Cleveland and have many friends there, I had to come back to Louisiana in order to say goodbye to my parents and some of the friends who have been there for more than half my life.
So I said goodbye to Cleveland last Wednesday, along with everyone there. I am already missing them and was choking up for several of the farewell visits.
After all, the people there in Cleveland – they have been such blessings to me and without them, I am not sure I would have had the faith and the trust to open my heart to this vocation. They have been friends and guides. These are the people I have spent my time with for the last three years and it will be a very long time before I get to see some of them again. I can only hope that I will be receiving many letters postmarked from Cleveland.
Now, I am in Louisiana, spending time with my best friend and my family and there will be more tears, I am sure. I will miss so many people but I believe I am doing what God is calling me to do and I know that prayer is efficacious – helping to lift people closer to God.
And that is where my consolation is.
Oh, my gosh.
What. A. Week!!
A week ago, I was really starting to stress out, not knowing how it would be possible for me to enter. I was on my way to visit my mother’s family and just really asked the Blessed Mother for her intercession – I needed to get that money together and I wasn’t sure how but I needed to find it so I could be a nun!!
Then Tuesday, visiting my aunt, I was able to get online, where I saw the first of the donations from so many generous people come in. And now, with the donations I have received as of today and the things I have sold and everything…
I am done! You all are amazing and generous and God is so good and I am just speechless! With everything, I will be entering with no debt and I can’t even wrap my mind around it!
I am removing the PayPal button but I still encourage you to check out some of my future sister’s blogs as a couple of them still need your help!
Thanks again and may God bless all of you as abundantly as He has blessed me this past week!!
P.S. To my future sisters, see you in 15 days!
On my stolen break from getting stuff done, I wanted to drop a quick note here.
Rainy days here. Both literal and figurative (in the good way).
We had rain in the morning, which we have been desperately needing but was in conflict with that garage sale I am trying to do. I didn’t manage to sell much today but I still have hopes for tomorrow. We’ll see how it goes. I have to imagine a weekend day is better than a day when most people are at work in the office. Right? We’ll see anyway…
I have also had a rain of a different sort this week – a rain of generosity and blessings, for which I can only express a sort of half-shocked gratitude. While I started this week needing about $3,000, I have received so many donations and the been the recipient of so much generosity, I now am down to about $750!!! Isn’t that amazing?!?! I mean, I still need a bit of help but I feel like God has really been showering me with so many blessings and I can only pick my jaw up off the floor and thank everyone who has been helping me!
So thank you! And may God offer you many blessings! You are all in my prayers!
P.S. Happy Feast of St. Lawrence!
Hi everyone and Happy Feast of St. Dominic!
On a separate note, I have to say, I have been blown away by everyone recently. People are so good. I still need help but as people have been donating, I have been seeing my entrance become more and more possible – like this amazing dream, this wonderful beautiful wish to enter the convent and give my life entirely over to God – it may come true! And I have all of you to thank! You will all be in my prayers!
One comment that was made to me on Friday night has stuck with me: a woman noted a “radiant joy” in me, saying I seemed to glow with joy. I just know I smile a lot lately. No. Not smile. I grin.
I used to complain a lot. Or at least I felt like I did. I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t content or feeling like I was where I was supposed to be. But that has changed in the last few months. Now, I am always grinning and happy and laughing. I sometimes just want to sing for joy and dance because life is good – because God is so good. And I think it because, as Fr. R said, “In God’s will is our peace.” By seeking to follow His will, I have begun to open my heart more fully to His peace and the joy He wants to fill all of us with. And it is so good. So very, very good.
I pray that all of you an experience this joy one day.
Honestly, I really do feel like a bride sometimes – or what a bride should feel if she wasn’t driving herself batty trying to plan some crazy, gargantuan wedding. I feel like a woman who is in love and is amazed to find that the man she loves happens to love her back – like a woman who gets to spend the rest of her life with this Beloved. I am the woman who gets her Beloved and can’t wait till her wedding day when I can really begin to live that life with that Beloved, living each day with and for Him.
So how can a girl, so blessed and lucky, not be filled with joy? How can I not laugh for the sheer amazed joy of it all?
And I guess it spills over. Which makes me even more happy. That people can see what God has given and that He has filled me with His joy and they can give Him glory for it. And maybe, my joy will lead them to try to find it themselves. Now, there is something for me to pray for!
May all of you be filled with the joy God has in store for you!
And it begins. The leaving taking before I set off on this new journey.
One of the harder elements of entering the convent is that I am not going to be able to drop by and see my friends and family whenever the whim takes me. I won’t be able to call them or drive over to see them. For a time, my only contact will be through letters sent to them and received from them (plus an occasional family visit day). So when I found out that I was accepted, I knew I had to spend some time with my family members to say goodbye.
That process began this week. I drove to see my mother’s family yesterday and am spending a few days with them. They don’t understand my decision but they have been trying. They have been asking lots of questions but I kind of like the questions – maybe they will hear something in my answer that will help them to grow in their faith. That is my prayer, anyway.
Soon, I will be saying goodbye to my Cleveland friends and family. That will be a hard one for me. These are the people I have been around for more then three years now – they are the ones who have helped me to grow closer to God and to finally open my heart to hear my vocation. God has offered me such a blessing with their presence and they will always be in my heart and in my prayers. I thank God for every moment I have had with them.
But it is hard to leave everyone. I just trust that God will care for them and that we are all on the journey that God has set out for us. I also trust that my prayers for them will be efficacious, helping all of us to grow closer to God.
And that gives me hope and strength. (God is so good!)