Sometimes family becomes strangers and strangers become family.
One thing I've learned along the road of discipleship is that if God asks you to give up something or someone for His sake, He will repay you in some other way many times over. I'm writing this after everyone has gone to bed and the lights are out, so I don't have my Bible and Strong's by my side in order to give you chapter and verse at the moment, but scripture tells us that when this fallen world causes you to suffer, the Lord will repay the years the locust ate. He will restore and replenish your heart and soul. Remember Job? Remember Jesus saying that no one has ever given up mother, father, lands, anything that He has not repaid them a hundred fold? I can tell you He is faithful.
In coming chapters of Out of Darkness I will be discussing how the Church meets our needs through the Sacraments and in other ways, but tonight, before I shut down and rest in the knowledge that even the pain of the last few days will be overcome by His abundant grace, I want to share some ways He has repaid me for what I have lost. I lost my family because of the situation with my father. I have no fellowship or community with them at all. But God didn’t leave me an orphan.
Early on in my journey home, He gave me Marie. She was willing to email with me every day for months as I endured my brother’s abuse, struggled to answer all my questions about the Catholic faith, and learned to live as a Catholic. She has been the instrument of God’s peace more times than I can remember. Her gentle spirit and intimacy with God has allowed her to be a guiding light for me in some of the darkest time of my life. She reminds me of the Blessed Mother in her humility, wisdom and compassion.
Some would say that Patrick Madrid used my story for profit. The truth is that Patrick Madrid allowed me to share my story via the Surprised by Truth medium. Other than Marie, no one has rolled up their sleeves and gotten so deeply involved in caring for me and my family as Patrick has. My kids refer to him as Uncle Patrick. He has been a true brother in Christ. He and his wife Nancy have been such a godly example to my girls. Thank you, Patrick and Nancy.
Steve and Janet Ray have also been there for us over and over again. I warned him many times that involvement in my life would earn him the wrath of my brother. Any time he has been willing to help me promote my writing I’ve cautioned him that he would pay dearly in persecution if he showed himself supportive of what I do. He has stood by me and taken the full frontal attack several times and has helped me reach many people who have expressed thanks for the insight that “Out of Darkness” has brought them.
Art Sippo, your expertise in medical and psychological matters has been invaluable to me more than once. I’ve been grateful that even though your experiences with my brother were distasteful, you were warm and receptive when I came home. I can always count on you and Steve to have my back when things get ugly. Bless you for that.
Lee Anne, my sister in faith from Washington, is always there no matter what time I call. This lady has seen me in all lights. She’s listened to me vent and then talked me back around to where I know I should be. She has taken on the responsibility of our email group when my plate got too full to be of any input any more. She has shared her life and her heartaches with me and has been what a true sister should be. Thank you.
Mike. I don’t know where to begin to thank you. Thank you for being open to the grace of God in your own life. I am so amazed at how you have grown and become content and peaceful. Your listening ear and your brotherly care have been a shelter in the storm so many times. I can look back and name times when we would not have made it without you. Thank you.
There are so many like Apolonio, Ed, Deb, Stephen, Christine, Leslie and many others who have been prayer support and encouragement. Every time I sit down to my computer I ask the Lord to guide me to write everything He wants me to write and nothing He doesn’t. And later one of you would write and tell me that something I wrote had met a need and I would know that God had answered my prayer. You’ve committed to pray for me as I try to share what God has done for me. Without those prayers, nothing I do would ever bear eternal fruit. Thank you so much.
I’m a member of the Apostolate of the Little Flower. You can check our little group out by viewing our blog site. The link is in my favorite links section. We are presently nine ladies with one postulant. We had two new ladies take their promises for the first time this past fall. These ladies are true sisters to me. We share our lives with each other as we share our first love ~ Jesus. I love my Sisters and I can count on their love for me.
Many of these folks knew my story long before I ever came forward with it. They guarded my secrets as a sacred trust. No one used my story to try to disprove or prove anything. They just stood by me and prayed for my family and me. Now that I’ve brought the story out into the light, they have still not used it as an apologetics tool any more than I have. Instead, they pray that others who have experienced abuse will be helped by the insights the Lord has brought to me. Insights, by the way, that were taught to me by Protestants. And every one of these people have promised to pray for the healing of my family.
I’ve begun asking all Catholics who communicate with me about the Out of Darkness series or about my family to please pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet for them. If you are willing to do the same, would you please check the “cool” box below? Thank you.