Part II: What happened when I decided to trust God

December 12, 2007 | 12 comments

OK, since a couple people asked, I’ll share the rest of the story that I alluded to in my previous post: what happened when I decided to let go of my anxiety and just trust God. (I hope my atheist readers are taking a break from blog reading today. They’ll think I’ve lost my mind once and for all!) 🙂

So there I was, driving around a dark neighborhood, a zillion anxious thoughts running through my head: “I cannot believe I’m running late AGAIN! Am I ever going to be on time for anything again now that I have kids?! And isn’t it JUST MY LUCK that Google Maps took me to the wrong place when I was running late to begin with! Is my friend going to be offended that I didn’t show up?! Should I call my husband and see if he can navigate me to the right place, even though he’s trying to deal with all three kids?! I wonder if he’s getting really stressed out watching them after his twelve-hour day at work!…” You get the idea.

I was stuck in this mentality that since I’d screwed everything up by being late and getting a bad map and getting lost, I was on my own; God’s will would have been for me to not screw up in the first place, and now it was up to me to figure it out. Luckily, I was able to pull out of my anxious rut long enough to remember that that was not the case. God has a will for us at every moment, even when we get ourselves in bad situations. I realized that it wasn’t too late — it’s never too late — to turn to him and humbly seek his will. So that’s what I did. I made the choice to let go of my anxiety, to trust that God guide me down the right path. I decided to pull over to pray and think, so I turned down a dark side street.

As I was slowing down to park, a bright object caught my eye: a shining statue of Our Lady.

Some small church had a little outdoor chapel with a white statue of Mary, which glowed in the light of a big floodlight. In the darkness of that unlit neighborhood on a winter night, it stood out like lighthouse on a dark sea. It was so beautiful, and so uncanny that I’d seen it as soon as I’d decided to seek God. The only prayer I could say was just, “Thank you.”

I was so drawn to the statue, so eager to express my thanks to God and his Mother for giving me this little sign. I wanted to get out of my car to go pray in the chapel, but that seemed dangerous in this dark, unfamiliar neighborhood. A thought popped into my mind, and I knew with certainty that it’s what I was supposed to do: I’d go to my church.

A sense of peace washed over me. All of my anxiety was completely gone. I wasn’t supposed to go home, I wasn’t supposed to try to make it to my friend’s event, I wasn’t supposed to squeeze in some errands. I was to go to church. On my way over I turned on Relevant Radio and one of the first things I heard was a guy talking about how his life changed after Our Lady guided him to go to church one night. (I’m not making this up, I promise!)

When I got there I was surprised to see a lot of cars in the parking lot. I walked up to see some note about the Feast of the Something Something on the door and could hear that a Mass was going on. I didn’t think we usually had Mass at 7:30 on Fridays, so I planned to just peek my head in the door and then head out, maybe going to find the nearest Adoration chapel to pray for a while. But when I looked in I was surprised to see a good friend standing in the entry hall with her baby, so I walked in to say hello. While we waited for her to go in and receive Communion I asked her why she was there at such an unusual time.

She responded by telling me that it was a Vigil Mass for a holy day of obligation: the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Mary’s feast day. I’d had no idea.

Chills ran down my spine. God seemed so close that I was almost tempted to look over my shoulder in case he and Mary were standing there. I looked in at the glow of the sanctuary, the angelic music wafting all through the building, and felt I was in a warm oasis of life and beauty. I also realized that it was almost two years to the day since I first began going to this church (which, of course, I blogged about at the time). It was a wonderful moment of feeling safe and at home, realizing how very far I’d come since the first time I stumbled into this strange place.

I left the church after the Mass ended, knowing that I had done what I was meant to do that night. Earlier this week in prayer I had asked Mary to pray for me, and to bring me closer to her. I’d also asked for God to show me how I can make it to daily Mass more often — and in figuring out how to squeeze in going to church for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception I discovered some local Mass times that I hadn’t known about before that will allow me to make it happen.

I think the events of Friday night were answered prayers. It was one of those times when everything seemed to come together, when God seemed so close that I could practically touch him. And I could have so easily missed it all if I’d continued to be anxious, if I hadn’t stopped and made a conscious decision to put all my trust in God.


  1. Abigail

    Beautifully written post! Thank you for sharing this story.

  2. Danielle

    Awesome and very inspired post , you are a great writer .
    May God bless and keep you always

  3. Martin

    That is an AMAZING story! You know, the funny thing is that most of us have had or would have similar stories if we take the time to listen and pay attention.

    My wife often (almost always) gets goosebumps when the Eucharist is consecrated at Mass. When we were in Rome visiting many of the various churches, even when she wasn’t paying attention, she’s get her goosebumps. Then we’d look around …. and it always would be near an adoration chapel tucked away at the side of the church (out of the tourist paths).

    Little graces like that keep me inspired.

  4. Theocoid

    Wonderful story. It’s amazing when God swoops in and carries us away like that.

  5. Kerry

    I’m so glad you shared that fantastic and lovely moment! When I ‘d read the earlier post, I wondered what the experience had been and thought to ask, but then thought perhaps you didn’t want to share it.

    I’m so like that – I often don’t ask the question for fear of prying too much. Oh well, I’m glad someone else did. 🙂

    Thank you again for sharing!

  6. Sarah

    Great post, thank you! It seems that Mary is working on a lot of people lately; I had my own Mary moment earlier this week that I blogged about. I’m working to know her better – maybe a New Year’s Resolution? 🙂

    God Bless!

  7. Kersplat

    I have had moments like that before too. And don’t worry if people think you’re crazy, a lot of people think I’m bonkers for just going on faith sometimes.

    He really is there, listening to us. It is up to us to be there and listen to Him. When we do that, miracles happen.

    Just now, I’m not seeing where He is leading. I’m following, but not understanding and really kinda puzzled, but in the end I follow Him always. (sometimes with a side trip or two)

    Thank you for posting that.

  8. Anonymous

    I just looked at your other website and am absolutey apalled and confused that you let Google run abortion ad and sites in the sideabar. It is very confusing reading your views of children in the Catolic Faith on your Et Tu site then flipping to the other site and seeing these ads. What gives? Why would you allow those ads on your site. Are you a catholic who is Pro Cchoice?

  9. Anonymous

    I just flipped back to Jennifer’s Links and the abortion ads were gone! In there place were adoption ads. No I didn’t misread, because I actually clicked on one and it was a site that sold Pro Choice clothing. I’m very confused now

  10. Jennifer F.

    Anon – no, I am not pro-choice. I thought I had all the pro-abortion ads filtered off of Google but I guess some slipped through (I can’t choose or reject specific ads). Thanks for alerting me to the issue, I hadn’t seen them.

  11. Tara Sz.

    This is definitely one of my favorite posts in the history of Et Tu. I’m so grateful for the post today on fear, and the bonus link back to one of the classics. This was a special hug from God on a tough day…and a timely reminder to put it in His hands. He knows way better than me.

  12. Eva

    I dont know how Ive never read this post before, but it so beautiful 🙂

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