Have you ever found yourself “clicking” with someone you just met? That happened to me about nine years ago when I met a guy who was young and new to life in NYC! I saw in him a deep desire, without reserve, to serve the Lord Jesus amidst his own personal struggles.
He was one of the first young people we met when we became part of a church plant years ago in NYC. I had compassion and a motherly-kind-of-love for him that I couldn’t define. This kind of love happens to me every so often whereby it seems God directs me toward someone that He’s called me to disciple, which is one of my passions! It’s usually in a relationship of mutual respect that only deepens with time.
So that’s how my friendship began with this guy I’ll call Tom. We worked very closely as leaders during those early years of Trinity Grace Church. He is extremely sensitive to God’s voice and I consider that his most heartwarming quality. Tom was one of the people who, when we told him we were joining the Catholic Church, applauded because he knew us well and trusted our heart’s desire was to follow after God, no matter what!
Even though we are no longer a part of Trinity Grace, we continue to have a very close relationship with Tom and he often asks us for spiritual direction. He valued our wisdom and guidance back then – before we became Catholic – and thankfully still does! It has strengthened his understanding of why we’ve made this decision.
He came over the other evening. We hadn’t seen him in over a year, but he had some things on his mind that he wanted to talk about. The most comforting aspect of our relationship with Tom is that he supports and, as I said previously, applauds our decision to become Catholic. He told us that he “sees such peace in both” of us. Tom knows that God has a plan for us, and he honors that no matter what. We talked for over five hours that evening! He affirms our faith and that speaks volumes to me!
I have another friend who I’ll call Abby. I knew her before either of us were married. We’ve always been very close. We raised our kids together and every time we meet up we go straight to the heart of the issue and openly share our concerns and joys. Abby is a solid Christ-follower, pastor’s wife and deeply committed Christian! She has always been a spiritual giant in my eyes! She’s a prayer warrior like none other. I’ve never had a conversation with her that didn’t revolve around how Christ was leading us and teaching us through thick and thin! It has kept us so close through the years.
Back when we entered the Catholic church Gary and I wanted to explain this crazy journey of obedience to Abby and her husband. We wanted to share it with them face to face. When we were finally able to meet up and explain it to them, they were devastated. Tears of disappointment and confusion overshadowed our conversation. A dark cloud of heaviness took over our friendship, and neither couple knew what to do about it. So we sat on it and prayed for wisdom from God.
It must have been about six months later, when out of the blue, Abby called to share something profound with us. Due to the gnawing pain in her heart about our decision, she decided to fast every Friday of Lent that year, seeking God for understanding and peace. On that very first Friday, she felt like God had literally, not audibly, answered that request. She told us that God gave her an assurance “It was His plan for you two to become Catholic.” She had such relief! She was then able to release her pain and questions to God, because He gave her that certainty! She told us of the peace and joy it brought her because she had heard clearly from Him, and that was what she needed!
We met up the other day and I thanked her again for opening her heart to God about our call to join the Catholic church. It’s been over a year and it brought us back to freely sharing life, laughter, concerns and prayers with one another, just like before I became Catholic. May God be honored and glorified for this unity of hearts once again!
So why have I spoken of these two precious friends of mine? Because God has blessed me through them regarding their unique reactions to our change in church affiliation. Tom and I have shared a deeply spiritual friendship during these last nine years in New York City. Abby has been a friend for about forty years! Tom grew up in an evangelical home but had some outside Catholic influence from his grandmother. Abby also grew up in an evangelical home but knew nothing of Catholicism.
Tom and Abby have both embraced us with great love as they watch us walk out our faith as Catholics. They have openly accepted God’s call on our lives. I’m so grateful for this as they both believe Gary and I will continue to serve Christ in whatever capacity He has chosen for us! God asked for obedience even though we weren’t sure what it would mean for us! Who woulda thot!
I continue to trust God for and expect that He will make His path clear to us and use us for the expansion of His Kingdom! (Proverbs 3:5-6)
It’s all such a mystery but I know that God wants me to sit at His feet and wait on Him. Whatever He chooses to do through this call to obedience will probably both bless and surprise us (and those we love) as we continue to put our trust in Him!