My dear friends,
After my conversion God took me on a wild journey. Over the course of the next two years God brought me to the place where I would meet my future spouse. Never did I imagine that I would end up there, but the Holy Spirit’s promptings will bring you places you never imagined you would be.
The next part of the story begins later that same summer when I was 17. It was then that I started praying for my future spouse. I asked God in prayer if He could allow only my future husband to be the one man that would be my boyfriend. I felt that God was calling me to marriage, though I was open to the direction He had for me. Frankly I was ready to follow the Lord’s will no matter what it entailed because I had truly experienced this love of God that is hard to put into human terms. In english we only have one word for love. This one word can mean many different things! For example: I love my house, I love my dog, I love my brother, I love my parents, I love my child, I love my spouse, and I love God. Each love means something completely different. C.S. Lewis in his book The Four Loves describes, as the title implies, the four different words for love, which come from the Greek language. The four words used for love are: storage (affection love), phileo (friendship love), eros (romantic love), and agape (divine love). Agape, or supernatural love, is limited to love of God and love of neighbor. Agape is the closest word I can use for describing my love of God. This love caused my heart to be at peace where I was in the journey that God was slowly unraveling before me. I knew that if I was to be married God, in His deep love, would pick out a spouse for me that He desired from the moment He had brought us both into being.
Very soon into my conversion God seemed to show me in a special way that I was to be married. Remember how I said that I had been seeing the number 17 everywhere, well God continued to speak to me through repetition. The next thing God was trying to tell me was, “John” over and over again. The main character in a book I was reading was named John, songs I would listen to included the name John in them, and I even saw the name on billboards. I started asking God why I kept seeing this name everywhere and what He wanted me to do about it. I finally realized that God wanted me to read the Gospel of John. When I came to this realization I read just one chapter from this gospel before going to bed that day. I could have easily read more than just one chapter as I was not tired in the least bit, but I stopped for whatever reason and put my Bible on the night stand next to me and fell asleep. I figured I could read more in the morning.
That same night I had a dream about my own wedding. I was seeing my wedding as a third person and could only see from behind. I saw both my husband and I standing at the altar preparing to make our vows. Then all of a sudden the vision of my dream zoomed into my white dress and all I could see was white. The next thing I knew I was at my wedding reception telling my cousin that I had never had any wine. Then I woke up. I knew at that moment that I was suppose to read my Bible. I had no idea what I would read next as I still did not know Scripture well enough. The next chapter was titled “The Wedding at Cana” when Jesus turns the water into wine!
“On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come. His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, ‘Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.’ So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, ‘Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.’ Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples; and they remained there a few days” John 2:1-12.
After this special occurrence I started to ask for St. John’s intercession for my future spouse.
Over the course of my senior year I quit my favorite sport volleyball, decided not to go to my senior prom, and didn’t date anyone. I also let go of the music I was listening to and the clothes I used to wear. I made the decision for my last year of high school to learn more about my faith and surround myself with friends who could encourage me to do so. This same year I joined the Youth Group at my Church. Coincidentally it was also the first year that our parish got a National Evangelization Team, or NET for short. This team included four young women and four young men who would commit nine months of their lives to our parish in order to build a community of disciples through evangelization. I got to know the members of this team very well and it felt like I was going to my parish almost every day.
I continued to pray for my future spouse, yet this time with a profound peace. My parents and friends probably wondered why I was still not in a relationship. My parents even urged me to date a guy so that I would at least learn how to be in a relationship, but after many tears I would explain why I didn’t want to do so. I knew the pain of patience would be worth it and so I continued waiting and growing in my faith. My first year of college was right around the corner. After applying to many colleges, visiting a handful of campuses, and getting multiple acceptance letters and scholarships, I decided to go to a private Catholic College in Minnesota.
This school, the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University (or CSB/SJU for short), seemed like my dream college. It was located in an absolutely stunning area in the center of Minnesota’s woodsy nature including acres of land, lots of beautiful buildings, and a private lake. The students I encountered were certainly Minnesota nice and beyond. To make it even more enticing they had a rock climbing wall, plenty of paths to walk, two indoor gyms including two indoor tracks, practically home-cooked meals to eat, and a small town feel to the campus. Most importantly to me though was that it was a Catholic College and I was eager to learn more about my faith.
I had a blast meeting new people, exploring the campus, and learning about the CSB/SJU life. I made some really good friends and although I was introduced to many new people I still did not date anyone. Even with all of this in mind God was prompting me to do something radical, to transfer schools. I called one of my friends from NET and talked with her for quite some time about how things were going at college and how I felt God was calling me to leave. As I said before, I loved my college and the people there. I really did think this was going to be my dream college. There was something missing though. This something was a solid Catholic foundation in all aspects of the college and not just within the name of the school. I was yearning for this, I was yearning to seek the truth and to continue discovering the recesses of my heart. As I continued my conversation on the phone, my friend from NET mentioned Franciscan University to me. I had heard about this University once before, but tucked it away in the back of my memory. It seemed rather far fetched for me to travel away from home in order to attend this school. I had never really left Minnesota. I grew up in the same house until I was 18, was now attending a college in Minnesota, and most of my trips away from home involved traveling to the surrounding states. I had only been on a plane once in 7th grade as I traveled with other classmates to Washington, DC. I loved to travel yet I also loved Minnesota, especially my family who all lived there. (I am not kidding when I say this. At the time none of my extended family lived more than an hour away from my home.)
God’s call for me was strong though and I couldn’t avoid it. I applied to Franciscan only telling a select few people that I was doing so. As soon as I applied every single door opened for me to transfer. I prayed outside the Marian grotto on my college campus one evening asking our Blessed Mother how I was going to travel to this school to meet with my admissions counselor and to see the campus so I could better discern my decision. It was one of my first prayers to our Blessed Mother as I was learning more about her and growing in my relationship with her. The very next day the admissions counselor that I had been in contact with told me that he was coming to Minnesota and that he would love to meet with me. I was astounded! Mary’s intercession is powerful!
My admissions counselor and I met in Minnesota and while I was speaking with him I realized even more clearly that God desired this for me. My parents were shocked when I finally told them that I had applied, got accepted, and wanted to transfer to Franciscan University in Ohio. They thought this was just a passing phase, but I was adamant about checking out the campus. My mother finally agreed to go with me to see Franciscan. I am pretty sure she thought that after we got back this passing phase would be over.
We arrived to the campus and had plans to meet a few people that my NET friends had connections with. As I walked around the campus and spoke with the people there I realized this was a small piece of Heaven on earth. Everyone was actually Catholic and not just by name! Everywhere I turned I saw truly joyful people praying the Rosary, talking about theology, and going to Mass just to name a few. My mom was shocked when she saw a group of college guys praying the Rosary together on a Saturday evening. It was amazing! One of the days we were there I got to stay with two other freshman women and live with them in their dorm room. Both of the girls were extremely sweet. One of the girls, Maryjacqueline, took me on a tour and I greatly enjoyed talking with her. Jackie ended up becoming one of my best friends as we ended up joining a household together and eventually became roommates! What a special providence the Lord planned for me even before I had even transferred.
After many long discussions with my parents they finally agreed to let me transfer. I had to say goodbye to all my friends from CSB/SJU and prepare for change once again. The last person I wanted to tell that I was transferring was my best friend, Marie. She was Catholic as well and we had grown very close that year. Marie was actually one of the most supportive of me leaving even though we would miss each other a lot. Although I don’t remember this part of the conversation she told me that I said to her, “I have a feeling that I will meet my future spouse at Franciscan.” Marie reminded me of this when I was gushing to her about my engagement to Adam. All my other friends were supportive of me transferring as well. I was greatly encouraged and ready for what God had in store for me. I could not wait to finally step foot onto Franciscan.
The very first day that I arrived to Franciscan was August 24th. I lived on the “Divine Mercy” wing within the St. Louis and St. Elizabeth dormitory. It would be exactly four years and one month later that Adam and I would get married. I wrote in my journal that day and said a prayer for my future spouse, “Lord I also pray for my future husband. I pray that he is growing more and more with You. Please keep him pure and watch over him. I love You, Lord.” I was now praying frequently for my future spouse. Throughout my first year at Franciscan I did get asked out on dates. Yet I was so confused because something would happen every single time and the date would fall through. I guess I had forgotten my prayer that I had asked God a few years prior to only allow my future husband to be the one man that would be my boyfriend. God is faithful to His promises.
My first year passed at Franciscan and I was still single. The yearnings within my heart to find the one whom God had planned for me for all eternity only increased all the more. It was worth it though because I was learning plenty about my Catholic faith and continuing to trust God during this time. I was still prepared to wait for as long as God desired for me before meeting my future spouse. I knew we would meet exactly when God desired us to. In turn, I was creating lifelong friendships with solid Catholic women, learning more about Catholicism, praying the Rosary as well as new prayers I learned such as the Divine Mercy chaplet, and having tons of fun at Franciscan. I also read the Bible more. One of the readings that increased my hope was the Song of Solomon, which says three times “stir not up nor awaken love until it please” (2:7, 3:5, and 8:4).
“I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that you stir not up nor awaken love until it please” Song of Solomon 8:4.
God knows that it is hard for those who are called to marriage to wait for their future spouses. Our hearts yearn and long to meet our future spouses and we almost become lovesick in our patience. God addresses this in the Song of Solomon as well,
“I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, that you tell him I am sick with love” (5:8).
So I continued waiting, learning, growing, and trusting that the Lord knew the perfect time for my future spouse and I to meet.