A Divine Encounter
It is no secret my journey in faith has not been an easy one. After pretty much leaving the faith, I was left searching the world and never found fulfillment. Each time I thought I found happiness, I was left more disappointed than the last time. I was running out of options and did not know where to turn. Then one day I walked into Newman during Grace and Grub, and my life started to change. I started going to daily Mass hoping something would stick, grasping at everything I could that was related to Cowboy Catholics. I went to SLS20 in Phoenix, Arizona and encountered Christ through Sr. Miriam James Heidland. Still not quite sure how to have Jesus at the center of my life but knowing that is what I desired, I did what the FOCUS missionaries do: I started going to Adoration every day.
I thought my life changed when I went to Grace and Grub, but a much deeper transformation occurred when I started going to Adoration every day. I bought Sr. Miriam’s book Loved as I Am and read it in Adoration. The questions at the back of the chapter were difficult to say the least and exposed my deepest wound to the One who cares the most, the One who was fighting for me. Those questions sparked the deepest conversations I have probably ever had with Jesus.
It is hard to describe in words what has happened over the past two years, how I went from being so incredibly terrified for Jesus to love me to not knowing how to live without Him, but I can tell you this: After all that time in Adoration, through all the hurt, the joy, the stress, He never shied away from me. Not once did He ever turn His face and look at me with eyes of disappointment or disgust. He just loved me. I finally let someone look at me for the first time, and I do not mean look at me with my shield and façade and all my walls. I allowed Jesus to truly look at me. His response still surprises me to this day, the way He just loves me and fights for me.
I graduate today and I can honestly look back with 100% confidence and say I have made it here because of the time I have spent in Adoration, and I don’t just mean earning my college degree. I am the person I am today because of who I encountered in the Chapel at Our Lady of Good Counsel. I am able to breathe when I’m stressed because I know Jesus is with me through the storm, and He says, “peace be still”. I am able to cry and mourn the hard parts in life because I know He is there holding me, crying with me. I can hope for the future and dream my biggest dreams without fear of disappointment because I know He has great plans for me. Encountering Jesus every day in the Chapel is the reason I am able to live, and I mean truly live, not just survive. And for that, I will forever be grateful for Our Lady of Good Counsel and Cowboy Catholics.
-Bethany LeJeune, Cowboy Catholic graduate