The Grief to Grace retreat in Phoenix helped me to see that I was no longer invisible, but a beautiful, lovable child of God. I was able to unite the abuse and shame to the cross, healing the pain and trauma I have carried for over 50 years.
I am happy and at peace, finally sleeping 7-8 hours and the night terrors have stopped completely.
According to Pope Francis, “Merciful like the Father” is the motto of this Holy Jubilee Year of Mercy. In mercy, we find proof of how God loves us. He gives us His entire self – always – freely – asking nothing in return. He comes to our aid whenever we call upon Him.
As God’s beloved daughter, a convert less than 10 years I am happily married since 1981. We have one grown daughter who is married in 2006 and are blessed to have three beautiful grandchildren. I work for the Augustine Institute & Lighthouse Catholic Media on the FORMED evangelization team serving dioceses, pastors, and parishes across the USA. In Psalm 70:2 we hear, “O God, come to my assistance. O Lord, make haste to help me.” The assistance we ask for is already the first step of God’s mercy towards us. He comes to assist us in our weakness. Day after day, touched by His compassion, we also can be compassionate and merciful to others.
I grew up in a broken, horrifically abusive, alcoholic home, was beaten, tortured and used sexually on a constant basis. Growing up I was treated with no human dignity, was never allowed to speak, and had no name. The majority of my life I did not love God because I did not know God. Somewhere in my life, in the depths of my heart, in my memory, before the guilt and shame, I must have been given a taste of truth and love from God. I must have been innocent but was I loved? I believe sharing how the Grief to Grace retreat has blessed me giving hope to those hurting and moving my story from a debate on theology into a dialogue about New Life in Christ changes everything. As I encounter people in my work of evangelization, I can now live out the Mercy that was given to me, talk about the love of Christ, and really live as a resurrected and transformed daughter. I can stop, look, listen, and truly meet the persons I encounter drawing them near to Jesus in a language that comes from my heart, share the Good News, and build up His Kingdom.