As I sat in the back of the empty desert chapel, I remembered I was not alone, but with Jesus. I let my tears fall and with them, my grasping for the future.
I had left the convent only some months before, accepting that I was not called to the religious life as I had thought and planned for years. My heart was brimming over with hopes for the future and a longing for marriage that had returned almost with a vengeance. So what in the world was I doing miles away from home, in a desert-village in southern Ethiopia?
I didn’t have all of the answers but I knew He had called me to this mission, for this time. Yet, I was at a loss about what to do with this deep-heart longing. I was torn between surrender and a tantrum.
Would I ever meet anyone? What was I supposed to do with all of this aching for love?
Then I remembered some dramatically simple yet powerful words I heard from a retreat director. I was told to not be afraid of the ache and to make peace with it. In short, I was to reconcile myself with the immense longing in my heart for true intimacy and love. To the measure I could make peace with this longing, I would discover that ultimately it is the Lord alone who can satisfy—starting in this life and then fully in Heaven.
I could no longer only sit in my ache with my eyes on the future. I had to begin to live from the ache. Instead of throwing myself a pity party for not yet being married, having seemingly “lost” my religious vocation, and being far from any future dating prospect in a foreign country, I had to make a decision.
If I died today, unmarried and sourly single, I reasoned, could I say that I still gave my best to Jesus? Would I give all of myself, here and now? I decided my answer would be a “yes.” I would not let myself run ahead with daydreams but, instead, remain right where the Lord is with me in the ache.
And it was precisely in this season, as my two years in that beautiful country were coming to an end and I held onto a newfound trust in His timing for my life, that Peter showed up. As a Dominican from the U.S., meeting a German in Ethiopia was not what I had expected. But I would not change anything about the Lord’s generous providence and learning to remain with Him in the present.
// Can you perceive how His faithfulness has been with you and is with you even now, in this present moment?
// What longings is the Lord asking you to lean into and to surrender to His care?
P.S. Grab this free wallpaper for your phone or computer to remind you of your focus during this summer series (and beyond)!