Monday, August 16, 2010

All Praise & Honor to You, Lord Jesus Christ!

My dear reader, God has brought a wonderful man into my life.  He appears to be the answer to a lifetime of prayers!

Michael introduced himself to me through a Catholic dating site called on the very day that I began a novena to St. Joseph for the intention of finding my spouse, for I was just 9 days away from finishing my 3-Year Marian Promise.

If you recall from my previous blogs, I felt compelled by the Mother of God in 2007 to devote 3 years of my life to her Son by giving my heart only to Him.

Those 3 years were a long and lonesome time for me, for I selfishly focused on the fact that I could give my heart to no one except for God Himself.  And these years were right in the middle of a critical time of life for me.  I was ages 28, 29, 30, and 31 during the promise.

Many men who entered my life during this time soon found themselves leaving, for God did not permit any man's heart to engage completely for me.  He wanted me only for Himself.

But, as the conclusion of my promise approached, I started this novena of which I speak.  St. Joseph is a wonderful model of true masculinity, fatherhood, and selfless devotion.  This was the second novena to him that I had done this year.  I believe the first one I had completed sometime in March.

And, last Summer, I entrusted the acquisition of my little house to St. Joseph, as I prayed a novena, begging for his intercession, that I might obtain this home, if it be God's will.  And here I am now, living in it!

Michael sent me that first email on June 14, 2010.  But, since my promise wasn't over, I asked him to please wait 9 days until it was--and until my novena to St. Joseph was complete, although I did not tell him the latter.  He agreed, telling me that he was patient and would not be going anywhere.

When June 22nd finally came, God blessed me with incredible signal graces, about which I have already blogged.  I had secretly hoped that my phone would be ringing off the hook that day or that my front door would be pounded down by eligible bachelors.  But God kept me humble.  No such things happened.

The next day, when my girlfriends asked, I told them that nobody had contacted me on that special day.  But, a little voice in the back of my head gently reminded me that indeed someone had called on this first day of this new life.  It was Michael.

Yes, he was the only man that had called me on June 22, 2010.  He called in the evening, when I was blogging about the signal graces I had experienced earlier that day, and we only talked for a short bit.  We conversed both on Skype and through the regular phone.

Michael continued to call me over the next two days, but I felt no nudge yet from God.   I remember telling my band mates that I was very surprised that I did not want to date, for I had spent the last 3 years longing for the opportunity to fully engage in a new relationship.

But here I was, finished with my promise, yet distinctively aware that God was not nudging my heart in any man's direction.  Instead, I felt very compelled to give my heart to the band.  I politely explained this to Michael, turned down the first date he offered, and asked him to no longer call.  Once again, he accepted what I said, and he reminded me that he would be patient.

Almost a month passed.  My Catholic rock band was prospering with good band practices and the writing of new songs.  And, every few days, I would get a text message from Michael that usually said something like, "I prayed for you at daily Mass today.  I hope you're having a good day."

I would smile when I would receive these messages, but I usually didn't reply.  But soon I began to notice the direct correlation between Michael's prayers for me and the proliferation of the band...and my happiness in general.

A few days later, I unexpectedly received in the mail a book of prayers to St. Philomena.  My friend Kelly had sent it, since she saw on Facebook that I had a great devotion to this little 13-year-old martyr.

And so I began my first novena to St. Philomena on July 6th.  Often amid tears, I begged St. Philomena to intercede for me before the Throne of God, that my eyes and heart would open to recognize my husband -- for I had the distinct feeling that they were still closed.  Each night this took me a solid 15 minutes to pray, but oh, how I enjoyed it!

When the 9-day novena concluded on July 14th, nothing happened.  And on the next day, nothing happened.  And I turned to Heaven and cried out to Philomena, giving her my heart, telling her that my devotion to her would be relentless...that I would still promote her to all of my friends...and that I could care less if my prayer request did not come true at this time, for I understood that she (as all of the saints) are bound by the will of God, just as I am.  If He says, "No," then it is a no for all of us.

But God, in his great love, must have listened to this young little saint, praying on my behalf at the foot of His almighty throne.  Despite the big celebration that perpetually goes on as all of Heaven worships Him, He heard her small little voice.  And He responded generously to her.  Perhaps He couldn't resist doing so.  He loves his martyrs so much!

Not fully realized by me yet at this point, my novena to St. Philomena had softened my heart, and on July 16th (just three days after the conclusion of the novena and this being the Feast Day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, which is a special day to me because I wear the Brown Scapular), I did something I didn't anticipate or plan.  In fact, I did it on a whim.

I decided to text him back! 

I sent the following text message to Michael's phone:  "Ask the Holy Spirit if you should take me out on a date.  And if He says yes, so will I."

God must have said yes to Michael because three days later, on July 19th, we had our first date.  God opened my eyes and heart the moment I saw Michael, and I drove home that night with brand new feelings in my heart.  And while our second date was already scheduled to happen in the upcoming days, I awoke the next day with a distinctive desire to double-check and see if these feelings I had inside my heart were real.  So I asked if I could see him the very next day, which seemed to both surprise and delight him.

As I drove to him on July 21st, I prayed Blessed Teresa of Calcutta's "Emergency Novena" by saying the "Memorare" prayer 9 times.  I begged God to show me His will that night.  I begged Him to make it clear.  I begged Him not to give me a divided heart.  And I prayed that Michael would experience the same certainty of God's will that evening also.

That night, we had our second date -- under the stars in the night sky, while eating dinner on a pier, overlooking the water and the boats that were at the dock.  God had made the setting incredibly romantic, although neither Michael nor I were being so, yet at this time.  That night, back at his house, we prayed the Rosary together and did Night Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours.  From this, we would soon decide to put Christ in the center of our relationship, along with Mary and all the angels and saints.

Two days later, we had our third date beneath this old tree in the pasture behind my house.  Our date was a picnic I had prepared, complete with a red-and-white checkered blanket and a basket that opened up from either side.  Cheesy as I am, I surprised Michael with heart-shaped sandwiches, and he smiled from ear to ear as he ate.

We sat on that blanket (with my dog Macy by our side) until the sun set and the moon rose in its place.  With only the trees listening, I told him my life story, and he told me his.  And then we shared what was in our hearts.

And that night we became a couple.  :)

Pray for us, please, that our ears may always be attuned to God's will and that we will respond with love when He directs us to what's next.

Oh, God, how you surprise me so!