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  My Witness

Vol. 6, No. 2, April, 2001

My Story of Christ in Me
By Maureen Nash

My Story of Christ in Me "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love" (John 15:9).

Jesus has always been a part of my life, thanks to my parents, grandparents, church, school and the list goes on. Ten commandments had been given to me by God to live by; a church that taught me how to live in accord with his ways; parents, teachers and a government to teach, enforce, punish and reward me. This God with all his laws loved me, I was told, loved me so much that he gave up his only Son so that I could have eternal life. What I didn't know was that Jesus Christ had come to set me free. How I acted, I thought, was entirely up to me.

Most of my activities were carefully supervised and well guided right up through high school, so I had little opportunity to test my spiritual and moral strength against the temptations of the world. Because, I was not without sin, weekly confession was a must. Then I fell in love and met the biggest temptation of my 18 years. Realizing my need for help, I sought help in the confessional, and what I experienced there was rejection and condemnation. I walked away from the church. From now on it was going to be just God and me.

In college, I had my share of problems: physical, emotional, and financial, but I always seemed to bounce back. My family and friends never stopped supporting me and loving me. When my father died suddenly, I came head on again with God, church, laws, responsibility, and accountability. Anger surged within me at God, myself and my father. Because I was able to fill my life with a growing career, helping family and friends whenever needed, continuing my education and traveling, I had no idea how miserable I really was. Determined to avoid love relationships, I was successful until my first love came back into my life.

Leaving job, family and friends, I moved from New Hampshire to Colorado, and married him. I found a good job and he was doing well in his business. Happiness was ours even though I was very lonesome for home and was not physically well. Two years in a row, I had major surgery which left me unable to have children. The home of my dreams became a reality and I quit my job to work with Jon in his business. At last I thought, "we have attained financial security and I feel healthy. How wonderful! This is success and happiness, right?"

Years of repressed emotions came up from within me and stuck in my throat. Only liquor could relax the ache. I was frantic and fearful of everything and began gasping for air by hyperventilating. Of course, smoking two packs of cigarettes a day didn't help that urge for a deep breath. My self-confidence was lost, and I became jealous, nagging and critical of everything and everyone. My wonderful home became a dark and gloomy tomb and at work I could barely function. I couldn't drive except to get liquor or cigarettes and cried frequently for no apparent reason. My doctor referred me to a psychiatrist whom I didn't hesitate to see. After two years of searching, with his guidance, I discovered that I had lost myself when I turned away from God in the church. There is no "just God and me" I learned. The church is so very important, I found out. God had given me a loving, nurturing community, the church, with scripture and the sacraments for help, support, healing.

When I returned to the church and the sacraments, God clearly revealed himself to me through the words of his priest in my parish and through an emptiness within me that was yet to be filled. A parish bulletin led me to the Catholic Evangelization Training School, where; learned that Jesus and only Jesus could fill my void with true and everlasting joy. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I was able to forgive myself and others for past hurts, let go of past resentments, and begin to take life day by day, living in the present moment in the hands of Jesus.

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