a long and often difficult process of personal change and development.
Out of all the different definitions of the word Journey, the one noted above stood out to me the most. A journey is not just travelling from one place to another, but also an internal journey; an emotional and spiritual odyssey. At this year’s Regional Youth Conference (RYC), I was able to continue mine.
In the months leading up to RYC, I was having an incredibly hard time with everything. School. Work. Family. Friends. Service. God. Juggling all these responsibilities and commitments was extremely difficult and I reached a very low point in my life. I was so close to giving up and in some ways, I think I did. Instead of learning to prioritize and take things on one at a time, I dropped everything. For weeks on end, I isolated myself, deciding to run from everything instead of facing my problems. I was lost.
I came to my senses when I realized that if I continued what I was doing to myself, the possibility of not graduating would become a reality. In an attempt to avoid the shame I would feel from disappointing my family, I turned my focus back to school and everything that I had been pushing away, except one, the Lord. Ironically, looking back at it now, I somehow turned my focus back on everything except the one that I should’ve started with in the first place. It had been a long road but my journey was just beginning.
RYC opened my eyes to everything that I had been missing in the past few months. In my toughest moments, when I felt like I was going nowhere, I often asked Him, “Why am I here?” Coincidentally, that was one of the questions that our session 1 speaker had asked us. “Why are we here?” We are here because we are made Heaven-bound. Heaven is where we belong. In that first session, God proved to me that I had a purpose, that I wasn’t the useless and irrelevant person I thought I was. He brought me here for a reason. Romans 8:18 tells us that our present sufferings are nothing compared to the glory that will be revealed to us in Heaven. My purpose is to get to Him. I’ve learned that in moments that I feel lost, I need not to sulk in sadness as He is my road map. He is our road map. God has written eternity in our hearts and has laid out His purpose for each and every one of us.
In my journey to heaven, of course there are crossroads. There are moments that will attempt to hinder me from reaching my destination. There exists sin and temptation. In my state of spiritual dryness and isolation, I had been in search for other things, more specifically material things, in order to be satisfied. I’ve come to realize that rest and satisfaction, I can only find in Him. I often forget that God is an extraordinary God who knows me better that I know myself and who loves me better than I love myself. Two years ago, when I chose to accept Christ into my life again, I made a covenant, a promise, with Him. As with any relationship, it is a 2-way street. God is continuously pursuing my heart, and in return, I should also continue to pursue Him.
Something different in this year’s RYC was having a journey partner. We were randomly assigned a partner and through prayer, we journeyed together. I was blessed with a beautiful sister who, coincidentally, was going through some of the same struggles. We were able to open up to each other and in our discussion, she radiated Christ. Through my journey partner, God ensured me that I was not alone; that I will never be alone. I have Him and I have brothers and sisters around me who, if I just open my mind and my heart, will continually bring Christ’s light to me.
Padre Pio once said “How unbearable is pain when suffered far from the Cross, but how sweet and bearable it becomes when it is offered close to the Cross of Jesus”. In my journey onward, I’ve learned to be more trusting as He is actively planning out my map, my adventure towards Heaven. At this point in my life, after my experiences at RYC, taking the road less traveled, continuing to love even when it’s difficult and finding comfort and peace in God’s providence is what I am called to do. The journey ahead is long, difficult and requires a lot of personal changes but, similar to when Jesus gave the disciples the great commission in Mathew 28:16-20, He is surely “with [me] always, to the very end of the age”. Knowing Him, I have nothing left to fear.
Patricia Delos Santos – East 2 Household Head | CFC-Youth Pacific Region
We are a Catholic youth organization and the youth program of CFC (Couples for Christ) whose mission is to strengthen family life and values. CFC-Youth’s mission is described in the 4 F’s (Fun, Friendship, Freedom, and Faith) and the 7 Identities, which represent a holistic approach to following Christ and striving for excellence in all areas of life.
COUPLES FOR CHRIST CANADA MISSION CENTRE
CFC-Youth Canada has 46 chapters present in seven provinces, and is one of 127 member countries of Couples For Christ Global.