Trusting in God’s Promises

By Angela Postage

I think oftentimes the most difficult thing in the Christian life is not necessarily prayer, zeal, or discipleship—it’s trust. Trust that our worries will be taken care of, prayers answered, and that He will provide in His time, not our own; trust that God is a promise keeper. The personal doubts I have were not made clear until this past spring semester of my sophomore year of college. It was as if suddenly I was always anxious about tomorrow, stressed about the to-do list I make up in my head, and worried that I was just “too much” for God to handle. In prayer, I was no longer simply thanking Him and asking for intercession for my personal prayers, but also asking Him to put trust in my heart. 

That semester, I began to dive deep and truly develop a personal prayer life. I prayed especially hard for a certain special intention—it was at the forefront of all my prayers. I started spending at least 30 minutes in adoration every day, reading scripture and consecrating myself to different Saints, specifically Saint Joseph and Saint Michael the Archangel. It was after I completed my Saint Joseph consecration— on his Solemnity—that my trust in God began to waver. I began receiving signs from Him about my intention that I did not understand and that I could not comprehend on my own. I knew He was speaking to me, and deep down, I knew that I was His beloved daughter and He had always taken care of me, but doubts still filled my mind. I started asking Mary, Saint Joseph, and Saint Thérèse of Lisieux for aid in understanding what exactly God was speaking to me. I also asked God to speak to me through the different passages of scripture I read every night.

However, during this time, I was always on edge throughout the day. I was seeking out anything and everything that could be a possible answer to what God was telling me. I would go into prayer hopeful and excited just to come out frustrated, let down, angry, and most of the time, in tears. After prayer every night, I would no longer want to pray the next day. I felt worthless, hopeless, abandoned, and like I was just a pawn in a game. I felt as if God was the game player—and I was the game. 

I was not doubting God was speaking to me, I was doubting what He was speaking to me. I was not turning to these saints to spite God— I was simply seeking their intercession for a clearer understanding and someone to lean on in my confusion and hurt. Because here is the thing—when the Word of God is spoken to you through signs, dreams, or people, you want to make sure you get it right. We are human, flawed by our nature from the Fall, which means our interpretations can also be flawed. Since I recognized that, I also saw that with the help of those that are closest to God who have been made perfect in heaven and by the Holy Spirit, I could better understand what God was speaking to me.

One significant takeaway I had from this spiritual battle is that developing a personal prayer life is key to growing in trust. I myself did not understand the impact of personal prayer until I made a daily commitment to it. Create your own flow, start small, and stick to it every day. Next, pray through the intercession of specific saints, grow closer to them, and do not be afraid to share any worries or feelings of uncertainty with them. 

“The cross is the gift God gives to His friends.”

Saint Philip Neri

The closer we are to God, the more trials we face—the saints faced them more than anyone, so be vulnerable to them. Finally, look in scripture. I promise there is a verse describing God’s involvement in every fear, panic, or unease that you have in life somewhere in scripture. 

Here are just a few examples of applicable Scripture verses to start…

Anxiety: Philippians 4:6, Romans 15:13, 1 Peter 5:7, …
Fear: Isaiah 43:1, Psalm 118:6, Luke 14:27, …
Death: John 11:25-26, Romans 14:8, Proverbs 14:32, …
Loneliness: Deuteronomy 31:8, Joshua 1:9, Matthew 28:20, …

It was not until after I finally fully trusted God with my intention that everything unfolded. I knew exactly what He was speaking to me and it surpassed all my own interpretations I made up by myself. I felt refreshed, relieved, and as if I were made new. You know the feeling you get after you leave a good and heartfelt confession? That describes it. I felt as if I had come out of hiding from God, that somehow before I was ashamed to stand before Him with my intention. I learned not only that there is no reason not to trust God and be vulnerable with Him from my experience, but also that what He has planned is so much better than what we have planned for ourselves in life. 

This is to show that He is indeed a promise keeper and that it is okay to struggle with trust. Moses struggled when he saw the burning bush and even after the Exodus in the wilderness. Even after he was made the rock of the Church and had been a follower of Jesus, Peter doubted. Thomas had to touch Christ’s wounds to believe. All of them wrestled to fully and completely believe. All you need is faith the size of a mustard seed. And if you have more faith than that and think you have a good, strong relationship with Jesus, I challenge you: Ask yourself this question I heard on a podcast the other day that stopped me in my tracks: Are you willing to give everything?

Patience with Your Personal Journey

By Angela Postage

My sophomore year of high school, I joined a group of high school Catholic teens within my diocese called the Diocesan Youth Council for the diocese of Columbus. I was both extremely nervous to meet new people and also embarrassed about where I was in my personal relationship with Jesus.

However, my first weekend with the group was amazing and eye opening in so many ways—I met fantastic life-long friends and had a really fun time. But the weekend also brought something new to light for me: there is a lot about my faith I didn’t know, and there were a lot of people who are much deeper in the faith than I was. I felt ashamed about many things, which I realize in retrospect were were out of my control, such as how I didn’t attend a Catholic school, or how I didn’t know what Lectio Divina was.

This shame within me grew bigger as the year went on and I held it all in. I continued to compare myself to those on the council with me and bashed myself for not being “more Catholic,” for not having ever attended a Christian summer camp, for not having a personal prayer life.

Then, I had the opportunity to attend the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) in November that same year. This time, I entered into the event with a new approach: I tried to stop judging myself about my relationship with Jesus. As a result, my heart and mind were open to experience a very life-changing encounter with Jesus in adoration and to hear and be impacted by the messages of fantastic speakers and witnesses.

I left the conference feeling like I could go through the streets of my hometown screaming about how good Jesus is and how everyone should experience His love and mercy. But, as most young adults know, this feeling after attending a conference is temporary and is often hard to keep ahold of. We tend to be thrown back into reality and crawl back into ourselves and go back to the way we acted before.

So, my battle within myself continued through the rest of my sophomore year. Joyful moments were rare, I could easily fake happiness so no one ever asked questions, and I put the facade of an ever joyful Christian teen girl on my face at all times. Then, the summer of 2018, at the end of my sophomore year, I had finally had enough. I remember looking at my best friend at the beginning of summer and venting to her about all of the sadness, struggles, and insecurities that I had been battling all year.

Soon after, the Holy Spirit lit a fire within me, telling me that God’s plan for me was bigger than this year and the struggles I had been going through, and that God has given us the free will to choose how we react to obstacles in life. I realized I had a choice: I could continue to feel bad for myself and compare myself to those around me and their faith journeys or I could spend this summer to work on myself and choose to be more joyful and spend more time deepening my personal faith journey.

I am not going to sugar-coat it and say that after that summer I became a super charismatic witness or never dealt with moments of shame or insecurity again. That did not happen—I definitely still have struggles and each one comes with different obstacles to overcome and some are a lot harder than others.

But I will say this: each time you turn to Jesus after a hard time, it starts to become a habit and, eventually, you won’t ever want to turn away from Jesus. I also learned that comparing your faith journey with others’ is not realistic or constructive. Jesus views each and every one of us as individuals and doesn’t look at our journeys side-by-side, but one at a time.

In His eyes, there is no judgement, no race to the finish line to see who can get the closest to Him. The true competition is between your past self and your present self— you are called to examine how much you’ve grown, and if you haven’t, to determine what needs to change.

Everything happens for a reason and you can’t grow as a person without going through struggles that will strengthen your faith. David had to face Goliath before he became King, and God was there the whole time, guiding David through his battles. He does the same for us, through the highs and lows in life. Remember this in the struggles and hardships you face, and rejoice in the peace He offers us in His ever-abiding presence.