How did His Own come to be? This question is more prevalent than one might imagine. Many people know the simple answer: over two years ago three girls in Nashville hit if off, became like sisters, prayed together, shared their hearts with each other, started making some music… And with a touch of the Holy Spirit His Own was born!
But many don’t know that the beauty of His Own was also born from the ashes of our lives.
Over a year ago, something very traumatic happened in my life, which greatly challenged my trust in God and man, and nearly made me step out of ministry all together. I came out of this event wanting to leave Nashville, move back home to Louisiana, and never look back. I remember asking God, “Why did you even bring me to Nashville in the first place? Do you have any kind of plan for my life? I am trying to serve You, but is it even worth anything?”
Yet as I continued to take my questions to Jesus in the Eucharist, I kept hearing:
“Stay. Stay the course.”
I knew I needed to remain in ministry, but wasn’t sure what to do next. A new question also arose in my heart, which I began to take to the Lord:
“Jesus, where can I best serve You? Where do You actually need extra hands and feet? It doesn’t really even matter what I envisioned up until now, or what I thought my life should look like. Where is there a space for me to fill? Where can I best be of service to You?”
This question made its way to the center of my prayer, and I can honestly say I was ready (at least ready as I could be!) to do whatever He asked. Ready to move to Africa and hold baby orphans! Ready to look at getting another degree, or take a different job than ever before! Whatever God wanted. I just didn’t want to waste a moment of my time.
One night (soon before Christmas) I woke up to a very clear vision: I saw Maria, Christine and I singing together, serving together, and starting a ministry together. I saw the word His. And I saw a need.
Christine, Maria and I were in a place of singlehood (longer than we had anticipated). There was a cross that came with that state of being single and life not going exactly as we had planned, but it was a cross that we began to carry together. We began to know so much joy from embracing that cross—and embracing it particularly from within a community, a kind of sisterhood—so much so that the cross actually became sweet. And I saw that many other women were in that same boat.
I came to the girls the next day, exclaiming: “I think we need to start a ministry together. A ministry where we can sing and speak together. And I think we need to reach out to other women, especially those who are in the same state we are in, struggling with the same things.” We took some time to pray about it, discuss it further, and the took the plunge!
We didn’t really know what we were doing, but the first thing we began to see was God’s Providence all around us. People started coming out of the woodwork to help us in any way they could. So many men and women gave us precious time, support, advice, and especially believed in us. As we pressed forward we saw that this wasn’t something that came from us—it was God who was asking us to serve Him in a place where we were truly being called.
And God is calling you.
Many times we look at our lives and we don’t understand. We don’t understand why things have gone (or not gone) a certain way. We don’t understand what God is doing in our lives (we question whether or not He is doing anything at all!), and we certainly can’t see the road ahead.
I had so many plans for moving to Nashville, and not one of them involved women’s ministry. But looking back I see that my Father in Heaven was guiding my every step. He not only led me to Nashville, but He led me straight into this sisterhood that was going to bless my life and the lives of others.
Wherever you are in your own life, it may be for a very good reason. Perhaps a reason that you can’t see; but God is not finished yet. What I have also come to find is that oftentimes we go through trials and hardships that Jesus uses to shape, mold and prepare us for the call He truly has on our lives. He is the Potter, always at work, fashioning us for what’s just around the corner! And it requires trust on our part.
A very holy priest (Rev. Jacques Philippe) once told me:
“More than God wants our success, more than He wants our perfection, He simply wants our trust.”
We can look at what is before us, and only see the ashes. But let’s not forget that it is precisely ashes, which God uses to transform into beauty. And with a little trust and a little time we will come to see what He is doing. Just wait for the beauty.