About five years ago, after a period of difficulty in my life, a friend introduced me to “Aunt Nellie”. We didn’t’ meet in person to begin with. We started out as “Facebook friends” and gradually became closer and even started talking on the phone sharing our lives and encouraging each other in our faith. At the time I had two high schoolers at home and she was a retired living in the northern part of the country. On a daily basis she enjoys beautiful scenery and a nice quiet life with her husband and two cute cats. Little did I know how she would inspire my faith and help me to feel connected as her friend and in our faith in Christ.
Finding Faith After Hard Times
Being Catholic is a true gift from God, but we all have those times through life where we feel alone and misunderstood. It has happened to me, and I’m glad my friend Nellie helped me to have confidence in myself after going through a period of desolation. I would learn that her faith journey was truly miraculous, and she has given me more reason to believe in the power of the Holy Spirit and in prayer.
I would learn after many phone conversations and communication that the bright smile and laugh I heard over the phone were the workings of Jesus in the heart of my friend Nellie. She shared some of her journey with me which I will share. She was raised in a devout Catholic home, but her faith was challenged from a young age. When she went off to college, and after finishing school she felt “depressed and insecure”. She moved far away from home and began teaching. She married, but after a certain amount of years divorced once she had discovered her husband was an alcoholic. After this divorce she said, “It was at that point that my life spiraled out of control. I felt worthless, terrified and unlovable”.
Finding Jesus and Deeper Faith
Years passed and there were many ups and downs of faith for Nellie. She did “find faith” and the Lord took her on a road she would not have expected. After the divorce and rebuilding of her life, she met her second husband and they were married. Her first marriage was also annulled which gave her great peace in following the Church’s teachings on the matter.
She had seen an ad in a church bulletin and said the following on what happened, “When I saw an ad in the bulletin for a “prayer meeting”, I thought that people got together and prayed for the sick of parish or something.” She showed up for the meeting and encountered a man praying in tongues. After witnessing what was happening in this prayer meeting and with the man praying in tongues, she felt afraid since she had never witnessed this type of praying. An interior voice told her, “I deserve this”. She felt these words were coming from Jesus telling her that he deserves her love and praise in this way through this type of worship. Although she was reluctant at in the beginning, she couldn’t stay away from these prayer meetings after that first initial experience. God’s love was starting to pour into her heart from these experiences.
This was the beginning for Nellie in learning about the charismatic movement which would later become part of her spirituality even to this day. She stuck with the group and later found a deeper relationship with Christ. “Jesus blessed me unimaginably by sharing His Spirit with me”. Nellie’s deep faith in Christ has made an impact on my life too, and many others.
Living in the Spirit
Despite many ups and down of life, this initial “conversion” with Jesus Christ during the difficulties of Nellie’s life has continued to keep her close to the Lord every day. Even with troubles she encountered in later years, that initial “conversion” of faith kept her going with a smile on her face. She even went though a second divorce, in mid-life but she said, “my husband called and said he felt he made a mistake a wanted me to return”. The two reconciled. Since that time, she lives a life of prayer, sacrifice and love of Jesus and of the Church. In addition to her experience with the charismatic prayer movement, she later consecrated her heart and life to the Blessed Mother which was a “major turning point” in her faith-life. All these experiences with Christ’s love has made her the strong and faithful woman she is today.
Being Thankful for Friends
I am so very thankful for my friend Nellie and the inspiration she has had in my life. Its nice to know that two friends who live far away can enjoy a caring phone call, a sweet birthday gift or a kind unexpected card in the mail. I’m so blessed. After countless phone calls over a four-year period, we finally met in person this past year. It was a time of celebration and of love. Always be thankful for the ways God brings people into your life. I’m so thankful for Nellie and for her incredible experience of living faith. For anyone who may ever doubt the love of God, think of my friend Nellie and her journey. Despite difficulties, she is a woman of happiness, love and of the Holy Spirit of Jesus!