THE STORY OF MY LIFE

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My name is Rebecca.  I am a 41-year-old Catholic wife to my husband Rob (age 39) and mother to our three daughters, Eden (age 18), Madison (age 10) and Alexis (age 6).  We live in the same small west coast town I was born and raised in, where the majority of my extended family also lives.  Both my parents, my grandma (my dad’s mom), two of my three sisters with their families, and my two brothers with their families all live in the same town we all grew up in (even our parents).  I have two older sisters, a younger sister, and two younger brothers.  My daughters have 8 of their 12 cousins living in this same small town with the newest addition being born on April 24, 2018.  We are truly blessed to be surrounded by so much family.  My other sister with her husband and three children just moved away at the end of August 2017, which was very sad for my daughter Madison, as her best friend is her cousin Sarah, my sister’s daughter.  They call each other frousins as they are friends who are cousins.  They were in the same class at school and were inseparable.  Their relationship is very sweet and beautiful.  Alexis also has a cousin her age, Brooklyn, and they are best friends as well.  They are in the same class together at the local Catholic school (the same school I went to).  Alexis and Brooklyn often tell each other and others they are sisters.  I watch all the cousins during family get together’s (which happen at least once a month and there are usually between 22 and 27 people at them) and what amazing memories they are going to have of growing up surrounded by family.  There are always play dates and someone to help out whenever it is needed.  Like I said we are all truly blessed.

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*Above is a  picture of my sisters and I at our annual sisters Christmas luncheon

The town we live in is beautiful, not too busy, and safe (pictured above).  It is the most beautiful place in the world to me.  The view of the mountains and the ocean from my parents’ living room window is one of God’s master pieces.  This is the same house I spent my teen years in.  I lived in 3 houses growing up before I left home at 17.  I went to the same Catholic school until grade 8.  I then attended the public junior high and high schools, graduating in 1994.

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There were a few significant spiritual events in my childhood and teen years that were small stepping-stones on my journey to spiritual union with my spouse, Jesus.  I remember as a child, before my First Holy Communion, always wanting to receive Jesus in the Eucharist.  I used to get so mad when I couldn’t and would always ask if I could!  I even, on one occasion, when I was behind my mom and dad in the communion line, received the Eucharist even though I knew I was not supposed to.  I did not know it at the time but I know it now that my soul’s desire for Jesus and my need to receive Him into myself was stronger than the fear I had of my parents.  It was worth the spanking I got from my dad afterwards because I got to receive Jesus 2 years before I was supposed to.  Oh the intense and pure love of a 5-year-old!  It is love that reigns supreme in a 5 year olds heart.  Not fear, not worry, not despair.  Just love!  And so it was in this love that I went to my Jesus that blessed day when I was 5 years old and was united for the first time (body, blood, soul and divinity) with my Jesus.  It was shortly after this encounter with Jesus that I was introduced to disordered sexual play by a boy in the neighborhood.  This was the beginning of disorder and confusion in my life.  Sin entered my life at this point and it plagued me throughout my childhood, teen years and beyond.  Stealing, lying, fighting, anger, disordered sexual play with other children, and then in the teen years came also gluttony, sloth, drinking, drugs for recreational use, sneaking out of the house in the middle of the night, and all kinds of sexual sin (everything except actual sex).

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The Lord shone His light into the darkness I had created from my own sin a few times in my teen years.  The first happened when I was 15 years old.  My family and I went to a Charismatic Conference and it was there that I, for the second time in my life, came face to face with Jesus.  Jesus came to me as a friend, a comforter, a glimmer of hope, a glimpse of light in the darkness.  Jesus intrigued me, He sparked my interest.  I knew coming out of that conference that Jesus was real, that He loved me and wanted a relationship with me.  After this conference, even though I was still living in sin I did not want to be living in sin anymore and I knew that I had a choice.  A year later my mom and I went with a group of teens and adults from our parish to World Youth Day 1993 in Denver, Colorado to see Pope John Paul II (“John Paul II, we love you!!”).  My best friend was with me and we had a blast.  My eyes were opened to the beauty of the Catholic Church and how alive and vibrant she is in our world today.  I truly saw that the Catholic Church was “one body in Christ and that we did not stand alone”.  I felt like I was home and safe inside the womb of the Catholic Church.  In Denver, my excitement and interest in Jesus, the Son of God, intensified.  The third significant event happened when I was in grade 12.  I went to a retreat and it ended up being a very powerful experience for me.  I came to experience God the Fathers tender love and mercy as He wiped away all my sins and I saw myself for the first time as He created me to be and I knew the Father saw me this way too.  I melted in His love and peace.  It was the first time I had ever experienced this Heavenly Peace.  I felt healed.  I was forgiven.  It was also at this retreat that I heard about REACH Youth Ministries, a traveling youth ministry team, and instantly God planted a seed.

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After this retreat I tried hard not to sin, although I was not very successful at it.  However, I was praying more often and would even go to the Church during the week to pray and be closer to Jesus in the tabernacle.  I always went to mass on Sundays (because, as a family, we never missed throughout my childhood and teen years), went to confession more often, continued attending youth group every week, and was even drawn to adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  During one prayer session at the Church I sang, (out loud as no one was in the church) “Here I am Lord”.  I was honestly asking Jesus if He wanted me to join REACH Youth Ministries.  In that moment I felt the call to join and serve Him in this capacity.  So after graduation I served for two years on REACH Youth Ministries, based out of Yakima, Washington.  These two years on REACH were a very large stepping stone, a huge rock, in the spiritual foundation that was being built .  During these 2 years I was immersed in Catholic doctrine, praise and worship (community worship), daily mass, frequent adoration, serving the youth through ministry, personal daily prayer, reading the bible and all the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit.  A love for the sacraments grew in me and it was on REACH where I received the gift of tongues and where the seeds of knowledge, understanding and wisdom, among other gifts, were planted.  Ultimately on REACH I became aware of the power of Holy Spirit within me, which I received in the sacrament of Confirmation, and through the awakening of the Holy Spirit within me I came to know and right away fell in love with Jesus.  I fell in love with the idea of Him, the excitement of Him, the newness of Him.  It was new love.  The seed was planted, it was there, but soon after REACH finished the seed died, as it was not planted in fertile soil, it was not planted in a soul that was secure in humility and complete abandonment to God’s will.

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I was 19 when I finished serving my two years on REACH.  Soon after moving back home with my parents I registered for University and completed my first year of university, while living at home (I completed my degree in Child and Youth Care in 2003).  It was during the second half of this year, while living at home, that I began falling into more and more sin.  Drinking, partying, and even eventually sex (which up until this point I was adamant that I was going to wait until marriage to have sex).  This is how quickly and how far we can fall into sin and disorder without the Church, without the sacraments, without community, without purpose and mission, without prayer, without solitude and silence, without the Holy Trinity.  For 10 years (until I got married) I lived in and out of serious sin, in and out of darkness, in and out of despair, anxiety and confusion.  I would go one or so years living completely in sin and away from the Church and then would get so fed up with life that I would go crawling back to the Lord, begging for forgiveness.  I would go to confession, go to mass on Sundays, and pray once in awhile.  The Lord always welcomed me back with loving arms and would teach me things to help me on my journey.  I read a lot during these times and this contributed greatly to my growth over the years Books that transformed me….  The Lord would reveal the amount of truths to me that He knew I could understand and these truths would be planted into my soul.  In more fertile soil than the last time I went crawling back to Him.  This time that I spent with the Lord would last for about one year as well.  Then slowly sin would start to creep back in and I would slowly drift away from the bosom of the Catholic Church and from the Holy Trinity.  I was stuck in this cycle for 10 years between the ages of 19 and 29.  My constant prayer during this time was, “Lord no matter how far I drift from You always draw me back to Yourself.  Please Lord I beg You do not let me be lost forever in this darkness”.  At this time in my life I was working as a Family Enhancement Counselor, which over my life I have dedicated 10 years doing.  As a Family Enhancement Counselor I worked with families who had child protection services involved.  I tried to help families heal so they could stay together or be reunified if the children were in foster care.  I also owned and operated a photography business for several years but am no longer actively doing photography as a business.  To see some of my artistic work visit. https://www.facebook.com/powellriverfamilyflarephotography/?ref=settings

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I met my husband, Rob, three months before my 29th birthday.  Little did I know, when I agreed to have coffee with him, that he and the sacrament of marriage were to be the largest stepping-stones in my spiritual foundation thus far.  Even though I still struggled with many of the same sins after marriage that I struggled with before marriage at least they were contained within the sacrament and grace of marriage.  You see Rob and I were both living disordered and sinful lives before marriage and we brought that disorder and sin into our marriage.  Our daughter, Madison, came to Rob and I in 2007 and Alexis in 2012.  Eden, (who is my biological daughter from a previous relationship), was already with us and was 7 years old when we married.  I have had several large conversions since Rob and I married on July 29, 2006, almost 12 years ago.  Each of these conversions has been an increasingly larger stepping stone in my spiritual foundation.  With each conversion came deeper transformation, deeper knowledge, understanding and wisdom, a greater love and appreciation for the Catholic Church, a greater desire for the Eucharist and Confession and a deeper union with the Holy Trinity in my own soul.  The last conversion which happened during Lent of 2018 was so powerful, life changing, soul opening, mind-blowing, and simply heavenly.  (You can read all about it in my blog).  It was during this time that the Lord told me to start this blog.  How the blog was born…

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Now I must put one foot ahead of the other and do as God wills me to do.  The ground of my soul is now fertile and all the seeds that God has planted over my life (and they are many) are starting to bloom, all the knowledge in my head is descending to my heart and transforming my soul My Descent into Heaven.  These seeds which were planted will continue to bloom and produce fruit because the Lord wills it to be so.  Because “He loves us so much that he sent His only begotten son so that we may not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16.  I must trust in God completely and abandon myself to Him completely.  And I must, most importantly, never forget that I am nothing without the Lord.  I look back at my life and know that those times when I turned away from Jesus were the times when I was most broken, most lost, most desperate and miserable.  However, it is also in my brokenness that I turned back to the Lord and He healed me, making me even more beautiful and radiant.  It is truly in our weakness that He is strong and therefore we can most definitely boast about our weaknesses.  For if we had none we would have no need for God.  Like I said I am nothing without the Lord.  All good comes from Him and so I can take no credit for any gifts that I may have and the good I may do with them.  All glory and honor belong to the Holy Trinity.  Jesus I trust in you.

May the Peace of Christ be with all my readers and in fact the whole world.  May this blog and the words contained within it lead you to Jesus.  May it be a stepping stone in your spiritual foundation.  May these words and more importantly THE WORD bring you solace in your suffering, light to your darkness, hope to your despair, peace to your anxiety, joy to your sadness, and love to a world full of war and hatred.  Amen.

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*images may be subject to copyright

The Lord called me to leave my job as a Family Enhancement Counselor in December 2017 to dedicate my life to God and His calling in my life (Declutter Your Life!! ).  To dedicate my life to my family and to this blog and the other ministries He is (Intercessors United) and will call me to.  This was a scary decision and one made in complete faith and trust in the Lord, as my husband is on permanent disability I AM and so we do not have much of an income coming in.    I trust that the Lord will take care of my family and I though.  He always has and always will.  But we must ask for what we need and so here I am asking that you pray to the Lord and see if He is calling you to donate towards this ministry.  Your support will be greatly appreciated and welcomed.  And if not financially please support me and this ministry through your prayers.  Prayers are always needed.  God Bless.

 

5 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your very honest story with us. I’m going to bookmark it and read more later. When you wrote about receiving your first Communion at age 5 you sounded as enthusiastic as St. Therese of Lisieux – love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was very beautiful when the Holy Spirit recently opened my eyes to see my 5 year old desire for the Eucharist. At the time I did not even know why I wanted to receive the Eucharist so badly but now I know. Thanks for your comment. Did you get a chance to read through it? God bless.

      Like

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