Happy World Missions Sunday!
I'm not sure if you heard the news through the great grape vine that is South Louisiana, but I have returned home from the mission in the Philippines a few months ago.
Missions was INCREDIBLE and the Lord just rocked my face off to an extent I never thought possible and now I have a totally new face. It's great.
This story begins with "Desert Day" at the end of May. Each week my team and I would pray for 2 hours alone out in nature and during my prayer time I was reading "Come Be My Light" by Mother Teresa.
Everything was going so great so far in missions and nothing "hard" had happened yet... so in all my great wisdom I decided to ask the Lord for a test (mistake #1, NEVER ask the Lord for a test).
Well, it was like the sky got dark and I immediately felt the spirit of joy leave me. I opened the Bible and it said something along the lines of, "and the Lord gives her a test of self-control and will not be with her for some time."
I knew I would be experiencing a time of desolation and I stayed committed in prayer and persevered through the difficult time in the desert.
Temptations were REAL and I did fall into sin with a friend on the Island and I immediately knew in my heart that I was pregnant.
I went to the Sacrament of Confession and then I went back to my little hut to have a feisty conversation with Jesus.
I actually told Jesus to tell me if I was pregnant... well I opened the Bible and it said, "Go home and prepare a place." HA!
I slammed it shut and said no.
What I really meant to say is tell me that I am not pregnant, Jesus. I opened the Bible again and it said, "...and John the Baptist leapt in Elizabeth's womb as Mary greeted her." WOAH
(If you don't think the Lord speaks to us through scriptures, think again my friends!)
I knew in my heart that I was pregnant, but I didn't tell anyone because I felt like dirt and trash. I mean, I was a Catholic missionary for crying out loud.
I felt completely alone and abandoned by the Lord. I didn't have any spiritual direction or a consistent confessor to give me guidance and Jesus wasn't speaking to me...I was afraid.
(Desolation is real, but the best thing to do is to stay committed to prayer and persevere!)
A month went by and I still had not taken a pregnancy test, but I knew that I was pregnant. At the end of June all of the missionaries in Asia went on retreat together in the Philippines. There was a missionary family in the U.S. that came lead the retreat for all of us and it was such an incredible retreat! Each session really convicted me and one of the talks was about some people that betrayed Jesus. I immediately flashed back to my prayer time on the beach when I asked Jesus for a test and I realized that Jesus never left me - I left Jesus. In my pride I was cocky, it was almost if I freely choose to enter into desolation. I betrayed Jesus.
While the missionary was giving this talk, I felt like I should share my whole story with her because what if I really was pregnant. So I went to pray and I asked Jesus to make it very clear if I should share my whole month of desolation with her. During my prayer time I opened the Bible and the reading was 'The Samaritan Woman at the Well' (if you know scripture, feel free to laugh) and my first reaction to the title was lip quivering weeping.
I already knew what Jesus was going to say.
He said, "Breana, you keep going to all this water and nothing satisfies...because I AM the ONLY ONE that satisfies." Then He hit me with the doozie, "and you DO NOT have a husband."
(yeah...He's a good and convicting Father.) I was trying to satiate my thirst for God with people of this world, when really only the pure and good and unconditional love of God can satisfy that thirst. It is agape love that I desire, but it was eros love that the devil tricked me with.
I shared this whole story, while hysterically crying out of shame and fear of being hated and abandoned, with the missionary and in all her Marian mercy she said to me, "Breana, I love you and I forgive you and the Lord has forgiven you. You are not dirt. You are not trash. We share flesh with the prostitutes and the greatest sinners...and I share flesh with you. Do you think that I'm dirt? Do you think that I'm trash?" I was like, HECK NOOO. you are so holy! But what a scandal I have caused! Then she says, "Breana, the Cross was a scandal! This sin does not define you. Sin does not define us! We are all human and we all make mistakes! You can be Saint TODAY. If you are pregnant, your baby can be a Saint!" (this is a small summary of what she said, I feel like we talked for hours)
She stood by me through this entire journey and was Christ to me.
Then she came with me to buy a pregnancy test...
We prayed and then I took the test and then we prayed and looked at it... and it was positive. We prayed again and I began weeping because it was not fair! It is not fair that there are so many women throughout the world who are in beautiful marriages that cannot get pregnant. It is not fair the women in China are forced to have abortions because their government tells them that they can only have one child. It is not fair. I wanted to get married and have a big beautiful super Catholic missionary family. It's not fair that one mistake could change everything! This was not my plan! Then to top it all of, this beautiful woman who was with me and the only one who knew what was happening when it was happening has been struggling to get pregnant for years. It is absolutely unfair that this holy woman of God can't get pregnant and now this single sinner is.
(fast forward to a few weeks ago, this missionary woman is now miraculously pregnant! PRAISE THE LORD! Please pray for her and for her health and the health of the baby!)
She then tells me, "Breana, this baby is innocent life and you can no longer have any shame or fear or regret because none of that is from God. You have to love this baby. Use this suffering you feel to pray for women who cannot get pregnant, pray for women who are forced to have abortions!"
After I calmed down and realized that I really knew I had been pregnant since the moment I fell into sin, I walked to the Chapel. As I was walking to the tabernacle I felt all of these waves of emotion flash by me... my family will be disappointed in me, where will I be welcomed in church, my Catholic community will disown me, my friends and family will abandon me, everyone will gossip and judge me, what a great suffering I have caused my family and this baby.
Then I knelt down and looked at Jesus and I had this immense feeling of peace. I felt the Lord say to me, "I am enough. I am enough for you, Breana. You have to love Me more than you love your family, you have to love Me more than you love your baby, you have to love Me more than you love your future spouse. I have to be enough for you if people gossip or hate you or persecute you. I have to be enough."
Later in prayer I received three readings about obedience, truth, and trust. To be obedient to God, to the mission, and to my parents; to believe the truth that I am not dirt and I am not trash - I am redeemed; and to trust that God still has a place prepared for me in Heaven. I applied and believed these three things and everything has gone so smoothly! I know I am riding on supernatural grace from God!
After taking the test and spending some time in prayer, I had to tell all of the missionaries and my family and friends this whole story. Praise God that everyone received this well and they all still love me and most importantly, they love this baby and they pray daily for me and the baby!
Of course the missionaries responded with such merciful forgiving love because they are Christians - little Christ's. Even though I am not a full time missionary with Family Missions Company, they are still my family. I love each of them dearly and I'm still in contact with all of the missionaries in the field and the missionaries in training! (I can't wait to see them when they return to the States to visit!)
God has shown me His GREAT and UNFATHOMABLE mercy in all of this.
Everything has been so BEAUTIFUL. God is so so so so so good. Being able to humble myself in sharing my sin and share this story of mercy with anyone and everyone has been so healing and such a beating on the devil! The devil can't steal my joy!
I know that I am human and everyone is human and we will all make mistakes.
What was done in the darkness, I'm bringing to the light.
So darkness cannot take this story of God's Glory!
Can you believe God has known this baby since the beginning of time?!?
If I wouldn't have made this mistake, I wouldn't have this specific baby that God has destined for me to have since the beginning of time!
Through the sacrament of confession God gives us new life and He did that very literally for me. I know He would not have made His mercy so obvious if He didn't want me to share it.
I am not ashamed, I am not afraid, I am not guilty and neither are my family and friends!
God has saved me from my sin and BLESSED me with new life!!
As Fr. Andre said so well, people will gossip, but it's their sin - not mine. We all sin and especially as a woman in South Louisiana, I know that we can all fall prey to gossip. This life changing experience has completely eradicated the desire to gossip from my life, praise God.
You really have no idea what people are going through or their whole story, so just say no to gossip!
Sharing this miracle is now the mission the Lord has called me to!
Before I returned home from missions, the whole Asia retreat went to mass at the Monastery in the Philippines. After I received the Eucharist, knowing for a fact that I was pregnant, I had a beautiful vision. In the vision I was in a huge crowd watching Jesus walk down a dirt road. I pushed through the crowd while holding my baby and I crawled to the feet of Jesus and kissed his feet. He looked down at me with perfect eyes of pure love. Then the vision immediately changed to an angel holding the baby's hand and taking them to heaven and I was holding the baby's hand. Through this image I discerned that it meant through this child I will gain Salvation. What a more beautiful sacrifice than the vocation of a mother?! I really don't know what that means yet, but I am about to learn!
If you made it to the end of this post, I commend you.
Please pray for the baby and my family and especially for the father of the baby and his family (they live in the Philippines and we have remained friends, praise the Lord.)
This baby is a beautiful precious miracle and I thank God everyday that He has chosen me to tell His story of His great mercy and life!
If you have any questions or comments or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me! I'd love to talk with you and pray with you.
I still love missions and I am a huge supporter of missions! I wanted all my benefactors to know that all of the money raised will continue to be used to support the mission on Camiguin Island in the Philippines and all of the FMC missionaries throughout the world!! Thank you for your generosity and support and please continue to pray for the mission in Camiguin and for all of the missionaries in Family Missions Company!
Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” - John 4