My relationship with God has its ups and downs. Being born and raised Catholic, I followed the same traditions that many Fowler graduates partake in. I went to weekend masses, prayed before meals, attended religion classes throughout high school so, I thought I was all set in my spiritual life. Once I was an adult on my own, I put God last to a lot of things. I always knew God was there when I needed him and felt like my relationship with God was more personal, so I didn’t see the value in going to church every Sunday. So, I didn’t go. Life continued to get busier and my relationship with God continued to become less and less of a priority. As time went on, I got to the point where I didn’t know how to be happy with the positive things in my life. Whether it be interactions with friends, connection with my family, or a moment of clarity in my faith, I didn’t know how to be happy with all the good things happening in my life. It was as if I had built an emotional wall.
So that’s when I started my journey to find some tools that would help break down this wall. It was clear to me at this point that I needed to make some changes in order to grow my relationship with God and begin to once again find happiness. Previously to this moment I wasn’t one to attend events outside of the weekend masses that the Church had to offer on a regular basis. I figured the Holy Spirit Encounterwas a good way to begin rebuilding my relationship with God, and upon arriving to the church, I immediately felt out of place. As I sat listening to people’s testimonies, I took note of the amount of people that were in the Church. It was a powerful moment to see all the different ages in attendance, all trying to strengthen their relationship with God. This brought a sense of inspiration over me that I needed to feel. The sense of belonging put my anxiousness at ease, and I was able to truly listen with an open heart, surrendering myself to the Holy Spirit. Father Dennis asked if anyone needed physical healing of the back. I opened myself up and raised my hand. A couple weeks prior I hurt my lower back and was trying everything to relieve the pain and pressure, but nothing was working. I kept saying I feel like I just need to stretch my lower back but couldn’t. The next thing I knew with my hand raised was a small group of people surrounding me who wanted to pray over me. Standing in the middle of this group of people and I can still remember this feeling starting from the top of my shoulders to my lower back, it was the most relaxed feeling I felt in a long time. After the prayer was over, I moved around a little bit and got the biggest smile on my face with a tear in my eye because it felt like my back was stretched. I kept saying, how could my back feel this good with just standing there, the people around me responded the Holy Spirit is working. I was in complete awe and hugged each of them and thanked them as my belief reached a whole new level.
I remembered Father Dennis saying that what we think we need or want, may not be what the Holy Spirit is guiding us to. This struck me at that moment and has continued to guide me in my life. Recently my grandfather passed away, who was the rock to our family. Over the last few months our family grew closer as his health began to deteriorate. In his last week our entire family came together a couple nights prior to him passing and we all prayed out loud together. I witnessed the love from a 61-year-old marriage start to take a different form and the words “I love you” shared between a father and his children. It may be easier to hide our feelings as we may feel embarrassed or don’t know how to show them, but I was a witness to the Holy Spirit working within my family. I witnessed people communicating their love for each other, and putting their faith in the Lord, unlike any other time. This brought me joy in a time where in the past I may not have recognized it. I may have been embarrassed to pray out loud in the past, but I felt as though I was able to recognize the Holy Spirit working. I realized how important my family was and I was right where I was supposed to be, with the people I was supposed to be with, doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing.
I am able to see that attending the Holy Spirit Encounter was the beginning of my journey in repairing my relationship with God and has rejuvenated my efforts to continue to grow going forward. All these events have moved me to make more meaningful connections with other people who openly share their journey in life. These Holy Spirit Encounter nights are a time where you can come to have a peaceful time with the Holy Spirit. For those people who may be skeptical about going, it’s a great starting point to begin growing a deeper relationship with God. I know I still have a lot of work ahead of me in my relationship with God and some days are harder than others, but I remain committed to improving this aspect of life, as I know this will lead to improvement in all other aspects of my life. No matter where you are at in your journey of faith, I highly recommend you can come to next Holy Spirit Encounter at the Parish Festival , as we all can learn from one another and help each other grow.