I thought I had my life in pretty good order. I had received my Associates of Science degree at a community college and was transferring to a university to get a Bachelor's which I would be able to obtain in 2 years. I had a great part-time job at an elementary school for their after-school program. Once I finished school I would begin teaching in a local preschool. I was looking for Mr. Perfect so I could get married and start my own family. The problem was Mr. Perfect was nowhere in sight and I was becoming very frustrated. One Thursday night at the university's Newman Center (Catholic Campus Ministry), after their weekly 8pm Mass, we began to sing this song "Everything that I am, everything I long to be, I lay it down, at your feet" (Lay It Down by Matt Maher). A sense of surrender came over me and I wanted to give everything to God. I was tired of seeking my own will and being disappointed when my expectations weren't met.
The following year I decided to go on a "dating fast", which meant spending the year NOT looking for a boyfriend or constantly browsing Pinterest for future wedding ideas, children's names, etc. I was going to concentrate on developing my relationship with Jesus, and spend time in prayer asking God what He had planned for my life. Throughout that year God revealed my calling to the religious life. It was hard to accept at first because that meant I had to give up my dreams of being a wife and mom. But the more I prayed about it and understood what religious life really is, I was filled with joy! God has chosen me to be His! I began to see the desires He placed in my heart and I realized they could only be fulfilled through life as a religious sister.
I became overwhelmed when I began searching for the community to join. There are so many out there and I didn't know where to begin. Three Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist visited the Newman Center and they shared that their apostolate is teaching. I understood then that God gave me a love for children and teaching because He was calling me to join that Dominican order. This decision was further confirmed when I visited them for a retreat. As soon as I had arrived at their convent I was overcome with a sense of peace and a feeling that this was "home".
When I wanted to stop seeking my own plans and do what God was calling me to do, it took a lot of humility and trust. Day to day He calls me to do things I would rather not do like love my roommate who doesn't do the dishes or have patience with a kid at work who refuses to do his homework. It's when I say "yes" to these little things, that saying "yes" to the big things, like giving up everything to join the convent, becomes easier.
There is someone who can completely understand this surrender and that is our Blessed Mother Mary. "May it be done to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38). Her "yes" brought the Son of God into the world. I ask for her help everyday especially in times of doubt or uncertainty. She reminds me that I am a beloved daughter of God and He loves me as I am. So it is not surprising that God would lead me to an Order of Dominican Sisters whose motto is to Jesus through Mary.
- Sister Jamie
Perhaps, when you hear God calling, you do not realize how much He wants to bestow upon you. By proposing to you His own will, He desires to free you from all your wounds, disappointments, and difficulties, which are the result of seeking your own will. When you agree to let go of the steering wheel of your life and hand it over to a Father who loves you, then you will be freed from many fears and stress, as well as from the torment of responsibility, which flows from the faith you have in yourself. God does not want you to be so tormented. He desires to lift this weight from your shoulders and replace it with the sweet burden of His will. You only have to surrender to Him, and He will lead you. (S.C. Biela, Open Wide the Door to Christ, [Ft.Collins, CO: IAMF, 2005], 150.)