I believe in God’s love for me. Throughout the beginning of my life, I knew about it, but I never experienced it in the deep way that so many others had. I went to church sometimes and went to CCE classes. My parents told me how much they loved me every single day. The truth is, God had always loved me. I had just always been too blind to see it tap dancing in front of me.
When I started my freshman year of high school, I knew that I was actually going to have to make an effort to go to church. I really didn’t want to, but I thought I was going to have to go through those motions to get confirmed during my junior year. It’s not that I didn’t care about God. Believe me, I did. I just wasn’t very willing to sit through a boring, hour and a half long Mass to do so. But I went. I went and I learned. I began to see what I had been missing out on and I started to really begin to like my faith. It started to become impossible for me to miss Mass. At the time it was somewhat about seeing my friends, but it was starting to be about me and about God. In the spring, I found myself on a retreat with a bunch of other high-schoolers that were much like me. A speaker on the retreat named Gomer helped me understand a key point in understanding my faith: “If Jesus stopped loving you for even a second, you’d cease to exist.” Gomer’s words spoke to me in the most beautiful way. I realized that I was a beautiful person who was still struggling to find the right path. I realized that I was a lover, not a hater. My goal when I got home was to love more. I thought I was, but I didn’t even realize how far I had to keep going until that summer.
That summer, God revealed his love for me in an even greater way. I was at a Catholic youth conference called Steubenville on the Bayou with my church. At some point in the weekend, they asked everyone to take the time to go to confession. They brought in thirty priests and the line always had at least a hundred people in it. After I got in and listed off my sins to my priest, and told my priest that I had a problem judging people too quickly, he made a statement that changed my life. He said, “First Corinthians 13:13 says, ‘Of faith, hope, and love these three remain. But the greatest of these is love.’ Ask God to help you love yourself more so that you may love others as well.” That verse became the theme and I recited it to myself a lot that weekend. Today it’s monogrammed on my letter jacket to remind me of how far I’ve come and how I can still go farther. But I wasn’t there yet. I still needed to go deeper.
By a point in my sophomore year, I figured out that I was a living example of God’s love. No matter what someone said to me, I couldn’t bring myself to hate them. I had to love them. I couldn’t help but to forgive them and keep loving them. For a while I thought it was abnormal. It took me a ways to realize that it was abnormal, but that it was the good kind of abnormal. I realized that it was the kind of abnormal every else wishes they had. I realized that it was the greatest gift I could possibly receive. People got intimidated by my love, but it was okay. God knew that it would cause more good than harm. I don’t pretend that I’ve never made mistakes, because I know I’ve made plenty. I make them every single day. But love helps me to deal with them. It helps me to know that I have to love even more in an apology. I must fix the wrong that I caused with love.
God’s love had made me the person I am now and the person I always want to be. When I started freshman year, I wasn’t sure where I fit in or who I was. Now, halfway through high school, I know a lot more about myself. I’m not crazy; I’m just a hardcore, Jesus-loving Catholic girl. I’m bubbly and I’m full of energy. I’m the girl that will do anything for anyone at any time. I’m the girl who will do whatever it takes to brighten someone’s day. Although no one is God’s gift to mankind (except Jesus), I have come to the conclusion that we are all God’s gift to each other. We each hold a special place in someone’s heart and everyone has a quality that we wish we had more of. God has taught me that love matters. It makes a difference. Knowing how important it is, it makes me want to share God’s love with every ounce of soul that I possess. I want people to know God’s love for them by showing them my love for them.
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