You know what they all say, ‘God has great plans for you’ or ‘let God do His will in your life’ or ‘His purpose and plans are far better than what you have in mind.’ Being a Catholic, I have heard all this one too many times, but I never believed this was a real thing. Of course, the majority believes that there is a God who has every day of our lives planned; when we should sleep and wake up, what type of person we should become, what we should study and where we should go. But, in my life, personally, I always had to question this idea because how will I ever accomplish anything if I, myself, do not have a plan of my own? But it did not take too long for God to smack me on the head and inject common sense into it. In Proverbs 3:5, it instructs us to ‘trust in the Lord with all [our] heart, and lean not on [our] own intelligence.’ This word of God came to life and became a living motto as the Lord called me to take a gap year in my studies, once I graduated from high school, and become a full-time minister for Him.
On March 14th, 2015, when Ainish aunty had told me about taking a gap year before I resumed my studies, I thought I had either choked on my saliva or had skipped a heartbeat. To this very day, I remember that I had my steering wheel steered one way, in other words, I had everything planned out. I had planned on what I wished to study, where I wanted to attend college, what I wanted to do with my life afterwards, but most importantly, I was very thrilled and looking forward to everything I had set out for. In receiving such news, I was very hesitant. Do not get me wrong, I had plans on doing full-time ministry, however, only after my studies and settling down with a family. Not too long after that, I had a short chat with our Bishop Mar Joy Alappat concerning how I should discern and make a decision. On the very same day, my mother also came to know the news, along with my sister. As we reached home, the three of us sat together and had a talk and as fools as we are, we came to a decision that we are going to turn down this option and continue with what we originally had in mind. Some of our worries included what my dad was going to say about this (he was not aware of this for about two months, by the way), how against the rest of my family members were going to be, what if I forget all the things I had previously learned and the amount of hate and persecution my parents and I would have to face. I was not ready to sacrifice all of this, so that very same night, we had made up our minds. However, looking back at it now, I bet God was upon his throne laughing at how foolish we were! Before giving Ainish aunty a definite answer, the Holy Spirit had told both, my mom and I, too pray and decide. So, we began our long two months of fasting and prayer for the discernment of His will.
After a month or so, I was starting to lean more towards on what God wanted of me rather than what I wanted for myself. Through this difficult time of discernment, His words, the Word of God, was the only thing that kept me strong and hopeful. One particular day, as I was entering into my daily prayer, I opened the Bible and my eyes laid upon a verse that struck my heart. In the gospel of Matthew chapter 6 verses 33, The Word of God reminds us to ‘seek the kingdom of God first and everything will be given to you.’ Another day, I did the same and opened the Bible, but this time I was complaining to the Lord by asking Him, ‘what if I forget all the materials I have learned in school?’ and He answered me with a verse from 2 Timothy chapter 2 verses 7 to which He replies to me saying, ‘For the Lord will give you understanding in everything!” I prayed constantly for His will to be done and nothing else. By this time I was determined that the Lord had chosen and called me do spread the good news and love for all the ones that lack it. As days and weeks went by, I received so many signs telling me that God’s way and His plan are always the best and that I should blindly obey His call. By this time, my mother and I was convinced that I should say yes to a year of ministry and then go back to studies, however, we were very afraid to tell my father. We had to take the risk and tell him. Whenever I prayed, I told Jesus how I wished for my dad to react. Even if he rejects the idea, I hoped that he may stay calm and be understanding. One Sunday night, both my mother and I broke the news and by the grace of God, everything I had prayed for happened that night. There was no remote controller flying around, any screaming or yelling. Through God’s mercy, my dad was very calm, understanding, much better than I ever imagined. I gave him a week to think and give me a definite answer. On Tuesday that week, he bluntly told me I cannot do it. I was not at all saddened because I knew this was God’s will and His will always overrule our will. So for another week, I prayed, diligently. Finally, after doing three rosaries and a Divine Mercy, I approached my dad for his final say. I specifically told him that I will obey him no matter what his answer is…if it is a no, I will take it and be obedient. He looks at me and says, “I want you to do this, from the very bottom of my heart and make sure along the way, you bring back the lost people in our community with the help of God. God is expecting a lot from you.” This time, I know my heart skipped a beat. That evening, I was astounded because I saw God’s mercy in real life through my father. One thing is for sure; Ephesians 3:20- ‘Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine.’
Today, as I sit behind my computer narrating my story, I want to leave you all with one message. We all have our own dreams, our own plans, and our own pathway, but the all-knowing God knows what’s BEST for you. In the book of Jeremiah 1:5, God tells him, ‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations and I have appointed you.’ Not everyone is meant to be a priest or a nun or even a preacher, but everyone is meant to become an evangelist; through your good works and deeds, spreading God’s love and message across. The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by His purpose and for His purpose. I have learned this as I said ‘yes’ to this year of ministry and I will forever be grateful to the Lord, for He guided me through this difficult time. Please keep me in your prayers so that I am led by the Holy Spirit Himself. God bless you all!