Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62 or 13:41c-62
Jesus spoke to them again saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12
When Jim and I got married we agreed to stay in Oregon for 10 years so that our kids could grow up knowing my parents and family. My dad was the same age as Jim’s Grandma! His parents were only in their early 40’s and worked full time, and my parents were retired and had lots of time for us, so it seemed like a great plan! We knew we would eventually move to California so Jim could take over his Dad’s business, but unfortunately for me my father-in-law wasn’t willing to wait 10 years. When our first son was 1 week old, his father said to him "I have an opening and I want you to fill it. If you don’t come now, you will never work for me."
Relocating to California was really hard for me. I was now a 10 hour drive away from my parents, I didn’t know anyone in the city we had moved to, I was a very new mother with a month old baby, and my husband’s family all worked, so there was no one to go to hang out with when I was lonely. I was terribly homesick and realized that my life wasn’t unfolding as I had hoped … sometimes I felt like I was floundering and was going to drown.
One day that heaviness in my spirit overwhelmed me and I felt like I was falling into a deep, dark pit and would never be able to get out. I fell to my knees and cried out to God to help me. Immediately the phone rang and someone asked for prayer. I hung up the phone and started praying for that person. A few minutes later the phone rang again–this time someone needed prayers because of a terrible accident. I knelt back down and started praying for this family and all of a sudden I realized that I wasn’t falling into the dark pit anymore.
What I learned that day was that I can get too focused on my own problems, and when that happens, I need to put myself and my problems in God’s hands and then go help someone else. God can always use us to be a blessing to another, and in so doing, we end up getting blessed ourselves. There are times when we need to seek professional help if our depression is too much for us to handle on our own, but other times like in my experience that day, we just need to look up and look out and let the light of the Lord dispel our darkness.
Janice Carleton and her husband Jim live in Portland, OR and partner with Passionist Fr. Cedric Pisegna in Fr. Cedric Ministries. Janice also leads women’s retreats. She is the mother of 4 grown children and grandmother of 6. Visit Janice’s website at http://www.jcarleton.com/ or email her at [email protected]