By Cheryl Brogla-Krupke
O God, you Search Me … “and you know me … You discern my purpose from afar … Still, I search for shelter from your light … even the darkness is radiant in your sight.”
The lyrics from the hymn “O God, You Search Me” by Bernadette Farrell are a reminder to me of all those years when I avoided recognizing moments of grace! What patience God has! He waited many years to see his gifts come to fruition!
Two years ago, I began a journey that has opened a new world to me. I enrolled in the Called and Gifted class at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Bettendorf. The conversations, discernment of gifts, or charisms, and camaraderie have opened an entirely new way of perceiving my journey! God allowed me to recognize, with the help of my fellow classmates and class leader Jim Connell, the God-given gifts or charisms that help me do his work here on earth! I had failed to use them to their fullest in the past. For the duration of the class, the labels given to the charisms were simply that! Labels! And then … oh, my gosh! The Holy Spirit gave to me a light in my heart, which I have never felt, a purpose for my life that I have never known, and the best part: the courage to use those gifts that I have had all my life! I just hadn’t stepped out of my comfort zone in order to follow God’s plan!
“… even the darkness is radiant in your sight.”
I am not a timid person, but before Called and Gifted, I was worried about what someone would think of me if I shared what I was thinking! I felt that my experiences of a loss of a baby, a cancer diagnosis, and a failed marriage were so much a part of my identity that I allowed those life’s happenings to define who I was!
“… there is nowhere on earth I can escape you.”
Retirement from teaching after nearly 40 years was also an adjustment, my family members having their own lives and not really needing “Grandma” 24/7, and the loss of my Mom left me somewhat lost. I felt a genuine void in my life! Now, I am able to look at my days with joy when I meet people who I feel have been placed in my life for a reason — opportunities that, in the past, I would not have given a second thought to their worth! I choose to look at the possibilities God has placed before me in order that I might use my gifts. Before Called and Gifted, an ordinary day, was just that, an ordinary day!
…“for the wonder of who I am, I praise you.”
I recognize that the Holy Spirit has now given to me a light to my day, a purpose to my life, and energy to carry his holy will out for others.
My visits to the Kahl Home and interaction with the residents, weekly prayer group, the diocesan Ministry Formation Program, the music ministry at Our Lady of the River Parish in LeClaire, and talking with those I meet during a day’s time — even in the grocery store line — it is in these experiences that I try and look for God in every person and opportunity. He is there and always has been! Called and Gifted gave to me the eyes to see all of this!
“O God, You Search Me!” And Lord, it took almost 60 years for me to recognize your call!
(For information about beginning a Called and Gifted program in your parish, please contact Nikki Gartner at jngartner@ aol.com or call (563) 370-3360.)