(By Judi Droll, as told to Cheryl Brogla-Krupke)
“I want what you have.” Childlike, isn’t it? On the other hand, how many of us have had the same thought and never shared it? It was years before I was fully ready to accept the call of the Holy Spirit!
I was a day-care provider in my home when my children were young. One particular day a mother came to pick up her children; she stayed and wanted to talk. During the conversation, she said to me, “I want what you have.” I remember asking her what she meant. What did I have that she was drawn to?
I knew I had a strong faith that was nourished by my southern Baptist grandmother. She had taught me that all I had was God given. Was that what this young mom wanted?
Activities at St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport kept me very busy. I felt blessed to have received an invitation to join the RCIA team of which I eventually became the coordinator. The Ministry Formation Program (MFP) was a rewarding experience as well, especially since I was a convert. MFP provided a deeper understanding of my Catholic faith; I have continued to enjoy this ministry as a facilitator. Reflecting back on these experiences, I wondered if that was what the young mother wished she had. Did she see how busy I was and wanted that in her life?
The day that a friend approached me about participating in the Called and Gifted program, my response was, “I am in my mid-60s. If I don’t know what I am called to do by now, I will never know.” The Holy Spirit was about to let me know what I have and what I am to do with it!
While I was at Mass one Sunday morning, a feeling of peace enveloped me. Tears streamed down my cheeks because what I was feeling was like nothing I had ever experienced. My heart was so full of joy! God was inviting me to embrace a new way to share the gifts he had blessed me with. Through the Called and Gifted experience, I discerned what the Holy Spirit was ultimately leading me to do. It was exhilarating to realize how my faith journey had led me to this point. I was so ready to accept God’s whisper.
“Come to the Water,” a new ministry at St. Paul the Apostle that reaches out to people who have suffered a loss, is a result of a discerned charism from my Called and Gifted experience. The story about the woman at the well has always been endearing to me. My heart feels that this ministry is for those who search for the living water after losing something or someone important in their life. I am ready to accept how God will work through me for the sake of others.
I feel that God placed me at the well with the young mother who wanted what I had years ago at the day care. This young mother was really drawn to the Holy Spirit’s power, not to my life’s activities. This young mom ultimately went through RCIA and entered the Catholic Church. The Holy Spirit definitely was at work.
I recognize that the Holy Spirit was indeed with me all along my life’s journey. The Called and Gifted experience placed me where I ultimately belong in my faith journey. It has given me direction in this new ministry.
“I want what you have”! Sound childlike? Remember this: “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
(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.)