(By Ellen Bentley as told to Cheryl Brogla-Krupke.)
It’s not about me.
Writing about my journey, and then telling you that it isn’t about me seems contradictory. Please allow me to share how Called and Gifted has been instrumental in making my life not about me, but about God, who is in me.
I was raised a Catholic but after getting married I did not practice my Catholic faith for many years. We raised our children Lutheran; however, I did attend Mass with my mom and would place my anonymous donation in the basket. That was the sum of my involvement in the church. I had an empty feeling inside and yet felt restless. This feeling of unrest was simply the beginning of a spirit-filled journey!
The most precious things happen when we least expect them. I distinctly remember hearing these words, “My dear child, I love you and I will take care of you as I always have. All I ever wanted from you was your love.” This divine moment inspired a total change of heart in me. Love, trust and a complete commitment to God was my “yes” to the Holy Spirit and my trust in him to use me for God’s glory.
I often feel God’s gentle nudge of encouragement. Reflecting on this feeling, I recall an experience when I was a teen working as an aide at the hospital. A Code Blue was issued and everyone was required to respond. Seeing a family standing in the doorway, I felt drawn to reach out and pray with them. I was only a teenager and yet the gift of the Holy Spirit was placed on my heart for this family. That faith-filled moment left an imprint on my heart and deepened my relationship with God. God is constantly calling me to use my gifts of service, healing and helps. God isn’t done with me yet.
In the last few years, I have been a part of the Called and Gifted experience. How enlightening to become aware of how the Holy Spirit constantly calls us and waits patiently for us to use our gifts. Reflecting on missed opportunities, now I see how God keeps me alert to grace-filled moments! When I prayed the part of the Confiteor, “… what I have done, and what I have failed to do,” I used to worry about the times that I missed special moments God had placed before me. Giving my trust to the Holy Spirit and through the gift of wisdom, I feel a comfort in knowing when my gifts are needed for someone.
It isn’t about me at all.
My discerned gifts of mercy, healing, encouragement and helps are placed on my heart for others in my vocation as a nurse. Since meeting with people in the Called and Gifted classes, I have become more aware of God’s presence in everyday experiences. The Holy Spirit is with me when I am placed at the bed of a dying person or their family. It is not me talking to them as I hold their hand. It is the Holy Spirit working through me to give them comfort.
It truly isn’t about me.
My life is so much richer because of Called and Gifted. Even though I possessed these gifts before, I feel a new joy and hope in my everyday activities through this new awareness. This experience has given purpose to my journey, filled it with commitments to my church family, given joy to my day and lightened my life’s load. I have given my trust to the Holy Spirit, and every day is filled with God moments.
It really isn’t about me.
I was raised to keep my “good works” within my heart, so as not to appear boastful; however, I feel we are called to share God’s goodness so that others might learn to trust his wisdom. I am simply the instrument through which he works — my “yes” to the Holy Spirit!
It was never about me.
(Ellen Bentley is a member of Prince of Peace Parish, Clinton. Cheryl Brogla-Krupke is a member of Our Lady of the River Parish, LeClaire. 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.)