By Angie Kaney
If you’re reading this, you’re likely already very active in your faith. I have tried to serve where I can amid my commitments with work and the business of three young, energetic kids at home. In the Called and Gifted program I found a whole new perspective on how to best leverage my limited time and energy to serve the Lord.
I dove into the Called and Gifted program in the fall of 2015. I expected a questionnaire and then some reading and reflection, but instead I found a community of faith-filled mentors who invested their time to help me carefully discern two of my spiritual gifts: administration and prophecy.
I always sensed I had a skill for planning and coordination, whether it involved gatherings of friends, church activities or projects at work. So when the time came to discern if this “administration” skill was really a spiritual gift, I organized an experiment with a goal to offer weekly Children’s Liturgy at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Bettendorf. Within 10 days, with prayer and action, and the help of several dear friends, we put a program in place to offer this weekly Sunday morning ministry and have successfully offered it since Nov. 1. God showed me that if I include him when using the spiritual gift of administration, tiny miracles can happen! During that time, I tapped into energy I didn’t know I had, felt great peace and happiness and experienced the positive impact it had on our little people and parishioners. God is good!
At this point, about half-way through the program, I was encouraged by the leaders and during my interview to discern “prophecy.” Prophecy can be described as “Communicating the word or call of God to individuals or groups through inspired words or actions.” My first experience with this occurred during a weekend with my high school girlfriends. Prior to seeing them, I said a prayer that I might plant a seed of God’s love during our time together. Little did I know what God had in store for me! After hearing about one friend’s struggles, I prayed for her in those quiet morning hours the next day. Instantly, the verse from Jeremiah 29:11 came to mind, along with the urgent sense to deliver this message — that God had a plan for her! The verse came so quickly and clearly that I thought to myself, “What if I prayed for my other friends too?” Sure enough, personal messages for each friend came in the form of music, comforting words, and Scripture. I tentatively delivered these, and they took it well, despite my discomfort in having to tell them that I thought I could hear God’s voice!
Months later during Called and Gifted, and after a few more similar experiences, I learned to embrace this beautiful gift and how to overcome my doubts and fears. I was reminded a few days ago how far I’ve come, on a night away with those very same high school girlfriends. I awoke early and again placed these four friends on my heart. In return, I received four beautiful, personalized messages around the themes of precious everlasting love, peace and comfort, and delight while God guides. A few hours later, over coffee, tears and laughter, our hearts were profoundly touched with each message and the conversation that followed. Called and Gifted inspired me to be ready to do God’s work with grace and courage that only comes from God by the power of the Holy Spirit. I am forever changed and will be forever grateful.
The next session of Called and Gifted begins Monday, Sept. 12 from 6:30-9 p.m. at Our Lady of Lourdes, Bettendorf. I pray that if you feel even a tiny tug on your heart toward Called and Gifted, you might take a leap of faith and sign up. Who knows what God has in store for you!
(Angie Kaney is a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Bettendorf. She is married to Dave and the mother of three children, Abbie (6), Emelia (4), and David (almost 2). They are expecting their fourth child in November.)