My personal testimony has been published and can be found at http://www.newhope-ky.org. The order number is #0142.
Mark 5:19 ” Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
After prayer and thought, Catholics United for Life decided to collaborate with Shawna and publish her conversion story. Shawna’s story depicts both the horrible natural effects of sin and the incredible power of God’s loving mercy. I doubt Shawna could have even imagined a life apart from chaos and crisis for most of her life. We are often amazed at the miraculous healing of lepersy or blindness, but I am much more astonished by the healing of the human heart, of the blindness imposed by not being formed in a good conscience, or the wounds of deep family hurt that drive us away from love. Shawna’s healing is truly a gift from God.
I remember a homily about the prodigal son I heard many years ago. The priest questioned our view of being in awe that God forgave. He is God, waiting for our return; in all his perfection, forgiveness should not be surprising. The real miracle is that the son, that we rise out of the muck, recognize our condition and journeyed back to God. Father talked about how it may seem awful that the son ate with the pigs, but people live in these conditions all the time and are perfectly content to do so! It is a miracle of God’s goodness, mercy and love that we make this journey back to our true home as children of God.
Shawna’s story is so honest and even a bit raw in its understanding of what it takes to overcome generations of suffering and isolation of faith. It was a journey alternating between God’s mercy and Shawna’s best effort to respond in that moment. It illustrates both our helplessness in needing God’s grace to do anything and our need to make that amazing journey through pain and repentance. It illustrates the amazing gift we have in free will to choose God or to reject him.
Hope is a powerful thing, even in small doses. Her story has reinforced my hope, and I believe it will be a light for those in great darkness. I believe it will reach people where many other Catholic tools will not. As one priest said, ” I know God uses her to touch other people’s lives with his Blessings.”