By Mariah Mulderink
Growing up, my family moved a number of times. We weren’t a military family, but due to job changes for my dad or wanting to be in a different area, we moved about ten times. In all honesty, I kind of enjoyed moving. I loved getting set up in a new house and figuring out where all of our things would go. I loved the excitement and the newness. You could say that I craved change and looked forward to it.
But here is where I want to make something very clear: I loved exterior change (moving to a new house, getting a haircut or new clothes), but I absolutely despised interior change. Why? Because I couldn’t understand for the longest time why I would need to change. What was wrong with me that I needed to change? I had it all figured out! Change was absolutely unnecessary.
Well, I learned otherwise. I was in college and preparing to study abroad for a spring semester. I was incredibly excited and could not wait. I had heard so many people rave about this study abroad program. The name of it was the Catholic Studies Rome Program. So, yes, I would be studying abroad in Rome living at a place called Bernardi with about 30 other students who were all either Catholic Studies majors or minors. There was a chapel in our building and there would be Mass every week and, of course, the option to go and be with our Lord at any hour. I was going to be taking classes with incredible professors. One professor was the Papal Theologian and another was Mother Teresa’s spiritual director. Seriously! This semester was going to be incredible.
There was one problem. Every person I talked to about the semester said the same thing, “This semester is going to change your life.” This drove me nuts! I did not need to change. There was nothing wrong with me. I knew what it took to be holy. I liked my personality. I had my life figured out, thank you.
I walked into that semester resistant. I knew it was going to be amazing. I was prepared to enjoy every part of it, but no way was I going to change. Oh boy, was I wrong. That semester completely and utterly changed my life.
I cannot even begin to express what that semester did for me: the friendships it gave me, the way our Lord worked in my heart, the knowledge I gained, and so much more. In many ways, I learned how to be honest with myself and be vulnerable in my self-reflection. I allowed myself to see all the ways in which I refused to change and grow. I saw my reliance on sticking to the norm because I did not want to experience the discomfort of change. Most importantly,I was given the grace to trust the Potter’s hands as he molded me into who He had created me to be.
We are clay in the Potter’s hands. When God formed us in the womb, He created us for a purpose. As we live, we can allow Him to help shape us into that intended creation or we can harden ourselves and resist His will. For many years, I was hardened clay. I had my own idea of who I was and what I wanted to be. Allowing God to mold me into something that I couldn’t see or control was not easy for me. However, once I surrendered and said to the Lord, “Let Your will be done,” I knew peace. My life did not instantly become perfect, but I could rest in the Lord.
Now, I will not lie, I have had to re-surrender to the Lord many times. Pretty much every time I go to the sacrament of Reconciliation. But here is where something beautiful lies, the gift of beginning again. It is a gift freely offered by God. He loves us and will continue to love us as we try again and again and again.
Right now, we are in the season of Advent. We are preparing for the coming of the Savior. Now is a great opportunity for change. So, I challenge you. Allow yourself to be molded by the hands of the Potter; you will know peace. Your life will become something you never could have imagined or achieved on your own. Surrender to the grace of God. Trust in His design for your life. Rest in the peace He offers. Begin again.