God’s Grace in My Life: A Reflection

From Sarah: This guest blog is provided by Kathy Pooler, who I met through Joe Bunting’s writing course, Story Cartel.  I was privileged to read the beta-version of Kathy’s memoir, a well-written testimony of God’s love and grace.

 KathyPoolerBrighter

Our world needs our witness—mine and yours.”  Cardinal Donald Wuerl. Author of Faith That Transforms Us:Reflections on the Creed”

As a” cradle Catholic”, I was born into and brought up with all the traditions and ceremonies of the Roman Catholic faith.  I have, by conscious choice and deepening desire, remained true to these beliefs and teachings, except for a period in my twenties when I questioned and even rejected them.

As is often the case, my faith did not deepen until I had to face several life-altering as well as life-threatening events.  It was then that my religion became my faith and my spirituality, the source of comfort and meaning in my life.

Therein lies my story.

Seeds of Faith…

My great-grandma Rose planted the seeds of faith in me.  Widowed at the age of thirty-three with seven children to support, she lived in poverty.  Somehow, she made do with her strong belief that God would provide.  She was always praying and asking me, “Katarina (my name in Italian) you wanna’ be a nun or you wanna’ get-a married.”  It made me nervous as I figured she had some pull but my mom reassured me that if God wanted me to be a nun, I would feel the call. I was relieved as I knew I could serve God in other ways.

But the vision of that tiny woman with her unwavering faith came to me in whispers and glimpses throughout my entire life as I faced my own challenges.  She is still with me when I say my daily prayers.

Faith is a gift given to me and nurtured in my childhood by Grandma Rose.

God has been there for me all along…

I felt called by God to go into nursing when I was thirteen years old.  I was sitting in my eighth grade classroom study hall, reading a book, Anne Snow, Mountain Nurse.  My heart started pounding, and I had a feeling of excitement as I read about Anne Snow riding on horseback in the hills of Virginia to care for poor families as a Community Health Nurse.  From that moment, I knew what I wanted to do. Of course, I didn’t realize it was a calling until many years later. At the time, I just knew it felt right.

My faith in God has guided me throughout my entire career as a nurse and nurse practitioner.  Every morning on my way to work, I prayed that I would remain open to being God’s servant in caring for the ill or in carrying out whatever role I happened to be in at the time- clinician, educator, administrator.  I often prayed with or over patients with their permission. I said many silent prayers for those who were not comfortable.  I also prayed for the strength to deal with whatever I had to face- a dying patient, a difficult family/coworker/physician.

Jesus is the Divine healer and if Jesus is in me then I am a vehicle for carrying out His work.

Let Go and Let God…

On December 19, 1996, worsening shortness of breath and a dry cough had precipitated an early morning trip to the emergency room.  As I was pacing near my stretcher waiting for the results of a CT scan of my chest, realizing something serious was happening, I cried out in desperation, “Dear God, please give me the strength to do whatever it is I need to do for this is the battle of my life and for my life”.  A peace beyond understanding flowed over me and stayed with me throughout my eventual diagnosis of Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and my two-year treatment course which included chemotherapy, radiation and a peripheral stem cell transplant.  I allowed myself to be open to accepting help from others-meals, gifts, prayers. God had answered my plea to “do whatever I need to do” to fight the battle.

Allowing myself to be vulnerable enabled me to accept God’s love, grace and healing.  I believe He sent me many angels in the form of family, friends and caregivers on my healing journey.

Simultaneous to the cancer journey was my young adult son’s spiral downward into alcoholism.  The cancer was easier to deal with than watching my son’s descent.  At least I had options for treatment for the cancer and felt some sense of control.  I had no control over my son’s choices and behavior. So I prayed and learned to lean on God.  I learned to hand my son over to God and to let go of my need to control.  And I never, ever gave up hope that God would heal me and my son.

Grandma Rose echoed in my ear, “God will provide” and He did.  That is the miracle of faith in my life

The Gift of  Faith…

Having walked through these challenges has deepened my faith.  Having been through a life- threatening illness and the terrors of loving and letting go of an alcoholic son has forced me to dig deeper to find the treasures of my faith within.  But now that I am on the other side of these challenges, I see God every day in the people I love, nature, all the little things in life that matter.  All my challenges have given me the gift of perspective about what really counts in life.  “Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10.

You just read God’s Grace in My Life: A Reflection, please feel free to leave a comment.  Thank you!

About Kathy:
Kathleen Pooler is a writer and a retired Family Nurse Practitioner who is working on a memoir and a sequel about how the power of hope through her faith in God has helped her to transform, heal and transcend life’s obstacles and disappointments:  domestic abuse, divorce, single parenting, loving and letting go of an alcoholic son, cancer and heart failure to live a life of joy and contentment. She believes that hope matters and that we are all strengthened and enlightened when we share our stories.

She blogs weekly at her Memoir Writer’s Journey blog: http://krpooler.com and can be found on Twitter @kathypooler and on LinkedIn, Google+, Goodreads and Facebook: Kathleen Pooler

One of her stories “The Stone on the Shore” is published in the anthology:
The Woman I’ve Become: 37 Women Share Their Journeys From Toxic Relationships to Self-Empowerment by Pat LaPointe, 2012.

Another story: “Choices and Chances” is published in the mini-anthology:
My Gutsy Story by Sonia Marsh, 2012.

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About the Author

sarahsoonwriter

Friend of God. Writer. Resting in His grace daily.

Comments

  1. Dear Sarah,

    Thank you for the opportunity to share my faith on your lovely website!

    Blessings,

    Kathy

  2. Sarah, thanks for inviting Kathy here to share her faith story. Although I’ve heard snippets as my friendship with Kathy grows, I’ve never had the joy of sitting down and reading such personal thoughts as Kathy shares here.

    Kathy, thank you for being so open to sharing your faith journey. I loved your words: “It was then that my religion became my faith and my spirituality, the source of comfort and meaning in my life.” Too often we equate religion and faith as being the same. As you and I have discovered, this is not the case.

    Blessings to you both,

    Sherrey

    • Sherrey,

      Thanks, Sherrey. Yes, her story is inspiring. Always appreciate hearing stories of God’s grace to overcome, and Kathy’s story is full of grace and hope. Glad you enjoyed it!

    • Dear Sherrey,

      It’s so nice to see you here at Sarah’s lovely blog. It is such an honor to be able to share my faith. I know you have a similar story of overcoming obstacles through your faith. I’m happy you enjoyed the post and appreciate your support.. Thanks for stopping by!

      Blessings,

      Kathy