“There I stood in the center of the square as my Father took my picture. I was seven years old and had just received Jesus for the first time and though my spirit was full with God Himself, my heart yearned for a deep human desire…to be loved for the rest of my life here on earth. As I stood in the place where my heart felt so at home, in Fatima Portugal, I watched the sun as it was setting and knew I would remember that moment for the rest of my life. If only memories like this, in that gorgeous place and with my dear Father who is now parted from me, could be put in a bottle as is done with a scent, to be opened at any time and treasured forever.”
But there was something so unexpected that happened next that I knew I would hold as my deepest heart’s desire for many years to come until that glorious day when this dream would finally become a reality. In the midst of this beautiful setting, I turned and saw a handsome looking couple who had just been married…she in her white dress and he still in his black suit. They stood holding hands with their heads bowed at the statue of Our Lady of Fatima where she had appeared in 1917. One could tell that in their stance and look of reverence, they desired to give thanks to God and to Our Lady for finding each other. I had never seen anything like it in my young life and though this thought would most likely not enter the minds of many young girls, I promised Our Lady from that day forward, that if she would be so good as to send me such a man, I would return there years later to also stand in my white dress, hand in hand with my husband, to thank her and my God for their many blessings on my life. I await for when he comes and I eagerly await when this day finally arrives. But a dream such as this is far beyond my measure and understanding. To one day be fulfilled, I would need God’s grace, all of heaven’s intercession and the help of one man who stole my heart from the day I was born…my Dad.
As a little girl, I often thought into the future and wondered what things lied in store for me. What would be my occupation? Who would I marry? How many children would God give me? I feared the unknown and had difficulty living in the present. How hard it is even as a grown woman, to hold God’s hand in every hardship in life and continue to say “I trust you.” But what comforts me is that belief is in the mind and the will and strength of the heart is stronger than emotion. Yet from the time I can remember, I kept these desires such as my occupation, my future husband and my future children in my heart as one keeps their treasures in a box. It was my box of treasures for God and I offered it to God every day since. What better gift can we give God than our greatest hearts desires? He knows our hearts because He too is fully human as well as fully divine. But “God walks with a crippled foot,” is what my Noni always said. It means that God sometimes walks slowly in answering our prayers, but He eventually gets there in the right time.
God asks us to entrust our hearts to Him and give Him all of our human desires, no matter how big or small. God truly asks for all beyond our measure and understanding. There have been things I have had to give up in my life, possessions I could no longer hold and people I had to say goodbye to. To love so deeply but not be loved in return, to experience the pain of unrequited love. To be hurt, neglected and deceived by those I deeply trusted, to receive a “no” or a “not yet” from God instead of a yes to a prayer. All things deeply frustrating and discouraging. But I have seen firsthand the power of prayer and it has happened once or twice that it has taken years for me to understand what God did in my life, in a particular circumstance…why He took someone from my life or made things fall into place the way they did. Years later I see it was all for the better. And though one of my greatest, deepest and purest hearts desires still remains to be fulfilled, I see that there is excitement and joy in waiting. Waiting for the hand of God to work in my life and see what miracles He will perform again. Though God asks for all beyond my measure and understanding, though my human mind cannot fathom or comprehend His works, I close my eyes and I picture that day as I stood in the midst of the square in Portugal. I still see the colors of the sun and sky as it was setting. I still feel the breeze. I can hear my father’s voice all as though it were yesterday. I close my eyes and I place that dream in a box, the box of my heart. At the deepest core of my innermost being, with my will and my deep belief, I place this at the foot of God Himself and though beyond all comprehension and understanding, I trust it with Him and I know one day it will come true.