Thursday, October 27, 2016

Discerning God's Will (with a poem)

A Reflection and Poem
By Cara Ruegg

This is incredibly personal and I hesitated putting it up, but I am sure many can relate to it and perhaps be encouraged that they are not alone.

There are times that God seems far away. There are times the soul feels such darkness it is as if it were in a haze; suddenly, nothing is clear even what was once so very clear she thought she'd never doubt it.

When I was in the convent, deciphering God's will for me, I felt keenly this very cross. I had been there for nearly three years and had wanted so much to keep to my commitment and be His, entirely His as I had said I would, but as vows approached, I was suddenly not so sure anymore about anything. I craved a family of my own, a little child. I noticed my other Sisters didn't have the same yearning as strongly as me. Of course, they were human and did want such a thing, but they seemed to accept the prospect of not having a child of their own much easier than I could, taking comfort in the thought of the many spiritual children they would have. I couldn't accept it so easily. Before, I could, but as vows approached that sacrifice suddenly seemed almost unbearable to me and I began to feel incredibly restless. Was God telling me something? Was this no longer His will for me?

I dreaded the thought of leaving as much as I dreaded the thought of staying and having to give up forever a family of my own. It seemed so hard to choose. I just wished my superiors would send me away and make the choice easier for me, but they never once pulled me aside to say, "Leave." They wanted me there. They thought I was a good member to their spiritual family, they let me cry on their shoulders when it all seemed too much.

In the end, I did leave, after much prayer and reflection and some help from my spiritual director. I remember sitting in the chapel, looking at the tabernacle, and finally feeling this peace. It felt like nothing, really. There was no bright light or fuzzy feeling, I just finally felt at rest, which was quite a relief after such a long period of dryness and aridity and darkness. I knew then that I could make my decision. I didn't feel I could before, being so restless. I thought maybe my want to leave was just an escape, me choosing the easier way out just because it was hard. When peace came, I reflected that God alone could satisfy me; that was clear as day to me then. However, there was some sort of inner conviction that God wanted me to move on elsewhere. I wasn't certain of it. I even left with the pretext that I might be back. Mother said the doors were always open if I decided to return.

This poem below was written during a time of wavering and uncertainty. I thought maybe it could comfort someone who also is experiencing such a time.

God is always in control. I do not regret the time I spent in the convent. It was not wasted. It gave me a foundation I may not have gotten otherwise. I am blessed. And those Sisters were so full of joy, it was contagious and I greatly enjoyed their simplicity and kindness. I saw clearly how beautiful of a life it is to be a Sister, a bride of Christ, and I hope to possibly be able to foster a vocation in my future children, God willing.

I breathe the wind
Into swollen lungs
Red eyes blink
And all is gone.

It disappears
At least for a moment

Standing at the crossroads
Nervous and trembling
Do I even want anything?

There is no silent conviction
There is no conviction at all

There is nothing

My heart is torn
It is broken
It cannot decide

To be loved
In a special way
By a person I can see
And hear and touch

It seems much more real
Even if it’s not
Even if it’s in fact false

A fickle thing
This love of humans
Changes like the wind

God is eternal
His love infinite
And He gives me Himself
He gives me everything

Where is my gratitude?

The ground beneath my feet
Is hard
The grass cannot be seen
Under this dirt

What do I want?

And everything
At once

The world’s vanities
Make me shrink

But so does the cross
Of my Jesus
Covered in blood

And I want to be brave
I want to give Him everything
All of me
Not counting the cost

But I’m a coward

And I stand here
At the crossroads

“Dear God”

He seems far away
I once felt His peace
Such a wonderful calm

There is nothing now
I am numb

The little children huddle around me
But do they really care?
In the end, they go home
And I’m not ever there.

My Sisters laugh and joke
But still a barrier I hold
My heart can’t get attached
Not to a human soul

I want a shoulder to cry on
A friend to wipe my tears
I want to be loved by someone

But I am here

Before a silent God
Who I know is before me
But who I cannot see
And cannot hear
And cannot feel
At all.

The romance of the cross
Should be enough
It should be all
But the crucifix
On the wall
Is motionless

He beckoned me
And I responded
I said, “Yes,
I’d follow His call”

Now here He is
I’ve crossed the ocean
I’ve left behind my home
I let myself be forgotten
Erased from memories of loved ones
Affections have gone cold
They have changed, gone old
But I am here, frozen
I still care…too much
And they don’t know.
I cannot tell them. 

And will I be happy
In the world?
I cannot see over this picket fence
And do not know
If there is any grass there at all.

And can I give up the treasure
Of a baby I can call my own
Tiny hands and soft feet
Eyes that look like my own?

For God. For God. For God.
How dry and tasteless
I feel
Shattered in a silent way
No tears
No pain

I’m just not happy

Waves aren’t crashing
All about me

I cannot even cry.

“Dear, God,
I want Your will

Not mine”


  1. A small window into your soul: beautiful and sad at once. Thank you for sharing.

  2. What an interesting story you have. Thank you for sharing this. How right you are, and how blessed you will be. God takes care of His own.