God never said it would be easy but He promised to never leave my side. When I was twelve I began developing severe symptoms that led me to discover an autoimmune condition. I used to say I had Crohn’s disease but now I don’t label it because then I’m placed into a mold. Every body is different. My body decided to be 74 pounds (legit skin and bones) at age 22. Before then, my physical health was a roller coaster. One month I’d be fine and the other, I’d be confined to the walls of Mount Sinai Hospital. The same was for my spiritual health. One day I’d be glorifying God and the next, I was being impure. One foot in, one foot out.

I didn’t care what God thought, I just wanted to fit into everyone’s “normal” lifestyle in hopes of filling a few voids. In other words, I struggled with lust (surprise!) I sought attention from people for the wrong reasons. I was distracted by the world and forgot God existed... but He never forgot about me. He took me through dark places in hopes of showing me that there was nothing fulfilling about it. It worked.

My grandfather died and I met a cousin at his funeral who changed my life. She taught me how much God loved me. I literally ​felt​ His love. Shortly after, I went in for an emergency surgery, which also changed my life. Then the healing began. I suffered. I cried. I sang. I hoped. I persevered. I had to adjust to the reality that God made me new and that I had to establish my OWN normal.

I still struggle. It is a never ending rebuilding process. I am Catholic because I need help, not because I have it all figured out. I go to mass on Sundays because I can’t rely on myself to stay healthy. I receive my sacraments because I constantly need purification until the day I die. I believe in Jesus in the Eucharist because I have absolutely no reason not to. God wants to be with me always and he wants to nourish me with food that actually sustains my soul. Trust me, the world fed me garbage, I devoured it, but then starved to death! No thank you.

Dear reader, your life is priceless whether you’re missing an organ or not. This ostomy bag I carry is a daily physical reminder that I walk by the spirit not just by my flesh, Gal 5:16. Your flesh has nothing on your spirit. Never for an instant believe that you are not loved. Your soul is the greatest gift this world has ever gained.