I know that God is guiding me on this difficult journey


By Jenna Ebener
A reflection

As I have mentioned in past articles, I have been going through some personal darkness for quite a while now. As Easter drew closer, my spiritual director recommended I focus on the theme of rebirth. While I prayed daily for this “rebirth,” I could not help but be skeptical. I had been praying for something to shift for months on end to no avail. But I kept on praying. It turns out, I got the rebirth I was so desperate for, and it came in ways I never would have suspected.

I cannot help but note parallels between my experience over Easter weekend and Christ’s passion. As we reflected on the Passion of Christ that saved us, I went through my own version of dying. It started Friday night during a meditation as I wept to God, allowing myself to feel the grief of things that never were and things that may never be. I tried to accept the cup I was given, but I was filled with despair. That despair leaked into the rest of the weekend.

Late Saturday evening, I again felt my grief during meditation; however, this time I got stuck. Looking back, Jesus’ words on the cross seem very fitting: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). I felt utterly alone in my grief and consumed in a panic attack. A voice in my head was telling me not to reach out to my friends, that a lack of response would only result in my belief that I am alone. However, I was able to recognize that voice as the devil, and I texted a group of friends. Within seconds, multiple friends responded and I spoke with a dear friend on the phone.


As awful as that experience was, I know it was something I needed to experience. My friends’ response gave me the simple and beautiful message I needed from God in that moment — no matter how lonely I feel, I am never alone. I was reminded of Jesus on his way to his crucifixion. He was not alone; no matter how isolated he must have felt. God sent him women, his mother and a beloved disciple to be with him during his suffering. We are social beings and sometimes a word, a look or a gentle touch from a trusted person is all it takes to know that we truly are never alone.

That seed of truth stuck with me the rest of the weekend. When the pain returned in the middle of the night on Sunday, I was able to feel my way through it without getting stuck. I woke up on Easter Monday with a sense of rebirth. That sense has grown over the following weeks, despite additional challenges. I trusted myself on Easter weekend. I discerned what came from the devil and what came from God and responded accordingly. I know who I am and that my intentions are guided by God. I feel the rightness of knowing God truly is guiding me on this difficult journey that is life.

In what way did you die over Lent or in the past? In what way have you experienced rebirth in Christ? What is your reminder that you are never alone? “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

(Jenna Ebener, a graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, is a social worker at a school in Colorado for students with a combination of medical, cognitive and behavior disabilities. She relies on God every day to aid her on this wonderful, yet intense journey.)

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