Thursday, April 20, 2017

Miracle in the Holy Land

At 'da club' Aaron on my right, the now Father Steve on my left
8 years ago today, I left for a 10 day-ish trip to the Holy Land.  The night before we left, I went out to see a show called, 'Mega 80s' at a club in Ferndale, Michigan. I invited my new friend Aaron along.  I had been crushing on him for awhile, but a week before, he told me he had a 'lady friend' destroying my 'he's a potential' dream... however he was super cool. So I wanted to hang out with him.  Our friend in the the seminary, Steve Mateja came too.  He swears, that night, at the club, he said a prayer Aaron and I would somehow end up together.

I got up in the morning, packed last minute things, and left for the Holy Land full of anticipation, joy and nerves.  I was attending the trip a little broken.  Life just seemed really hard, as it does sometimes when one is 28, single, living in their parents house, and working a ministry job.  My little sister was getting married, and I was so excited for her.  But, I was having to have the 'Oh, is it weird to you that your little sister is getting married before you?' conversation, more often than I would have liked. I wasn't sure where my life was headed, I knew I wanted to be married, but I wasn't. I knew I needed to move out of my parent's home, but I couldn't figure out finances... I felt a little stuck.

I've told this story before, but I decided, during the pilgrimage, my main intention would be praying about my future, and being specific. I asked God to bring me a spouse.  BUT, I also told Him, at the very least, if marriage wasn't in the cards for me, to somehow make my heart peaceful with that reality.  I prayed it everywhere we went. I lit candles, I conversed with God about it.  In the place of the Wedding Feast of Cana, I asked the Lord to please bring some clarity for this area of my life.  It was different than when I had prayed before for my future spouse (did you know people did that?  They do!).  I was praying with a sense of trust, I would either meet someone or I would know the single life was going to be my reality and I would start to embrace it.

On one of the last nights, we were eating a dinner in a hotel restaurant.  A priest, not with our group, walked right up our table.  He saw I was wearing a Franciscan University sweatshirt. I will never forget the conversation.

"Did you go to Franciscan?"- he said.

"I did"- I answered

"It's a great school!  Are you married?"- he kind of asked this question a little out of nowhere.

"Nope" I said, used to this conversation, "Still waiting for my prince charming"

"Just so you know... prayers in the Holy Land are always answered"

He walked away.  I didn't tell him my prayer was to find a spouse. It was such an odd experience, I wrote about it in my prayer journal.

at my sister's wedding
Three weeks after I got home from this amazing trip, Aaron asked me on our first date.  3 weeks after that, he bought a one way ticket to Lexington, Kentucky to attend my little sister's wedding with me. It had to be one way, because he only had 1 night, the next day he was leaving for mission trip from Detroit.  When I was driving home from my sister's wedding, I thought to myself, 'Oh my gosh, Lord, I could see myself marrying him'.  We dated for six month, and then before the Blessed Sacrament and on a picture of the Big House's 50 yard line, he asked me to be his wife.  We were married six months later, 10 days after our first date.
Prayers in the Holy Land, for me, were answered.

Guys, he drives me crazy.  On Tuesday he came home late, without calling and then acted surprised I would be upset about it.  There's a box on our kitchen floor I've asked him to move downstairs every day for almost a week.  Marriage is hard.  It's rare we have a week without some type of drama, squabble, fight or tension.

However, last night he rubbed my back till I fell asleep. He does this almost every night because sleep is so hard for me when I am pregnant.   This morning, he got up with the kids, while I slept in bed. He changed their diapers, took up and down the laundry, and ran to the store to grab some last minute groceries... all before 8:30 am.  As he left for work, he gave me a kiss and I said a little prayer for him, in thanksgiving.

Because 8 years ago today, I set out on a pilgrimage journey that would change my life.  And now, 5 kids and a tiny house in Redford, Michigan later, I know I received a miracle.

I don't get why some prayers are answered and why some aren't.  I do believe in miracles, and Aaron is the greatest miracle of my life.


  1. Oh Mary, this is so beautiful! I think I've heard this story on some level before...love hearing it again:)
    Happy anniversary of sorts :-)

  2. Oh I love this! How wonderful, Mary!

  3. Thank you for this story! I have always wanted so much to be married, though never really considered whether that was God's plan-to be fair, I wasn't Catholic til I was 25 so I never considered whether anything was God's plan ;) Now at 33, I no longer feel the pull to marriage as I used to, but maybe that's just because I'm so used to being single. I guess the point of all this is that I STILL don't know whether God's plan for me is marriage or the single life and maybe that's because I haven't been intentional in my prayers. No trips to the Holy Land in my future, so I guess I need to start praying where I'm at :)

  4. This made me smile so big. Especially the getting up with the kids and changing diapers part. :)

  5. Dear Friend,
    I know we have not been in touch since high school, but I am glad to hear that you dreams are coming true. What a beautiful testimony of love, reality, and a dynamic relationship with God. Thank you for sharing!