2006 was the hardest year of my life. On the morning of March 30 of that year, my father had a sudden heart attack. After waiting at the hospital for what seemed like hours, the doctor finally came in. When I heard the words that he had died my heart sank, and words simply fail me. I was only eleven years old at the time, an innocent young girl who did not fully realize how this loss would deeply affect me for the rest of my life. I wanted to cry so much, but I was so incredibly shocked that it was hard for me to even bring forth the tears.
After my father’s death, I was so worried about how we would continue our lives without him. My mother reassured me that God would take care of us and that my Dad would want us to continue living our lives. But I still worried. That same year my grandmother died, which was also a tremendous hit for my family. Throughout all this hardship, I realized God wanted me to trust in Him, so I began falling closer to His heart through prayer and Daily Mass.
A few years later, around the time of Confirmation, I began to deepen my relationship with God even more. My Confirmation sponsor helped me a great deal. I began going to Bible studies and met other people like myself who were preparing for the sacrament. After receiving Confirmation, I felt the Holy Spirit’s Love for me very strongly.
But it wasn’t until a retreat during my junior year of high school that I really began to experience God’s love. The adoration on that retreat changed my life forever. I still harbored many worries and anxiety, but I realized that I still had not been fully trusting in God, so I decided to completely give it all to Him and surrender to His Will for my life. Junior year was stressful, especially when trying to decide which college I would attend, the major that He wanted me to pursue, the vocation He had for me, and my future in general. I told God about all of these worries. I felt Him telling me that He was going to take care of my future and that I should just trust in Him. After adoration, I was so happy and my worries started to go away. I also felt that God finally healed me from the pain I had experienced from my Dad’s death, six years later.
I experienced much healing my senior year of high school, and my relationship with God was strengthened even more. I had the wonderful opportunity to go to a Catholic high school and receive communion at Mass every day. I also went to Italy with my Chorus the following summer and deepened my relationship with God in the shadows of the Vatican.
During this time, I began praying even more about my college choice and my major as well. Through prayer, I strongly felt that I was called to come to Mount St. Mary’s University and pursue education and music. I also knew that God was calling me to marriage, so I continued to pray for my future husband. It turned out that God wanted me to come to the Mount so much that I felt that I should only apply to the Mount… and I was accepted.
The Mount has been another great opportunity for me. I have met so many people who have led me to Him. At the Mount, I have also been able to go to Mass every day, which is also a big deal for me. Throughout my first semester, I went through more difficulties. I began worrying again if I was making the right choices about various things. After prayer, however, God told me what he wanted me to do. After making a difficult choice, He told me to trust that I was making the right decision and that he would take care of me as He always had. But I realized that I still needed healing. This time I asked God to heal me from all that had happened my entire life. I asked Him to be my Father and to show me His Love. I began praying various novenas and asked St. Joseph (the patron saint of fathers and of finding a good husband) to pray for me. Over time, I began to feel God’s love for me more and more.
I have grown so much in my faith since my dad’s death, but I am still growing in my relationship with God now, and I still pray for my future husband, my career, and for guidance in my life.
After my dad’s death, I longed to be loved by a father. God the Father’s love, however, is so powerful and unique that no one, not even an earthly father or man can give that. Ultimately, only God Himself can give me the love that will truly satisfy me.
To all the girls out there without a father, ask God to be your Father and ask Him to give you the love that you desire. He will. I promise.
Anne Parkinson is currently studying Elementary Education at Mount St. Mary’s University. She loves singing, playing the piano, and hanging out with friends. She hopes to teach music to young children one day. She also loves going to daily Mass, cantoring at Mass, and praying the Rosary.