Letting Go to Take Hold

My whole life my greatest dream was to fall in love.

As a little girl I imagined meeting my handsome prince, sharing true love’s kiss, marrying, and becoming a mother. Growing up, that was the storyline I saw on tv, read in books, and heard from family and friends.

All I wanted was to find someone, the one, who would fight and defeat all evil to rescue me and love me with all his heart.

If I knew God back then as I do now, I could’ve saved a lot of time in my search! Alas, I had no relationship with Our Lord for over twenty years. Instead, I had a relationship with my Future Prince Charming (or whichever boy I had a crush on), imagining all the happiness we’d share together. And in my daydreams, I was the happiest I could be.

In reality, I was miserable. Because I could never find him.

All through school, while my classmates dated, I was never once asked out. And I was unhappy. I didn’t think I was pretty, I wasn’t confident, and I was always jealous. My anxiety about not falling in love made me selfish and vain.

In college my sister told me that as Catholics, we have three possible vocations: marriage, religious life, or single life. The first two I knew about. Marriage was what I wanted. Religious life had never called to me. But single life? It was the first I’d heard of it. And I was NOT interested. The world taught me that to be single, to never fall in love, was to be a loser.

So I continued dreaming, wishing, and—after my conversion—praying for the man God had made just for me. The man I was made for.

James 4:3 describes my life up to this point so perfectly it makes me laugh. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”

After a couple years of a lukewarm (on my end, of course) relationship with God, I was inspired by many saints, namely St. Francis of Assisi and St. Cecilia, to seek a deeper connection with Our Lord.

Quick admission, before watching the movie Clare and Francis I didn’t see what the big deal was with the saints (I know, I know. I cringe just remembering it). But St. Francis’s conversion, especially, opened my eyes to why they’re so cool.

I’d never heard of a broken human, like me, wanting what the world offered, like me, then renouncing it all for God. It blew my mind. I wanted his joy, peace, devotion, humility, courage, everything. Then listening to the radio drama Ode to Saint Cecilia by Augustine Institute Radio Theatre for the first time I learned of a woman who renounced romance for God as a layperson. Sure there weren’t convents back then but in her obedience she still married and God protected her purity while living in society, and I thought that was really cool. There was also something beautiful and attractive, though I didn’t understand why then, about her chaste friendship with her husband.

I could fangirl more about St. Francis and St. Cecilia but long story short I wanted to follow them in following Jesus. But I didn’t love Him enough to do that. So, I prayed, “God, I don’t love you above all things. So please make Yourself number one in my heart.”

When I asked this, all I wanted, all I expected, was to learn to love God as I should so I could love my future husband as I should.

God responded…a bit differently.

As I continued praying and growing closer to Jesus, it dawned on me that Our Savior is the Prince of Peace, who fought and defeated all evil to rescue us. To rescue me. Because He loves me with all His Heart.

Hm. That sounded awfully familiar.

Slowly my obsession with romance, marriage, and motherhood softened. I still really wanted it but remembering what my sister said about the single life, for the first time, the idea of growing old with my parents and siblings instead of a husband and children didn’t sound horrible. It sounded kind of nice.

“But that’s only a last resort,” I’d tell myself. “If I’m not married by 40.”

As my relationship with God grew, I learned I was made for Him. I learned He only wants the best for me because His “holy will is Love and Mercy Itself” (Divine Mercy in My Soul: The Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska 950).

I learned His will for me… might not be to wait until I was 40 to give up on marriage and motherhood. I learned that vocation may never have been for me to begin with, that maybe I only wanted it because the world told me it’s what I was supposed to do.

For over a year I grappled with this war of desires. I wanted to do God’s will, but I also couldn’t abandon my lifelong dream.

Citlalin Ossio

The realization excited and terrified me.

For over a year I grappled with this war of desires. I wanted to do God’s will, but I also couldn’t abandon my lifelong dream. The idea of not stressing over romance and dating was liberating, but I still feared I’d miss out on experiencing something special and beautiful.

This was a test, with one fill in the blank question. But what was the correct answer?

I desperately asked God to just give me a huge neon arrow pointing to the vocation I was made for. Instead, He gave me one small flickering candle after another. Despite how painful waiting was, looking back, I realize God slowed down to my pace. Though I believed I was ready to go all in, I probably wasn’t. He knew how much time I needed to actually accept His will. And as He laid out each little light the path for me became clearer, brighter. Then reading The Love of Eternal Wisdom by St. Louis de Montfort my awe in Our Lord’s love grew.

We can imagine how He would speak to us now: ‘Come all ye to Me; it is I, do not fear; why are you afraid? I am like unto you; I love you. Do you fear because you are sinners? But it is sinners I am seeking; I am the friend of sinners.’” (70).

“What does He thirst after? St. Lawrence Justinian answers: ‘…He was athirst for us, to give Himself to us and suffer for us.’” (165).

The Love of Eternal Wisdom

My heart sang. Jesus loves me. Me! No one had ever loved me as God does. As He always has. I’d been dreaming and waiting for the world to give me a prince charming, when a King already gave Himself to me, gives Himself to me in the Holy Eucharist!

God’s infinite love burned within me and gave me courage. To let go of my will and take hold of His will. To live as a single in a world that calls us losers.

This is usually the part where people say they felt free and filled with joy, but the truth is at first it was mostly painful. You know when you hold onto something so tight and for so long, your fingers get sore, and it hurts to move them? My heart experienced a similar pain of letting go.

I mourned the future I’d imagined since I was a little girl. The dream I’d held onto so desperately all my life. I was also still terrified. Sure, I knew which path to take now, but I had no idea where it would lead, what I’d encounter, or who I’d become.

One thing encouraged me though. God was with me, and He loved me. He would never abandon me on this new unfamiliar path. All I had to do was take hold of Him.

I continued praying. My heart healed—is being healed. Reforged and strengthened by Our Lord’s beautiful and burning Sacred Heart. I’ve fully embraced my vocation of single life and am loving it! I’m hesitant to say I’ve fallen in love with God. I still don’t believe I love Him as I should. But I’m working on it, and I know one day, with the help and prayers of my loved ones, our Blessed Mother, my dear Guardian Angel, and the angels and saints in heaven, I will.

Learning our dreams don’t align with God’s will is probably one of the most terrifying realizations possible. There’s a lot of uncertainty. And letting go hurts. A lot. But Our Father knows that. He knows how precious our hopes are, how much time and energy we put into them. He knows how painful it will be to not have our prayers answered as we wish.

But the Holy Spirit told me something really comforting, something that gives me hope when He lets me know my desires aren’t what’s best for me, when He wants me to bear different fruit than I planned:

“If I’m asking you to let go, it’s because I want to give you something better. And you can’t take hold of it with your fist closed, can you?”

“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Ps 37:4). He will show you the truest desires of your heart. The road you’re meant to take. The person you’re meant to be.

Citlalin Ossio

Citlalin Ossio is an avid fantasy writer and reader, whose work is heavily inspired by her
Catholic faith, her Mexican heritage, and Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda. Her fantasy short
stories have been featured in various anthologies, and one, She Has No Voice, won
second place in the Prose category for Rehumanize International’s 2021 Create |
Encounter. She is a joyful single living in Texas with her family and enjoys creating art,
playing video games, and watching anime and Korean dramas. When she’s not writing
or spending time with her loved ones she’s on Instagram @citlalinossio, or dreaming
about raising a panda army.

letting go

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