You want me to do WHAT?!

I had a plan. I was accepted to grad school for Theatre Performance. In England. To perform on Shakespeare’s stage. To end up a famous Actress. To be a nice girl, to go to church on Sundays, to find a nice boy, get married, raise a family, and live happily ever after. The end. AlI I had to do was say “Yes” to grad school and begin the journey I had planned out for myself.

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Just say “Yes”, Emily.

Say yes.

Hurry up and say YES!

Plans. Plans. PLAAANS. I suppose it’s hard NOT to want to know what’s next. We move quickly in this day and age. We move quickly in almost every way. Walking, talking, texting, eating, buying, dating, hooking up, falling in love, falling out of love, saying yes, and saying no. We are quick. Sometimes, I think we’re all running one huge race towards “happiness”. “Whoever gets there first wins!” …But gosh, I was running pretty fast and happy isn’t the word I would use to describe it.

But then Jesus happened.

And I learned how to pray, how to talk to Him, and how to listen.

And He spoke. Oh man, did He speak. And in time, He let me in on HIS plan.

So. I said no.

I said no to grad school, and the perfect life I had planned out. And it’s funny, I was happy about it.

I said yes to life as a FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) missionary. And with a yes to FOCUS, I have also said yes to fundraise my salary. Why, YES. You heard right…

I MUST FUNDRAISE MY ENTIRE SALARY. (See title of blog.)

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And now here I am, a month away from moving my life to New York City to work with students as NYU, and I find myself sitting in prayer making sure God spoke to me correctly.

“You’re SURE you want me to fundraise my salary? You’re SURE? ME? Emily Martinez?”

And all He says is “Yes. Yes, you. Yes, Emily.”

Guys. God believes in us much more than we will ever believe in ourselves. That is FO SHO.

I know I need to surrender to his plan. I know I need to trust that people won’t hate me at the end of all of this; in fact, there is even a chance they might love me more. Or even better, love God more. I know I need to die to myself, just like Jesus died for us on the cross.

Maybe that’s what I’m feeling right now. I feel as if I’m on a cross and I’m asking those family and friends I love MOST to not help me down. No, that is something that is easy to yell “YES!” to. No, no, I’m asking them to stand there and watch. Watch me as I die to myself and finally admit that I can’t be a missionary alone. I can’t do it by myself, as much as I’d like to believe I could. I need them. I need them just as much as they need me. And just as much as we all need the real guy on the cross. The one who died so we could all live. So we could be nurses, or police officers, or artists, or have families, or go to grad school, or be English teachers or even crazy missionaries.

Ohhhhhh, how I just want to make everyone cupcakes and play “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles, and blow bubbles with them instead! But that is not going to help those students God has planned for me to meet, teach, and grow with at NYU. That is not going to give me the opportunity to share the crazy story of how I came to know myself through Christ. That is not going to give those I love an invitation to share in the mission with me. And that is not going to make anyone become a saint.

Saints aren’t saints because they threw a mean tea party! (However, I have no doubt that they did…) Saints are saints because of the sacrifices they made. They are saint because they lived for something more than themselves. They lived to serve others. They lived to share how the Lord took their life, shook it up, and made it worth living.

So here I am a FOCUS missionary, fundraising her salary and it’s a blessing. A crazy, terrifying, hard, exciting, mysterious, humble, Christ centered, sour patch kids overload, kind of a blessing.

So, *Deep breath-die to myself-Jesus, I trust in you-let’s do thiiiiiis*

FOCUS has a beautiful mission. And I’d like to invite you to be apart of it with me. If any of this touched your heart in someway, send me an email! (emily.martinez@focus.org) Because I’d love to meet with you, tell you about the mission, and bake you a few cupcakes.

“All love on this earth involves choice. When, for example, a young man expresses his love to a young woman and asks her to become his wife, he is not just making an affirmation of love; he is also negating his love for anyone else. In that one act by which he chooses her, he rejects all that is not her. There is no other real way in which to prove we love a thing than by choosing it in preference to something else. Word and signs of love may be, and often are, expressions of egotism or passion; but deeds are proofs of love. We can prove we love our Lord only by choosing Him in preference to anything else.”
-Fulton Sheen

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It Hurts

Today, I had the blessing of meeting with an old friend who is currently questioning the Catholic faith. She is questioning it in a way much like I questioned it 3 years ago. It was such a graced filled time spent with her, and I was reminded of the exact point last year when I paused my prayer, just sat there, and forced myself to answer a few HUGE questions.

*From my journal… (Yes boys, you get a piece of a girl’s journal… but my main man is divine soooo..)*

“Why am I here? In a HOLY HOUR? (Can one truly be holy due to an hour!? Kidding. Kinda.) Why are you praying, Emily? Why are you Catholic? I’ve been praying about this a lot, Lord. And I think I’ve found my answer. I think I’m Catholic because it hurts. Because the saints and the sacraments and Mary/Jesus/Joseph and the other Catholics around me are draining all of the selfish thoughts, emotions, and wounds out of me. And they aren’t “nice” about it either! (Goodness!) They are pulling out all the bad in my heart and the Holy Spirit is filling it with the love of God. And it HURTS. It’s not easy. It’s not pretty. And it’s not at all perfect. But it’s worth it. That’s why I’m Catholic. Because I’m a sinner who isn’t about to take the easy route.

Christ on the cross used to scare me. How could something so ugly be so beautiful? But, deep down in all of our hearts, we are longing for that kind of love. Why was “The Titanic” such a hit? Because he died for her. He loved her so much he was willing to give everything for her to live. People flocked to that movie for that very reason. You don’t see that kind of love today. Or do you? Jesus on the cross… that’s beauty, that’s love, that’s the personal act of love that many believe only exists in the movie theaters.

Catholicism isn’t about following what the gospel says. It’s about living it. It’s about struggling and messing up, like Peter and the apostles. It’s about trusting like Joseph, even when all seems impossible. It’s about Mary witnessing her son die on the cross and accepting this sacrifice with tears in her eyes, and a painful joy in her heart. Nothing about the gospel is easy or shinny or empty.

AND NO ONE FOLLOWS THE RULES.

I’m not Catholic because I want to follow the rules. In being Catholic, I’m breaking the rules. Society wants me to want what I want. And do what I want. And hurt who I want and “kinda love” who I want!

I’m breaking the rules. And I’m living for something more than what I want. And it’s a beautiful struggle.

I am Catholic because it hurts but, in time, that hurt transforms to pure joy.

My meeting tonight has truly been a blessing. I was reminded that it’s okay to be scared of the Catholic church. I was. But the next step is to ask questions, to find the truth, and then to run towards it, no matter the hurt.

Because it’s worth it. And you never know, you could end up a FOCUS missionary headed to New York University…. 🙂