A New Heart
By: Kayla Faherty
Let me share a story of conversion. It is my own story; one God is in the midst of writing. The word ‘convert’ means to change in form, character, or function. The Holy Spirit is at work in me, growing my faith, pouring out God’s love, and shining Jesus’ light into my life. I am in the middle of a true conversion of the heart. I am experiencing a radical reorientation of my whole life, discovering God’s unconditional love for me and becoming His daughter.
I was raised Protestant and although I was very active in church, I had neglected my relationship with God, blaming Him for my struggles while I was the one making shipwreck of my life. God had carried me through my hard times, but I kept Him at a distance, always doubting that He could love me for who I was, feeling as though I would somehow never measure up. I was sad, bitter, angry, and jealous. I listened to the ugly voice in my head, the one that spit lies that I wasn’t beautiful, that I wasn’t worthy of love, that nothing I did was good enough. Sure, I was functioning by most accounts on the outside: going to work, visiting family, spending time with friends, but I was dying on the inside. My heart was in darkness. And then something unexpected happened.
When my oldest daughter was a toddler and I was pregnant with our second, my husband and I began to feel the tug of the Holy Spirit. We wanted to find a church in which to raise our family, and we visited many, but it wasn’t until we found the Catholic Church that we finally felt at home. It was the work of the Holy Spirit that led me to the Catholic faith and nearly two years ago I was confirmed after completing the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. And it was through the guidance of the teachers of faith and the discernment process and ultimately the grace of God that He began to show me the way.
Opening up my heart to the Holy Spirit allowed God to meet me where I was. He reached down to me in my suffering. He took all my longing, all my brokenness, and is making me new. He is healing my broken heart and is binding up my wounds. In Ezekiel 36:26-27 the Lord speaks through the prophet Ezekiel: “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you so that you walk in my statues, observe my ordinances, and keep them.” I had a heart of stone that was hardened by life, but God is replacing it with a new heart, a new spirit. He is giving me a new perspective on life, showing me how much He loves me. All I have to do is be open to Him.
I longed for proof that God would love me, and I finally found it when I accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for me. If I were the only person on earth, Christ would still have suffered and died for me. God’s love for me is so great, so unconditional, so undeserved. It is only when I accept God’s love for me that transformation can take place. God created me with love, and He desires a relationship with me. He cares for me, He draws me near to Him, and He delights in me! It is when I place God in the center of my life that I am made new.
In 2 Corinthians 5:17 Saint Paul writes “So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold new things have come.” I am on a new path now, one I walk with my husband in which we are leading our children. I have changed more during these past two years than ever before, certainly in ways that I never imagined possible. My entire life is changing, and this is an ongoing conversion, a gradual process. I am given a new purpose, my life has new meaning.
We are all in this journey of life. Have you accepted God’s unconditional love for you? Do you want a new heart? Surrender your heart of stone and let God work in your life. Allow His love to change you, to give you a new heart.
My name is Kayla Faherty and I am a Catholic wife and mother. I am a former teacher and now spend my days with our two daughters. As a recent convert to the faith, God is growing my heart and pouring His love in. Thank you for letting me share with you!