Transformation in the Storm

I recall the first moments of redemption and freedom that I experienced during therapy. I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), an anxiety disorder where obsessions overflow into expressed compulsions of various types that then impact one’s daily living.  

For my particular form of OCD, I struggle with obsessions related to contamination and worries about what could happen to myself and loved ones in this crazy world. The compulsions that come from these obsessions of mine include intense hand washing, repeatedly checking locks and doors, and checking electrical plugs and devices (such as the oven) multiple times in a row to make sure that they are off. I can spiral into these compulsions if I let the obsessions take over my flesh, so I must expose myself to these obsessions and fight the compulsions: this is known as exposure response therapy.  

This battle is something I surely cannot win alone, but with God, I can be made new. OCD has a root reasoning for expressing itself out of a desire to be in control, but I am not in control throughout this storm of life. Rather I am transformed through God’s love for me, through the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.

The beautiful fruits of this anxiety disorder, which I have come to realize since my diagnosis, is that I am able to unite myself with Christ as I call upon Him to save me from this mess. Through my struggles with loving myself in my lowest times, God whispers in my ear and speaks to my heart to remind me that I am created in His image and likeness, with a dignity that is uniquely given to me as His daughter. I am called to be transformed, to experience a conversion of heart. God loves me perfectly the way that I am, and I don’t need to pretend to be okay in order for Him to love me and call me to sainthood.

In today’s Gospel reading we see the account of the fourth Luminous Mystery: The Transfiguration. We see the beautiful imagery of what we are called to at our baptism  in the event witnessed by Jesus’s disciples:

“Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them” (Mark 9:2-3).

Just as Christ showed His divinity before the apostles in the Transfiguration so we are called to be transformed in the Christian life through loving ourselves and others amidst the struggles we face. Others should look at our lives and be able to see Christ’s love shine through us. When we face trials in life God is giving us the gift of further clinging to Him and allowing ourselves to radiate His love, thus becoming a gift to others.  

Christ desires for us to draw ourselves closer to Him so that we may see Him in ourselves and others, the dignity of the human person. As St. John Paul II says, “In Christ and through Christ humanity has acquired full awareness of its dignity and the meaning of its existence.” Through Christ and His transfiguration, we are better able to understand our dignity and how purposeful our existence is. My OCD has a purpose within my dignity as a person and it is going to help me love others the best that I can as I lay the struggle at the foot of the Cross, just as your crosses will be transformed through God to help you to love others and lead them closer to Christ. Uniting our struggles to God’s love and peace will help us become more of who we are supposed to become through redemption in Christ.  

In order to continue to be transformed in Christ, we must trust in God’s promises. As we see in the first reading God promises Abraham that for his willingness to sacrifice the one he loves for Love Himself that his descendants will be as bountiful in number as the stars. God is merciful, just, and Love. Trust that your conversion through the crosses in your life will equip you to live out your vocation to love, the core vocation for all of us, for we were made by love, for love, and are called to share this Love with others. God promises to help us along our journey, and as we see time and again in Holy Scripture (and in the world around us) God always keeps His promises.  

I have experienced Love Himself through those in my life: my family, friends, and my fiance. Their example of love inspires me to keep going each day when my cross of OCD gets too heavy, and they encourage me to keep turning to Christ and accepting love so that I may grow in loving myself for the way that I was created. If I accept this love I may love them all better, and grow into the best someday wife and (God willing) mother that I can be with God’s grace. I have had doubts and fears about being able to live out my vocation of marriage with this disorder of mine, but I am reminded that God equips those who are called and not vice versa.  He calls me to sainthood through my soon to be marriage, the Domestic Church that my fiance and I will establish with our vows on our wedding day, and God will work through us both to help one another to Heaven no matter the crosses we carry. However, God calls you to live out your vocation to love in this life I pray that you may be transformed, embrace your crosses, and continue to give your struggles to Christ with hope. Be willing to truly receive His love and believe you are worthy of that love so that you may pour His love unto others.

Nathalie Hanson is a special education teacher and a joyful convert to the Catholic faith with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).  She loves to share her passion for Catholicism with others, including her conversion story and how God continues to work miracles in her life through her OCD.  Nathalie is engaged to her best friend, Diocesan’s Tommy Shultz, and she is beyond excited to become Mrs. Shultz this October.  Her favorite saints include St. Peter the Apostle, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and St. John Paul II.  If you have any questions for Nathalie, or just want her to pray for you, you can email her at