What are some of the ways that you’ve said ‘yes’ to God?
When we think of God, we think that He’s going to give us the plan on our lives on this roadmap and we’re going to know everything. We think it’s going to be easy and just say “yes” to that.
Lauren said, “In my life, the way God works is that He doesn’t necessarily give me the whole picture, but He asks me to give little yes’s along the way. One in particular that I can think of that was really influential in my life and my faith was when I was 17-years-old, I volunteered at a camp for children with disabilities. My brother had been volunteering at this camp for many years before that, and he always gave me an opportunity to come, but I always said no. It wasn't until I was 17 that I said, “Okay, sure, I guess I'll go this year.” That was a yes to God because my eyes were really opened there to the beauty and dignity of those with disabilities, in particular down syndrome. The Lord planted a seed there that's kind of taken me through the rest of my life and a greater yes and by starting the organization & the work that I do now.”
What tips do you have for surrendering to God’s plan?
There are thousands of other people, maybe even millions of other people that are called to do something similar to what I’m called to, but no one is going to do it in the particular way that you are fashioned and created to do. We have the temptation to compare ourselves to others, but that's not what God wants for us. If he has placed that desire on our hearts and given us the gifts and talents to not only pursue it, but to succeed in his will for us, that's enough. He just wants that willingness of us to serve Him and to serve others in that way. There's nothing that anyone else could offer that's going to be you offering your yes to the Lord.
“My biggest inspiration is Mother Teresa. I love the way that she serves the poor and just loves people and just lives out her faith so radically and beautifully. I always think if she never said yes to the Lord because she was already a nun, she was already living out her vocation. Then the Lord called her out of that and said, no, I want you to begin the missionary of the charity & quench my thirst in serving the poor. She could have said, “No, I'm already doing that.” She was a teacher at a school. She was already a sister, but she said yes. She stepped out and had the courage to say yes, and millions of people were impacted by that yes.” -Lauren
Each and every one of our ‘yes’s’ holds so much power. A lot of us fear the unknown or fear of our own weaknesses or insecurities, we get scared and say, “You know what? Better not.” It’s easier to say no, but if you're getting that clear of a conviction from God and he's asking you. It's an invitation to something greater.
“I often meditate on Our Lady's “fiat” and her initial yes to God. And, I mean, I can't even imagine what she thought when the angel came to her and said that. Mary probably had many thoughts, but her first instinct was to say, yes, be it done to me according to Thy word.” -Lauren
What advice do you have for those who struggle to slow down and enjoy the “yes” of each day?
Being present in the moment is key. Discernment is important is a big part of making big decisions; but Lauren says, “I think there is something really pro-found in the doing. You can pray about something for five years, but if you're just praying about it, you're never going to know the fruit of that decision.”
You have to do it simultaneously. Pray about something, and then if you feel the prompting to move or act, then do it because God will show you. He'll close the door if that's not what he wants or he'll open it. “There's a lot in the doing or in the action, as well as in the praying of discernment, but not being afraid of. I'm not saying go make careless decisions and do all these things, but if something is on your heart and it's good, it's a good desire that God has placed there, there's a reason for it. He wants you to follow that.” -Lauren If we are always anxious or worrying, sometimes we just need to have faith and just follow & trust that He has it figured out.
What is one piece of advice that you want every young Catholic woman to know?
“Know who you are, know the power of your “yes”, and the importance of you as a daughter of God. You can make such a great impact by just being yourself, not comparing yourself to others, not trying to be like what everyone else is doing, but embracing who you are and who God has created you to be. I think we could change the world if we lived up to who we really were created to be. And it's just such a beautiful thing.” -Lauren