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Traveling on Trust

A Pilgrim's Tale

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Editor's Note: Amy Depew, 39, of the Holy Family Parish in Tulsa, Oklahoma, traveled to the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in 2013. She hopes to use her journey to inspire others to let go and trust God.

For almost three weeks, it was just me, the road, and God. I left my home and family in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on April 2, 2013, five days before Divine Mercy Sunday, with only a $1.50 in my pocket and jewelry I'd made to sell to buy gasoline and food. I had more than 1,400 miles to travel, but I trusted God completely to get me there.

I'd decided to journey to Divine Mercy Sunday so that I could heal. I had a great amount of bitterness in my heart towards someone who had hurt me deeply. I tried and tried, but no matter how hard I prayed, fasted, repented, or sought the Lord, I couldn't get past this bitterness. The wounds they left and the spite I felt were keeping me from the mercy God intended for me.

While I was on the road, I listened to Christian music, to preachers on the radio, or prayed the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet. I also prayed for God to remove the bitterness from me, and to bless those who had done wrong by me.

God kept me fed, warm, and safe. People were interested in the jewelry I was selling and my reason behind it. At one gas station, a police officer pulled up beside me. I was afraid—loitering in the area was illegal—and I prayed to God for his protection. But I felt brave enough to tell the officer about my journey, about how I was just trying to put gas in my car so I could make it to Divine Mercy Sunday. And the officer listened. And he left me in peace to sell my jewelry.

The coldest night of my journey happened three days in. I was driving through Pennsylvania, and I found out it was supposed to drop to the thirties overnight. I didn't have any money for a hotel--I'd been sleeping in the back of my jeep--and all I had were a few blankets and the clothes on my back.

So that night, when I pulled over so I could rest, I asked God if he would please keep me warm. And I slept soundly and comfortably through the night. The next morning when I woke up, it was 35 degrees. And it didn't affect me at all.

I made it to the Shrine for Divine Mercy Sunday. There were tens of thousands of people there for the Mass celebrated at the outdoor shrine. And I remember the priest's homily from that day. He said, "I want you to take a moment and silence your heart. Right now, think of the person who has hurt you so deeply that it is impossible to forgive them. Think of them, right now, and forgive them anyways."

At that moment, I felt a huge burden lifted from my shoulders, and I wept. After the Mass, I went back to the outdoor Shrine, and I knelt on my knees in the mud in front of the Divine Mercy Image. I felt so grateful that God had gotten me there safely, so that I was able to let go of the bitterness in my heart.

To get back to Oklahoma, I took the long way along the East Coast to visit some friends and share my story with them. I experienced more miracles and kindness over the next two weeks that brought me home safely. On my way to Virginia, I suddenly felt like I should pull over. I didn't know why, but I felt like God was telling me to get off the road. So I waited. A little while later, when I was back on the road, I saw the remnants of a six car pile-up that had happened at the same time I would've been in that spot on the highway had I not pulled over.

Later, on my way to Alabama, I stopped at a gas station between Little Rock and Portsmouth. I was setting up to sell some jewelry, and I saw a homeless woman sitting by herself across the parking lot. Her clothes were tattered, her face dirty beneath her unkempt hair, her few possessions stuffed into the rumpled bags around her. I had a bag of chips and a bottle of water in my jeep, so I walked over to her and offered her the water and chips, both of which she firmly refused. She then reached into her bag and pulled out a wrinkled five dollar bill, and said, "Take this, you need this more than I do."

It was my turn to refuse, but she insisted and persisted, pressing the bill at me. So, for her kindness, I offered her a turquoise and silver bracelet. And I noticed that when she put the bracelet in her bag, she had a Bible in there. And this Bible was dog-eared, marked up, clearly she read it a lot. I thanked her and turned to go. When I got back to my jeep across the lot, there was no sign of her. She and her bags were gone, they were nowhere in the vicinity.

After three weeks, I made it home. Sometimes, the bitterness begins to creep back. But I remember the day I wept beneath the Divine Mercy Image, and I remember the long journey during which God protected me and provided for me completely. And I trust that God will help me keep the bitterness in check.

We can't heal when we hold spite in our hearts, it eats away at us, makes us sick, and forces us to push God out. And then we can't be everything God wants us to be.

If I had to do it all again tomorrow--the journey, that is-- I would do it in a heartbeat. Because frankly, stepping out on a limb like that, taking a trip clear across the country with no other resource but the Lord, it makes you realize just how much God looks out for us. We trust our family, friends, our jobs, our money, but we rarely put everything aside and just focus on trusting God. But when we do, it truly changes our lives.

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Maria do ceu - Oct 6, 2015

I need to forgive all the pain from my past.thanks for your story...

Jackie - Oct 4, 2015

Your story is truly amazing!My husband and I are going through a time of hardship but we have to get up everyday and do what we have to do.A week ago I was shopping for tiles and the salesperson had the Divine Mercy prayer card on his desk and timid I asked him If I could take a look at the card.As soon as I started reading the prayer, my eyes filled with tears,and the salesperson noticed that and gave it to me.I began praying to the Divine Mercy that night.Also,days later I was looking through some papers and found a Novena of the Divine Mercy that I have kept for a long time in my bedside.I felt that God was asking me to pray the Novena as well and that is what I am doing.I am sure that God will not abandon us and like you we will be a live testimony of his love and mercy.

MJ - Oct 3, 2015

Inspiring story. Praying that you continue to trust in our Lord for He will never let us down! We have a LOVING, FORGIVING & MERCIFUL GOD!

Richard - Oct 2, 2015

God is good indeed`

When we give ourselves to Him, we realize that He is always with us. Its just that when we have not surrendered we are distracted from his presence.

I pray that the thorn in your heart is lifted. It will be so once you are in no need of it to remember Him who loves you more than you can know.

What you are is God's gift to you.
What you become is your gift to God.

Regimol Joseph - Oct 2, 2015

Put aside everything and trust in God, that takes courage. I think, that courage itself is a grace. I was in the Divine mercy feast in 2013 at Stockbridge. Jesus helped me to forgive to those who hurt me. I also did the same thing that Amy did,kneeling down in the mud, in front of the big Divine Mercy image. What a comfort and peace it was when I looked at the divine face. The changes happened in me over the time are, I could talk to freely to a person with whom I was afraid to talk once or I avoided that person many times in life. Secondly whenever the hurting experiences get reminded, each time my merciful Jesus helps me to forgive them again and again.I think we need to keep remind ourselves that, bad memories are always in our head, but thinking about kneeling in front of Jesus would help us to melt away the unnecessary thoughts ruining our peace. This is the most grace I received from the Divine mercy feast trip to Stockbridge from Canada.
Regimol from Canada

Theresa - Oct 2, 2015

Beautiful story of Faith, Trust and Forgivness!

Lois - Oct 2, 2015

I was there that Divine Mercy Sunday. It was a very powerful weekend of mercy! In my year on the Hill with the pilgrims, I witnessed, and even experienced, so many miracles. The National Shrine of The Divine Mercy is one of the most powerful places I've ever been outside of the Grotto in Lourdes, France. May God continue to pour His abundant blessings out on you and all the Faithful who believe in Him and His mercy. Just the other day, gratitude filled my heart as I rejoiced in how fortunate I was to have worked in the pilgrimage area at the Shrine even for only one year ... and touched by the thought of how many lives I may have touched and how many had touched mine in such a meaningful way. This morning, I had an unexpected surprise at First Friday Mass. One of my Marian "brothers" was on the altar @ my Basilica nearly 2 hours away. What a joy-filled way to begin my day; it brought back so many pleasant memories! I was looking for something entirely different when I felt compelled to stop and read your inspiring message of God's mercy and goodness. Let the blessings continue....

Teody L. - Oct 2, 2015

Thank you for sharing this wonderful story. It is very clear that God's divine mercy is all over you while you made that trip. Above all, the miracles and healing all because you put your trust in Him. Like you, I am, as if, also on the road. I have no permanent job and I do not know what tomorrow may bring me. I am in dire need to have this burden lifted out from my shoulders. But as I look back, God was also with me and never left me through my family and friends who supported me. As I am writing this, my HR manager called me and offered me additional 12 hours more to work this week. Praise be to God!

Sandra - Oct 2, 2015

It is amazing how when one puts all there trust in God what he can do!! I know!! Continue to Trust in God with all your Heart and all your soul. With God All Things Are Possible!

Mayra - Oct 2, 2015

It never fails. When we give God just a little bit, He gives us so much. Beautiful and most inspiring story. I hope to go back some day to the Shrine for Divine Mercy Sunday with my whole family.

Toby Eygenia - Oct 2, 2015

What a wonderful experience you had all through the Journey to the Shrine of Divine Mercy. This goes a long way to show the love of God which surpasses all understanding. The Grace of God prevailed upon you revealing the spirit of forgiveness which Jesus Christ has constituted in our live. Am happy for you and I congratulate you for the courage and most importantly your Trust in God. God bless.

Dina - Oct 2, 2015

May you continue to trust in the Lord our God and he will continue to shower you in His love and mercy!!! God Bless you and thank you for sharing your experience and your faith journey. The number of hearts that this will touch is immeasurable!

jesus is love - Oct 2, 2015

That story inspired me even more to learn to forgive others even when it is so hard.
Thank you,
and God Bless