Fadwa Khourieh

Calgary, Canada

Am I worthy?

I want to tell you about God's love, how His unconditional love brought me out of darkness. Hi, my name is Fadwa Khourieh. I was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada to two wonderful parents. I have 3 brothers, a sister-in-law, and a cute little nephew! I grew up in a Catholic home, raised to love the church and serve in different ministries. I found joy in serving others.

As I grew older, I started to slowly turn away from the Church and God. I only went to mass when I was forced to and only prayed when I needed something, like a good test mark. I wasn't going to confession or receiving God's mercy, so mass and the sacraments were not as impactful or important in my life.

In 2012, I fell into a deep depression. Many horrible things were happening in my life. I injured my leg at work and could barely walk, one of my friends' mother who was like a second mother to me passed away, and bad things just kept happening. This left me feeling empty inside and I started turning to material things, impure thoughts, reckless behaviour, anything to fill the void. But nothing on this earth could!

But in the darkness, came a light! One of my best friends, Ashley, invited me to go to a conference that Catholic Christian Outreach was putting on for young adults. With the year I was having, I did not want to go. But I said yes as I thought I would just get closer to my friend and learn more about my so called faith. Boy did the Lord have other plans for me!

We had a night of Eucharistic Adoration, something I had never experienced before. I was listening to the speaker and he said, "Whoever would like to accept Jesus and put Him at the center of your life, I invite you to come up to the stage." I was like, "Oh, no! I will not go up there!" I felt so unworthy to even be in this room with hundreds of young adults, so on fire for their faith and I thought I needed to be really holy to put Jesus at the center of my life. I wasn't going to mass, I didn't fully believe in God at that point, and who was I that Jesus would love me enough to want to come into my life? Then the speaker said, "If you are doubting whether or not you should be up here, then you should be up here." I felt like he was speaking directly to me. So I went up there.

I got up to the stage, bowed my head, and started to pray. As the speaker was giving us all a blessing, I had an inner dialogue with God. All He wanted was to love me, so I opened up my heart and let him in! I felt an overwhelming feeling of God's love, mercy, joy, and forgiveness rush into my heart. I started to cry! I didn't realize how angry, how hurt I was feeling. I had all these painful emotions bottled up inside. The emptiness and void that I had in my heart was gone at that moment. I knew that the Lord was who I was searching for, the only person that could fill the void in my heart. I made a commitment to trust in the Lord and put him at the center of my life.

Since that day, I have been on an amazing journey! I started to go back to mass, every Sunday, going to confession, started praying more regularly, and having a greater appreciation and reverence for the Holy Eucharist. I made a choice that day to put God first in everything that I did. Does that mean that I am perfect? No! But what it does mean is that I am always striving to be the best version of myself. With knowing that God is always with me, loving me, and caring for me I am able to handle any difficult situations that come my way.

I have grown in my relationship with God and I have gone on to do many things with God's grace. He has called me to serve in my parish as an Usher Coordinator, a Catechist (teacher) for First Holy Communion, to serve the poor in my community and in Mexico City on a mission trip, and more recently He has called me to go to World Youth Day in Poland to share the Gospel and serve His people! With all of this, I still struggle and still make mistakes. Life is not all of a sudden perfect when you accept God in your life, but what happens is that you start to have more of an appreciation for life and hope that there is something more in store for you! My favorite bible passage right now comes from Jeremiah 29:11 - "For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope." This verse has gotten me through many difficult situations and has been a great reminder of my hope and trust in God!  

I learned something on the day that I put Jesus at the center of my life, that God will meet you where you are at. Even if you feel unworthy, you are not in the eyes of God. Even if you are far away from him, He still loves you and is still pursuing you each and every day. His love is like no other and with that love, comes mercy, grace, and forgiveness. No matter where you are in your life, God will always be there. So I just say to you, if you haven't turned to God yet, if you are yearning for something in your life, give God your 'YES'. It doesn't mean you are going to be perfect, that you are not going to fall or make mistakes, but what it does mean is that he is going to pick you up and be with you through those difficult times. He will be with you in the good times too! So give God your 'Yes' and let his unconditional love flow through you. 

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