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Running From 'IT'
by Catherine Jean Riley
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“IT” that’s what my father called purpose. This being said after I spent an afternoon pacing the length of the family room in my parent’s home, trying diligently to explain a restless feeling that had been plaguing me for as far back as I could remember, in my twenty-two years of life. IT, was a feeling that I was supposed to be somewhere, doing something, helping people, but had no idea where, when, or how I was supposed to do IT.
My father described IT, as a mystifying drive that propels certain people through life like a catapult. The IT Gene. The very gene that taunted my father, molding him into the youngest battalion chief, in the history of his department. The IT gene, that was responsible for his keen wisdom and exemplary theories for fighting forest fires. Theories that now play a major role in the training of firefighters worldwide, tactics that will save their lives when fighting a forest fire. The IT gene, that formed my father into a mentor, a leader, a hero, and ultimately ripped him from my life during one of the biggest residential fires in our nation’s history—claiming him for an even greater purpose, far beyond this world.

With him, went my guide. I knew no one else with this rare, IT disorder, and began to feel, IT, more a curse than a blessing. I couldn’t help but fear IT, wondering how my importance, my purpose, could ever come close to being like my father’s, and if, IT did, I feared the outcome. Therefore, I decided that trying to ignore IT, would be the best avenue for me to take. I mean, surely God could find someone else to do the job, whatever IT was. Besides, how important could IT be? I was a nobody, just a young homemaker, pregnant with my second child. My purpose, this IT, would have to be my children; I simply had no time for anything else.

However, IT proved to be a formidable adversary, relentless and daunting in its persistence. No matter how far I traveled, IT was staring me in the face, glancing over my shoulder, whispering in my dreams, tripping me in the halls, whatever necessary to get my attention. The fact that I was conscience of IT, made me think that perhaps I was eight toes deep into a loony bin! The tragedy of it all was that I was the least crazy person out of everyone I knew. My personality, though a little warped in sense of humor, was very sensible, very practical.

I fooled myself into believing, that was hiding out from IT, for nearly a decade after my father’s death. During which time I escaped an abusive marriage, survived a traumatic divorce, and in a desperate haste, moved across the country to Boston, MA, alone with my two young children. I managed to feel an inkling of fulfillment working as a medical professional; however, I found spending more than eighteen months in one given position to be a monumental feat, feeling restless once I had mastered the position.

Refusing to be subdued, the IT Gene helped me in saving a few lost souls while in New England, helping them to find their purpose. One of the people I helped was someone who possessed an extraordinary talent with interacting with youth, in addition to an exceptional gift of writing. This, very well educated man, was a victim of his environment. The environment being in the form of a local crime family. Perhaps one of the biggest of opposing forces—those whose purpose is naught, but to prevent IT carriers from attaining their goals, God’s goals.

In a moment of supreme righteousness, I chastised him by saying, “How can you possess such exquisite, God given talents, and just blatantly squander them right before His eyes? You should be ashamed!” It was one heck of a battle, but WE won—God and me. The outcome: He attained his teaching credentials and now works at the local high school in charge of disciplinary services and guidance counseling. Since that time, he’s had several students come back after graduating, expressing their gratitude for his guidance.

I returned home to California following an auto accident, and once recovered took a job in occupational health at an oil refinery. I felt full with purpose. These men and women needed me, because previous management sorely neglected them. Yet, even after saving two lives, one of which earning me a letter of commendation from the American Heart Association for demonstrating the utmost professionalism during a cardiac emergency, still, I felt IT pulling me. Yes, my actions saved a man’s life. He knew it, God knew it, and I knew it. That is why they hired me. Saving that man’s life was an incredible experience, the sense of rightness, the sense of purpose, profound. Yet, it wasn’t enough! How could it not be enough? I couldn’t help but wonder what else God wanted from me.

Somewhere along the way, without realizing it, I began to feel disheartened. I can’t say that I lost faith, because He was all I knew. Yet, I found myself submerged in a world that seemed Godless. All around me was maliciousness and greed, selfish people who fed off other’s pain. Religion and politics were subjects taught to avoid during polite conversation. That my generation is sorely lacking in the faith department is something that I hadn’t realized. I was never one to tote a bible, nor known to preach to others about my faith—it wasn’t cool. I just assumed people felt the same connection that I did, but I was wrong.

These people began to plant seeds in the back of my mind—seeds of doubt. Doubt in myself, my sanity at believing in God, wondering if perhaps they raised me to believe in a fairytale, thinking, What if God is naught but a Santa Claus!

For the first time in my life, I realized that my purpose was nil without God. I started to panic, terrified, feeling trapped in some sort of twilight zone, possessing only questions without answers. The only thing that felt real to me was the fact that I had no purpose if there was no God. Life, this planet, not even my own children, could change that fact. I didn’t feel depressed, yet I became suicidal. The only thing I could think about was the “What If.” Eventually, I had to know the truth.

In a moment of profound despair, I fell to my knees and prayed, “God, Lord Jesus, Whoever is up there, if anyone is up there, I need you this night. Please forgive me for questioning your existence, but you see, this world has blinded me. I need you to prove without doubt, that you are truly there. It has to be big, something nobody can steal from me, something people can't dismiss as logical or scientific. It has to be from you! Please Dear Father, I’m begging you please, hear me! If you’re not there, then I have no reason, I have no will to stay here and live in this evil world. I have no purpose here! There will be no Heaven denied, no punishment for suicide. Please, show me, tell me, help me, Lord Jesus, please, help me…” and I cried myself to sleep.

The next night, my mother and I went out to sit in the spa. I climbed down into the water, sitting back, my eyes briefly gazing the sky, about to comment on what an unusually nice night it was for February, when I saw her. She was standing next to the moon, her face lit up in the moonlight, casting a beautiful glow about her features. She was more beautiful than the paintings by Michael Angelo, her golden hair, long and flowing; I realized where he had found his inspiration.

“Mom, quick look up and tell me what you see!” I asked suddenly, afraid that it was just my imagination.

My mother looked up and gasped. “It’s an angel! It’s an angel!”

“Yes, I think maybe she is an angel...” but only a choked whisper escaped, I was frozen, speechless, staring in awe.

The woman was looking into the moon, her arms seeming to cradle it. Then she turned her face, looking down on earth, and gazed at us; she extended her right hand, tilting her head slightly to the side; the love in her eyes, abundant, eternal. I wept, as the overwhelming feelings enveloped me.

She presented visions of the past, going far back to the times of the Old Testament. I saw visions of Jesus on the cross, being carried by hundreds of men, people gathered as they displayed Jesus’ lifeless body before all. He stepped down from the cross and moved to stand beside the female figure above the moon. He looked down to me, His intense eyes seeing through me to my soul, seeing everything that I couldn’t see—and He smiled slightly, His eyes telling me of His love, telling me to be strong; reassuring me that He is listening and that He is there. He turned his attention down to the moon, as His crown of thorns turned into a brilliant crown of gold, glowing brightly in the moon light, as it rose atop His head.

Faces began to appear behind him, faces of great men, some whom I recognized, and some I did not. I saw, Martin Luther King, I saw Abraham Lincoln, J. F. Kennedy, and then I saw my father, who died a hero, ten years prior, when attempting to rescue someone trapped in a fire—he smiled down at us—They were the Heroes.

We saw the history of the world and then the future. I saw hundreds of people being led up into a bright portal, by hundreds of angels. One after the other the angels took them, sometimes, dozens of them. I sensed these people were not dead yet. Then we saw a woman, her face liken to that of my own, the sight nearly sending me into shock, as we witnessed her working over a book, writing; as large groups of people formed, scattered throughout the sky, all of whom reading from a book. He then showed her dressed as a bride with veil, smiling into the eyes of a tall bearded man, and then down at an infant child she held cradled in her arms. He showed us visions of warriors, reminding me of those portrayed in the paintings of Ancient Rome. They sat atop mighty steeds, with sword and shield prepared for battle. I saw demons sitting atop hideous beasts, and watched them fall to their death. I saw warriors wounded and I saw the angels weep, I saw Satan, I saw the Reaper, and I saw death. I viewed war within the Heavens, the battle of good vs. evil.

This miracle went on for hours, the images changing, but never going away. My mother witnessing the vision beside me.

After several hours, the visions began to cease, leaving angels floating slowly, back and forth across the sky. They were not images in clouds that resembled different figures. There were no clouds in the sky. These images were in color, colors like those used in Angelo’s paintings, pale gold, peach, white, black, blue, grey—it was incredible--it was a true miracle!

Instead of overwhelming peace, when I awoke the next morning I felt troubled. What did the vision mean? It was so much more than I had asked for—I had no idea what to do! You know the saying— be careful what you wish for…

When I went downstairs to make coffee, my mother was waiting for me.

“Well, that sure was something last night! You do remember right?”

I stared at her a moment and then nodded my head. “We need to tell someone, Mom. We need to tell someone that we’re going to war.” I went on to explain to her that something terrible was going to happen; that thousands were going to die. I told her that I wanted to call the White House and warn them! Suddenly, I realized how completely ridiculous I sounded. They would probably lock me up for conspiracy! I was helpless. Nobody believes in miracles anymore, nobody believes in visions from God. Even my mother, a deacon in her church, didn’t know what it meant or what to do.

I decided to consult an expert and I went to a Presbyterian pastor at my mother’s Church for guidance. After I told him my story, he stared at me blankly and questioned whether I had been using narcotics; confirming in my mind, the dire state of our faith. I had never studied the bible prior to this, but I knew enough to know that God didn’t bestow visions on just anyone at random. This was a major test of faith, and people were failing.

I was restless for months, sensing tragedy, but unable to do anything to prevent it. On the night of September 10, 2001, my daughter came in and asked me if she could walk a different way to school the next morning. I told her no, I wanted her to take the same path, in case something happened. She scoffed at me and whined about how unfair I am and how much it stinks being a teenager, and then she says, “Like, what’s going to happen, Mom? It’s not like I’m walking alone or anything.”

Without thinking, I blurted, “IN CASE WE GO TO WAR OR SOMETHING!” Out of the blue, as if it were an everyday fear we Americans held prior to that fated day. She looked at me as if she were looking at an alien! “WHATever Mom!” I heard a whispered “freak” as she made her way down the hallway to her bedroom.

I thought, Yeah, I am a freak! Where in the heck did that come from?

The next morning I received a phone call from a friend, confirming my worst of fears, the U.S., was under attack by terrorists.
Having long felt the urgings to become a writer, I opened myself up to Him, and experienced the most incredible happenings as He spoke through me in my writings; extraordinary writings that I found myself posting on the internet, just to see what would happen. I then experienced another miracle, a miracle of divine purpose. Hundreds of people began emailing me with their stories, with their gratitude, many claiming I had instilled hope where there had been none.

One woman told me I changed the way she viewed her entire life, a woman who had endured countless abuses since she was a child, I helped to heal with written words. What could be more meaningful, more powerful of a purpose than that? To place a bandage on a wound, to offer comfort to the ill is a very noble and wonderful thing, but to heal one’s soul makes me feel as if I’ve moved a mountain, or conquered an army of the greatest most wretched of foes!

Life changes in an instant. No matter how hard I try, there is no way to deny this purpose. That I once thought it too surreal, too great a task for someone such as me, I now consider a shameful, selfish act. I pray He forgive me for doubting myself, for doubting Him.

When reading the Old Testament, I realize I am among good company. People who also questioned, people who doubted themselves and what they could accomplish, even Christ himself. To receive a blessing in form of a biblical vision, a vision giving confirmation of Christ, of God, of Heaven & Hell, and the imminent judgment of mankind, was beyond comprehension; yet, this given to me, a single mother of two children, the daughter of a hero.

The skeptics raise an arched brow, assessing me and what I have to say, many trying to discredit me and His message; many seemingly out of jealousy or wounded pride. Am I not divine enough for them? Has man’s arrogance truly risen to such a high level, as for them to presume that they can now decide to whom God will bestow a vision?

Throughout biblical history, God has called upon the weakened and the humble, to spread His word; but the proud and self-righteous will be blind to His visions and deaf to His calling. To those skeptics I say that I knew they would come, and tell them to pray for forgiveness for their ignorance in blatantly attempting to hinder faith’s progress, for attempting to deny His cause.

I seek no personal gain from this experience. I am not attempting to form a following, or cult.
I am shy by nature and recluse in lifestyle. I didn’t choose this—I wouldn’t have chosen this, believing it far too monumental. My purpose is to glorify The Lord and announce this truth, "The Lord Lives!"

People in masses have forgotten what the true purpose of our existence is. We are not here for us. We are here for HIM. Accepting that is a difficult and terrifying task. It requires giving up control, being unselfish and living to fulfill HIS purpose. It’s realizing that what we want from life, may not be what is meant for us—A life chasing a shooting star, by the time we catch up to it, it’s already gone.

In my opinion, people, as a whole, especially in cultures where there's abundance, (food, water, clothing, houses, cars, etc.) take God for granted everyday. They pray at the poker tables and when they buy lottery tickets. (Guilty as charged!) They pray for many things, never wondering, or asking if it is what God wants.

The bottom line: That little voice in the back of my mind that I didn't listen to, doubting I had heard correctly, doubting myself—whatever the reason—that voice, was always right! God is patient, loving, and forgiving, but a person must do their part. If they refuse, they will encounter a lifetime of struggle and hardships—it will be no other way.

While not everyone possesses a relentless drive, or divine spark, all possess a purpose. The purpose may not be to part the Red Sea, or save the world, or invent a cure. It may merely be to inspire others, to spread His word, to raise a child, to teach, to be a role model—it could be anything.

I think that God gives us gifts when we’re born. Those gifts are the first clue as to what our purpose is. If they possess a multitude of exceptional traits, perhaps their purpose is one full with upscale importance, more vast. I think many people feel lost, because their gifts feel obscured. Presumably, someone (probably evil) tried to kill it during his or her childhood; hoping to snuff it out, before the spark turned to flame. All it takes to start the doubt is a derogatory word, a comment, a sneer, or a snicker. Then the bad guy starts to win. One less angel up in Heaven for the Big Guy; ten more for the Evil One below.

I know, because they did it to me, they made me feel insecurities I shouldn’t have felt. They made me feel afraid to be different, fearing ridicule and shame. Ultimately, they instilled feelings of low self-worth, making me deaf to His calling. Thinking, why would He bother with me? I must be imagining things! At the time, those people, the ones from the opposing force, were fulfilling their purpose, quite successfully. However, blinding me and shoving cotton in my ears didn’t kill the calling to my heart.

I realize the controversy surrounding a piece such as this, the arguments that it raises about one’s faith, or chosen religion. I am not writing in theory, nor am I writing about something taught by any human. My sense of righteousness stems from more than gut feeling, it didn’t come from a dream. He attested His existence to me, by visual confirmation, baring witness. I have yet to meet anyone from a different faith, being able to honestly, stake claim to the same.

At the age of thirty-five, I begin this new journey. Although, still uncertain as to my exact destination, I am free of blinders, devoid of earplugs, with God to serve as my guide. I feel a sense of profound righteousness, combined with an enormous amount of fear, and I pray for the strength to see me through with this endeavor of fulfilling HIS purpose through me.

It is my hope that one day, proceeds from my writings will enable me to build a spiritual retreat, where youth can come and discover who they are in God’s eyes. Not with pompous sermons of fire and brimstone, but with teaching of His love, teachings many seek to deny them. I too, was victim to those who use the bible as a tool to control and manipulate. Had I not, I would have read the Bible sooner and realized that He was calling me, and not dispense happenings in my life as my imagination.

My purpose gains power through Him. Without Him, I possess nothing. What could be more powerful, than the purpose of healing one’s soul? I am eager to see where IT goes from here!


Over the past several months, the Lord has revealed His plan for me. I have witnessed His armies gathering and pray desperately for this blind and deaf generation. Please read His message, from Wisdom.

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Member Comments
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Gerry Alderink 08 Aug 2004
Your article is AWESOME. I understand your vision, even though I have never had the privilege of having a similar experience. I know how real God is, His Spirit lives in me. Thank you so muuch for sharing your experience, in such a humble way! To God be the glory, just as you also give Him the glory due Him. Without Him, we are just human beings with great needs in every way. God bless you as you fulfill God's purpose for your life.


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