God is always with us
by Diocese of Des Moines | April 13, 2021
By Anastasia Siebrecht
It can be hard to wrap our minds around the fact that God is always with us.
My grandfather and I were always two peas in a pod. Since I was a little girl we’d laugh, joke, and goof around constantly.
In the summer of 2019, I was getting ready to leave for Catholic Youth Camp. I looked forward to that week every year as the highlight of my summer.
That year was different.
The week I was leaving for camp my grandfather went to the hospital.
The morning I was set to be dropped off at CYC, my parents and I stopped at the hospital to visit my grandfather. We walked in and were quickly stopped by my uncles and grandmother. We went to a different room, not his, and talked a bit.
I remember my father talking about funeral plans. Tears began swelling in my eyes, but my mom told me I had nothing to worry about and that I was going to have an amazing week at camp.
As we were leaving the hospital and passing my grandfather’s room, I felt a call to stop in and tell him goodbye. However, with the rush of CYC excitement, I didn’t get that chance.
The first morning of Catholic Youth Camp I was called into the office by my parish priest, Father Ross Parker. I knew in my heart that something was wrong. He told me of my grandfather's passing. I broke down crying. I couldn’t believe I had acted so selfishly and didn’t give my grandpa a "goodbye" when I knew I should have.
For the next few hours, I stayed in the chapel praying. I remember begging God: “Why now? Why here? This is supposed to be the best week of summer and now it's the worst week of my life.”
After a few hours, my best friend came up into the chapel and asked me to go on a walk. As we walked and talked, a swarm of butterflies surrounded us.
My grandfather loved butterflies. He even created a special habitat for them on his land.
At this moment, I knew God and my grandfather were both with me. I can still remember the huge weight that was lifted off my chest. It was truly a sign from God telling me that I was at CYC for a reason. God knew with my grandfather's passing that I needed to be surrounded by my best friends in my favorite place.
After a very emotional day, everyone at camp went to the outdoor chapel.
As the prayer service began, I looked up to the gorgeous sky God had created. While gazing into the stars I thought of my grandfather. I also thought of God sending me to CYC to help cope with the loss. Suddenly, as I was processing the day's events, a sparkling star went shooting across the sky. I had never seen a shooting star before that night. I knew God was sending me another message of his presence. I knew I was safe and watched over by God.
It is almost two years later and I am still in awe of God’s presence. I know he is with me at all times. Whenever I find myself questioning my faith I always think back to this day.
The day that was supposed to be the worst day of my life actually ended up being the most insightful and important. God is always with us we are being watched over by him.
Anastasia Siebrecht is a parishioner of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Des Moines.