Editor’s note: During the Year of Vocations, the Diocese of Syracuse is partnering with individuals to share video testimonials about their vocations and their calls to holiness. A new video is released each Friday; find them at facebook.com/DioceseofSyracuse and youtube.com/syrdio.
The testimony offered by Tori Reynolds of St. Vincent de Paul Blessed Sacrament in Vestal, edited and condensed for clarity and length, follows. You can also watch her video below.
My name is Tori Reynolds and I am from St. Vincent de Paul Blessed Sacrament in Vestal. I run the faith formation program there, and I also help out with youth ministry and evangelization.
When the word discernment comes to me, it comes to me as a journey. And that’s what it is, is a journey.
I started out a cradle Catholic, and college was a big turning point in my life. I found myself struggling and looking for answers in college. One way that God had a hand in my life then, when I didn’t know, was picking a major. I went to college with a major in elementary education. When I was in the classroom I was also coaching, on the side, soccer to little kids. And I couldn’t teach them to trap or pass the ball properly, so I got thinking, “How am I supposed to teach these little kids to read and write?” So I ended up switching my major to secondary education with mathematics. Little did I know that I wasn’t sure of the age group that I wanted to work with, back then.
Moving home from college was really hard for me. My fiance was working days; I was working nights. It was nonstop. Our priorities were so mixed up. Faith seemed to be last on the priority list.
So I knew that I had to make a decision. I’m a very independent person and I thought that I could do it by myself; I thought I could fix this situation by myself. But then I came to a point where I was broken and struggling. So I decided to change my prayer life.
Instead of telling the Lord what I wanted for me and asking and begging and pleading, I said “What do you want for my life? How can I make it to what you want and answer that call?” and immediately things changed.
I remember I was driving down the highway, and it was just minutes after I said a prayer: “Come Holy Spirit. I need something — close a door, open a door, whatever it might be, I need a sign, I need something.” I got a phone call from my mother — and my mother is such a beautiful example of faith formation and all throughout my life. She said, “Is there any chance you’d be willing to just come into our church, and step in and take over the religious education for the elementary school students?” And immediately I said, “Yes! I’ll do whatever it is!” I didn’t ask any questions, I just said what do I need to wear, where do I need to be?
From that moment on, I had changed my life. It was almost immediate when I changed my prayer life. Now I have the whole education program, I help with youth ministry — that means kids, teens, young adults; I have a great relationship with parents, all my parishioners, everyone, and it’s just such a blessing to me. And since that day, my faith has grown.
The Lord knows what we need. We don’t know what we need. He knows that I need those relationships, that work, the affirmations, the events that come with it, because without that I will be lost and struggling. Spending all this time with these people in my life now, it brings me so much joy and comfort and it keeps my faith so high.
It took me a long time to figure out that it’s not all about me. Discernment is about finding out about what God wants for us. Moving forward, I encourage you to change your prayer life. The best time to change your prayer life was five years ago, so start today. Start with gratitude and start with changing your mindset from what you want to what God wants.