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Finding the God moments amidst Covid-19

Editor’s note: Blog post author Natalie Nikolajevs is associated with the Providence Teen Volunteers. She has been joining them for nightly prayer sessions from her home in Michigan.

During self-isolation, I’ve really been trying to focus on the positive, even with everything that’s going on right now. But sometimes that becomes difficult. COVID-19 seemed hard enough, until I had to move to another house, deal with a dance teacher who still wants to have a recital, stay on top of my schoolwork, film a virtual opera and start taking voice lessons.

Blog post author Natalie Nikolajevs

Even though there was a lot of stress, I am so happy that I get to use this opportunity to spend time with family and friends! My family and I have gotten to hang out way more because of this, so this time isn’t all bad. We had a campfire and I’ve gone on lots of car rides with my mom. I’ve also been spending more time with my friends. This has happened mostly over calls, but one of my friends who lives in my neighborhood and I have gone on bike rides together while staying a safe distance apart.

It has also been great to spend time with friends I don’t usually get to see! Since everyone has been staying inside, how far away you live from someone doesn’t really change what you can do with them. Because of this, my friend from out of state and I have been calling each other almost every day. We play games together and also just talk. It’s been so great getting to hang out with her, even if it’s over the phone.

Connecting with Providence Teens

Even though she lives in a different state than me, she might live in the same state as a lot of you: Indiana. I actually live in Michigan and I connected with Providence Teen Volunteer Ministry through her! We would usually end up chatting until around nine and then she would leave. One day, I asked her where she was going. She told me that she was going to a prayer group where they would pray a decade of the Rosary every weekday.

This inspired me to start praying the Rosary everyday myself. But I felt almost as if God was calling me to ask her if I could pray with them too! A couple of days later, she was about to leave and I told her I wished that I could come too. She asked if I wanted to join them one night. She asked the group if I could come and the next day I was sitting on Discord, the app that we use to talk to each other, at 8:59, really nervous to join the call. I ended up loving it and I’ve been praying with the group for more than two months now! Everyone was so welcoming and kind. I started out really unsure of myself, but now I feel as if I’m a part of the group.

Each weekday, we pray a decade of the Rosary. We open by sharing how we are coming and who or what we would like to pray for. Everyone has come in many different ways, ranging from happy and relaxed to concerned and upset. This time is difficult, but when we all pray together we don’t have to worry about that. We just get to spend time with each other and with God.

Finding the God moments

When I first came, Sister Joni Luna, who helped start the group, would lead the meeting. A different person would lead the Rosary each night. This has now evolved into a different teen leading the entire meeting every evening. After we pray our decade, we share a God moment for the day. This can be anytime where we have felt God’s presence in our lives. When this was first suggested, I was actually kind of worried. How was I supposed to find God’s presence every single day? It seemed like a difficult task. At first, it was hard to find God in my everyday life. But as time has gone on it has gotten easier and easier, with some people finding three God moments!

Even if we have come very stressed, we always leave feeling more calm and happy. I’m so glad that we started sharing our God moments because it has truly helped me to see God in my real life. This has helped me continue to persevere even when it seems as if things are really hard.

I’m also really happy that I joined because I have made so many friends in the group, even though I live almost 360 miles away. We often play games on the weekends and that has been a great time to get to know all of the wonderful people in our group. I’m so glad that I get to pray to the Lord every weekday with everyone and I hope that other people are inspired to do the same!

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Natalie Nikolajevs

Natalie Nikolajevs will be a sophomore at Divine Child High School in Dearborn, Michigan in the fall of 2020.

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17 Comments

  1. Sister Donna Butler on July 23, 2020 at 8:12 am

    Natalie,
    Thank you for sharing your story. I’m glad you had the courage to join this group and it sounds like it has been a great blessing to you. May this friendship and sharing continue to help you through these difficult times.

  2. PAULA DAMIANO, SP on July 23, 2020 at 8:30 am

    This is so encouraging…. that young people like you really want to grow in relationship with God. Thank you!

  3. Joni Luna on July 23, 2020 at 9:52 pm

    Natalie,
    Thank you for being a part of our group.
    You have been such a gift to us, thank you for answering when you heard, “I felt almost as if God was calling me to ask her if I could pray with them too!”
    You have added a spark to the group.

  4. Jane Iannaccone on July 23, 2020 at 9:56 pm

    Natalie thank you so much for sharing your blog with us. It is as a good reminder for me to look for the God moments every day. If you have a chance tuck in a prayer for me As I prepare to move to Indiana. Sister Jane Iannaccone SP

  5. Patty Wallace on July 23, 2020 at 10:08 pm

    Thank you, Natalie for sharing the gifts you have experienced in this time! I am glad that you found friends with whom to share your God moments. You inspire me to look for God moments in my life!
    Beautiful reflection!

  6. Patty Wallace SP on July 23, 2020 at 10:11 pm

    Thank you Natalie for sharing the gifts you have noticed during this time. I am glad that you have found friends to share your faith and God moments. you inspired me to find God moments in my life too! God bless you!

    • Martha Rojo, SP on July 24, 2020 at 9:12 pm

      Natalie,
      How providential that through your friend you joined the teen prayer group. How beautifully you describe how it has made you more aware of God moments in your life and the lives of others.

      Thanks, too, for sharing, that despite the struggles and challenges you and your family face In your lives and during this pandemic, you recognize the way your relationships have deepened with God and
      others.

  7. Diana M. Garza on July 23, 2020 at 10:19 pm

    Natalie, I enjoyed reading your blog. What a blessing that you were able to connect with Sister Joni and the group! Focusing on our God moments will indeed help us through these trying times. Thank you, Natalie, for sharing your inspiring story.

  8. Teresa Kang on July 23, 2020 at 10:28 pm

    Natalie,
    Thank you for sharing your very inspiring story, I see hope in your story.
    Especially in these difficult times, the pandemic did not make us far away from God and friends. Instead, it brings us to get closer to each other in different ways. Sister Teresa Kang, S.P.

  9. Sheila Donis on July 23, 2020 at 11:50 pm

    What a great young woman you are. I think you are amazing–spirit, dreams, life with God…..

  10. Jessica Vitente on July 24, 2020 at 9:55 am

    Thank you, Natalie for sharing you challenging experience during this COVID-19 culture. I’m happy to hear where God has been guiding you to a sacred experience of meeting new people who you can now call friends no matter the distance. Thank you for sharing you’re sacred experiences and listening to God’s invitation to join Providence teen ministry. When we able to travel, I hope you can come visit us some day. Keep up the great job of noticing your God moments every day! I’m proud of you!

  11. Katherine Manley on July 24, 2020 at 1:13 pm

    Ask and you will receive. Many positive events have happened in your life by asking. Follow your heart , Natalie, and enjoy the receiving.

  12. Mary Montgomery on July 24, 2020 at 10:57 pm

    Natalie, your blog is so refreshing and inspiring! I too enjoy being in nature and experience God moments in various places. I’m glad you joined in the small community of Providence Teen Ministry for prayer digitally and find this helpful. I wish you peace, joy and God Moments every day.

  13. Maureen Abbott on July 26, 2020 at 9:58 am

    Natalie, reading this has been a real God moment for me today. Thanks!

  14. Barbara Battista,SP on July 26, 2020 at 4:52 pm

    Thanks for inspiring me to share my God moments more freely.

    • Sister Editha on July 27, 2020 at 2:38 pm

      Hi Natalie, you inspire me in sharing your story and how you responded to God’s invitation to join the Teen Ministry. You seem to have so many talents and developing them. May you continue to recognize and respond to God’s presence in your life.

  15. Evelyn Ovalles, SP on July 27, 2020 at 2:01 am

    Natalie, thank you for your sharing! I enjoyed reading your own spiritual journey. Your sharing is inspirational. Truly, God-moments become visible when we take time to pray. I am glad you have widened your circle of friends through the Providence Teen Volunteer Ministry.

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