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A Seed Grows

Darkness creeps over Me
Like the Earth which hides a Seed
My Heart is heavy alone and broken ,
Where are You Lord I ask .
Darkness creeps over Me
As I wait in the Sound of Silence ,
These are the Hidden Years ,
But I cling to Hope , to the memory of Your Light .
Days pass to years and still You are Silent .
Darkness creeps over Me
But I feel a new Strength begin to grow .
I know YOU are there ,
But I am Blind , I am Deaf .
Had I not once tasted YOUR Presence
I would Die in this Pain ,
Still I know YOU are there .
Come I beg , Come breathe on Me ,
Come fill my Longing ,
And the days still pass to years .
Where is that FIRE ?
The Fire of YOUR Love that I once knew .
Slowly I come back to Life
And then YOU come in all Your Glory .
I Live , I Rejoice , I am Freed
YOU are Mine , My Love , My God , My All ,
In Your Presence there is no Darkness
And a New Seed Sprouts upon the Earth .

Copyright Ó Frances Killen --2000

How did I ever reach such a point of pain in my life to become that Seed so broken and sorrowful?

My story begins in the city of Glasgow, Scotland. I was born the eldest of six children, into a loving Catholic family. Financially we had little and my parents had to work very hard, Mommy as a full time homemaker and Daddy at two jobs to provide for his family. Nothing in this world held more importance to them than their Faith and Family. From the very beginning I was thus blessed, and began to grow and flourish in this loving environment. Being the eldest child, much was expected of me and I soon learned how to take responsibility and to teach the younger ones. By the time I was seven years old I had developed a love and awareness of God, mostly due to Mommyís excellent and gentle teaching. Fondly I remember preparing for my First Communion and Mommyís beautiful explanation that she was making me a white , dress and veil because I was becoming the Bride of Christ on that day. This, was what filled my heart and my mind as I received Jesus for the first time. At the party which followed , we also celebrated my sisterís birthday, and all the time I kept thinking how happy I was that I had just married God ! I share this little incident with you to illustrate just how much we can impress the young heart and mind.

I was a playful child , who enjoyed all the usual childrenís games and pranks, and especially loved it when Daddy would take me to the movie theatre. By the time I was twelve years old and entering High School, I knew that Teaching would be my choice of profession, having been called upon by my teachers many times to tutor my peers.

High School became a challenging situation, but very rewarding in many ways. I was one of the working class children allowed to enter an elite Private High School. My tuition, books, and uniform, were fully paid for by the Local Government. My School was run by the Notre Dame Nuns, and had high academic standards, but the greatest blessing of all was the strict discipline and excellent Religious Education which, little to my knowledge, would give me the root of strength that I would desperately need in the future to survive. I am grateful to the Lord for all He gave me during these years.

Dancing quickly became a favourite pastime, and of course a way to meet boys, as my youthful mind was already looking forward to Marriage and finding the "man of my dreams." Oh how I loved to dance the night away. A week before my 17th birthday, I met Vincent . I was shocked as he walked towards me, when I heard an inner voice say, "He does not know it yet but one day he will be your husband." In retrospect now , I sincerely believe this was a prompting of the Lord, whom I had begun to love in a more adult way. Our first date was on my 17th birthday and throughout our six years of dating, we recognised the need for a common faith in God. I had fallen in love with Vincent and he loved me right back.

Most Saturdays we would go to the 10:00 oíclock Mass and Confession , before visiting my Grandmother. Once again , I believe the Lord in His Mercy was preparing a foundation for the future. We danced, went to the movie theatre, and did all the fun things young couples of our day loved to do together. We were young and free, enjoying life and the company of our friends .

Upon graduation from High school I was accepted to complete my teacher training at an all female , residential Teacherís College, once again run by the Notre Dame Nuns. Some people would have called our program "Boot Camp" because of the strict discipline and the overwhelming spiritual expectations placed upon us. In many ways we were like young sisters in training. Our day began by being wakened at 6:00 AM , with one of the nuns singing to us. We were expected to be dressed and in Chapel for Mass by 6:30 am. Throughout my three years in this College, I was given constant opportunities for Prayer, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction as well as daily Religious instruction. In addition, each year we were required to make a week long Silent Retreat. This Retreat was probably the toughest time of all. Can you imagine a group of over a hundred young women remaining silent for a week ! Impossible , but we tried. During the first year , a beautiful Franciscan priest, whose name I no longer remember, but whom I will never forget, conducted our retreat .Something happened to me during that week, something that forever changed my heart. As this Franciscan was giving one of his talks , he began to explain that as Jesus hung upon the Cross at Calvary, He hung there for each and every single one of us. He went on to describe how, as Jesus suffered, He suffered seeing and knowing each one of us individually !

Something in my heart broke. A realisation dawned, "A New Seed "sprouted forth. My God, My Jesus, You died for me. I wept uncontrollably with this thought, and sought the priest in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I had begun at nineteen years of age, a new journey of Faith, and was overwhelmed by this new realisation. Jesus had become my friend and my Personal Savior. My life was full. I was in love. In love with my Savior and in love with a fine young man. At this time I also read the life story of St. Theresa of Lisieux and was struck by a beautiful prayer that she composed while the Spiritual Director of Novices:-

"Dear Lord, You see that I am too small to feed these Little Ones, but if through me You will give to each one what is suitable, then fill my hands, and without leaving the shelter of Your arms, or even turning my head, I will distribute Your treasures to the Souls who come to me for Food."

I copied this prayer and dedicated my teaching career using this prayer as my motto. My life was wonderful as I graduated and began to teach in the Catholic School System, with plans to be married in one year when my fiancé graduated from University. One of the desires of my heart had already been granted by Our Blessed Lord, to become a teacher. I prayed that soon the next dearest desire of my heart would be fulfilled, to become a Mother.

Vincent and I were young and free, so we began to make plans to come to live in Canada immediately following our wedding. Finding a job was easy, and we both had jobs to come to before we arrived in Canada. We arrived on August 7th, married only 3 days, owing the Canadian Government our airfare, and with only $150.00 to our name, but we had faith , we had lots of love and we first and foremost looked eagerly to conceiving our first child. We had a whole life of joy ahead of us, or so we thought.

By early October we knew with joy and certainty that our first child had begun to grow within me. I can hardly express our happiness. Life was great ! We had it all now. But by Christmas our dreams were shattered. Inexplicably I had miscarried, and we had lost our dear baby. Quickly our sorrow changed to hope, hope that God would not let this happen again, as we found out we were expecting our second child. All too soon I was in hospital once again having lost my baby. This time my sorrow became more profound. My fear began to grow and a seed of resentment, even jealousy set in as I watched some of my friends and one of my sisters going through their pregnancies with no problems at all. "Where are you Lord," I would call out. What are you doing to me? But Silence seemed to be my only answer. Still we persisted and by the time I had lost my third child I was beginning to lose hope. My Faith was weakening and the Lord , whom I had encountered so deeply , and whose love for me was so real at 19 years of age, seemed so far away. I was becoming angry and resentful of God and began to doubt that He loved me as deeply as I had once thought.

"Darkness creeps over me
Like the Earth which hides a Seed"

My Doctors felt that perhaps now it was time to begin investigations to find out why I kept losing my babies and this resulted in more bad news. I was told to give up on ever being able to carry a child to term, as I had been born with a congenital defect in my uterus. There were two chambers and a child could not grow there.

By this time we had moved to another town in Ontario following another heart breaking experience. My husbandís Mother back in Scotland , had taken a massive stroke, from which she subsequently died. We both had gone to Scotland and had taken the only flights available which meant staying for two weeks. Upon returning Vincentís boss was so incensed at the length of time we were away, that not only did he demand a Death Certificate, but he told him to find another job. Little did we know at that time, that this action of closing one door was to bring us to a city , where once again, in the future, I would meet and experience God in a powerful Way. The finality of the Doctorís report made us begin to think about adopting children, but still I became pregnant for the fourth time, and in much sorrow lost that baby also . We began to struggle thinking that perhaps adoption was Godís plan for us, and a tiny seed of acceptance and even a little Peace began to enter my heart. Meanwhile we applied and were accepted by the Childrenís Aid Society, and waited the arrival of our first living, breathing, healthy baby.

Heartache struck once again in our lives as we struggled with the sudden death of Vincentís Father in Scotland. Imagine our fear as he left to be with his Father not only that he was losing his Father , whom he loved so dearly, but would he have a job when he came back to Canada? Would he be able to support me and the child that we would adopt very soon? I had resigned my position with the School Board that week, and was also pregnant for the fifth time. We waited in anticipation of two Babies coming into our lives. Our fears were assailed and Vincent still had a job . Soon that wonderful call came from the Childrenís Aid Society . We have your newborn baby girl. OH WHAT A JOY! God had gifted us. God had heard the cry of our hearts. I cannot even begin to express the joy that flooded my heart as I held my dear baby in my arms. I cannot express the gratitude I felt to God for giving me my beautiful daughter , Frances, and deep within healing began to take place.

Every moment of suffering, every prayer, had led me to this moment of Gift, a Gift from the Love of God. OH WHAT PEACE ! At last the Lord was allowing me to have this desire of my heart , to be a Mother and to raise His child.

Six weeks later, I was once again in Hospital having lost my fifth child. My sorrow was deep once again for the baby I never held, but when I arrived home from the hospital there was my beautiful daughter Frances waiting for me and as I held her the Lord touched my grieving heart.

What a beautiful Summer that was, and as I grew in acceptance of this as all part of Godís plan and we applied very quickly to adopt another child. By this time, we had purchased our first house and were happily building it into a home for our new family of three. Life was so good, but as Summer gave way to Autumn all that was to change so unexpectedly .

In September, Frances was three months old and suddenly our beautiful baby became very ill. At first the doctors were mystified, but soon they realized that something was wrong with her heart. When the Pediatrician gave us this news, telling us that she would go to Toronto Sick Childrenís Hospital for further investigation, a storm rose up from within me. I cried out in anger at God, my heart wrenched with fear and sadness to the point where Vincent became so concerned, he sent for a Priest to come and see me. As we waited over the next few days for a diagnosis, my storm became one of deep sorrow. Finally the doctors told us that the prognosis was extremely poor. Frances was suffering from a very rare, and generally fatal heart disease, Endocardio Fibroelastosis. In short, according to the doctors our little Darling was going to die.

After a month we brought her home with many instructions on how to care for her and giving her digitalis to ease her heart , which sometimes beat at over 200 beats a minute. Oh how I prayed, "Lord, give her a new heart. Lord , heal my baby. Lord please donít take her from me." For six weeks we had the joy of having her home and then it became obvious that she was deteriorating . Once again she was hospitalised, but this time, thank God, in our home town. Thus began my daily trips to the hospital. I spent every waking moment I could with her, lavishing her with Love and praying all the time, begging God, to heal her, to give her a new heart.

By mid February, the Childrenís Aid Society called us to say they had another Child for us, a little boy. Michael was 17 months old when he came to us and quickly adjusted to his new Family, and the daily trips to the hospital to visit his sister Frances. As Michaelís first month with us passed, and exhaustion was really setting in with me, both Vincent and the Pediatrician thought it would be good for me to go to Scotland for a week to let the family meet our new son. With much reluctance I agreed, knowing full well that I needed a break from my hospital vigils with my dear sick baby. I did not want to leave her and as I went to the hospital that day to say goodbye, something in my heart told me that this really was my final goodbye. I held her, kissed her, and said "Goodbye I may not see you here again ."

My Family was thrilled upon our arrival for a surprise visit. They immediately fell in love with Michael and amazingly within 48 hours everyone had come to see us.

Friday morning at 9:00, while at my Sisterís house, the phone rang and my heart sank. I knew it was Vincent calling and I told my sister that I knew it was him. Vincent was crying. He told me I best get home to Canada as soon as possible. His words were "Frances has taken a turn for the worse". I called the airport and managed to get a flight within hours, and my dear Mother full of love and compassion, decided to come with me. That was the longest journey of my life, living in hope that she would still be alive when I got there.

My Mother , my son Michael, and I were quickly escorted off the plane before the rest of the passengers, by the crew who knew the circumstances of our return trip. We were rushed through Customs to the Passenger Arrivals Hall where Vincent was waiting for us. I took one look at his face. No words were spoken. No words were needed. I knew my beautiful baby, my Frances, had died. She was only 9 ½ months old and she was gone from our lives forever.

Something in me broke. I cried out in deep anguish as a dark hole began to engulf me

"My Heart is Heavy, alone and broken.
Where are You Lord, I ask. "

The next few days were just a blur as we went through the Wake and the Funeral and then it was all over and reality began to set in. Living daily became trying to place one foot in front of the other, just to get through the day. That dark hole surrounded me to the point where I could see no light.

"But I am blind ,I am deaf ,
Had I not once tasted Your Presence
I would die in this pain "

But still there was Michael who needed me. Michael who needed to be loved and cared for. Michael my saving Grace who suffered at the hands of the darkness which surrounded me. My dear Husband who needed and deserved a wife who would love and support him was suffering so much , having been all alone with Frances when she died. His heart broken, he tried to remain strong for me.

"These Are the hidden years "

Time passed, and I began to live a lie, not really letting anyone see what was going on deep within me. From the outside, I appeared to be coping, but in fact I was still a prisoner in a Dark Hole of Grief and Despair. In my mind God was no longer my friend, someone who loved me. He had become for me , the Author and Creator of Death, who had snatched all six of my babies from life and left me in this deep dark hole. But , then there was Michael , my little son Michael so needy, Michael my saving Grace. There was Vincent , my husband who loved me so deeply, so faithfully.

"But I cling to Hope, to the memory of Your Light".
[Maybe He still loved me even a little.]
"But I am blind, I am deaf.
Had I not once tasted Your Presence
I would die in this Pain".

I knew for them that I needed to go on. Within a year we had adopted another baby girl. Catriona was such a Blessing, and while I loved her deeply, my heart was still broken and I longed to be free. We decided the answer was to sell up everything and to move back home to Scotland. We quickly sold our lovely new home and practically gave away all our furniture and new car, and began our Exodus searching for the Promised Land of Peace of Tranquility and Healing, back with our family in Scotland. We arrived, homeless, jobless, and with only our clothes and a few small household items but prayed that here, we would at last be at Peace. Vincent found a job and soon we moved to the little Village of Loanhead where we bought a beautiful home. We purchased all new appliances and waited for the delivery of our new furniture.

Within a few weeks one Saturday morning at the 10:00 Mass, I was astounded as an Interior Voice spoke saying, "Sell everything, pack up, and return to Canada." God was speaking and I knew it as clear as I knew my name. What could I tell Vincent? Would he accept this, or had I simply become completely crazy with grief? Did God really speak that clearly? Was He interested in my life after all? Suffice to say I broached the subject with Vincent when we returned home from Mass saying something happened at Mass, and I have something to tell you. Vincentís response was such a surprise as he said , "Yes, and I have something to tell you that I heard at Mass". I canít remember now vealed first what had been heard, but we could hardly believe it. Both of us had heard God telling us to go back to Canada again.

We told our family how God wanted us to sell up everything and once again to move back to Canada. My Mother was so upset. "God is here in Scotland also ," was her plea. "You donít need to leave here to find Him." But we knew we had to obey, and in our simple way responded , putting our house up for sale and canceling some of the furniture which had not even arrived yet. Within weeks, our house was sold and on April 1st Vincent flew back to Canada , leaving me and the two Children living at my Parents home.

It was almost two years to the day since Frances died , when My dear Vincent arrived in Canada jobless and homeless once again, but God had spoken and in our simplicity we had obeyed. Vincent was blessed by getting a job back in the company he had just left and soon found an apartment. By early July I had returned with our two children and began to attempt to build our family life, and make a home again. Despite having heard Godís call, my heart remained empty and grief was still my most constant companion and consumed my every waking moment . The Children suffered, Vincent suffered. I needed to come back to life for them.

Fall came and Vincent decided to take a course in Woodwork, to begin to make some furniture , since material goods in our home were sparse , the trips having depleted our funds. At the same time a friend asked me to take a course with her, only this course was at the Church. It was called the Life in the Spirit Seminars and would last for two months. Well , this would give me something to do to pass the time I thought , and an evening out. I had no idea what this course was or how it would change my life forever, besides maybe I needed to make friends with God once more . I continued to wonder why had God called us to live here again? With no knowledge of what I was getting in to I began my course. Monday , Vincent would go to his Woodwork Course , and Wednesday I would go to my Church Night School Course .

Within two weeks someone gave out a Prayer for Inner Healing. I took it home and began to read it. Something in that Prayer struck home. "Heal my wounds, Heal my bitterness, Heal my unbelief!" Yes , that was what I needed ! Once more I began to call out to God. "Heal me Lord. Set me free. Forgive me Lord." I had become acutely aware of the impact that living in my dark hole must be having on my wonderful husband and my two beautiful children. I had to climb out of this hole for their sake and reach towards the sun or should I really say, reach towards The Son . I began to say that prayer over and over. I was saying it hundreds of times a day and knew that the answer lay within that prayer .

"Where is that Fire? The Fire of Your Love that I once knew."
"Slowly I come back to Life."

After a few weeks of doing this I decided to ask one of the Prayer Teams to pray over me. I had enough freedom now to stop pretending to people and to reach out for help. My request was, "Please pray with me to become a better mother and a better wife. My family is suffering at my hands because I need Inner Healing so much.

"Come I beg. Come breathe on me. Come fill my longing."

As the team prayed with me, something began to happen. Something I did not understand and had never experienced before. Gradually a Power began to permeate my whole body, my whole being. A Power that felt so much like electricity that I looked around at the teamís hands , laid upon my shoulder , to check what was going on and to see what they were doing. I asked them what were they doing, and what was this electricity surging through me? They told me to just relax, that this was the Power of God going through me. I was desperate and mustered all the faith that remained in me and yielded to what they were saying. I gave in and let go of carrying my pain with my own strength. Maybe God was interested in me after all. Maybe, just maybe, He did still love me. A gentle Peace began to wash over me , and something inside of me snapped so profoundly, that I could feel it physically. Godís Peace and Healing began to settle in my broken heart.

"And then you come in all your Glory.
I live. I rejoice. I am Freed."

Driving home that night I felt like a completely new person. I knew something had happened deep within me, that I would never be the same again. I was a New Creation and God was Real. He had come to me! He loved me! And I loved Him right back. A new freedom had firmly taken root in me. Relating the events of the evening to Vincent when I got home, he responded with such deep love and encouragement saying , " Just accept and believe what God has done for you." We prayed quietly together as we lay in bed to sleep for the night. In the Peace that was enfolding me as we prayed, I had a vision, an inner sense of my dearest baby, my little Frances coming to me and speaking to me.

I sensed her saying "Mommy let me go, release me, give me completely over to God that I may enjoy the fullness of His Love and Glory". Oh Lord! What was I doing to my child all this time? Trying to hold her to this earth. Trying to hold on to her in my grief and sorrow. My response was so wholehearted. "Yes! Yes! I release you. I let you go to God. You are His and you always were. " What Peace that surpasses all understanding enveloped me. In freeing my sweet baby daughter, God had freed my heart and healed me. I had begged Him for a New Heart for her, but He had given it to me!

"And then you come in all Your Glory.
I live! I rejoice! I am Freed! You are mine , My Love , My God ,
My All ,In Your Presence there is no Darkness
And a New Seed Sprouts Upon the Earth."

Unbelievably, over the next few days I tried to find the grief and sorrow in my heart, but it simply was not there. My life had begun again. Within a few weeks I found out God had given me even more on that wonderful night.

"And a New Seed Sprouts Upon the Earth"

Yes, a New Seed was now growing in me as we found out I was expecting another baby . Once again my heart was filled with hope for what the Doctors said was the impossible. Would I be able to carry this child to term and deliver a healthy baby? Time passed and still I was pregnant. Had God given me even more than I asked for when I prayed for Inner Healing? Had he also given me a Physical Healing? Was this possible in our day and age? I received much encouragement and support from my dear husband and my Prayer Group to have faith and to trust that God could have healed me. As the months passed my hopes grew, my faith grew, my trust grew, and finally on August 11th I gave birth , much to the surprise of my Doctors and all who knew my situation, to a beautiful Baby Daughter, Helena.

"And a New Seed Sprouts Upon the Earth"

This New seed was alive and a healthy baby girl. Praise God for His Love, His Mercy, and His Healing. The Life in the Spirit Seminar opened up a whole new world for me and that "Night Course" , at Church , became a Way of Life. Jesus the Lord had come to me and recreated me spiritually, emotionally, and physically and I have never looked back since .

As with all of us , life continued to present us with many struggles and trials, but deep within the New Heart He had given me , I knew that He loved me and that nothing was impossible with God. Somehow it seemed that all of this was why He had called us back to Canada . How the Lord had mightily Blessed our simple Seed of Faith and blind Obedience.

The following is an example of how He led us during one of lifeís challenges. When our little miracle baby Helena was three months old, she became very ill. Unbelievably Helena was same age as Frances was , when she first took ill . At the Hospital we were told that she was in failure, caused as it turned out, by a serious bladder and kidney problem. My heart sank as once again we saw another of our babies in an oxygen tent in ICU struggling for her life. What could I do? I cried out to God and this time instead of Silence, I heard Him speak. I felt as if He was saying, "Let her go. Give Helena back to Me. Place her on the altar as Abraham placed his son and trust Me. Whether she lives or dies I know what is best."

Oh how I struggled with this, telling Vincent how hard it was to let go, but I knew deep within my New Heart that I must. I prayed and surrendered her to God saying ,"Lord here is Helena. I give her back to You. She is Yours anyhow." Had being a Mother, had having children, become one of the false godís in my life that I needed to surrender? I surrendered Helena to Godís Loving Care. She not only survived this episode, but was healed before the anticipated surgery was even planned. Praise God who once again intervened in our lives.

I would like to conclude my story by giving Glory to God for yet another wonderful surprise. As time passed I became curious to know if I had in fact received a significant physical healing and doubts began to creep in , as I was hoping to have another child. I asked my Doctor to schedule another series of tests to check my uterus and determine if it had changed or was still in the same condition, having a congenital defect. This was no small request as the tests were done under full anaesthetic. Before going to the hospital, I had a long conversation with the Lord, telling Him that if the tests proved He had healed me, together we would have a son for His Honour and Glory. A son I said, somehow knowing in my heart, if we had another child it would be a son. The tests all came back perfectly normal and of course with no earthly explanation and yes you guessed correctly, I became pregnant right away and knew I was going to deliver a fine, healthy, baby boy. On December 17th Thomas was born, healthy and strong and looking exactly as I had envisioned him to be . God had gifted us once more by His Grace and by His Mercy.

To tell you that my life from here on was just a bed of roses would be false. We have experienced much joy and many more trials and struggles, but the Gift of Faith, the Gift of Knowing without a doubt , the Reality of God in our lives and the Infinite Love He bears for each of us has carried us through.

"And a New Seed Sprouts Upon the Earth", Growing every day, sprouting forth new branches, new leaves, new fruit, and forever reaching towards The Son .

It would take a book to write of the many ways I have continued to experience God in my Life, and maybe one day He will lead me to write that too , but for now I share this ;

HE IS MY LIGHT

He came in a LIGHT ,
So Soft , so Gentle and yet so Strong .
He came in a LIGHT
To Embrace Me , to Overwhelm Me .
He came in a LIGHT ,
Full of Love , full of Kindness .
He came when I least expected Him .
Lord , how I wish your EMBRACE would Never End.
Now I know as I have never known before ,
Now I see as fully as I can see on this Earth ,
Such Peace , such Joy I cannot contain it .
We become One , I in You and You in Me,
One LIGHT ,One LOVE , never to be forgotten .
He came in a LIGHT ,
And all else fades to Nothing .
He came in a LIGHT
So Bright . so Clear ,
What Ecstasy !
I no longer exist , save In Him
Who is my LIGHT !

Copyright Ó Frances Killen -2000

Twenty eight years have passed since I began to take the Life in the Spirit Seminars and I know I am still learning. I have only just begun for our God is an Infinite God. Let Him touch your heart to heal you and set you free. I am aware that many lives have already been touched and converted by my story . My sincere Prayer is that your Life too will be touched in some way as you allow Jesus to enter more fully into your heart . Surrender all to Him for ,

In Him there is no darkness at all.

Frances Killen

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