My name is Aaron Juneau and I grew up just outside of Ottawa in a catholic home, attending church, saying the rosary, etc. I moved out on my own when I was 18. A relationship with God was never a huge part of my life and it dwindled more as I started to explore the world on my own.
As a young adult I was trying to figure life out. People my age were drinking, partying, doing drugs and sleeping around, without thinking of any consequences. I thought this must be the way to live – everyone is doing it! But as the years passed, I was spiritually dead inside. Self-gratification was basically what I wanted – it felt right. I worked at my bar job making great money and didn’t really care about anything else. I dabbled in heavy drinking and occasionally hard drugs, trying to feel something.
I met my wife in 2004 and we married in 2011. We built a home and she became pregnant with our first son shortly after. However, our marriage became troubled and we were having a difficult time. We went to counselling and tried working through our issues. My Dad kept talking about this “New Life Retreat“, saying that it could change your life, but I always put it off.
One day I asked my wife, Erika, if she would like to go on the retreat, and to my surprise, she said yes. So we went to the New Life Retreat, not knowing what to expect. We were tired and desperately needing healing. As the weekend went on, I started to experience some joy. I learned about forgiveness and that God’s love can do all things. Then I reached a moment where I was ready to give my life to Christ. I had had enough of the life I was living. When we were praying in the Church, I said to Jesus “I want you to live my life”. I felt an outpouring of the Holy Spirit come over me and I wept. This experience changed my life! I have never been the same since. Things in my life that mattered before just didn’t matter any more.
The lyrics to the song “Show Me Your Glory” by Jesus Culture pinpoint the experience I had in the church that day. They go:
“Forever I am changed by your love,In the presence of your majesty; Forever change me. It was one glimpse, one taste of your love, and I stare straight into the eyes to burn with love for me; the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen, And everything inside of me just wanted to give all I am,; All my love to you, my beautiful king. Forever, forever you change me. There’s no lover like you God; there is no love greater; there’s no love greater, God. There is no one like you. Forever you are King in my heart God; Forever you are King in my heart. Jesus, forever you reign, my love, Forever.”
The day after our retreat, our first son Graeson was born – 3 weeks early. It became clear to us that God wanted to bring us healing before we brought this child into the world.
My life has changed. I now read books on saints, spend time with God in prayer, go to daily mass and adoration when I can, pray the divine mercy chaplet and the rosary. I’ve learned that turning to him in hard times can bring peace . God doesn’t disappoint. He wants the best for you and your life. I don’t have to tell you how dark the world is, but He wants to bring healing to all of this! I urge anyone who is thinking of participating in the New Life Retreat, young or old, to do so. He is calling everyone of us to be part of his ultimate plan – we all have a role!