Joyful Words Blog
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.
– Psalm 119:105
– Psalm 119:105
That Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith, that you, being rooted and grounded in love. Ephesians 3:17
I heard a phrase several weeks ago and it has stuck like glue. I’ve been taking my time trying to figure out what I was supposed to do with it and today it all came together. The phrase is, go forth and gossip the Gospel! Given the fact that gossip has a typically negative meaning and is often something Christians try to avoid it needed some thought.
As is very often the case, the middle lovelies help me see things with a fresh, innocent perspective. As each class comes into my room, we always begin by praying our Psalm and prayer of the month and then each student offers prayer petitions or intentions. I’m often touched at the things on their heart that they ask others to pray for. People often send us prayer requests and I share those with the kids and then we put the request into the class prayer jar and without fail, every single day someone says “and for all the needs in our prayer jar”…they are truly powerful praying kids. Recently among other requests we’ve been praying for two little babies named Ellis and Rosie. Today one of the kids prayed that “God would heal them enough today to make their parents feel hopeful.” and another one prayed “God please just let them know you are hearing us and you love them.” As I sat down to type and peeled through my newsfeed quickly I saw wonderful posts from both babies parents about good days and strong babies and I realized what gossip the Gospel meant.
We are all so faithful in confidently offering our petitions to the Father but I don’t think my “ask Him’s” come even close to matching my “thank you for thats”. We are so quick to ask for prayers or share our concerns and situations but if you’re like me I completely miss the mark in taking the opportunity to gossip the Gospel when a prayer is answered. The Gospel is the road map for all the work, expectations and examples Jesus left for us. The Gospel teaches us about Jesus and his miracles and healing and we should share those when they happen. Tomorrow I need to begin class by saying, “Wait till you hear what God did. Here’s how he heard our prayers and answered back.”
The gossip is the scoop everybody wants to get in on. What if the biggest thing we wanted others to get in on were the amazing ways Jesus is working in our lives every day. What if we faced frustration and disappointment and stress with a little Gospel gossip like “ya know what, God parted the Red Sea, I’m pretty sure we can trust him to help with this, let’s take a minute and ask him for help.” Step two would be to get back together with that same person later and shared how he responded. We were made to love and be loved so when I saw a frazzled, tired friend trying to muster up the joy and energy to tackle the day, we stopped and prayed for God’s peace and joy and went on with our day. A few minutes later that same friend told me about the totally out of the blue and unexpected hug she got from a student that just touched her heart. I realized that when she found me to share, that she in fact was gossiping the Gospel and it was so cool.
The more we ask, the more we should thank and then we should share. The more we share, the more aware we become of the countless ways the Father is working in our days and that my friends, gives us plenty of Gospel to gossip about. Instead of asking how about the weather or what’s on the schedule for the weekend, what if we asked, “What has Jesus been doing in your life?” They may need to give it some thought but it won’t be long before we discover we have a lot of Gospel gossiping to do.
A Seed To Plant: Every day for the next week, write down something God had done in your life then share a couple of them with someone…go ahead…Gossip that Gospel!
Blessings on your day!
Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled. Luke 1:45
I used to love watching shows about pioneers. I thought the whole covered wagon, cornbread baking, sod busting thing was great. I sometimes daydreamed about being a pioneer woman and thought about the excitement of such a new adventure. I also thought the long skirts would be a great idea to cover up my pudgy legs. Then I became a wife and mother and realized how hard things can be even in this modern world with machines and apps for everything so I figured the whole pioneer woman gig was out of the question. Or was it?
Now, one thing is for sure, I will never travel the frontier in a covered wagon nor will I likely ever bust sod and use it for a roof but the whole new adventure thing might not be such a bad idea. I got to thinking one day that maybe being a pioneer could mean something different than the prairie. Fr. Pierre de Chardin once wrote, “We are called to be pioneers; pioneers who stand on the edge of great beginnings, of unseen futures. Pioneers filled with unwarranted confidence that visions give.” Maybe I could be that kind of pioneer; I don’t think it comes with a long skirt and wide brimmed hat, but the new adventure part is the same.
I think the key word in Fr. Pierre’s quote was vision. I can set goals or make resolutions; I can even pick a word for the year but to have a vision is something big. I think our desire to be logical and systematic makes it difficult to be a pioneer. When you really think about it, pioneers set off on adventures that didn’t seem safe, logical or systematic at all. They really had to trust. Some of the best things in life happen with that kind of start. Look at Mary and Elizabeth…neither of them was the common candidate for motherhood. Elizabeth was too old and Mary was too young and not even married yet but they trusted, followed and radically changed the world. If we wait until everything is in order to make a new beginning, we’ll likely never get started on the journey.
What is your vision? What do you see within yourself that could use a new beginning? Be a pioneer and set out to find that new place or thing. Be a pioneer for peace, patience, mercy or trust. Blaze a trail so bold others can’t help but follow! Can you make a plan to bring the hopeful newness of life to your heart, your home, workplace or community? Great things have to start somewhere…go ahead…YOU be the pioneer! What new beginning are you going to pioneer? Think big…think mighty…think Godly but mostly think about the needs of others and the mercy of God. If you need someone to join your wagon train just let me know!
A Seed To Plant: Dear Lord, give me the strength to bust out of my comfortable-ness and be a pioneer of something really important to you.
Blessings on your day!
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice. Philippians 4:4
This verse is one of those “feel good” verses I like to spit out when I’m happy and things are going well. I’m getting better and better at calling out in thanks for every good thing. It’s been a consciences effort over the past many months to really remind myself to thank him and recognize the million moments when he’s working powerfully in my life. Lately though I’ve been asked to look at this verse through a different lens.
The truth about this verse is that it was written by St. Paul. The hit me over the head truth of this verse is that it was written while he was in prison awaiting his martyrdom. From the darkness, the squalor, the stench, the most unfortunate, uncomfortable and undeserved location, he cried out for us to rejoice as he was at that very moment. He didn’t say it once, but twice; rejoice! Now, I’ve been in some pretty dark, complicated, painful spots but I’ve got nothin to compare to this…not even close. Praying with this verse has brought to mind some things I need to remember about rejoicing, especially when it’s the last thing on my mind.
Being a disciple means saying YES to God. When we say yes, it’s usually because we want to grow closer to him and experience his powerful grace. We sign up for the good stuff! How conveniently and quickly we forget about the hard or bad that comes with the good. God shows us how this works in his creation again and again. He put thorns with roses and cobs with sweet corn and mosquitos with summer. We’ve lived it and seen it dozens of times but we are always shocked when the suffering and hardship come. The Apostles said yes to Jesus and talk about a roller-coaster ride that yes was. Every one of them endured trial, hardship, persecution and all but one faced martyrdom. Amazingly, they all listed to Paul and did it all while rejoicing, and for what? For eternal peace, freedom and absolute perfection.
These thoughts served as a sort of “buck up butter-cup” kind of experience in Adoration a couple of weeks ago. I was lamenting about people who were sick and troubles and woes we are facing as a community, a church and as a nation. Wouldn’t you know it, this was exactly the verse he led me to. When I look at all the stuff I was made heavy-hearted by, I realized I have absolutely no control over any of it and the only thing I could do was lift it up to him and rejoice! Rejoice not that these things were happening, but rejoice because I trust he’s working in all of it.
Embracing hardship cheerfully isn’t something we generally put on our daily to-do list but I suppose it really should be. Following St. Paul’s advice in his letter to the Philippians I decided to give it a try. I have a really bum knee and long walks through the airport and standing to deliver an all day training is pretty awful. Last week when I went to Texas, I parked my car at at the airport and said, “Lord, I thank you for this lousy hurting knee. I will praise you and rejoice in the pain and I offer this suffering to you. I rejoice in the pain in the hopes that you will bless someone in great need with the pain I offer you.” And of course because I can be sassy, I added, “And Lord, If I’m gonna stand and do one evening and two full days of training, I need you to take some of the pain away during those hours. If you could part the Red Sea, I know you can manage the pain for a couple days.” It was sort of an experiment but he was so faithful and mighty and lovingly answered my prayer. Through the prompting of the Holy Spirit I rejoiced when it didn’t hurt so much and then again when I got home and it did. His power is overwhelming! Give it a try, rejoice in the middle of something awful or painful that’s going on in your life. He will be waiting to meet you in the middle of it.
A Seed To Plant: Make a list of all the things going on in your life that are hard to rejoice in. Write or say the words; Lord, help me rejoice in_____.
Blessings on your day!
He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. Matthew 22:37
Happy New Year! I have my word of the year…have you prayed about yours? Mine is a strange one; and as usual I tried to talk him out of it! I think he might have known I would drag my feet on this one so he sent it in early December while I was sitting quietly looking at 300 plus students praying at Friday Mass.
I don’t think it’s as much about the actual word, rather I think it’s about what I do with it! My word this year is RELUCTANT. Literally my first thought was, “No I’m not!” I try to be an “all in” kind of girl so I was a little miffed, but, as usual, I gave it some thought and prayer and realized several places where the word was inviting me to draw closer to him and make some changes. As I sit and pray with this new word here are a few seeds he’s planted.
*I am reluctant to give him 100% of my heart. There are things I keep tucked there because I think I need to be responsible for them. My children, my grandson and my students specifically. I forget he loves them more than me. I forget that even if things are tricky in their life he is bigger than the struggle and he’s working in their life. I am not their only “keeper” and I don’t always know best. I need to invite him into my concerns and my fears, not harbor those feelings and let them run laps in my mind.
*I am reluctant to serve him at all costs. What if someone thinks I’m weird? What if someone doesn’t invite me to their BBQ because I might talk about Jesus and make some people uncomfortable? What if I reach out to someone who is hurting, will I be responsible for everything from their Baptism to their Canonization? What about that person who desperately needs to know of his love and mercy, am I brave enough to be a great disciple and share it?
*I am reluctant to give him total control. It dawned on me in morning prayer that I sometimes picture trudging through life like a machete wielding warrior hacking my way through the rain forest and every day I invite him into my life to be with me. How dumb is that…why on earth would I picture myself chopping stuff out of the way when I have Jesus? I don’t need to invite him to come along, I need to hand him the machete and have him go first!!
*I am reluctant to do all things completely for HIS glory…period! It was pretty clear that I spend way too much time worrying about being his star instead of his servant.
*If I were less reluctant I think I would focus more on being AMAZED by him and not worry so much about trying to be amazing.
All that stuff in such a short time…I think he’s going to lead me lots of places with this new word. My prayer is that I’m not reluctant to go where he leads me.
A Seed To Plant: Pray for a word to guide you in your pursuit of holiness and share it with us if you’d like so we can pray for each other that God would love and guide us through that word.
Blessings on your day!
Sheri's writing can also be found at Faith Catholic Publications and on CatholicMom.com