Joyful Words Blog
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.
– Psalm 119:105
– Psalm 119:105
Christ became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:8
Happy Holy Week! This is the most powerful week in the life of a Christian. It’s a week to pause, ponder and pray. I’d like everyone reading this post to take some time to stop in their tracks and soak in the beauty, sorrow, sacrifice and magnificence of this week. Imagine for a few minutes what it would be like if Holy Week were made into a motion picture; I know Mel Gibson kind of already did that but think of it in your own mind and your first task is to cast yourself in one of the roles. I’m going to assume none of us would cast ourselves in the role of Jesus, so I’ve listed some of the other characters for you to select from. So…climb up in the director’s chair and see where you fit best.
John – beloved, loyal friend…the only Apostle to travel to Calvary and weep at the feet of the crucified Christ…generous even to the point of taking the mother of Christ into his home; must be fearless enough to walk beside Jesus as he carries his cross and tender enough to comfort and console His mother in her unspeakable grief and agony.
Peter – strong, faithful follower…until put to the test…must be willing to seek with all your heart the forgiveness and mercy of the loving Jesus after you deny him not once but three times.
Apostles – must be willing to abandon all of your possessions to follow a man named Jesus who you don’t always understand…must make a commitment to tell His story with enormous passion for the rest of your days…must be able to live with the guilt of falling asleep and running away to hide during the very hours your love, prayers and support are needed most.
Judas – must have serious issues with priorities and loyalties…demonstrate in living color how wealth and power can blind good judgment and destroy truth.
Simon of Cyrene - strong, compassionate and helpful spirit…must be willing to help another of God’s children with absolutely no regard to personal cost or gain.
Veronica – courageous, tender and loving, yet brave in the face of tremendous personal danger…must be willing to act spontaneously with unsurmountable compassion being your only motive.
Mary – unfathomable obedience and absolute reliance on the strength of God the Father…complete surrender of every joy and every sorrow…flawless, sinless and utterly selfless even to the point of unthinkable personal grief and torment inflicted on a mothers heart.
Pontius Pilate - curious, conflicted and controlled by circumstances of politics and position…must feel deeply but lack the confidence and security to properly act on your beliefs.
Claudia – (wife of Pilate) must be open to the promptings and stirrings of God in your life and possess the personal confidence and conviction to share those stirrings and promptings without reservation even if others don’t respond in the manner you know is right.
Chief priests and leaders – cowardly, deceitful and dishonest…must prize authority, power and vanity over all things…must be willing to hush or squash all things that might interfere with personal security and position…must have a great ability to distort or ignore the truth in the name of personal security and achievement.
The Crowd – must be willing to go with the flow…acceptant of popular opinion and able to be swept up in the culture no matter the consequence of your actions…must be unwilling to form, voice or defend a clear sense of right, wrong, truth or justice.
So…which part fits best? If you’re like me, as you study the list you can see yourself in lots of roles…but that isn’t a positive thing. The roles I desire most seem to be the places where I give my most lack-luster performances and as much as I look hatefully upon some of the characters, I sometimes see myself in their role. This week isn’t as much a “reliving” of an event as it is a “reflection” on their power to transform us into Christians, who love more tenderly, appreciate more deeply, sacrifice more obediently and repent more wholeheartedly. It’s a week to be drawn in by the overwhelming and overpowering love of the Savior who endured all of this for US while contemplating the reality of the fact that our sins did this to Him. It’s not a regular week, it has a title for a reason, make it your mission this week to live like you know this week is different, it’s Holy!
A Seed To Plant: Make a plan right this minute for the way your actions and behaviors will make this week different. Decide what to put aside this week, what to pick up this week and include plans for reading the Gospel accounts of this week.
Blessings on your day!
My God my God, why have you abandoned me. Matthew 27:46
I had a Holy Week post all planned but then life took a different turn. Readers can always count on reality and raw truth when they stop by to read the Joyful Words blog. Another thing you can count on is that from time to time the post isn't exactly joyful; today is one of those days. The scripture verse from Matthew has real meaning for our small town this week and I think God has a reply to those of us pondering the way that verse relates to the lives of the hurting. When a beautiful couple in their late forties heads off on a spring vacation and they die in a tragic accident on their way, you have questions for God!
Jim and Tonya were full of life. They were great parents, great neighbors and great friends. They worked hard, prayed hard and played hard. They raised three wonderful kids to young adulthood. They spent years going to games and school events supporting their kids and everyone else kids right along with their own. Tonya always came with her bubbly personality and her infectious smile and Jim was always good for a great laugh. I’ll never forget being at a baseball game huddled under blankets watching our sons play baseball on a 35 degree spring day in Michigan. It was so cold the boys were actually wearing the coats that came with their uniforms. Those coats were so old that Jim shouted to the players to check their pockets and see if they could find a “Vote for Regan” button. Loosing Jim and Tonya will leave a hole in this community for sure!
Tonya was one of the blogs biggest supporters and most Monday and Thursday mornings she would be the first “like” or comment on a new post. More than once I have thought that the blog might have “run it’s course” and just as if she knew, she would call or message me and randomly offer the encouragement I needed to keep writing. A couple of years ago I wrote a post at the beginning of Lent that touched Tonya’s heart. It’s funny that the words from that post, offer comfort and hope to my heart tonight. That post talked about a simple way to approach difficulties and call on God’s help. It seems completely relevant today so I’ll share that prayer and how we might use it to find hope and peace as we lean hard on God this week. The prayer is four simple lines; I can’t, You can, You promised, Please do.
I Can’t …I can’t understand, I can’t comprehend, I can’t believe all that happened in the blink of an eye. I can’t believe you could let this happen, I can’t imagine how difficult it will be for those three kids and the families that loved them. I can’t do anything right now…but I don’t have to…because YOU will.
You Can…You can bring triumph out of tragedy, you can make all things new, you can bring hope to the hopeless and comfort to those who suffer greatly. You can bring mercy and grace and forgiveness to any circumstance or situation if we invite you in. Please come Jesus, we need you…we need all you can do, and will do in the grief and the hurt.
You Promised…You promised to never leave us, and to always love us. You promised that if we trust in you, goodness and blessing will follow us all of our days. When you created us in your image, and claimed us in the waters of Baptism, you made the promise of eternal life with you. You promised and we will remind ourselves that you are a God who always keeps his promises.
Please Do…Please do what you promised and wrap Jim and Tonya in your loving arms and grant them eternal rest. Please rain down your comfort and your love and your understanding on all those who are hurting. Please give us hope and strengthen our faith. Please do a great job loving us hard and putting people in our path that will support and love and care for the ones with hearts heavy with grief.
I know Tonya prayed this prayer often and I know she shared it with others, especially with her son Hayden. The prayer touched his heart too; so much in fact, he has those four simple lines tattooed on his arm as a constant reminder of what to do and how to call on the Lord. I still giggle about the night he texted me and asked me to proofread the words before he got it inked on his arm; he told me he wanted to make sure he’d always remember the words. From now on I think I’m going to call it “Tonya’s Prayer” and I’ll think of it as her final lesson.
As we focus this Holy Week on these words from Jesus, we have to remember that God didn't abandon His Son and He will never abandon us. His love and mercy are far greater than our emotions. In those moments when the pain and the grief make us feel alone and abandoned, those are precisely the moments we need to be assured of the Father's presence and his desire to meet us in the middle of the pain and messiness of our life.
A Seed To Plant: Please take a minute to offer prayers for the souls of Jim and Tonya and for their children Halie, Hayden and Reece as well as the rest of their families.
Blessings on your day!
Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink or about your body, what you will wear. Matthew 6:25
If I asked you to make a list of the top ten things you worry about, what would it look like? Stop for a second and bring a few of your worries to mind….Why do we spend so much time worrying? What do you suppose brings it all on in the first place? I actually know a few folks who could be professional worriers. I’ve met people who worry if they can’t think of enough things to worry about. It’s a crazy thing but it’s so common.
I happened to meet a worrier extraordinaire on my flight home recently so I knew exactly what God was going to ask me to write about this week! In the span of about 10 minutes this poor woman who was the size of a pixie stick worried that her bag wouldn’t fit under the seat, that her toothpaste would squirt out of the tube due to changing air pressure, that her Diet Coke wouldn’t be served with ice, that the sweater in her bag would get too wrinkled, that her curling iron cord would get tangled and that the seat belt would be too small to fit around her itty bitty waist…that one made me laugh out loud and as I pointed to my already fastened seat belt… we both chuckled at the ridiculousness of that last concern. I asked her if she often felt joyful and she looked at me like I had two heads and replied, “I don’t have time to be joyful, I have too much to worry about for that!”
This passage from Matthews Gospel is one of many that warn against unnecessary worry. Jesus was teaching that too much worry is a clear sign of not enough trust! Yes, we are going to be concerned about things and ponder and pray about our children, our finances, our future and when we will next have dessert, God knows that but he expects us to lift those concerns to him and faithfully ask him to take charge…and he will…in his time…in his wisdom and in his way.
I was glancing at my boarding pass as we landed in Chicago and Mrs. Worry Wart glanced down at it and nearly hyperventilated. She told me there was absolutely no way I could make my connection 3 terminals away in such a huge airport in less than an hour. “Aren’t you worried, it’s late, you’re gonna miss your flight and you’ll never get home tonight, you’ll have to sleep in the airport and someone might steal your things while you doze off sitting in the uncomfortable chairs, what will you do?” I smiled at her and said, “Sister, God invited me to go on this trip and spread a little of his word and he knows my middle lovelies need me tomorrow morning so I am certain that he will help me glide my chubby hind parts three terminals over in time to get on the plane and make it home tonight.” “How can you be so sure about that?” came her reply. I smiled, touched her hand and said, “Because the God who made us and loves us takes care of everything perfectly when we let him. He depends on us to love him and if we’re too busy worrying, we don’t have as much time for that as we should.” I made it to my gate with several minutes to spare so I sat down to tell him thank you!
My friends, worry robs us of peace, it strips us of our joy and it erodes our trust. When we were little, our mom’s told us not to touch the stove because it was harmful and dangerous. In scripture our Father tells us the same thing about worry. We listened to our mom’s but how are we doing with listening to our Father? Jesus told the Women of Jerusalem on his way to Calvary not to worry even while he could see his own cross. I’m sure nothing I could worry about could even compare so I think I’d better pay attention. Charles Spurgeon, a famous preacher used to say, “ Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its trials; it simply empties today of its joy.” Great food for thought as we get ready to begin Holy Week.
A Seed To Plant: Lift your list of worries to the Lord and ask him to help you swap worry for trust!
Blessings on your day!
…the Lord set his heart on you and chose you…Deuteronomy 7: 7
It was on page 35 of the Sears Christmas Toy Catalog and I had it circled, folded and flagged with a yellow yarn book mark. I was 8 and I had my heart set on that Barbie Dream House. I had a spot all picked out in my tiny little bedroom to put it and all I could think about was the hours of fun I would have playing with that perfect gift. Knowing how much I wanted it and knowing how far it was out of our family budget my mom loving explained to me before Christmas that I would need to choose something else to wish for because it just wasn’t possible. She didn’t use many words, just a few lovingly spoken. She knew I would just need time to be disappointed and then life would move on. After a few hours she helped me move past the sting. She came into the kitchen with a giant box, some fabric, supplies and a giant smile. We proceeded to sit together at the kitchen table for the afternoon and create a homemade Barbie Dream House complete with furniture and curtains in the windows. When we were finished she put it in my room and said she hoped I’d remember it as a lesson on setting my heart on things that were more important than shiny stuff.
This verse from Deuteronomy reminds me of that beautiful afternoon and the love that spilled from a mothers heart. I stopped to realize that if my mom could love me that much, and her love is only a sliver of the love our Father has for us; I think I’m underestimating some things. You know, I have no idea what I asked for that Christmas because whatever it was, paled dramatically in comparison to the doll house mom and I made that winter afternoon. I suppose God tries to show me that truth a dozen times a week and I’m so focused on what I have MY heart set on that I forget that HE has his heart set on ME! What could I possibly want more than that.
We are busy, we are smart, we are involved, we are parents, children, teachers, farmers and dozens of other things. We fuss about getting ahead and doing better, making more money and achieving success and titles. We are so many things but I give so little thought to the fact that above all the other stuff; I am CHOSEN! Not just chosen for the team or the part or the position but for HIM…HE chose US! I don’t know about you but that kind of makes my heart skip a beat when I think about it. We’re not some random clump of cells that was spun into existence by a nameless, faceless creator…We were chosen, created and KNIT in our mothers womb perfectly and lovingly. How’s that for an antidote to not feeling very important. We matter because we’re his!
God's participation in our life didn’t end with our creation. Once we were created and born into earthly life the relationship didn’t end…he has his heart set on us! He wants us, he desires our happiness and our relationship with him. That all seems a pretty small thing for him to ask. He isn’t asking us to swim the ocean or climb Mr. Everest to prove we love him, he simply wants our time, our love and our attention. He asks that we show his love to others, speak to him daily in prayer and live as if we realize how adored we are by the one who created us.
I’m way older than 8 but when I read this verse, I think I know what my mom really meant. She showed me what was more important than shiny new things; she showed me that love, communication, generosity and the gift of simple time were the things to set our heart on. God is asking the same thing. As we wrap up this last week of lent and get ready to celebrate Holy Week, it seems like the perfect time to think about the things we have our heart set on.
A Seed To Plant: What are three things you can do this week to “choose God” and set your heart on him?
Blessings on your day!
Out of his fullness, we have all received grace in place of grace already given. John 1:16
I had a teacher in elementary school who asked a dozen times a day if we had crossed our t’s and dotted our i’s. It was her way of asking if we had looked things over and taken care of the details. The older I get, the more I realize how much the little details matter. The tiny stuff can take something from good to amazing! I’ve had a week to process my trip to New York and I realize it was so packed with extras that I feel like a spoiled kid on Christmas morning. My trip was sprinkled with amazing people, beautiful encounters with the work of the Father and so many perfectly arranged details it has left my cup absolutely running over! I hopped a plane and headed off to “give” but when I got back home I realized I “received” so much more than I “gave”. The Lord introduced me to a giver, an entertainer, a doer, some shepherds and a whole lot of beautiful disciples . All of these people touched my heart and just by doing what they are naturally gifted to do, brought joy, light and the Love of God into my life.
The giver was the woman who brought me to New York. She is undoubtedly the most gentle, humble, giving soul I’ve ever met. She gives to everyone she meets with sincere generosity! She worked for months to arrange the details of the trip but when the event happened she quietly slipped into a church pew un-noticed. When the Father calls us to be humble, I’m thankful she showed me what that really looks like. When weather changed my trip home and took away the time I was going to spend getting a surprise to take home to the middle lovelies, she handed me a package to take home for them. From now on when I imagine my guardian angel swooping in to put all things in order at the height of my frazzle; I will see her sweet face!
The entertainer laughed easy and loved hard. She opened her home to me; a total stranger and welcomed me with loving hospitality, excellent meals and stories and conversation that made me laugh and think and cry. We shared coffee, tea, prayers, friendship and it all came so easy to her. Her mission was to serve and she did it with Martha’s flair sprinkled with Mary’s holy focus. I was truly touched by her genuineness and when I think about Jesus’ call to be last of all and servant of all, I will remember she gave me a powerful lesson in exactly what that should look like.
The doer was like a whirling dervish that showed up out of nowhere with a bright Italian smile and just put things in order. She could zoom in on the details and add a creative flair before I even realized something was missing. This beautiful soul hauled equipment, hung signs, made things pretty and prayed for us all without missing a beat. She was so full of passion and life you couldn’t help but feel energized standing next to her. When Pope Francis challenged us to not be “pew potatoes” or “believers with sour faces” this lady followed his direction perfectly.
The shepherds were so amazing! I was so blessed to meet seven fabulous priests and a few delightfully joyful nuns who so truly loved their work for the Lord. Each one of them had a set of gifts and graces that allowed them to love and serve the Lord and his people in a unique way. They made me laugh, they made me think and they called and inspired me to go out into the deep. Some led with humor, some inspired with a sense of holiness you could almost feel and each had a passion and a loyalty to their parish flock. I watched them have loving conversations, pray powerfully with troubled and hurting people, and greet and welcome with the true passion and love of Jesus. I enjoyed watching the way their combined gifts shepherded three parishes of believers.
Finally, there were the disciples. I met people of all ages and stages. They shared their stories and trusted the middle lovelies and I with their prayer requests. They came out in the cold each evening to enjoy prayer and fellowship and walk toward Christ together. I got to spend time with students and teachers and at a luncheon in a room filled with beautiful faith filled women. They were so quick to share their story and their struggles and their discoveries about the ways Christ was working in their life. I was touched by their honesty, their openness and I’m so completely grateful that God gave me a front row seat to the incredible things he was doing in their hearts.
The lessons, the grace, the laughter; they were laid out like a banquet right before me and all I had to do was open my eyes and soak in the beauty of HIS beloved children. Are your eyes open to the gifts and graces the people in your path have to share and teach? Open your eyes…God is great with the details!
A Seed To Plant: Be on the lookout today for a lesson in generosity, kindness, service or prayerfulness.
Blessings on your day!
Then He said, “If anyone wants to follow me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily…” Luke 9:23
I know two women who battled cancer. Upon diagnosis the first woman said, “Why me God, I’ve tried to lead a good life, why would you punish me like this?” The second woman said, “Well God, why not me! I’m sure you could have picked someone holier and stronger but you didn’t so please show me how to use this suffering to bring me and those who love me closer to You.” I know for a fact that the second woman clung to this passage from Luke’s Gospel like a life raft; that woman was my mom!
If the greatest, purest, holiest most awesome man to ever walk this earth experienced suffering, pain and anguish what in the world makes us think we should be exempt? Time and again I greet inconveniences and small sufferings with distain instead of embracing them and allowing them to help me grow in faith. Little things like a car that won’t start, a checkbook that won’t balance and a pile of dirty laundry that multiplies at the speed of light are my crosses to bear. Some days I’m a lousy cross bearer! I like to wiggle and whine and pout. I like to climb on my soap box and lament the fact that if my family appreciated me and respected me the way I deserved I would get a little more help and cooperation. Truth is, loving and serving my family with my whole heart is part of my vocation as a mother and sometimes it is exactly the cross I am called to bear.
My mother always said,” The greatest way to serve God is to serve others; so go fold the socks and serve God!” It truly takes a servants heart to take up our daily crosses. The burdens and sufferings of our days are meant to help us depend on the love of the Father. The harder we lean on Him as we bear our crosses, the more united we become to Him and the less important our needs, wishes and desires become. My mom understood that completely and lived that understanding beautifully right to the end!
A Seed To Plant: Make a list of the crosses you need to “take up”. Ask God to help you see how to do it gracefully and faithfully. Make a note of someone in your life that bears a heavy cross in an inspiring way and think about what you can learn from their example.
Blessings on your day!
And behold I am with you always… Matthew 28:20
I’m always fascinated when I see a crime show on TV and the investigators go through the process of dusting, taping and analyzing finger prints. It’s just utterly amazing to me that there are millions and millions of people on this earth yet none of us has the same fingerprint. How is that possible? We’re not talking about a large area of skin to create unique patterns…our fingertip is really small but yet each of us has a print that is completely different! When my students ask me how that can be, I smile and tell them, “It’s so amazing only God could do that!”
A couple years ago, several homes in our area were broken into; ours included. I watched as the Sherriff’s Deputy dusted many spots in our home with the grey finger print powder I’d seen the detectives use on TV. It was so interesting to watch the prints become clearly visible as the powder was brushed over an area. It was almost as if they had appeared out of thin air. I watched with such interest, I think the Sheriff’s Deputy must have thought I was nuts! He was so immune to the process, I’m sure he had done it hundreds of times but being a “first timer” I found it so interesting.
The uniqueness, with which God created millions and millions of different finger prints, is the same uniqueness with which He loves and cares for each of us. Like that Sherriff’s Deputy, it’s easy to become immune to the ways God leaves His finger print on our days. Very often His finger prints can be so gentle and slight they go completely un-noticed. We can get busy about our everyday tasks and not realize how many times God leaves His prints as He organizes every detail of our day. He guides and guards and blesses us constantly and we are often unaware. The very fact that we and those we love arrive home safely at the end of each day is a really big finger print but sometimes we need a dusting of that grey powder to make us see.
There are times when God leaves His print on us for the sole purpose of passing it on to someone else. Sometimes seemingly random people, often people I don’t even know very well, will pop into my head and I get the sense I should pray for them and maybe email or call them to tell them I’m praying for them. I start with the praying part and hope that’s good enough…but more often than not, I get a stronger sense that I need to make contact and tell them they have been prayed for. Out of the dozens of times I’ve responded to that nudge from God, never once have I had a person react negatively…the response has always been one of gratitude, joy and comfort. I sent an email once to a woman in South Dakota who I had been put in contact with when I first started this blog. We had exchanged two or three business like messages and then out of the blue one morning in prayer I got a strong sense that I should pray AND tell her I’d prayed. So, after some “toddler like” feet dragging, I sent the message and within hours she replied and said she had been “overwhelmed and overloaded” with a project she felt God calling her to do. She had prayed that God would give her assurance that she was on the right track and shortly after that, she opened the message telling her she had been lifted up in prayer. She told me later that at that moment God’s love for her was confirmed and she faithfully pressed forward with the task, recognizing God’s finger print fully stamped on her day! The next time you are tempted to say something was “good luck” or “coincidence” take a minute to thank God for what it really was…His finger print on your day!
A seed to plant: Keep a piece of paper handy today and jot down each and every time God touches your day with His loving finger print. Make sure it’s a long piece of paper because once you purposefully start looking for all those finger prints, you’ll be amazed at how many times a day it happens!
Blessings on your day!
Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
I am writing from the dining room table of a beautiful new friend from New York’s “North Country”. I’m here in this beautiful place presenting a Parish Mission for the 3 Catholic Churches in the city of Plattsburgh. It’s been a delightful trip so far and I just had to share a little bit.
I flew into Vermont Friday night and God is good, it was one part of the north east that wasn’t affected by Friday’s costal storms so the trip was smooth as could be. Traveling from Vermont to New York I got to ride my first car ferry. It wasn’t quite the Love Boat but it was a cool adventure. As I got out of the car to climb up and take a few pictures of the Adirondack mountains I was a little stunned to look down and see this ferry filled with rows of cars sailing across lake Champlain. I took a moment to thank God for giant ships that float…however that works!
God really has plunked me in the middle of some amazing people. As I toured the churches and met the pastors on Saturday I was overwhelmed with their passion, their faith and their incredible good humor. I’ve laughed so much! The churches are old and gorgeous and their history tells such a beautiful story. Each parish has a captivating sense of pride and family. God is truly stirring among these beautiful people. I learned that the Italian marble used in one of these stunning churches had to be purchased twice. The first order was loaded aboard a ship and set sail for America. Unfortunately, the ship that was carrying it was the Titanic and the churches beautiful Italian Marble sunk with her. I thought that was an incredible story of disappointment, tragedy, hard work and persistence. I ran my hands over the smooth marble that came to this country from Italy more than a hundred years ago and I thought about all the stories it could tell.
Tonight we talked about the Father’s amazing love for us. He’s waiting for us…just as we are…just where we are. He’s waiting to meet us in our brokenness. He’s waiting to meet us in the present; not the future, not the past but right here and right now. As we pray the Lord’s Prayer we say, “give us this day our daily bread…” It says give us THIS DAY, our daily bread, not last weeks or next weeks but THIS DAY! He’s right here today; don’t to forget to tell him hello and invite him to join you in this day. He’s waiting to help us discover the joy of living in his love. He’s gazing down at you right this very moment with such tenderness and love. Don’t forget to pause a minute and look up at him and let him love you.
A Seed To Plant: Please say some prayers for these wonderful people. Pray that they will be flooded by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Blessings on your day!
…and Jeremiah sunk down into the mud. Jeremiah 38:6
My oldest brother and I had a favorite thing to do when we were little. It involved a couple illegal ingredients for little kids. The event was so secret it had to take place behind the shed where mom could’t see, but it was worth all the secrecy! In our back yard, we had an old cement fish pool. Before dad filled it in with dirt and mom made it a flower garden, it used to collect rain water. If we could get out to play before the water drained through the cracks in the cement, we could scoop up our first ingredient; water. Dirt; the second ingredient was easier to find. The third magic ingredient was the tricky one! If we could get rain water and dirt we knew all we needed was shaving cream. Our house was tiny so sneaking out the door with two handfuls of shaving cream squirted as quietly as possible from dads shaving cupboard took some skill. When we managed to pull it off we’d create the worlds best mud pies in the back of Jim’s big yellow Tonka Dump Truck. With sticks to stir and army men and toy animals to stick in the mud pie, we were set for a long afternoon of great fun! When I became a mother myself, it occurred to me that mom probably knew exactly what we were doing and just enjoyed the peace and quiet and maybe even the thought of her oldest two playing together happily.
When I read this line about the Prophet Jeremiah, I remembered the sight of all those toys sticking in the mud pies we used to make. It got me to thinking about the times we get stuck in the mud ourselves. Sometimes we wallow and struggle and just dig in deeper. Sometimes we get stuck because of the choices we make and sometimes we get stuck as a result of the choices others make. The good news is, mud is different than cement. We can get out! It might take some work but it’s always worth the struggle.
Last Saturday our home parish hosted a Lenten Ladies Conference and the speakers were beautiful, faith filled, inspiring women. All of them shared stories of times and events in their life that could easily have left them stuck in the mud and mess. Some had experienced tragic loss, some had overcome personal battles and all of them were trying to team up with Jesus to get through the everyday messiness of life without getting stuck. Their stories and their perseverance were powerful. They choose not to stay stuck in the pain, sorrow, frustration and everyday annoyances that plague us all. The beautiful thing is that they all came out of the mud and the mess changed. They allowed their experiences to make them stronger, wiser, more prayerful and more trusting. God doesn’t want us to stay right where we are. The truth is, we are either moving toward him or away from him, never staying just where we are. Staying just where we are is like being stuck in the mud and the Father wants us to ask him for help to get unstuck so we can move closer to him.
A Seed To Plant: Are you stuck? What are you stuck in the middle of right now that is preventing you from moving closer to the Father? Hold out your hand and ask him to pull you out!
Blessings on your day!
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Sheri's writing can also be found at Faith Catholic Publications and on CatholicMom.com