Lord let your mercy be on us as we place our trust in you. Psalm 33:22
As I sit here typing, I’m staring out a giant airport window at the beautiful mountains and I am captivated by the view. I’ve been in awe of these mountains since I arrived here in Idaho on Friday. Each time I left the conference room and found a window I’d be surprised all over again; the view just never gets old. As my flight leaves I’ll be sad to watch the view disappear through the airplane window. I think the fine folks here in Idaho appreciate the beauty but I’m sure they aren’t as taken by surprise when they look out the window as I am. The only thing more beautiful than the Idaho mountains is the Idaho people I’ve met. It was a spectacular weekend from beginning to end and I’m heading back to Michigan with a full heart.
Gods grace and mercy, like the mountains in Idaho, is amazing to me. Strong, beautiful, surprising, massive and sometimes taken for granted. Who am I to get to do this work…to see so many beautiful places…to meet amazing people who let me into their lives and share their story…to tell HIS story and invite others to love him more. I’m a big ole sinner and yet he still works through my brokenness to spread his love and his light. I need his grace and mercy like the flowers need the sun and the rain. This weekend of beauty reminded me that the more I trust, the less I think and fret. If I’m not busy fussing and fretting my eyes and heart are open to the surprises that stand before me as clearly as these beautiful mountains.
Each time I leave my classroom, the middle lovelies pray for the people I will be working with and the message I will give. I’m always surprised at how overwhelmed audiences are to discover that a group of kids in Michigan is praying for them. It gives the kids a window to the world and there is great power in the prayer they offer. They always pray that the Holy Spirit will come upon the group gathered and work in a mighty way. This weekend I found out one of the ladies at the conference had had a dream early last week that a big group of children was praying for her so when I told the crowd gathered at this weekends conference that the students had been praying for them she was overwhelmed. Gods merciful love allows a few dozen kids to impact the life of people they will never meet. This weekend their prayers encouraged a woman who had been living on the outer fringes of faith to take a full on dive right into the merciful arms of the Father. She was broken and bruised from a life of “hard stuff” and she said the moment she heard there were children praying for her something in her heart just softened and for the first time in decades she was able to think of herself as God’s daughter and not his renegade, rebel child. That revelation in her soul led her to trust and weep and feel like she was His Beloved child.
I’m many thousand feet in the air now, looking down at snow covered mountains and I am marveling at the change. Twenty minutes ago I saw green, flowering trees and freshly sprouted leaves. Now I’m looking at a giant blanket of snow. It’s like a change of seasons in a matter of minutes. It is a beautiful reminder that our relationship with the Lord has seasons too. We go through seasons of great change, new life and beauty and we go through seasons that seem dark, dry and maybe even a little barren. The beauty of the seasons lies in the changing…no one season lasts forever but each one offers the earth or the soul something it needs. If I lived in perpetual spring, I would miss the color of fall. If I lived in the peaceful quiet of winter snow I’d miss the warmth and green of summer. Each provides something necessary at the appropriate time. Our spiritual walk is much the same. Sometimes we need seasons to sit quietly and just be, other times we need to move, be actively seeking, growing and changing in our walk with him. His mercy allows us to pass through each season and our trust in him allows us to know we are right where we need to be. The greater the trust, the greater the peace. The greater the trust the bigger the surprises. The greater the trust the more beauty we see in each season of our life. It seems so simple but yet I goof it up again and again. Thank goodness for God’s mercy that faces me with as mighty a presence as an Idaho mountain reminding me again and again that he’s just waiting for me to trust.
A Seed To Plant: Sit for a while and think about what season your relationship with Jesus is in. What are the things he’s trying to show you that are as big as a mountain but still hard to see? Ask him for the grace of trust and see what he reveals to you.
Blessings on your day!
…a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. Luke 6:38
My grandma Thelma made the most amazing cinnamon rolls. I remember when we would visit her and stay the night, Sunday morning there would be cinnamon rolls and bacon. She always made them in her white porcelain pan with the red trim around the edge. After she served up the sweet deliciousness, there was a ring of frosting around the edge and in the corners. If you happened to be near her when the pan was empty, she would smile and ask you if you wanted the “extra” that was left behind. The part I loved even more than the taste of the extra sweetness was her smile as she handed you a spatula to scrape and lick. Time with Grandma was the best because she was a master at loving us with the little extras!
April has been a busy month, a fun month, a holy month but the most distinguishing thing about April is it has been a month of extras! There has been a lot of “running over” this month and I have the Grace of God to thank for that! The grandma I love and the Father I adore have a lot in common…they give abundantly out of love. As I ponder the greatness of this quickly fading April, I find myself savoring it, trying to make sure I don’t take any of the extras for granted.
Spring break was snowy, cold and gray but it brought Dave’s retirement which meant a week of mornings spent together visiting, praying the Rosary together and lingering a few extra minutes over another cup of coffee. Holy Week was spectacular! The sixth graders added lots of little extras to their presentation of the Shadow Stations of the Cross and it left their audiences, their peers and most especially their teacher overwhelmed and prayerfully touched. Easter brought all my children home and that in itself is a giant extra! It’s so good to have them all under one roof and the weather was extra beautiful so that meant playing outside and pictures on the porch. Easter also brought some wonderful extra people to our family table. We celebrated with a few dozen Wohlferts plus the extra girl from Fowler we all love and the extra boy from Missouri who folded right in with the laughter, giant family and the chaos of the holiday.
April brought a work trip to Kansas. That quick trip brought an extra visit with Dad and friends I love. God outdid himself with extras that weekend. I got to see a delightful couple I hadn’t seen since I was a teenager, I got to meet the aunt and uncle of a close high school friend, I had a chance to pray with a beautiful woman who was knee deep in a struggle that just needed an outside perspective. I visited old friends, new houses and met teenagers, grandparents and people on a mission to love Jesus just a little more than they did the day before. And just to remind me that the Father is great with extras, I even got to meet the cousin of a recently canonized Saint that I am hugely inspired by, St. Andre Bessette….for real…that really happened. Talk about a weekend that didn’t just run over, it exploded with extras! I get to finish out my April with one more big extra; a trip to Idaho. It’s my first trip to the NW corner of the US and I’m excited to meet with a big group of Catholic women in that corner of the country.
Just like I could always count on Grandma Thelma’s delicious cinnamon rolls, I too can count on the love of the Father. Following him is tough sometimes and it doesn’t always make us popular but he’s always right there beside us, consistently, lovingly and mercifully. When we seek him with all our heart he showers us with little extras along the way…just because he can. My job is to seek, listen, obey and be grateful for all the ways he runs over and spills into my lap.
A Seed To Plant: Sit quietly in prayer and make a list of all the extras God has shown you recently.
Blessings on your day!
Help me, Lord, my God; save me in your kindness. Psalm 109:26
As I contemplate the joy and amazement of this Easter season my thoughts just get lost in the “wow” of it all. How did a stone that big just get moved over? How did the Apostles feel when they saw Jesus again? How must Thomas have felt when Jesus loved him enough to let him touch his wounds so he would be convinced? How must Mary have felt to hold her sons face in her hands and look lovingly into his eyes again? The list of questions goes on and on and all I come away with is … “wow – I can’t even imagine!”
I think we forget through Jesus’ resurrection we also received a resurrection. He paid the enormous cost for all of our sins. It’s not often in life someone does ALL the hard, horrible, painful work for us and we simply reap the benefit but it happened one Easter long ago. That Easter lives on to this day and as Christians, we’re still basking in the blessings of the resurrection. As I’ve been contemplating the “Wow” of the resurrection, I’ve made a list of things I need a resurrection from. They will take a lot of work and maybe some sacrifice and perhaps even a fair dose of suffering but if I want to share in the joy of Jesus’ resurrection I figure I’ve got a little work of my own to do. And I suppose my greatest hope is to be more in love with him and more connected to him and even more filled with Easter joy! Here’s my list…
*I need to be resurrected from selfishness! A wise woman I know recently said that complaining is the greatest form of selfishness because the reason we whine and complain is to let others know something happened to us that wasn’t convenient or pleasant and we want attention for it. I didn’t want to believe her but the more I think about it the more “right” I realize she really is! Lord, help me realize the world isn’t obligated to ensure my comfort and happiness.
*I need to be resurrected from narrow-mindedness! I’ve got to remember I don’t know what I don’t know! I see a tiny sliver of the situation but if I had the chance to see the whole thing I would realize how narrow my perspective can truly be! That needs to be my first thought and not my last.
*I need to be resurrected from indulgence! I approach the comforts of this world with my hands poised to reach out and take rather than with hands lifted to thank and share. I often want the first, prime choice things for myself instead of being satisfied with the crumbs or the crusts. I approach things and feel the need to grab them up in case they won’t be there later instead of trusting that I will always have exactly what I need exactly when I need it. (You would think by now that I would realize there will not be a world-wide shortage of chocolate chip cookies or mashed potatoes!) My indulgence can border on greed more often than I’d like to admit! Lord remind me all I need is You!
*I need to be resurrected from doubt! My blessings outweigh my struggles by a hundred-fold but I seem to forget that daily! Jesus, heal me of my unbelief…yes I do think those words were put specifically in the New Testament for me!!!!
Jesus didn’t rise by himself; it was through the power of His Heavenly Father. I need to remember that He is my Father too and if I but call on His name and trust in His infinite wisdom, power and love I too will experience a resurrection from all the things on my list. Why do I make it so hard…I call upon His name, I suffer through the process of change a bit all the while remembering He’s got me in the palm of His hand and I will rise above it and be closer to Him. Seems simple enough…guess I better get to work on my resurrection!
A Seed To Plant: What are some of the things you need a resurrection from? As you make your list, read the resurrection story slowly and carefully and allow yourself to be swept away in the “Wow” of the story!
Blessings on your day!
I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done, you should also do. John 13:15
Welcome to Holy Thursday. I love this day of Holy Week because it’s the peace before the mayhem! I don’t like movies or shows that contain suspense or peril. I love stories of laughter and triumph of the underdog so I suppose that’s why I love Holy Thursday. None of the bad stuff has happened yet. The betrayal, the brutality the deceit and evil…it’s not here yet. The Last Supper is about Jesus teaching, giving, tending and building up.
One of the most tender moments in the story of Holy Thursday night is the washing of the feet. I like to ponder the tenderness and gentleness Jesus showed each of his beloved apostles. I’ll bet he didn’t rush. I’ll bet he didn’t see how many extra feet he could wash during his allowed feet washing time block and he probably looked at each of his followers in the eye and focused completely on them when it was their turn. He was slow and deliberate in the way he served.
It’s unlikely that I will literally be washing anyone’s feet in the near future but this is a call to service not a call to feet. Many times a day we have the opportunity to lovingly serve Jesus by serving someone who crosses our path. What if I lovingly folded my families laundry and packed their lunches while praying for them. What if I touched my husbands hand lovingly as I handed him his toast and thermos of hot coffee and told him I love him deliberately, lovingly while looking at him intently. What if I tried to do my tasks of loving service to my family slowly, deliberately and intentionally instead of trying to fly through the day and get a hundred things done. I think he’s calling us to a “way” of service not just the “task” of service.
As you puddle your way through this Holy Thursday, take some time to consider the lessons Jesus left us with and don’t be afraid to say, Lord please help me see the difference between doing jobs and offering loving service in your name. Equip me this day with the gentleness and compassion to serve others in your name just like you demonstrated on this Holy Thursday night so many years ago.
A Seed To Plant: Do I need to do more serving or do I need to look at my life and find more Christ-like ways to fulfill the service opportunities I already have?
Blessings on your day!
Have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Philippians 2: 5-11
Happy Holy Week! As we stand with our feet just a few hours past Psalm Sunday, the question of the day is; are you gonna leap or limp into this spectacular week on the christian calendar? The choice is yours and the blessings and benefits of the week will be proportional to your choice.
Why might we limp? Sometimes it’s as simple as recognizing our “inner toddler”. We may be headed into Holy Week limping with a pouty heart because Lent didn’t finish as spectacularly as we had envisioned it on Ash Wednesday. Maybe we fell short, maybe all Lent did was make us more aware of our sinfulness and our stubbornness. Yeah…so what…join the club! The limpers probably tried to do Lent their way and wanted to feel great because of what they had done. Having a spotlight thrown on our flaws, weaknesses and flub-ups isn’t anything we’d purposefully sign up for but sometimes it’s exactly where Jesus needs us to park and stare. The other guess I’m willing to make is that the limpers are feeling like they didn’t “get” anything out of Lent. Everyone wants the “sparkle -farkle” “warm and fuzzy” holy feelings, and if we’re not feelin’ it we throw up our hands and think we’ll just give it a go next Ash Wednesday. Uhhh….that’s us trying to be the boss again…that’s us trying to tell Jesus what we need instead of considering the fact that he’s shown us some things he needs us to see and if we’ll just hang with him and give him everything during this Holy Week, he’s got a miracle to blow our minds on Sunday. Lent is about change, growing and journeying, so take a minute, stand up straight, quit limping and start leaping because the amazing love of the Father is about to bust out and amaze us this week if we’re looking.
So why leap? Because this week we’ll re-live the events done out of the most magnificent and spectacular love imaginable… it’s all for love…every last tiny detail of this week illustrates his love for us. Nobody has ever or will ever do something so incredible for us, so we need to leap into it head first and soak it up; the story, the people, the details, the celebrations, the sorrow but mostly the LOVE. Here are some things you can do to make sure you’re leaping and not limping.
First, since this was all done out of love, that’s the place for us to start. Love Jesus a little more this week. The best way to show love it so be present, that’s exactly what we need to do. Spend more time with Jesus this week. Read Scripture, pray, soak up a pod-cast, video, song or article about Holy Week each day so you can appreciate the love and leap into the happy ending on Sunday.
Second, share some love. Pick one act of love you can offer the week. Make it a tough one…consider that whole “love those who can’t love you back” or “love your neighbor” thing. Do a great act of love simply because Jesus did a big one for you.
Third, read the story! Go through the Gospel stories of the passion, death and resurrection this week. Read them slowly and let the love in the story wash over you like a warm, healing rain.
Last, focus and just be his! Steer away from the TV and the Screens this week…just be with him. Imagine each day that you are walking with him, living the story with him and experiencing his love first hand. Give him that gift and the blessings he will return to you on Easter Sunday will leave you changed.
Now; ready, set. LEAP! Have a blessed and truly HOLY Week!
A Seed To Plant: Write down and actually DO the four things above to make this a wonderful Holy Week.
Blessings on your day!
Good morning! Just a little note this morning to say hello and wish you a happy week. I'm on spring break this week and I'll be taking a little break. We are currently in Steubenville and as I type I'm listening to Dave quiz Shannon for a Nursing exam she'll be taking later this morning...I'm sipping coffee and saying hello!
For me, this will be a week of catch up, report cards, desk finding and trying to revive my very neglected house plants. Sounds way better than a sunny beach doesn't it!
I hope you have a lovely week!
Blessings on your day!
Click on the items below to expand the options available to you to explore the Joyful Words blog.