Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Ephesians 6:11
This verse made me remember a plastic suit of armor the boys had when they were little. One of the boys would wear the armor and the other would wear the Detroit Lions shoulder pads and football uniform and pretend to slay all the bad guys in the county. They were invincible in those get ups. They felt strong and brave and confident as they rode their bikes up and down the lane defending the land. It didn’t matter to them that it was just cheap plastic, what they wore convinced them of something.
That memory and this verse made me think about what our wardrobe says about us. It seems like a simple thing, get up, get dressed and go on with your day but when you think about it WHAT we put on can send a message. We identify police officers, doctors and nurses by the clothes they wear and we automatically assume they will be helpful because of the way they are dressed. We will approach a total stranger in a store to ask for help based on a simple plastic name tag pinned to their shirt. We have the potential to trust, mistrust; judge and misjudge people every day based on what they wear. Does that seem crazy to anybody else?
I guess the big questions are what does God’s armor look like and how often do I wear it? Then it hit me, it’s not really about fabric at all. The clothes we wear may reflect something about our style, profession or personality but they don’t necessarily tell the whole story. I think the armor of God is something we put on from the inside. It can be pretty easy to look at someone’s clothes and assume a thing or two about them that may or may not be correct but the armor of God is unmistakable. Putting it on is intentional, never just a quick grab and go outfit. The boys always needed my help putting on those get ups they used to wear and so it is with Gods armor; we need him to assist us. If we intentionally ask God to protect us and defend us we have to be willing to let him. Wearing his armor means we are protected and safe, but silly humans that we are, we think it means we are now prepared to charge into the world and defeat all the evils much like two little boys I remember in my back yard. God is the defender and we are the defended; the armor of God doesn’t give us a job it gives us peace.
God’s armor is not heavy or clumsy; it’s powerful and designed to fit perfectly. I realized that if I woke up each morning and asked God to dress me in his armor I would be more confident and peaceful and content. I realized I wouldn’t have to worry about harm or evil because nothing is stronger than God. It doesn’t mean nothing bad will happen, it means God will protect me no matter what the circumstance. If I puddled my way through each day without worry or distraction about all the things that might happen or could happen or shouldn’t happen I would have so much more time for great things! I would have more time to pray, more time to help and WAY more time to love. I think I’ll ask God to help me put on that armor right now and leave the defending to him while I get busy with trusting bigger and loving harder…talk about dress for success!
A Seed To Plant: Stop right now and ask God to suit you in his armor and then give him a list of all the things you’d like to be defended from. All that’s left is to trust and be protected.
Blessings on your day!
So they said to him, “What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? “What can you do?…John 6:30
I remember taking the kids to the pool when they were little and a hundred times I would hear them yell, “Watch this Mom!” After watching a dozen times my “noticing” diminished sufficiently! There were times I wanted to say, “I’ll watch when you’ve got something good or new to show me!” Reading this passage from todays Gospel threw me back to those days at the pool.
Our world is so busy and fast paced we can become easily bored and complacent. We are constantly expecting the next thing to be a little fancier, bigger, more exciting or shinier. This passage from John’s Gospel serves as a stark reminder that we need to adjust our eyes and attitudes when it comes to the ways Jesus is working in our lives. The people demanded signs like Jesus was in a competition against Moses, but before I roll my eyes at them and scoff their behavior, I need to check myself. I need to sharpen my “noticing”. I need to ask myself daily, “What is Jesus doing in my life right now.” If the only things I notice are the giant, fancy things he does, I’m missing the root of it all. This Gospel reminds me that he does a hundred mighty things for me and my children every single day and I’m not paying attention because I’m stamping my feet waiting for him to dramatically end the woes of the world. I’m waiting to be “Wow’ed” and he’s waiting for me to notice I’m being “Woo’ed” by his love every day.
In a world that is spinning at the speed of sound, God is using this passage to remind us of the power and peace waiting for us in the simple, the plain, the still. Maybe this week instead of demanding the big stuff we can ask for eyes to see the little ways he fills our days with compassion, mercy and grace.
A Seed To Plant: What is the Lord doing in your life right now? Make a list of all the ways big and small he’s “wooing” you during this season of your life.
Blessings on your day!
Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me. John 12:26
Oh golly, it’s May and tis the season for ball games, school events, graduations and special happenings galore. It’s that season when meal planning, bedtimes, regular schedules and empty laundry baskets seem like ancient history! It’s easy to get tangled up in the chaos and wish it would all just stop. Finding time for daily prayer and family meals is tricky at best and these busy days can leave us feeling like we are lagging behind as disciples. I’d like to offer a different perspective today for anyone who might be choking on their May calendar.
We serve and are adored by a God who can’t be outdone in generosity. Time and again he shows up and multiplies, subtracts, divides and adds the perfect things our life needs when we remember to invite him in. We are about to begin a unit on the Works of Mercy and as I was thinking about them through the lens of a busy parent I could see something different that just might bring you some peace and help you realize you are discipling and serving God and others more than you think in this busy season. Let’s take a look at those Works of Mercy…
Feed the hungry…yes that means packing lunches, providing the post game snack or making cookies for the school fundraiser. It also means making meals sometimes magically appear from the bare cupboards and fridge because mamma doesn’t have time to shop. Remember to pray for all the “eaters”.
Give drink to the thirsty…pretty sure juice boxes and gatorade provided for the school picnic or ball team count. Quick prayers together in the car can also quench a thirst for peace, confidence and contentment. Remember to pray for all those you offer drink to.
Clothe the naked…I’ve come to believe in my older age that laundry is truly a labor of love. That late night load tossed in to make sure the right outfit is ready for tomorrows event is in fact a merciful and unselfish act. Remember to pray for the wearers of the clothes as you wash and fold.
Shelter the homeless…You provide a home that serves as a place of prayer, safety and rest for the people you love most. You work daily to make sure the children God entrusted you with are noticed, valued, corrected and directed. Most of you open that same home to neighbors and friends too. Remember to pray for all the people who cross your doorstep.
Visit the sick and imprisoned…As you sit waiting for the game or concert to begin and you chat with the person sitting next to you perhaps you are visiting them in a prison of personal loneliness. When you take time to ask someone about that person in their life suffering or struggling you are giving them the strength and support they need to return to the journey. When you offer to pray for those in tough situations you are giving them the greatest help imaginable. Remember to pray for all those sitting in the bleachers or auditorium or lawn chairs.
As you continue to wade your way through the rest of this busy season of your life there are a few things you can do to make sure you aren’t wasting these minutes. In fact, these simple things can help you turn the chaos into a chance to grow in holiness. First, be sure to invite Jesus into the business of the day. Offer all of it…every last stinkin thing on the schedule to him and ask him to help you see him working through all of it. Second, use car time to say quick prayers with your kids. Take turns sharing what you need prayers for and say a prayer together for each other. Third, ask the Holy Spirit to take control of all your conversations so you can be a vessel of his grace and finally, remember that each and every thing we do can be offered as a gift to the Father who will offer it back as grace ten-fold.
A Seed To Plant: Pick one of the four suggestions and put it in action today.
Blessings on your day!
…and the greatest of these is love 1Corinthians 13:13
The last couple of weeks almost daily it seems I read, see or hear something about the Mercy of God. Usually that means somebody else might need to hear about it too. Todays post is a little like a toddler; short and sweet but full of might! Here are some nuggets of Mercy...
*Love is the greatest virtue and mercy is the highest form of love.
*Mercy is a free and undeserved gift from the Father that is the opposite of what we deserve and it’s given completely out of love.
*Mercy is bigger than forgiveness. Mercy allows you to look at those you’ve forgiven with a hope for their holiness.
*Mercy requires humility.
*Humility is not about thinking less of ourselves but thinking of ourselves less…if we are thinking of ourselves less, we can think of the Father more which always leads to loving and merciful thinking and actions.
*Pride is the enemy of a merciful life and not one person in recorded history ever choked to death on their pride.
*He who knows how to forgive and show mercy prepares for himself many graces from God. As often as I look upon the cross, so often will I forgive with all my heart. St. Faustina
A Seed To Plant: Ask God to show you the places in your life where his mercy needs to be received and given.
Blessings on your day!
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love He has for us, Ephesians 2:4
My big brother Jim was a great guy! I have so many memories of our childhood; and like all brothers and sisters close in age, it should come as no surprise that most of those memories are of great times and events, and others…well…not so much! Jim was tall and strong and he absolutely LOVED to catch me by surprise and grab my hands and start a game of “mercy”. The rules were simple, bend back your opponent’s hands until they cried “mercy” and then you’d stop. Strange game I know but he did it every chance he got. Jim was competitive and beating me was quick work when I was little but as I got older and he began to realize I had inherited our mother’s huge, strong hands and long fingers I wasn’t such a quick win and he had to take it up a notch when I beat him a time or two. After I had a taste of victory, I wasn’t as eager to spit out that cry for “mercy” to end the game. I giggle when I remember the last Christmas we were all together, I was 20 and he was 22 and we were still playing that stupid game.
One thing I could always count on from Jim was immediate mercy when I called out the word. He didn’t take a second to honor the request, he stopped instantly. “Mercy” was a game played by lots of folks when I was growing up (maybe it was a Kansas thing??) but not every opponent honored the request for mercy immediately but Jim did and that always stuck with me. For Catholics all over the world, the Sunday after Easter is known as Divine Mercy Sunday and it’s a day we celebrate the immediate, guaranteed and undeserved Mercy of the God who loves us. We’re gong to dwell on the topic for a few weeks because our world is crying out for God’s love and mercy. I read somewhere that GRACE is a gift freely given by God for things we don’t deserve and MERCY is a gift freely given in place of what we do deserve. Thank goodness! If God chose to discipline me with penalties and punishments for all my sin and shortcomings I’d never get ahead…I think He knew that and that’s why He invented mercy! In fact, His Divine Mercy is even more immediate than that shown by my brother Jim in that silly game we used to play.
In order to better understand the gift of Divine Mercy, I’ve borrowed some words from the Marians of the Immaculate Conception website…may their words help your heart understand this beautiful gift. The ABC’s make it easy to understand… A – Ask for His mercy. God wants us to approach Him in prayer constantly, repenting of our sins and asking Him to pour His mercy out upon us and the whole world. B– Be merciful. God wants us to receive His mercy and let it flow through us to others. He wants us to extend love and forgiveness to others just as He does to us. C – Completely trust in Jesus. God wants us to know the graces of His mercy are dependent upon our trust. The more we trust in Jesus, the more we will receive.
Lucky us!!! How blessed are we to receive the gift of His mercy…but wait…if you read carefully you noticed the parts that said the gift is free but it comes with an expectation! The expectation is that we must extend His mercy to those around us! YUP…that means to those who have wronged us and hurt us and haven’t lived up to their end of the bargain. I suppose it’s a little like the way we are with God; often hurting him, not living up to our end of the bargain and doing dozens of assorted “wrongs” a week. I’m thankful for the memory of my brother Jim and our countless games of “mercy” because it was a wee little sneak peek into the beautiful revelation of the Divine Mercy of our Father.
A Seed To Plant: Pray over the Mercy ABC’s and jot down those things you need to ask God’s mercy for and then make a list of those whom you will allow His mercy to flow through you and land on!
Blessings on your day!
…“You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep.’…Matthew 28:12
During the weeks since Easter I have been spending some time reading the story. As I was reading in the last chapter of Matthew’s gospel I got to verse 11 and wanted to yell, “Liar, Liar pants on fire!” It’s hard to believe the enemies of Jesus even tried to lie about something as astounding and beautiful as the resurrection. As I continued to read all I could think was; Wow…talk about an action packed story! This short Gospel has it all, epic drama, suspense, grief, jubilation, surprise, deceit, bribery and a splendid victorious hero! It’s a story of loyalty, love, dishonesty and the ultimate triumph of truth! Truth is a beautiful thing and we serve the God of truth.
Growing up the thing my dad held in highest regard was telling the truth, he considered truthfulness to be the most accurate mirror of a person’s character. He would often tell my brothers and me that one lie always ties itself to another and before long you could find yourself lying when the truth world fit better. That’s exactly what happened to the chief priests. How could anybody believe a small group of sorrowful and brokenhearted men appeared in the dark, rolled away an enormous stone and snuck off with Jesus’ body all without waking the team of soldiers assigned to guard the tomb? As Christians we know the truth fits better!
Sometimes Christ speaks truth to us and in our hearts we can be a little like the chief priests. Sometimes God’s truth is tough, especially when living it requires difficult change. The laws and truths of our faith are clear and often difficult to follow and we try to wriggle our way around them. Thank goodness we are loved by an Amazing Father who says to us, just as he said to the Mary’s in the garden that morning, “Do not be afraid.” He wants to lead us lovingly to his truth…his whole truth which offers the promise of eternal salvation.
A Seed To Plant: What are some truths you are struggling with? The Mary’s in this Gospel were fearful and overjoyed. In prayer today, ask God to guide you through the fear and lead you to the great joy and freedom found only through living completely in his truth.
Blessings on your day!
…with age-old love I have loved you; so I have kept my mercy toward you. Jeremiah 31:3
For the last several weeks the middle lovelies have been preparing to present their Shadow Stations of the Cross. Every year I am struck by the simplicity, power and passion generated by a group of twelve year olds and its ability to stir the hearts and tears of a gym full of people. It is the perfect way to begin Holy Week.
After practice one day I overheard two of the kids talking and one of them said, “It’s hard to believe someone could love us enough to go through all this!” Honestly, I can’t believe it either! I watch from side stage as these kids act out the crucifixion and the tears sting! Sometimes my mind drifts to those who were witnesses to the real Passion of Christ and my heart nearly pounds out of my chest at the slightest imagining of what that must have been like. Holy Week always leaves me feeling so loved, but always with a tinge of guilt and not nearly enough gratitude. It’s easy for me to feel like I should be doing more…praying more…serving more…living better so I can show Jesus how much I love him. It’s easy to feel like I come up so short.
I was feeling that way this morning at mass and Father Eric said exactly what my heart needed to hear. If you’re mid way through your Holy Week thinking you can never repay Jesus for the gift he so extravagantly gave maybe this will help you enter into the Triduum peacefully and prayerfully too. When we consider the love Jesus has for us, we have to remember that it isn’t a contest. We can never match his love and his love doesn’t change. Instead of harboring thoughts of inadequacy Father suggests this very simple prayer. “Jesus I love you too!”
As we ponder the events of the Last Supper, the washing of the feet or the scourging we should just say “Thank You Jesus, I love you too!” That simple little prayer says it all. It allows us to acknowledge the depth of Jesus’ love and do the only thing we’re capable of…thank him and return the love. Instead of thinking; I haven’t earned this kind of love or I don’t deserve this huge love, I will just say thank you Jesus, I love you too! Those words just seem to settle the soul. I hope you’ll take them deep into your Holy Week too.
A Seed To Plant: Read the Holy Week story from the Gospels and end each part of your reading with the words, “Thank you Jesus, I love you too.”
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
We are almost there; we’re right on the edge of my favorite week of the year…Holy Week!! 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 Easter 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. Since 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 this 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, 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!
“For I the Lord do not change.” Malachi 3:6
How’s your Lent? It’s a great feeling to get to this point in the season and recognize tangible ways our changes and sacrifices have allowed us to detach from our will a little. As we dive deep into the last weeks of Lent it’s a good time to ask ourselves, “WHY did I give that up?” or “WHY did I make that change?” I recently heard a priest point out that often our Lenten plans are very self focused. He challenged his listeners to think beyond themselves and make some changes that had a positive effect on someone else. Then he spoke this powerful line…
“One changed life, always changes another!” If we are going to be the people of service we are called to be, this line is mighty motivation. I have heard the powerful story of three people this Lent who made a change in their life and it changed another. I share their stories to inspire us to do some great things to finish out this Lent.
*Adjusting your schedule to give the gift of time changes things. Lent opens our hearts to receive gifts from the Lord as we free ourselves from habits and distractions that allow us more time to get closer to Him. Tonight I saw one of these gifts. When I made time as a Lenten commitment to visit a very old woman in assisted living, she quickly became my friend. But tonight she kissed me goodbye and said she would pray for me and at that moment I felt my mom in her embrace (my mom died 40 years ago when she and I were both too young to lose each other). God is good and beautiful and works in mysterious ways. I am looking forward to our visits long after Lent has passed!! One changed life always changes another!
* Changing my perspective was a game changer! I’ve been politely angry at God for twenty years for a lousy marriage and entering my sixties divorced and childless. All I could do was count the pains, injustices and shortfalls of my life. This Lent I asked God to change my broken heart and swap my list of pains for a list of joys. I told him I would change my anger if he would put someone in my path who needed my love. It was a tall order but a powerful wave of trust and peace washed over me as Fr. traced the ashen cross on my forehead on Ash Wednesday. The next day a single mother and her two pre-teen daughters moved in next door. Long story short, I have three new friends who needed my love, my support, my help and my skills as a retired teacher. I help with homework, we share dinner together three nights a week and I marvel at how easy it was to change from anger to joy. One changed life always changes another!
* I began last Lent in the middle of a bitter, unhappy marriage. It seemed like every time my husband walked into the room all I could do was think about how much more I gave to the relationship and how unappreciated and taken for granted I felt. I sought counsel from a wise friend who told me the only thing I could control was myself and that “gratitude covered a multitude of sins.” After prayer and googling a lot of Catholic marriage talks I decided to change my attitude. Instead of keeping “score”, I started keeping a gratitude list about my husband. The first few days the list was pretty small but as Lenten days passed, I began to notice and appreciate so many things I had been too bitter to see. I also began to pray for him every day and as the bitterness and selfishness in my heart began to disappear, our love, laughter and faithfulness completely changed. One changed life always changes another!
Lent is a time to change our hearts, attitudes and actions…he’s inviting us to change not just for ourselves but for another of his children and just maybe he’s inviting someone to make a change that will bless us. Don’t fear the change because no matter how much things swirl around us; his love never changes!
A Seed To Plant: Spend some time in prayer this week asking the Father to show you where you can make a change that will change another.
Blessings on your day!
…and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
I think Jesus had a favorite word and he taught over and over that we should put that word into action. The word…LOVE! It covers a multitude of sins and correct a mountain of troubles, but what does it look like? I’ve had the Beetles song “All I need is Love” stuck in my head for a week and then I came across this article below; the Holy Spirit no doubt is responsible for this post! I have no idea who wrote it or I’d give them credit and a thousand thank you’s. These thoughts don’t just apply to romantic love…but to all of us and the ways we treat each other. It’s a longer read but OH SO WORTH THE TIME!
A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, 'What does love mean?' The answers they got were broader, deeper, and more profound than anyone could have ever imagined!
**'When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore... So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love.' Rebecca - age 8
**'When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.' Billy - age 4
**'Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.' Karl - age 5
**'Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.' Chrissy - age 6
**'Love is what makes you smile when you're tired.' Terri - age 4
**'Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.' Danny - age 8
**'Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and just listen.' Bobby - age 7 (Wow!)
**'If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate.' Nikka - age 6 (we need a few million more Nikka's on this planet)
'**Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it every day.' Noelle - age 7
**'Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.' Tommy - age 6
**'During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling.He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore.' Cindy - age 8
**'Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.' Elaine - age 5
**'Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.' Chris - age 7
'**Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.' Mary - age 4
**'I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.' Lauren - age 4
**'When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.' (what an image!) Karen - age 7
**'You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.' Jessica - age 8
**And the final one: The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, 'Nothing, I just helped him cry.’
A Seed To Plant: These snippets have so much to think about! What if the second half of Lent was all about finding ways to LOVE BIGGER! It’s impossible to focus on loving others harder and be selfish at the same time. I’d say that’s a win win! Pick something from the list and put it into action this week.
Blessings on your day!
… “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Mathew 14:31
I love this story from Matthew’s Gospel. It’s full of little lessons! One thing that always makes me giggle a little is how much I’m like the apostles that stayed in the boat. Poor Peter gets scolded by Jesus for being of “little faith”. Truth is, I’d be one of the 11 still sitting in the boat never having the guts to get out and even try walking on water in the first place! Sometimes my boat is rockin but I’m not brave enough to get out and be faithful!
I discovered three “boat rockers” in my life are 1)My children’s future 2)The shrinking moral conscience of our culture and 3)The economy and leadership of our country. Boy can I ever be an apostle glued to the boat seat when I think about these things! I need to leap out of the boat like Peter and take some steps toward Jesus. There are many things that rock our boat and test our faith but the message is the same to us as it was to Peter; trust Me, keep your eyes on Me,have faith in Me and I will guide and protect and love you!
I can’t guarantee that my children will get their dream job with benefits and a generous salary any more than I can sweep into the US Senate or House and pray with them and get things all straightened out. (talk about being tossed into a stormy sea…yikes!) I wish I could do great big things that would restore common values like modesty, honesty and respect for life but the truth is, I’m only in charge of my little corner of the world. So what’s a sea-sick scardey cat apostle to do…PRAY! TRUST! GET OUT OF THE BOAT SO JESUS CAN GRAB ON!
If I look back on my own life, the troubles and difficult times are the ones that caused me to learn the most. Having jobs that were hard, yucky and paid pennies were the ones that made me strong and grateful. Wrestling with tough decisions about my future gave me great opportunity to pray and trust God’s will for my life. Why would I want my kids to have an easy go of it and miss those important lessons and opportunities to grow in faith and character? I think I’ll get out of that boat and just ask God to bless them and remind them daily to ask Him for direction and then pray like crazy they listen and follow!
As for the boat rockin I feel when I think of state of affairs with our culture and our country, I had a thought. If your inbox or facebook newsfeed is full of jokes, slogans and stories about the woes of our world, what do you think would happen if instead of forwarding or sharing them, we would instead stop and pray? Judging by the number of those types of posts I see each day, that could be a LOT of prayin…I think the seas would calm and more folks would have the courage and the trust to get out of the boat and walk toward Jesus. I think we underestimate the power of prayer, especially with issues we think are beyond us. I sometimes forget to pray for our leaders. I don’t remember often enough to pray for people who have lost their way and make decisions that draw people away from God rather than toward Him. Shame on me…guess I better write that down so I remember! I don’t know about you, but I think I’m ready to get out of the boat and test the water!
A Seed To Plant: What’s rockin your boat? Make a list and then stop today and pray for the courage to walk toward Jesus and hand Him your concern. While you’re prayin, stop and say a prayer for the President and all those in positions of leadership and power.
Blessings on our day!
…’You are My servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you.’ Isaiah 41:9
I love choices; I don’t need a lot of choices but having more than one option is a very good thing! I love cookies but if I have the choice between a cookie or a piece of Carrot Cake that’s a simple choice…both are great but clearly the Carrot Cake wins every time! Last week I had a God thump that made me think of choices in a new light.
While I was at mass recently I had the opportunity to help the little guy next to me find the right page in the song book. Once we found it, he wanted me to point to the words as we sang. The song was a familiar favorite. Honestly, if it hadn’t been for the little one next to me, I wouldn’t have even had to pick up the book. God had a plan! My favorite lines from this song are, “my hearts one desire is to be holy, set apart for You Lord, I want to be holy, ready to do your will’ great words right. I’ve belted them out just like that dozens of times but Friday as I pointed to each word with my fingers for my buddy, God thumped me as I read not “I want to be holy” but “I CHOOSE to be holy.” That one word made a huge difference.
The difference between want and choose is action, responsibility and work. I can want to be holier or thinner or more prayerful and patient. I can want all I want and it just remains a wish or a dream. If I choose to be those things, that means I have to do something about it. It reminded me of something my mom used to say when we whined about something being hard or not going our way. She would say, “Well child, why don’t you wish in one hand and spit in the other and see which one gets full faster. Nothing gets done until you get busy.”
The ultimate goal of the Lenten Season is to help us grow in holiness. The big question I’ve been pondering and praying about is; do I want to grow in holiness or do I choose to grow in holiness? If I just want it, I can guarantee I will sit in church on Good Friday weeping because I’m in the same place I was on Ash Wednesday. If I want things to be different I have to choose to make them different. I have to take action and not just wish for change. That puts a different light on things. It takes away the try and replaces it with a do. I don’t know about you but my Lent can use more DOING and CHOOSING! I’m not quite sure what he’s leading me to on this years Lenten Journey but I do know I will have to make some choices and I’m pretty sure they won’t be as easy as Carrot Cake over cookies! Lord, help me see and choose!
A Seed To Plant: Make a list of the things that get in the way of your holiness. Now circle a few and pray over them the next few days asking God to help you CHOOSE the ones he wants to help you tackle this Lent.
Blessings on your day!
…return to me with your whole heart. Joel 2:12
Happy Ash Wednesday! As we begin this holy season of prayerfulness, our mission is to grow closer to God. The goal of it all is to love a little harder and believe a little bigger! The next 40 days are an opportunity to examine our habits and steer away from those that aren’t helping us become holier. My big thought this Ash Wednesday morning is…don’t just give up something you will pick back up after Easter…make it count…make it result in a change of heart…make it something that changes us more into the person God made us to be. Growing in trust, faith, hope and prayerfulness are the things that have come to me as I prayed about using this Lent well. As I was praying about the HOW, I came across this little story that I thought I’d share. Maybe it will help your heart prepare to follow Jesus more closely this Lent.
*Once all villagers decided to pray for rain. On the day of prayer, all the people gathered, but only one boy came with an umbrella. That is faith.
*When you throw babies in the air, they laugh because they know you will catch them. That is trust.
*Every night we go to bed without any assurance of being alive the next morning, but we still set alarms to wake up. That is hope.
*We plan big things for tomorrow in spite of zero knowledge of the future. That is confidence.
*We see the world suffering, but still, we get married and have children. That is love.
*The sweet, cheerful 80 year old lady wears a t-shirt that says “I’m not 80, I’m sweet 16 with 64 years of experience.” That is positive perspective.
Lent is a time for change; change that makes us closer to Jesus. Perspective is so important these next 40 days. Let’s focus not so much on the change and sacrifice but on the grace that spills out as we use these days well. Let’s focus on the great things that will change in our heart when we invite and allow the Father into our thoughts, lives and conversations. Let’s focus on what our faithfulness will look like when we grow in trust, faith, hope and love. Know of my prayers for all of you as we journey through the desert of these Lenten days toward the glory of the Resurrection.
A Seed To Plant: Instead of going back to the “Lent’s of old”, ask Jesus how he wants to draw you closer…give him permission to be in charge of your Lenten plans this year.
Blessings on your day and Happy Lent!
..he gave them to his disciples to set before the people. Mark 6: 41
I was flipping through the Gospels the other day and I landed on the story of the loaves and fishes. I’ve heard the story dozens of times so I asked God to give me a new perspective on an old story. He didn’t disappoint me…as always! As I sat and pondered the words I began to think about how much I enjoy baking bread. It makes me feel so productive and it brings a wonderful smell to the kitchen and great smiles to the faces of my family. Then I remembered a story. I went through a spell where my bread looked beautiful until about 5 minutes into the baking and then the tops would go flat. The taste was still great but the loaves looks so goofy it frustrated me. Then one day, for no reason I can understand, I pulled out three of the most beautifully shaped loaves that had come from my oven in a long time. Moments later Jason walked in and began to slice himself a piece of warm bread, the problem was, the bread was still too hot to slice and he flattened and mangled the loaf trying to cut a piece. My shoulders sunk when I saw it…all my beautiful hard work…mashed into a mess. It was my job to slice and deliver at the right time. Then I realized how happy he was to be enjoying one of his favorite things, hot homemade bread and melted butter. My thoughts changed and the messy loaf of bread didn’t matter anymore because I realized I had missed the point!
After Jesus had taken, blessed and broken the bread something curious happened. He wasn’t the one who gave to the people gathered there that day. He gave the bread to his apostles to share with the people. Jesus had performed an amazing miracle but when it was time to take credit for the task, he stepped aside and allowed someone else to distribute the blessing. Nobody in the crowd missed out on the eating, but I’m sure many didn’t truly understand the amazing mystery of the multiplication. The greatest part of the story is the love and compassion Jesus felt for the crowd. It was that very love that motivated this great act but he didn’t need to be recognized, the loving was enough.
I lost sight of the point of this Gospel the day Jason mushed my bread. I was more concerned with having my perfect bread noticed than allowing my efforts to demonstrate my love for my family. I forgot it was about the love and not the credit.
A Seed To Plant: In your prayer this week ask God to remind you that he can work miracles in your life simply because he loves you. Ask him to take all your fears, concerns and trials and love you through them. Ask him to remind you that no task is too big for the One who fed 5,000 with only five loaves and 2 fish.
Blessings on your day!
…make straight the way of the Lord…John 1:23
I remember a stage in my early teenage years when my bedroom frequently looked as if there had been an explosion of some sort and it drove my mom nuts! One Saturday morning I “cleaned” my room and she made it crystal clear that it did not meet her standards. I had cleared a straight path from my bed to the door and quoted a version of these very words from Johns Gospel and showed her how I had clearly made “a straight way for the Lord”. She assured me he was going to need a much wider path.
My moms assurance is true today! I realize I don’t always make the path to my heart straight or wide. I need to give God room to come into my heart and do his mighty works of mercy. I have all kinds of things in the way that make His way tricky to maneuver. I make Him wind his way around jealousy and pride and selfishness. The path hooks to the left when I toss in impatience and judgmental thinking. The way really goes sideways when control, bitterness and gossip get tossed into the mix.
Lent begins two weeks from today so it’s time to start thinking, praying and planning our Lenten path. You might be tempted to start with making a list of all the things you’re gonna “give up” and that would be great; sacrifice is a discipline we all need to work on for sure but I have a thought. If we look at our list of “give ups” are they going to help us grow in holiness or are we going to pick them right back up after Easter? What about giving up things that really change our path? The virtue of the week in our classroom is HONESTY so the question was; how hard would it be to give up lying, fibbing or embellishing for Lent; and could that change us? It was a resounding “YES, but that would be harder than giving up candy!”
Making straight the way of the Lord means keeping my eyes on Him. When my eyes are on Him and I’m preparing for Him to work in my life I discover I’m moving in a straight and forward direction. He is the constant, the guide that straightens my way every time I re-adjust my focus on His way and not my own. Perhaps as we prepare for Lent these next two weeks we pray for the Holy Spirit to help us identify the road blocks and detours that are in our path and we let that become our focus this Lent.
A Seed To Plant: What clogs or kinks the path between Jesus and your heart? Spend some time in prayer asking the Lord to straighten and widen the way to His love and mercy. Loving Father, help me prepare a path to my heart that leads me straight to you.
Blessings on your day!
There is a time for every season…Ecclesiastes 3:1
Three recent snow days created a little flash back to days gone by. As I watched the snow pile up I thought our yard would have been the world’s greatest place to play but as I walked from window to window all I saw was deep, fresh, unmarked snow. No sled marks, no snowmobile tracks no snow angels or tunnels, forts or snowmen. As I stood there getting way too sentimental I remembered the wishes I’d made when my kids were in their snow stomping days.
I remember all too well how long it took to bundle them all up, find 6 gloves and 3 hats and 6 boots that all fit and matched (ok…so they didn’t always match). By the time they all got zipped and buttoned and tied up I was sweaty and frustrated and relieved that they were out the door! I would wish they would stay out and play for hours so I could have some peace and quiet. I remember all the energy it took to get them out there and it never failed, 5 minutes later someone was yelling from the doorway, “Mom, I have to go to the bathroom!” or “Mom, so and so put snow down my back, I need a towel!” or my very favorite, “Mom, I lost my boot in the snow hill!” For the amount of work it would take to get them out there to track up the snow, it never seemed to last long enough. I wished for them to be independent and creative out there in the snow without my help but before I knew it they would be in and the back room would be a mess of wet, cold puddles and drippy snow pants and boots. It would take twenty minutes to get everything hung and mopped up and then we’d do it all over again. Flashing back to that part of winter made that sparkly uninterrupted snow seem less sentimental.
I wondered as I stood there staring at the snow how many things I had wished away in my life. It seems like we’re often wishing for the day when we won’t be so busy or when things won’t be so hectic or when the kids get more independent and don’t need us so much. But, are we really satisfied when that day arrives? That snow storm made me realize I should do a better job of recognizing the hand of God in every circumstance and stage of life. Life comes in seasons. It won’t always be the same, which is to say if things are hard it doesn’t mean it will always be hard and if something is simple and lovely that won’t always last either. God works through all circumstances and with each season of life there is growth and challenge and joy if we stop and look for it. There is blessing and benefit in every stage and season of life. Each one has a purpose and God has perfectly designed and arranged it to define and mature a certain part of our holiness. Little kids mean puddles in the entryway, big kids mean uninterrupted snow…each is full of blessing and beauty; I have to ask God to help me find that beauty in every season of my life. God help me find you in the NOW of my days and help me stop looking so hard for you in the “then’s” and the “when’s”!
A Seed To Plant: Say a prayer for your “present”. Ask God to help you recognize His work THIS day without comparing it to yesterday or tomorrow.
Blessings on your day!
But let your “Yes” mean “Yes” and your “No” mean “No”…James 5:12
Wow did this one smack be upside the head! I think I would be shamefully astounded if I counted the times I approached things looking for the “easier” way to do them. More than a few times I’ve re-routed plans and projects searching for increased benefit and decreased personal discomfort! The biggest problem with that is what I usually get in return is minimal satisfaction! I also shudder when I think of the things in my life that lack true commitment and consistent effort.
I remember when Jason was an infant. He loved sleeping if it was light outside but not so much during the middle of the night. Kevin was 18 months old and I remember some of those days and nights felt so long. In my exasperation and exhaustion one day I was pouring out my heart and frustration to a wise friend and she said, “You’re looking at this all wrong; your goal is to get him to sleep so you can sleep too but your mission should be to relax, rock, pray and enjoy your precious son.” I thought she was nuts at first but I was desperate enough to try it her way and she was right. It was hard to remember that I had said “Yes” to motherhood and all that came with it. I was feeling deprived and uncomfortable…it was all about what I was missing and giving up and not what I had been given. The next many nights were different. I rocked and held him with a peace I hadn’t had before and said “Yes” to all the parts of motherhood and believed with all my heart that God would give me the strength and patience to chase my 18 month old the next day even if I didn’t get much sleep. That’s exactly what He did! It didn’t take long before Jason got his sleeping straightened out and I never admitted it out loud but I kind of missed that quiet time in the middle of the night with a new baby.
God calls us so many times a day and He leads us so tenderly but so much of it we miss. I’m so busy trying to make things easy on myself I often lack the consistency to follow through on the things I say “Yes” to in my faith life. I am also painfully aware of the times I vow to say “No” to screen time or procrastination only to let it dribble into my hours leaving little or no time for reading, prayer or study. I think St. James was speaking directly to me. I suppose if I spent more time honoring my yes’s and my no’s instead of trying to negotiate an easier path God would have some abundant blessings for me and I would be filled with great satisfaction. I can be a stubborn woman though!
When I finally stopped fussing about my fussing baby and just enjoyed being in the moment God honored my “yes”. He gave me joy, peace and energy because I was more concerned with the minutes I gained with my baby and less worried about the minutes of sleep I lost. In my prayer time, I plan to make a list of “Yes” and “No” and I will pray for the strength to honor both!
A Seed To Plant: Make a list of “Yes” and “No” things that you can offer God the Father. Ask Him to show you where you need to say yes and where He’d like you to say no.
Blessings on your day!
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!
Be still and know that I am God…Psalm 46:11
We’ve entered those last weeks of the year that are so full of faith, family, fun, stress, activity and we may feel the need to buckle up and hang on. But maybe the Lord is asking us to look at things a little differently.
What if we all decided to take a big deep breath and remind ourselves that the next couple of weeks will be filled with things we love and things we don’t. What if we decided to invite God into all of it very intentionally. Being surrounded by family is a beautiful thing but getting the house set and ready for their arrival isn’t so beautiful so why not offer the getting ready prayerfully asking for His blessing on the conversation, laughter and memories that will take place. What if we remembered that nothing bad lasts forever and the same can be said for the good stuff. Life is a series of yeahs and yucks and God is found in both so lets not be in such a hurry to get through life.
As we make our way through the next crazy days, lets consider one simple suggestion…Be Where Your Feet Are! Life blazes by so meet God in the moments…he’s there in all of them. If we’re not where our feet are, we’re dwelling int he past or zipping off into the future missing what God is doing right here and right now. We won’t always be comfortable, things aren’t always the way we plan…that’s ok because pain and frustration are places God does so much teaching, forming and leading.
A Seed to Plant: Every time your tempted to “wish away” a day waiting for one that’s better, ask the Father to help you be where your feet are and feel him working,
Blessings on your day!
The person who is faithful with small matters is also faithful with great ones. Luke 16:10
Our task for the week: seek the SMALL and the SIMPLE! Seriously…I’m not kidding…our motto for the week should be “Little Is Lovely!” (Let me be clear, hips and thighs don’t count!!!) If I had any power of any kind, I would declare it National 'Little is Lovely Week!'
Christmas Eve is coming quick and this is just about the time many of us go into our “Christmas Freak Out” and completely forget about the coming of a King! We have probably done some of our shopping and now we start to worry about whether the gifts we’ve purchased are good enough or big enough or fancy enough to out-do what we gave last year. That’s where the trouble starts to brew!
Many of Gods greatest gifts are small. Babies, flowers, butterfly’s, puppies and a Son who came to save us from our sinfulness are all small but yet so completely amazing they can make us stop in our tracks and take notice. God works among the small and simple parts of our lives. He shows His magnificence in the little details but yet we live in a culture that praises, rewards and almost requires bigger, better, bolder and over the top. It’s a good time to think about which influence we’d like to be shaped by. God wanted so badly to make things small and simple He even took His Ten Commandments and broke them down into two very simple ones, Love God and Love others. How could we goof up something so simple!
Sometimes it’s the little things we take for granted. We don’t often think of the simple gift of time as something valuable we can wrap and put under the tree but it is. Instead of trying to find the newest toy or hottest appliance or trendiest outfit, give the simple gift of time. Give a now and later gift, a small treat or gift card for now and a certificate for a lunch or dinner date together later. A gift from a student one year that really touched my heart was a beautiful cookie, made and wrapped with a bow by the child complete with a card saying that child and her family had prayed for me and my family at supper each night for a week. Give the gift of an event, like bowling or a movie together. How about the gift of a promise? It could be a promise to spend an hour or an afternoon doing whatever the recipient wants whether it be playing a game, cleaning the cupboards or helping with yard work. You could attach your promise to help with spring gardening to a new shovel or pair of work gloves. Be creative…be simple…be small! As you are trying to figure out how to bless the people you love, first remember to pray for them and ask the Creator who knows them best to help you decide how to bless them with a gift.
While we’re on the subject of little, how about spending a little or a little more time in prayer each morning so we can keep our hearts focused on the true meaning of the season. Be simple but be intentional. God loves Christmas and He’s the first one in line to help us keep focused and not overwhelmed by the way our culture can clutter up Christmas.
A seed to plant: Set your alarm to get up 15 minutes earlier this week and use those minutes in simple prayer, maybe reading the first two chapters of Luke’s Gospel. Second, take a look at your shopping and to-do list and pick 5 things to do smaller or simpler.
Blessings on your day!
For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father… Matthew 16:27
Happy Advent! Advent is my favorite…it is so filled with joy and hope and anticipation. I love it because it means the teachers at school meet each morning for prayer. I love praying with my work sisters and taking 15 minutes a day to soak up some peace and have conversation focused on something great makes my heart happy. Last year we couldn’t meet in the little chapel at school like we had in past years so when we returned to the practice this week it brought joy!!
On the first Monday of Advent I showed a Fr. Mike Schmitz video about Advent and it kind of blew me away. He’s amazing but this particular video knocked it completely out of the park. We talk in class about how Advent is a time to prepare for the coming of Christ and think about his second coming. I never really gave the second coming much though to be honest but because of Fr. Mike and a couple of other great Advent videos… I’m thinking now! I’m going to combine the best parts of all I’ve learned into one post that might help your Advent as much as it has mine.
*We prepare to celebrate the coming of Christ on Christmas…we prepare to celebrate Christ the Baby. I can honestly say I didn’t really get too far from this spot.
*We prepare for the second coming of Christ…either He will come to us at the end of time or we will go to Him. Either way we’re preparing to meet him at the time of our judgement.
*Advent it about preparing for the coming of Jesus as the baby and Jesus the Judge…something to ponder.
*Fr. Mike challenged us to think about what Advent would look like if we knew we would meet Jesus on December 25th. What if that was our last day…how would Advent be different? What would we be truly be preparing for? What would change?
*After some thought and prayer my idea of Advent preparation took a gigantic turn. All of the sudden the shopping, decorating and Christmas prep didn’t seem as important. It gave me great cause to really think about what I was actually preparing for.
*I asked the middle lovelies to think about it too and when I asked them what they thought would change; my favorite answer was…”I would focus on the things that matter.” When I asked them what mattered to them they said, “That’s pretty simple, loving God and loving others is what matters most.” I suppose if we subscribe to that powerful notion it about covers it all.
The coolest thing about it all is that thinking about Jesus the baby and Jesus the judge slams on the brakes and just brings peace. It’s one of those stop everything and think kind of statements. I put the link to the video below so if your Advent needs a direction and a jump start give it a watch.
A Seed To Plant: If the purpose of Advent was prepping for heaven, what should your four candle wait include?
Blessings on your day!
No word from God will ever fail. Luke 1:37
So what do you do when you just want to sit in the corner and pout? I think we all face those times when we feel like we aren’t enough…we don’t do enough…we come up just short of the goal again and again. And what about those times when we realize we’re committing the same sins and making the same mistakes and running back to the same bad habits like their magnetic power just sucks us in!
I’ve been struggling lately and I’ve avoided writing about it. I suppose I don’t want folks to know I’m coming a little unraveled on some days. Truth be told, being joyful and grateful has taken a lot of work lately. I speak and teach and write but it all seems like it’s just not quite right…like I’m close but not quite there. I mention this only because it usually seems that when I feel something, somebody is struggling with the same thing too.
I wish I could say I took it all to prayer and God gave me great comfort and consolation. Actually, he’s led me to some great words but they taste like vinegar! I wanted him to make it all feel better but these words are pretty stiff and I’m going to have to sit with them for a bit. I know he’ll change my heart…after all his heart is perfect, mine is the one that needs some work! Maybe these words were meant for you too…
*We’ve got to have the courage to ask Jesus to help us stop finding our sins so attractive!
*My daughter, if the Cross was not felt, it could not be called a Cross. Be certain that if you stand beneath the Cross you will never be lost.
*True peace is found when having or not having doesn’t matter.
*Faith helps us know that even if we can’t see a positive outcome, we trust that God has our greater good beyond these crosses.
*Humility is planting seeds and being unattached to seeing them growing or harvested.
*We dilute grace in our souls the minute we begin to calculate how good we’re doing.
*The deeper we seek God by cutting out worldly attachments, the more we are free to cooperate with His most perfect will.
*We sometimes feel uneasy and uncomfortable because it takes more energy to be around people that don’t fill our cup.
*We are called to forgo our desires to wallow in our difficulties, because someone else often needs our love and attention.
*Our lives will be much happier when we accept all things in our path as an opportunity to love God and love others.
*Worldly achievements and human honor or approval are the goals of man, not the Father.
*The continued getting up and trying again is the rhythm of the life that makes us Saints.
A Seed To Plant: Pick one of the statements and pray with it for a week.
Blessings on your day!
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