When the Lord saw her, he felt compassion for her. He told her, "You can stop crying.” Luke 7:13
Happy 2021! I hope your new year of off to a lovely start. Mine sure is! Here at the Wohlfert house we have our first grand baby coming and a wedding coming and all of us are healthy and happy and content. We have jobs we love, and kids that are happy, healthy and settled. We have everything we want and everything we need. We are thankful and that seems like the best way I could imagine to begin a new year. It wasn’t a New Years Eve of wishes and resolutions but rather one of gratitude and prayers for those who aren’t in the same comfortable boat as we are. I suppose when life is good, its the best time to reach out, pray for and offer help to those who are struggling. It’s a great time to remember that life is a long series of peaks and valleys…it isn’t always easy and it isn’t always hard. One sustains you through the other and helps you keep your balance and is a constant reminder to lend a hand to those in the valley and be assured of the help and prayers of those on the peaks.
Every New Year I write a post about my “word of the year”. This year I just couldn’t come up with one. I prayed all of December and didn’t really get a sense about anything so I began to wonder if it was a “thing” that had run it’s season then late last week I kept getting the word STOP. I thought, there…that’s it, I’m supposed to stop all of this and move on. But after I had resigned myself to that idea I kept reading, hearing and seeing that word STOP. I was a little befuddled and actually got sassy enough to say, “OK God, I got it…I’ll hang up the word of the year thing.” But the word kept coming…then I got it…my word is STOP. Got it…but what kind of word is that? It seemed so opposite…isn’t this whole thing supposed to be about a word that inspires action? Isn’t it supposed to be about doing something to grow in holiness? Isn’t it supposed to be a verb that draws you closer to heaven? I thought that’s what I’d been doing with my word each year! So STOP was just weird to me!
After a little thinking and praying, I discovered that the word STOP appears in Scripture more than 300 times. Sometimes the references are about us stopping something and sometimes it all about God stopping something. We are encouraged to stop being fearful, stop being lazy, stop ignoring commands and stop worrying. God stops storms and trials and enemies and destruction again and again when his children look to him with love and trust. After a little more thought I came up with a whole list of STOPS that would help me grow closer to the Father. I need to stop comparing and stop looking ahead and stop thinking of ways to “fix everything”. I need to stop thinking about how things look and stop fussing about how many places I fall short. I really need to stop chasing the myth of perfection because the measuring stick for that was not created or endorsed by the Father and I absolutely need to stop thinking there will ever be a day when my good deeds will earn me bonus points in the eyes of God. If I do only one thing with this word, it would be to stop listing to the world! That would be a great year. So here’s to a wonderful new year of stopping!
A Seed To Plant: Do you have a word or a Scripture or a thought for the year?
Happy New Year and Blessings on your day!
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us…John 1:14
Happy New Year! It’s a new year, a new decade and time for the new word for the year. I remember reading about a word for the year nearly a decade ago and I’ve been giving it a whirl ever since. Some years the word has been an encouragement, some years an inspiration and some years quite honestly, an annoyance. God has used these “words” in some powerful ways over the years because each one is the result of about a month of prayerful consideration. This year I was afraid this post wasn’t going to happen because for weeks I haven’t been able to figure out what my word was supposed to be.
Like every other year, I’ve started out thinking sweet, easy words like peace, joy or laughter but per our agreement, when a word pops in my head, I pray on it and if it sticks it’s mine, if I forget it in a day or two, it wasn’t the word for me. I feel the need to insert a scoop of honesty here, I’m at that stage in life where forgetting is something that I get better at each year! I wasn’t sure if I was going to skip the word of the year because God wasn’t giving me the word or because I just couldn't remember it! The word didn't actually come until my birthday so I think he wanted me to trust his timing…or it was just him being fancy. The word came at the beginning of a Holy Hour and it popped up more than a dozen times during that hour so, being faithful to our deal…I didn’t forget it!
The word for 2020 is COME. Over the past few days pondering this word I’ve been overwhelmed with places I need this word in the upcoming year. My first thoughts were all about invitations. I began thinking about how much I need him to come into my teaching, my marriage, my work and my…well…my everything. I thought about how he must be waiting for me to invite him to come on in a take over. At first I thought this meant I’d be giving up a lot but then I realized it’s actually the opposite. If I ask him to COME into my thoughts, my words, my writing and my…well…my everything, it actually takes the pressure off of me because it allows me to let him take the lead.
I’ve discovered this new word is about action and attitude and it’s bringing me peace. I want him to come into my heart and my reactions so I can act with mercy instead of judgement. I want him to come into my words so I can bring his compassion and peace. I want him to come into my decisions so my life more closely follows his will for me instead of a runaway train jumping the tracks! I want him to come into my prayer so that time becomes more of a relationship than an obligation. I want him to come into my driving, my waiting, my giving, my service and my frustrations so I can mirror him instead of a cranky grump, a pouting toddler or a sharp tongued sassy mouth. I want him to come so I can be as understanding and forgiving with the people who annoy me as I am of a stranger in need or someone I want to impress. I want him to come so I can be who he made me to be, serving right where he put me instead of trying to be fancy or important or impressive. I want him to come so big I become teeny and fade in his shadow so all others see is HIM and not me. (Boy…that’s gonna take a LOT of work!!)
Mostly I want him to COME to me so I can COME to him and be better…holier…kinder…more honest…more compassionate and more…well; more Christ-like. Whew…when he put these four letters together and gave me this word, I think he had a big year in mind. I can just imagine him standing there with his hand out saying, COME on…let’s get to work!
A Seed To Plant: Do you have a word? Share it with us if you do so we can all pray that God uses these words powerfully in our life.
Blessings on your day!
"Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind.” 1 Samuel 15:29
Welcome to 2019! It’s time for the annual word of the year post. I just learned that there is some sort of app that can generate your word for you. The folks I know who have tried it have gotten some pretty fancy words. One lady got the word “dazzle” and another got “fascination” and yet a third got “excitement”. After many weeks of prayer, my word is crystal clear…and once again it’s not very fancy. I say it’s not fancy because it involves work on my part. My word for 2019 is “CONSISTENT”. Wa-hoo! At first I pouted a little thinking this was a word that meant I was going to be tested and asked to actually plow through some stuff he’s been leading me toward for a while. After the word was clear, I spent several days asking him to help me actually like my word!
It’s been cause for a lot of reflection and it’s only the second day of January! In my prayer, I came across this verse from 1Samuel and it shined a giant spotlight on a couple of things that come with my word. I was pointed right to truthfulness and decisiveness. Truth hit my heart because we live in a world that seems to be a little allergic to honesty. It’s hard to know which headline or sound bite to believe. I know I can't do much to change that but I sure can work consistently to seek, defend, and live truth. Changing my mind is usually what happens when I loose steam and don’t finish what I started. It occurred to me that if consistent was a word I lived, I could be a little more Christ-like. I liked the thought of that!
I’m celebrating the last few hours of my birthday as I type and it’s been a great day. I think it’s been a great day because it had the best beginning. I went to church for a Eucharistic Holy Hour at 5:45 this morning and in the still and the quiet the thought that popped into my head (thank you Holy Spirit) was that being consistent didn’t mean being perfect. That was a huge relief. The verse points out that He is not a man and he won’t change his mind but I am human so he sort of expects it I think…phew! That little line took off some of the pressure for sure! As I begin this new year and pray about the way I’d like to live out this next birth year, I made a list of all the places I needed to be more consistent. When I finished, the list wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it might be. I am the queen of stop and start…green light and red light…hurry up, go crazy and then stall out! I believe the words I need to adopt are finish what you start with consistent progress. I think I can do that!
As I was looking at the list of things that need my new word and making a plan, I realized I probably need to find the root of my inconsistency. I’m usually in perpetual motion and get lots of stuff done but there are those few things that just never turn out quite like I thought they would when I got started. I need to spend some time in prayer thinking about why! Some of them are big things like writing a book and others are small like praying a daily Rosary EVERY day. Some are just yucky like keeping papers graded and my desk free from piles and some are hard like consistently eating right and speaking truthfully and kindly to everyone. My new word seems to fit everywhere but I need to figure out how to use it well. I’ll keep you posted!
A Seed To Plant: What’s your word? Share it if you have one so we can all pray for each other as we figure out how to live our word!
Blessings on your day!
Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. Hebrews 5:8
My word for the year is BE. I’ve spent the last two weeks praying about what God wants me to BE most. I’m here to tell you, he’s made it perfectly and painfully clear. I sort of forgot how clear he can be when I honestly and humbly ask him to show me something. It has been an ugly couple of weeks. On the outside I looked ok…my shoes matched and my teeth were brushed; you know, the important stuff for the world to see, but on the inside I’ve been a train wreck. Of course I didn’t want anyone to see that, I just tried to keep it all tucked away because as a general rule, we don’t like folks to know when we’re a hot mess but for some reason part of my “BE-ing” is to tell you what he’s shown me. Even though he’s been challenging me in a gigantic way, he’s also lovingly allowed me to stumble across some mighty words from some Holy Saints to guide and direct me.
“The nation doesn’t simply need what we have. It needs what we are.” St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
I tell classes and audiences all the time that God calls us each to serve in a unique way according to the gifts and talents he’s blessed us with. He has clearly pointed out that I haven't been taking that statement to heart. He has thrown a spotlight on the fact that I spend too much time yearning to “make it big” instead of serving wherever he sends me. While I’m dreaming about speaking in huge convention centers and being noticed as a “Catholic Rock Star” he has made it very clear that I’m being prideful and wishing for someone else spot. He very clearly pointed out that whether there are 15 gathered in a church basement, 22 sitting in my classroom or a thousand in an auditorium; they are all HIS. My talents are about serving HIS children not my ego. He has made it very clear that I am to serve where he puts me. I’m wrestling with BE-ing content and BE-ing in the present. The world tells me to dream big and go for it; God is inviting me to be humble and use the gifts he gave me to bring glory to him.
To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often. -St. John Neumann
While part of me sees the need to be content; he’s been glaringly pointing to the areas of my life where I desperately need to make big changes. Like a pebble in my shoe, he’s been pointing them out many times each day. I made my list of things I needed to do better in 2018 and he keeps pointing them out like a bad movie stuck on rewind. For at least a decade a few of the things on that list have remained the same. He’s asking me to be serious about those changes. If I really want time to read more or pray more I have to hack away some things to make that time; like Facebook and Twitter. One day as I was pondering more prayer while scrolling my newsfeed, my computer went completely black…message received! If I really want to be stronger and healthier I have to change what I eat and how I move. Those are changes that I have always struggled with but one day last week as I was thinking about all the reasons it’s so hard to make those changes, the chair I was sitting on literally broke beneath me. I’m telling ya, he’s challenging me in every corner of my life!
It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels. -Saint Augustine
Pride and humility are a big battle in the life of a christian. Humility has nothing to do with weakness and complacency but rather has everything to do with living the Gospel message and acting like Jesus. In the past two weeks I’ve had several people point out mistakes I’ve made and places I’ve fallen short. Those situations have been uncomfortable and embarrassing but God has called me to look at myself honestly and react humbly. I guess I didn’t get it right the first few times so he’s given me a few more opportunities to get it right. I’m truly a work in progress in this area and it’s clear he isn’t going to let up until I get better. Stay tuned because I have a feeling I’m going to be doing some studying about humility and pride and I just may have to share some lessons.
God is good, even when he isn’t easy on us. The past two weeks haven't been pretty! I’ve cried, felt defeated, embarrassed and frustrated. There has been darkness, sadness and then times of joy as I have felt his loving presence throughout this whole process. This was a tough post to write; it’s pretty raw and perhaps not as joyful as others but it’s real!This tiny little word, BE has turned out to be mighty. As I get ready to hit the publish button, I have to BE confident that he’ll use my “hot mess” of a life this month to touch a heart or two.
A Seed To Plant: Spend some time in prayer asking God to show you what he desires for your life and then see if you’re getting in his way.
Blessings on your day!
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