Monday, December 3, 2012

Shepherd me O God



Shepherd me O God, beyond my wants, beyond my fears, from death into life.



I have been listening to  this hymn recently and listening to those words have just pierced my heart. I was contemplating upon those words, over and over again, trying to understand what it was exactly that touched me.

Shepherd me O God- this line, first of all,  is beautiful. Just to think of being shepherded is so good. Growing up hearing so much in school and in the media about making your own way, taking the unmarked trail, standing on your own two feet and those phrases that aren't bad in and of themselves, but that hold a deep message behind them really made me think about what I was told repeatedly. I was told to not be a follower, but this always goes along with the idea that you will be lead somewhere that wont be good for you or that you will end up being invisible and or unimportant. But when God shepherds us He knows exactly where we need to go, what exactly we were intended to do and who He made us to be. Being a follower to Christ is a wonderful act and choice. This choice frees us to live fully as who we are and as we were made to be and then we can lead and develop our strengths and take the unmarked trail because we have a devoted Shepherd that will battle the wolves, feed us, comfort us and lead us into all Truth.

beyond my wants- At first I wanted to say " of course" when I heard this part, mostly because I tend to think of my wants as something frivolous or something that is silly or unimportant. But when I sit back and meditate on this part of the song, I think about wants being something different. My wants are very important and they hold a special part of me. I look around at places, things, and sometimes even people and think about how I may want either one of these things to have, to keep or sometimes to benefit me. But my deep want is Christ. Because Christ shows me what I most deeply want and that is my heart, the fact that I have dignity that cant be taken away, that Im made for love both human and divine and that there is nothing that can fill me with peace quite like Christ. He shepherds me beyond my wants that are really just pointing to the REAL want and that is my desire for Him and what He made me to be.

beyond my fears- Again this one seemed pretty obvious at the beginning. But what are fears? Fears are things hidden that have not yet been fully understood or known. Fear loses so much power when understood properly or in context. What is the greatest fear of humanity? Not to be so bold, but I believe the greatest fear was somewhat answered with our wants. A deep fear is that we have no worth, no dignity, we are unlovable and that it does not matter if we are used or cast aside. But the truth that Our God shepherds us to is that we do have DEEP worth and dignity and it is a terrible injustice when a human being is used or abused or thought of as nothing, or ignored, or cast aside. Our very being screams out against these things...and every person can feel it even if that voice has been pushed down so deep as to the depths of their being; it still cries out against acts against their own dignity. God shepherd beyond this fear and tells us the truth, the truth of who we are!

From death into Life- This happens over and over and over again. Were born into a fallen state, we rise up in Christ, we fall, He pulls us up, we fall again into the death of the lies that we are told and believe, Christ calls to us through the depths and we heed His voice and rise up into life, again we fall, but does God stop...no. He chases us, fanning the flame of our redemption. Going from death into life can happen numerous time but He doesn't want us to believe in the lies of death but the truths of life.


This hymn is just beautiful. Thank you God for showing me Your truths and for pursuing me and shepherding me beyond my wants, beyond my fears from death all the way into life!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Jesus crucified




I have just spent the last 30 minutes drawing a picture of Christ crucified, but it wasnt till the last 5 minutes or so until I looked into the eyes of my drawing of Christ and started thinking what was it that he felt, experienced and how did he interact with the world around him in these last moments. I saw pain, deep sadness and at the same time a moment of privilege which sounds funny but when I think about it this moment was His moment (in a certain way) of his entering into His Kingship. He had been made worthy in chastisement (in a sense-Hes always worthy) in being scourged.  He had been crowned in His coronation with the crown of thorns,  and He had walked the long walk holding the heavy Cross to His place of veneration on the cross. There He is looking out upon His kingdom knowing all that a good and mighty King must do to save His people and He was beyond willing to do it. I am so in love with Him, my King and Savior. He envelops us in His powerful act of LOVE and MERCY on the cross. He looks out upon us with the most genuine look of charity and at one of His last moments He says " I thirst"--He thirsts for us so deeply He gives everything...His very self.


Please help me Jesus to see You as my King daily and to look deeply into Your eyes and see the mighty gift you have given and the deep privilege and power that  You posses from this great moment high on the cross having given it all.
Amen

Monday, November 26, 2012

Christ speaks



Yesterday the kids were sick so my husband and I had to go to Mass separately while one stayed home with the kids. So, I actually went to Mass alone. It was wild...I got to hear everything and see everything and close my eyes. It was great. I felt a little vulnerable and bare though with out my little brood huddled close and my dear husband holding our baby( our littlest one just LOVES Papa holding him in Mass). It was amazing though because Lord spoke to me two different times and the things He said to me were so dear I had to grab a paper and pencil and write them down.


The first thing came about when I found myself looking at people, which Padre Pio says is a big no no. I find myself focusing on people and not on the Liturgy or the consecration. Anyway....I was looking around and enjoying all the different people and thinking about how we are all connected in the Eucharist and how God has made us all and wants us to know Him and to know one another. Then the thought popped into my head about why people act a certain way or why they dress a certain way. Specifically a young lady who had a pretty heart necklace and a bright pink top and her hair was arranged in just the perfect way. She was lovely and at that sweet age where they are just so impressionable, somewhere between 12 and 15 I'd guess. Well Ill try to get to my point, I noticed her and thought about why we as  women have such a strong desire to be lovely and to be noticed for our outward appearance. Then suddenly Gods voice spoke deeply within my soul and said
       " She is trying speak. She is speaking through her action and dress. Dont judge her by these things. Look at her dignity in Christ and find out what she is really trying to say"


It was beautiful! It was...I cant even describe what it was like. My soul felt embraced by Him and His words. And as always His words are freeing. For the first time in my life I finally now know how to look at another person with the eyes of Christ...and it is FREEING.


Well right after receiving the Eucharist and meeting Christ intimately once again, I was overwhelmed with the fact that I am beyond blessed with this gift of being with Him so completely. All the heartache and giving of my self and letting things go that I think I may want all for Him is so worth  it when I sit in awe of being able to be in His presence and Him be within me. I was looking around the church at every person that was there and how Christ craves us and desires our hearts and I was overwhelmed with the question " How can I be  a good witness to You Lord...I have a past that is so shameful and ugly and how can I share You Lord and be able to really express to others Your Glory and Your majesty and then He spoke to me once again

   "Through the misery that you have experienced I will show them my Truth"

I felt the tears well up and I felt a release. He is It, the Truth, everything, all there is. I am safe in  Him. My brokenness is safe in Him, my vulnerability is safe in Him. I am so thankful that He loves us this much, so much.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Waiting





Waiting...

This word carries so much weight...time...worry...stress...patience...prudence...release...new beginnings.
I find my family in a new stage of waiting. My husbands schooling is almost over and the next chapter in our lives is just around the corner. We have no absolute concrete knowledge of where we are going though. Its a good time to really stop and continuously pray and trust in Gods providence and His plan for our lives as a family. I have such peace in my heart knowing that God is creating the perfect place for us to be able to further His kingdom and wherever it is that He places us will be ideal for the specific gifts that He has given us and all the experiences that we have had. I am so thankful for His great Love and His gift of human dignity and person hood, so that we may express Him fully through our continued gift of ourselves to Him. 

Like this picture above, we sit in expectation of the goodness of Gods Life to bring forth whatever it is that He is masterfully creating. All I know is that He is an amazing artist painting with the most brilliant of colors, his brush strokes leaving trails of stardust in the heavens and roaring waves pour from His majestic fingers and the fields of flowing grass and wildflowers knitted together from the lovely spindle of green and pinks and purple beauty. He is there in every moment breathing joyful anticipation into my heart and continuously calling me to follow Him into all new lands and worlds of wonder! 

Do we serve an amazing God or what! WOW....
I am so grateful that I have been given the gift of being able to 
know Him intimately , serve Him fully and Love Him unconditionally!

Monday, October 29, 2012

A mothers heart





I was just reading about St. Augustines life and how before his conversion he planned on going to Rome and his mother (St. Monica) had been praying fervently for his conversion and was cosumed with worry of him being in Rome with all of its temptations. This is what I was reading


"Why I left the one country and went to the other You knew, O God, but You did not tell either me or my mother. She indeed was in dreadful grief at my going and followed me right to the seacoast. There she clung to me passionately, determined that I should either go back home with her or take her to Rome with me, but I deceived her...That night I stole away without her; she remained praying and weeping. And what was she praying for, O my God, with all those tears but that You should not allow me to sail! But you saw deeper and granted the essential part of her prayer: You did not do what she was at that moment asking, that You might do the thing she was always asking"


Augustine goes on to say that it was in Rome where he met St. Ambrose and it was this meeting that sparked his conversion. So it goes on to say " God refused to grant St. Monica the prayer she prayed on that day, in order to grant the prayer she prayed everyday 'Let him be converted. Let him be converted' "

This gave me great perspective as a parent. Sometimes I pray in deep fear that certain things that could lead my children away from God wont happen or that something will be a spark for them that will lead them into miserable heartache. But this reading above gave me a beautiful and quiet comfort. Though I may protect my childrens eyes and heart and minds from things that would awaken certain things like sexual desires way too young or things that would create vices for them, I will continue to pray, pray, pray for their sweet worthy and precious souls to turn toward the heavenly light of God and believe and put my faith in Him who can see their future , their past,  and all their moments and create an extraordinary masterpiece with each stroke from His mighty and gentle hand.  It is in Him that I will find a still and safe place to rest my delicate mothers heart and my sweet childrens bodies and souls, where I know they will be safe.

My prayer my dear Jesus is that no matter where my children look, no matter who they meet, no matter where they go that they will see that all people are longing for Christ and that is the deep desire in all our hearts. All the things that could lead them away from You are just things that theyre trying to fill the void with, but only You Lord can fill that void. I pray that if they do go searching for You in places that are dark and unkind that they will only find You... in others faces and in their own and others desires for deep love and acceptance just as Mother Theresa could see you in so much pain and sadness.
Mother Theresa pray for us
St. Augustine pray for us
St. Monica pray for us

In Jesus name
Amen

Friday, October 26, 2012

I am alive



Do you feel that...that feeling deep inside, that pure sense of breath pumping in the depths of your being...pulsing...refusing to stop until its noticed.  Is that you Jesus? Is that where you live in me? Will you leave me? Will you ever go away?  How come it seems so easy to quiet this feeling but yet it yearns and grips me all the more.

Back and forth my heart seems to be pulled. I try to silence myself and I try to apologize for my existence but you refuse...you refuse to let me be silenced...you reach down into me and call out my pain, my vulnerability  my longing for love, for reality. It is so painful...oh dear Jesus, how it hurts.

Light...blinding light...piercing me. I inhale deeply. I can feel You. I can feel myself. Is this Life? Is this the Reality, the true Reality? I am not afraid. I am alive. How can life be calm and intense in the same moment. Your presence envelops me, I can feel You all around me, I can see you in the others around me, I can see your radiant light flickering in their eyes and Your breath of existence in their every movement.


Thank you, thank you. Bless you, dear precious Jesus. I understand now the words in Your Word I can live and move and have my being  in You.              

                                                                    I am alive, truly alive

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Open to Love



What does being open to love mean....it means vulnerability, the possibility of someone hurting you, a possible connection with another human being, openess for forgiveness, Love. There are so many possibilities but only truly if you have experienced Christ. Knowing another human being that can love you and look at you with the love and the compassion and the power of Christ is an experience that will shake you.
I had an amazing experience at Communion and Liberation today where I really experienced the incarnation of Jesus in a group of women today. It was like no matter what I said or how I said it or how much I complained or how terribly needy I was it was like they never grew tired of me. On the contrary they delved deeper into my heart and just brought Jesus right there, right there to me. I got something really special today. I received a moment where I realized that I am truly being held in existence by the Love of God...Now at this very moment God is breathing, in a way, His love and life right into me and  in the words of a dear friend "He is taking such delight in me."   One especially dear friend was kind enough to write down some things that she and another friend said that I didnt want to forget and I really want to share them with you, whoever you are :)

We dont fear unless we have first received something beautiful- so dwell on the beautiful thing


Its not that the hundredfold wasnt there before, but youve been given the key to see it and you carry that key with you wherever you go. ( This pertaining to the fact that Christ is everywhere not just in certain towns or places and that once we experience the hundredfold He can  let us experience it anywhere)


I just really wanted to write these things down because they are just pure gems.


Thank you God for loving me into existence and for blessing me with each of these precious moments of the day even the ones I have a hard time seeing your beauty in. Thank you for the incarnation, not only for our magnificent salvation you bring but for letting us see you in our own and others flesh and bones. I am not lonely anymore because I have seen You in another.




Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Contentment




I had an amazing moment yesterday. For most of my life Ive been in a constant state of waiting. Ive waited on things to change, Ive waited on becoming a better wife, mother, friend etc. Ive waited on being able to sew a quilt, bake a pie, make yummy homemade bread. Ive waited on feeling forgiven for sins, Ive waited on other people to completely forgive me of my past sins. Ive just been  in a perpetual state of waiting. But yesterday for a brief moment I went to the place emotionally and mentally where I prepared myself to check in and see what I need to do and how I need to change and you know what happened. NOTHING. I had a feeling of contentment! I was just fine, I had baked bread that day, I had exercised, I have finished an entire quilt a few months ago (thouhg it took me 7 years), I was caught up on laundry and dishes and I was really comfortable with my self in Christ. I dont know if Ive evr had a moment like that before in my whole life. I just stood there waiting for something to happen, but no just pure contentment. So I sat down and accepted it...I have entered a new stage of life...this is exciting!

Love in Heaven




I was talking to a friend today about loving people. I was telling her how much I love people and how I have  this great desire to love people but there is always something getting in the way, whether its the other person not wanting to receive my love because maybe its just too much or not presented the way that their comfortable with or other times its me with my imperfect love that can be tainted with selfish desire or the desire to love another so they will love me back. All these different "things" that get in the way...ugh. But then suddenly I saw it. I saw how heavenly love will be so WONDERFUL. Just to explain, I always thought of heaven as being very lonely and maybe even dull in the sense that all the things I can think of as being great or entertaining or amazing all come with a body or a place or time and since those things dont exist in heaven I was having a very hard time getting excited about going to heaven. Of course I knew I definitly didnt want to go to the other place, thats for sure. So, anyway back to my main point. I realized today that in heaven we can just LOVE one another purely and fully and have no barriers or restrictions and we can Pray for people ALL day and never get tired and people wont mind or think were crazy for caring so much about them. People wont mind if we love them! This idea gets me so excited. Helping and loving people is fantastic but like I said can be tricky sometimes...but in Heaven it will be just so... Beautiful. I want to spend more of my time and space and relationships with this idea in mind that "the Kingdom of God is among you" and that way I can truly love another person by staying close to Christ and the sacraments and then live out that heavenly love here on earth. This is SOOO exciting!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Not always being liked




"It is good for us to run into opposition and to have others think badly of us, even when our intentions are good. For these things help us to be humble and rid us of pride. Then we seek God more earnestly, Who alone knows our inmost self, when outwardly we are ignored and discredited."
                                                                                                  Imitation of Christ Chapter 12:1

This brought me great comfort today. I have recently been dealing with this very experience. I have good intentions and try very hard to be pleasing and good but everything I do comes out wrong to another and it drags me into a depression. Thoughts and feelings of being "never enough" and "incapable" and things of this nature swarm my thoughts and leave me feeling so alone and just plain miserable. But as I read the above passage today it got me thinking about some things.
       1) I have great worth. Worth so deep that it cant be measured or be taken away, no matter what I do                          
wrong or right
        2)  I have been thought of by God since before time began. He held me deep within him and thought of                                                      me and planned my life and how I would be and all those wonderful things before the foundation  of the universe was fashioned by His mighty hands. And no persons opinion or feeling toward me good or bad can change that ( no anger intended in this statement)
         3) And since Im thought about and kept in existence because of this thought of God, then I really dont have to worry about another person thinking of me or putting value on me to give me this value that I crave.

Now Im not saying I shouldnt look to another for love or compassion or all those good things, but I am saying that it is not necessary for my existence, for my joy or my peace, for all those things come from God above. I still hurt though when I am not accepted or thought about in a purely loving way by another, especially someone I care about. But if I can love another person past the lack of love expressed to me than I feel that charity can really blossom in my heart because Im not putting up expectations for another to pass in order to receive my love.


Thank you God for loving me so deeply and for holding me so close to your eternal heart.


My prayer today is that Love can become in our hearts what god intended it to be...not what the media portrays it to be. And that forgiveness and charity can reign in our lives daily!

God Bless You

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Ora et Labora




Cleaning and Structure...how important are these things when children are involved? VERY VERY IMPORTANT! I just spent a good hour (during the baby's nap) vacuuming and cleaning upstairs with the kids. I opened the windows, aired out their rooms, vacuumed their floors with their help (toddler and preschooler) and made sure their toys were organized in their correct baskets and containers. I went down stairs to do a load of laundry and when I went back upstairs it was very quiet. I peeked into our daughters room and she was curled up on her little toddler bed, covered up and just staring and being very quiet. Even when I said something to her, she just lay there so content. 
     This moment was so special to her, I could tell. She was able to just relax and enjoy her room without the mess or the inside lighting. She could really enjoy the sun and the organized clean space. I am so happy to say that this got me thinking....this house is going to get organized and clean and aired out! This might be obvious to some but to me living in the baby years right now I tend to forget how cleanliness and organization is a very important thing (other than the obvious things like clean bodies and good food). This morning I had to fight the urge to sit down on the couch and relax. Instead I headed upstairs and cleaned and cleaned and boy am I thankful God gave me that extra push!  My little girl had such a special moment, not to mention how the two older kids played and played in their clean rooms and didnt fuss for a long time...just enjoying each others company and all the room to play in!

God really does give great joy to us through our work    Ora et Labora

Peace to you all and may Gods grace fill your hearts and your homes!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Loving our postpartum bodies



I sit here with a sleeping baby lying on my lap and my other little darlings sleeping upstairs. As I look down at my youngest little one I find myself thinking about what a blessing it is to embrace womanhood. Recently Ive come to really understand how much fertility is part of womanhood and how so many women have been taught that their fertility is something to suppress and stop and sometimes do away with all together. And as I sit here I am just at awe in how fertility in all its natural goodness is just so beautiful, rich and powerful!

There is so much that comes with a womans fertility that has been long forgotten by many. One thing that Ive discovered recently is the appreciation for the changes in a womans body in all the different stages of child bearing: before, during and after pregnancy. So many times Ive heard the complement " Wow, I cant believe you have children, you look great" and things along these lines, like the goal for women is to look as though theyve never had a child. But embracing the changes like weight gain, stretch marks, a soft little baby pouch all give a peaceful comfort to a woman when she accepts and comes to love the changes. I fought these changes for 5 years and didnt want anyone to take my picture because I thought I was just sooo fat. I would look at myself in the mirror in disgust because I had extra layers of fat after having a baby. Then I would work so hard to lose the weight and only after losing the weight would I allow myself to enjoy life. After our third baby was born I prayed alot about my weight and alot of  my issues with weight and I found myself in  a place of acceptance. I was given lots of clothes that actually fit my soft, curvy post partum figure and you know what I started to love my body. Now I didnt get all into being curvy and showing off my new figure...no. I started to really learn to love modesty, but not because I thought i should cover up because I was so ugly, but rather I wanted to keep hidden what was sacred and lovely and preserve my true beauty. I mean think about it, my womb grew and carried LIFE...if thats not sacred I dont know what is. And sacred things are always veiled and kept hidden. Covering my midsection became a beautiful practice instead of a shameful hiding of stretch marks.  This change in mindset and understanding of the human person and human body has brought me a freedom that I know God hopes for so many mothers....a wonderful love and appreciation for the beautiful gift of a womans body. And this is a beautiful thing for women and young women alike who have not carried a child in  their womb. Our female bodies resemble the Blessed Mother and her womb carried God himself. From her "Yes" to God, she lifted all women alike up. Now all women share in this great honor of having a womb. This might sound funny the way that Im wording it but what Im trying to say is the womb is sacred even for women who are thinking they are infertile. The womb still holds the beautiful capacity for life and this great honor can be veiled with lovely humility and modesty.

I am sharing my personal experience and the great joy that Christ has been giving to me through this process. I just love you all and I pray for your hearts to be pulled toward Christ in every moment and in every way, from changing a diaper to falling on our knees in prayer!