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Lifestyle

Day 11: Lord I’m a Mess, I need You… and That’s Okay

February 25, 2018

“If God is for us, who can be against  us?” (Romans 8:31)

This is a really good reminder in a time of my life where I often feel that even God is against me.

How often do I raise my hands in the air saying: that’s it! I give up! No More. Please. tap, tap, tap.

SPOILER ALERT: all the dang time!

How often do I raise my hands in praise: if our God is with us, what can stand against?!

SPOILER ALERT: rarely.

Want to know why more often than not I raise my hands in frustration instead of praise? The thrilling conclusion: I cannot see how things work towards the greater good.

I believe that everything happens for a reason. I also currently am wondering why God is forcing me to go through all these challenges.

I am constantly brought back to a prayer one of my mentors used to say:

Lord, I am a mess. I need you. And that’s okay. Over and over I work through this prayer, and over and over God gives me only enough light to see the next step that I need to take. Slow as molasses I am learning how to be okay with His outcome instead of my own outcome. Because if our God is for us, what can stand against us?

Lifestyle

Day 10: A People Particularly His Own

February 24, 2018

“And today the Lord is making this agreement with you: you are to be a people particularly His own…” (Deuteronomy 26: 18)

Something about this line strikes me to my core. You are to be a people particularly His own.

How do I reconcile this idea that this liturgical season I am in is one of preparing for the death of Christ, but even though I am a participant in the crucifixion, he wants me to be particularly his own.

This King of the Universe, humbled himself to become man, take on my sins and still for some reason wants me and my messy life.

If He wants me anyways, how could I say no to this man?

I am going to try to spend the rest of this season learning how to say YES to a God that sees my mess and my sin, and wants me anyways.

It’s the least I can do for Him… right?

Lifestyle

Day 9: My Soul Trusts in His Word

February 23, 2018

“I trust in the Lord; my soul trusts in His word.” (Psalm 130)

Man this whole lent has been a lesson in learning how to trust. I’ve realized that I really do not trust God or His plan for me.

It is so much easier to just have my own plan and to forge ahead, hitting all of the milestones I have set for myself.

And yet time and time again I come up empty handed. Feeling sad and upset that nothing is really working according to my plan, and that I just can’t catch a break.

But when I pause to think about this situation… I realize that I am probably having negative feelings because I am not trusting in His plan, or waiting on His timing.

I know what you’re thinking… EUREKA! She’s figured it out. Except… maybe not.

I know I should trust in Him. But I really really don’t. And typically… I don’t want to because trusting Him means letting go of the control that I for some reason think I have.

I am trying to work on this each day though. Maybe someday when I reach the pearly gates I will finally be able to say those three words.

I Trust You.

Lifestyle

Day 8: Reality Has Never Betrayed Me

February 22, 2018

“He said to them ‘Who do you say that I am?’ ” (Matthew 16:15)

As I read this, this is such a deeply personal question. I can almost see Him looking directly into my eyes and asking me this very question.

I have canned Sunday School responses that would make me look like a really good catholic. You are my savior. My redeemer. My friend.

But I see Jesus calling BS on these answers. So really, who do I say that He is?

Jesus is my punching bag. When things are going wrong, I run to him and in with a childlike temper tantrum I throw punch after angry punch. Why me? When will things go my way? Why aren’t you listening to me?

Jesus is my biggest challenge. How do you expect me to sit here quietly and wait upon you LORD. I can barely sit quietly for 5 minutes during Grey’s Anatomy and you want me to sit here and wait upon you?!

Jesus is reality. And if I believe this (I better believe this- it is my life motto after all), then I know that reality has never betrayed me. Even when it seems like I can’t move one more step. When I am tired and weary. When I am left with more questions than answers. Reality has never betrayed me. Jesus has never betrayed me.

In the delicate balance of life, Jesus holds me, helps me and guides me. Never leading me astray and never letting go.

 

Lifestyle

Day 7: In The Belly of A Whale

February 21, 2018

“… because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.” (Luke 11:32)

So don’t get me wrong here. I am sure Jonah was a great dude. In fact, he seems to have affected a LOT of change amongst people. But I always found that story to be a little bizarre.

One day, Jonah is all; Actually, God, sorry don’t feel like really spreading the word here. One thing leads to another, and all of a sudden he was eaten by a whale.

What?! I watch Supernatural incessantly (which has its fair share of really out there situations), and even this idea of being eaten by a whale 100% confounds me.

But in today’s gospel, Jesus is saying that the sign given to Jonah is all we will need. The people turned back to the Lord because of this man who got eaten by a whale. How greater should our return to Him be when Jesus is the one asking us to come and see?

This lent, I am really trying to get to a deeper understanding of my relationship with God. What makes it tick? What needs to change? How can I turn my heart back to Him and become the best version of myself that I can possibly be?

I hope that in the next 30 some odd days, I start to see this answer more clearly. And I hope that I can see it without someone needing to be eaten by a whale =p .

 

 

 

Lifestyle

Day 6: In The Silence, I Wait

February 20, 2018

“Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”  (Matthew 6:8)

I am the queen of plans. I live by the planner. I have a 5 year plan. I have a 7 year plan. I have an overarching life plan.

But sometimes, no matter how wonderful my plans seem, they just don’t make the cut for what I actually truly need in my life.

Things come shattering down around me, and I start to wonder how plans that seemed so perfect could possibly go so wrong, so quickly. The peace I felt from the plan is fleeting, and the anxieties of “is this the right thing for me?” creep back in.

It is usually at this point that I throw up my hands in exasperation: LORD, WHAT DO YOU POSSIBLY WANT FROM ME?!

And in the silence, as I wait, something stirs in my heart. All these hopes, dreams, wants and plans may not be what I need.

But my heavenly Father knows what I need before I even get a chance to ask, and He constantly clears the path to get me there.

A Happy Lent Indeed.

 

 

 

 

 

Lifestyle

Day 5: And Then There Was Hope

February 19, 2018

“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by satan.” (Mark 1:12)

Doesn’t this just really give you a surprising look at lent?

So now we know where the 40 days comes from. And we get the idea of the desert. But the surprise? Jesus is tempted by Satan.

Look- Jesus had that perfect soul, both God and man thing going for him, so I know that he was far superior at dealing with temptation than I am. BUT the fact still remains that Jesus had to deal with temptation too.

And this fact brings me a strange sense of comfort. He knows every feeling and sensation that I have, and He gives me tools to help me overcome these temptations.

More often than not I find myself tempted to sit in a cave of despair. I am tired. I never feel that I am enough. I don’t have enough friends. I don’t have a life of adventure. I don’t do fun things. Class eats up my entire life. My computer is sporadically not working. WOMP.

But you know what I have that combats this? Good, solid friends. Some that are long time friends. Some that I have just met. But good. Solid. Beauty- seeking friends that call me on to a greater encounter with reality. Friends that show me how to have hope and help me live life to the fullest.

This is a pretty great gift if you ask me.

I hope and pray that I can remember these bright beacons of hope in my life, and that I can avoid the darkness of despair. Maybe, with a little more joy in my life, I can be a better light to others too.

How’d your Sunday go?

 

 

Permanent Roommate is back from his adventure and I am SO happy to see him.

 

Lifestyle

Day 4: Mic Drop

February 17, 2018

“Jesus said to them in reply, ‘ Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have come not to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.” (Luke 5:31-32)

I can totally see Jesus in this reading: MIC DROP. your move. 

Okay well probably not because he was way better than we are but that is totally how I would have reacted.

The line is today’s gospel is preceded by someone asking why Jesus eats with sinners. Which you know what? is probably a really good question if you think about it.

It’s illogical.

It’s nonsensical.

It is love.

Jesus came to care for the weakest among us- those who’s hearts are broken. He came to sit and listen for a while, to learn what makes us stumble and to help us get back up when we fall. He came to eat dinner with those who feel unworthy or unloved. He came to teach us the way to Him and to help us get holy or die trying.

For the rest of lent, I want to keep this message in the forefront of my mind.

I am broken and I am a mess most of the time. But Jesus came to help me anyways.

 

Happy Birthday in Heaven Nana!

 

 

Lifestyle

Day 3: Here I Am Lord

February 17, 2018

“Then you shall cry and the Lord will answer, you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am! (Isaiah 58:9)

These words of peace and comfort follow a pretty straightforward list of things that one must do:

  • release those bound unjustly
  • set free the oppressed
  • share your bread with the hungry
  • shelter the homeless
  • clothe the naked when you see them

If you’re like me, these may seem awfully familiar. These are a stark reminder of The Beatitudes and the way that I am called to live my life.

These seem like really big drastic tasks to undertake. But there are people in our lives who are suffering silently, and it really doesn’t take all that much to show someone you love them.

Release those bound unjustly, and set free the oppressed. Loneliness is a deep, dark prison. When I first got married, I moved to Ohio and really gave it my all to make new community and “fit in”. But no matter what I did I just couldn’t make it happen. You know what’s worse? I was too ashamed to tell anyone that I was lonely. My Instagram profile was beautiful. The perfect picture of newly wed adventures (and those were actually that awesome!). But I never ever thought to also let people know that I was hurting, and that I felt alone. I consistently wondered, what was I doing wrong? I was a nice person. I opened my door and welcomed everyone into my life, but I was having a really hard time not having a person that just got me. I wrote letters. I joined online communities. I was desperate for someone to say “I see you”.

When we moved back to Connecticut, that all went away. I moved practically to my hometown, and my parish and faith filled friends were all near me once more. But I have never forgotten those first 7 months when I just needed one person. I hope and pray that as I continue to establish and expand my community that I will always have the courage to make the first move. To invite one more person. To make one more person feel loved and help them break the chains of loneliness. Could you be that one person for someone else this lent?

Share your bread with the hungry. Shelter the Homeless. Could you donate the cash you would’ve spent on two meals this week to the collection for the local shelter and go with less this week? You don’t actually have to hand out bread (but it would be pretty cool to hand out food, and I desperately miss my time spent with PGH Homeless Ministry at FUS) to help feed the hungry.

Clothe the naked when you see them. In years past, lent has been a good excuse to eliminate bad dietary or lifestyle habits. Heck, this lent is falling into that also.While it is awesome to clean my house each night before bed, teeing my up for a restful morning to reflect, it would be better to clean my house with the intention of doing good for someone else too. Maybe it is worth it, as the weather warms up to go through your closet when you put away your winter clothes, and donate some of the beautiful, lovely clothes you own to a women’s shelter, or an organization that gives freely. I personally need to do this. I have an abundance of clothing that I just don’t have enough days in a year to wear, and I should share this wealth with someone else.

Lent is a time for us to pause and think about all that we have, and what we need to change in order to be the best version of ourselves that we can be. At the end of these 40 days, I hope that I am a little more empathetic, a little less vain, and that everyone I encounter, comes to know Jesus, even in just the tiniest way, because I am living more like Him.

 

 

 

 

 

Lifestyle

Day 2: When Your Prayer Ends With a Question Mark

February 16, 2018

“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23

I don’t know about you but the second I read this I was like: oooookayyyy. Those are some hefty demands there friend. We all know that the cross was gruesome and beyond painful. Why in the world would I want to take up my cross daily?

But then, I come face to face with reality and I realize that I will most likely (like… 99.99 %positive on this fact) never face the cross.

So what does this gospel mean for me then? How could this language apply to me if I will not ever be faced with such a burden?

There is a saying: God only gives you what you can handle. Sometimes I disagree with the load He’s decided I can handle but that is a story for another time.

It it is in this “handling” that I start to see the strength (or lack there of) of my relationship with God.

Work. School. Life. Faith.

Balance is not an easy thing in this season of my life.

But I continuously find myself saying: Jesus, I trust in you. Jesus, I trust in you? Jesus…. I trust in you (said in exasperated tone).  Do I believe it? About 50% of the time. The other 50% is questionable, but I know that if I just keep saying it over and over, offering it as my prayer, one day I will learn how to trust Him.

I will someday trust that His timing is better than mine.

I will someday trust that when He closes doors, it is only so that better ones can be opened.

I will someday trust that He had a perfect plan all along.

But for now: Jesus, I trust in you.

 

 

When my nana passed away 13 years ago, it was rather sudden. I gave my Da (grandfather) my original copy of this diary, and when he passed away, the copy was long gone. Thankfully the letters we wrote, and the studies we did together on this story of mercy still exist in my letter box in the basement. I was really missing him a few weeks ago, and decided it was time I had my own copy of the diary once more.