somebodylovesmeblog

Sharing God's love with the world, one heart at a time.


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See ME

Today, as I was sitting waiting for Mass to start, I was looking at my fellow parishioners, and asked the Lord to help me find the best in people.

As soon as I asked the question, I heard the words, “See ME.”  Wow, the Lord actually told me to see him in each and every person that I come across.

Immediately, the commercial that is selling a prescription drug for a skin condition jumped into my thoughts.  The tagline is “see ME”… instead of “see my skin issue.”

Aren’t we all internally desiring for our loved ones, friends, acquaintances, and co-workers to see who we REALLY are inside?  Don’t we wish for them to overlook our imperfections, sins, issues, or flaws, and see what lies deep in our hearts? Sometimes, we don’t even know who we truly are, and can not comprehend the goodness or beauty that lies within us.

Actually, that goodness that resides in our hearts (sometimes hidden to us and others) is not us at allit is the Holy Spirit.  It is Jesus that pulsates in our hearts, filling us with his presence, mercy, and love… whether or not we actually feel it ourselves. 

Today, I was reminded again, to see Jesus in each person that I meet in my day.  To look past the “warts”…the flaws… and to focus on the Jesus that resides inside that person.  To look into each pair of eyes lovingly,  with the intention of drawing out the goodness.  Not to focus and judge surface appearance or behavior, but to attempt to learn their story and what needs they may have, offering support and validation.

When we can learn to do that, we will be true vessels for the Lord to work through.  Touching those in need (and we ALL are in need) with the love, mercy, and forgiveness of Jesus.

As each heart is opened to the Truth of who lives inside, one by one…heart by heart…the world will be illuminated and changed.  

Sometimes, a person needs to know that “somebody loves me” before accepting that “Jesus loves Me.”  Let’s be “that somebody” that allows the love of Jesus to flow through us.

Dear Jesus, I ask that you fill my heart with your presence and love, and help me to look past all that is clouded by the darkness of sin, and focus on the Truth.  That only You are the way, the truth and the life, and that you can be found in every human being.  Please open our hearts and minds to the knowledge that all we need to do is accept and believe in your saving love and  grace!

 

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.  John 14:6

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own?  1 Corinthians 6:19

Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins.  1 Peter 4:8

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One Year of Life Since…

Mom with Baby Bernadette

Mom with Baby Bernadette

Today is the one year anniversary of my mother’s death.

Much has happened in that year’s time, including the birth of our first grandchild, and our move across country to be near him. There has been pain, suffering, fatigue, intense stress, confusion, and grief. However, there has also been a deepening of faith, excitement, joy, and a closeness with my mother that I never experienced before. I feel like her spirit, her heart, is one with mine. I can feel her presence all around me and feel her love for me, my sisters, and our whole family every day.

A few years ago, a friend of mine who lost her mom, told me that when you lose your mother, she is just “gone.” This friend did not have a close relationship with her mom before her death, however, when she shared those words with me, she had tears in her eyes. She was communicating her feeling of emptiness, and the reality that there would be no more stories, no more chances to ask her mom questions about her life and her experiences, no more chances to physically feel her mom’s love or to have the opportunity to show her mother how much she appreciated and loved her.

Sometimes we focus so much on ourselves and our own needs and pain, that we forget that our parents are human beings. They had a life before we were born, and had struggles and weaknesses to overcome just as we do. As we lived our lives and became more mature and “educated”, it was sometimes easy to overlook the lives of those closest to us, the ones who brought us into this world, and who loved us the most.  Many “eye-rolling” and “here we go again” moments…and many times, for legitimate reasons.

The love our parents showed us was the best they had to offer. Just as the love we showed them and to our own children, family and friends, was the best we had to offer at the time.

For we are all flawed. We are sinners.

I believe that when our loved ones die and are united with Jesus in heaven, and when our hearts are also open to Jesus, a connection is forged. The Communion of Saints.

That is what I am feeling very strongly from my mother. Especially today.   I know that sin and weakness no longer affects our relationship. We are joined in perfect love now, and nothing can take that truth away.

During this past year, many truths about my mom have been revealed to me. I would like to share some of them with you, in the chance that they may be of help to you. Such simple things that help to keep my heart filled with love and a smile.

 

How would I know:

That when you repeated the same stories over and over, you were sharing with us that these were some of your most treasured memories. At the time, it was frustrating to actively listen to those repeated stories over and over. In fact, I could repeat them word for word. However, now I feel so close to you when I remember those same stories, and imagine the scenes you described to me over the years of my life. You are helping me to know you and myself more and more each day, by understanding your life experiences.

That when you called me into your room each morning, or for special occasions, when I was rushing out the door, just to look at what I was wearing and how I looked for the day, that you were missing those “good old days” for yourself, and that it brought you much joy to see me “dressing up”, wearing make up, getting my hair done, wearing jewelry…and going out into the world.   You were living your memories through me and my life, and were sincerely happy for me…always telling me that I looked beautiful. Even when I didn’t feel beautiful, I saw my beauty through your eyes.

That when you requested certain foods or things during holidays or seasons, and they sat uneaten or unused, that you were reliving a time and season way past…from your growing up years, to your times with dad and our family life. It wasn’t the things themselves that were important to you; it was the connection, the memories associated with those things. Many things come to mind. Ribbon candy, Easter peeps, filled chocolate Easter eggs, jelly beans, candy corn, embroidery kits, Barbies, baby dolls, beanie babies. Also jewelry, red lipstick and nail polish, and your favorite fragrance, “White Shoulders.”

I have been wearing “White Shoulders” all week in memory of your last week here on earth. The connection between us, and the beauty during that painful and precious time will always astound me and fill my heart. I never thought that death could be beautiful, however, your passing from this world to the arms of Jesus was inspiring to me. You grew older gracefully with humility; and with a trusting heart, let go of us and the world to reach out to your next adventure.

Thank you for trusting me with your life during the time you lived with Joe and me, and thank you for loving and trusting me with your very life at the end.

It is an honor and privilege to be your daughter. I will always feel you with me, and will always strive to have your faith, humility, love and forgiving spirit.

Rest in the peace and light of the Lord, Mom! I love you.

https://somebodylovesmeblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/01/spiritnot-personality/

https://somebodylovesmeblog.wordpress.com/2015/09/29/remembering-my-mother-mary/

 

 

 


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God’s Vessel of Love

Last night I finally followed through on something that has been on my heart for quite some time.  There were two reasons that held me back from doing what I knew the Lord was calling me to do.

Right before my mom passed away, she was in rehab for about a month.  She enjoyed her time there.  Being the social person that she was, she forged a friendship with her roommate, Elizabeth.  Elizabeth had been in rehab for quite awhile, and the center was now to be her home.  Her eyesight started to get worse, and she was not able to walk on her own.  She was confined to her wheelchair, which she sat in most of the day, listening to her television.  She had not participated in any of the activities offered to her.

Enter my mom…she invited and prodded Elizabeth to attend Bingo with her, and also some worship services and the Rosary.  They ended up going together, and Elizabeth ended up really enjoying herself.

When Joe and I visited my mom each day, we would bring treats for her, and also for Elizabeth.  Things like chocolate milkshakes, candy, homemade guacamole, and cookies.  We also brought two of my mom’s small wooden crosses…one for each of them.  Elizabeth instantly held it in her hand, feeling the smoothness of the wood, and tracing Jesus on the cross.  Every time we came in, the crucifix was either in her hand or on her bedside table.

When my mom was discharged,  we all felt bad leaving Elizabeth, and I knew she felt the same sadness.  We gave her a hug, and I made the decision to continue visiting her once my mom was settled in at home.

Two weeks from the date of discharge, my mom passed away.  During the whirlwind of what transpired once we  brought mom home, and then Hospice Care in our home, I didn’t have time to even remember or think about Elizabeth.

Once life settled down a bit, I started to feel the draw again to visit Elizabeth in the Health and Rehab Center.  However, as I mentioned before, there were two things that held me back.

I knew that Elizabeth really bonded with my mom and I also knew she would ask about her.  Being that Elizabeth was in failing health herself, and felt so close to my mother, I was reticent to tell her of my mom’s death.  I am not the kind of person that could lie about a thing like that, and I was concerned about how the truth would affect her.

The other issue that was lurking in the back of my mind was that I was not sure I could handle the emotions of walking into the room where my mom enjoyed the last month before her struggle and then her death.  I can still see her in that bed by the door.  She would be sitting up, with her cute reading glasses on, and doing word search or reading.  When I asked her how her day was, she would say, “I had a beautiful day!”  Then we would visit and she would force me to stash all the sugar packets, snacks, and cookies that she collected from her dinner trays into my bag.  It was our daily ritual!  So I was not sure what emotions might come up if I visited Elizabeth in that same room.

The Lord kept nudging me to make the visit, and yesterday was the day!  The room that my mother and Elizabeth were in was visible from the outside walkway.  I looked in through the back door window (locked from the inside) to check for Elizabeth’s name that was posted by the room.  Her name was gone.

I had a sinking feeling that maybe I was too late, and that she passed away.

Even though my heart was fluttering, I made it to the front desk, and asked about Elizabeth.  The receptionist smiled and told me that her room was moved, and pointed me in the right direction.

Breathing a sigh of relief, I walked down the familiar hall, and made a left turn.  When I walked into the room, Elizabeth was sitting in her wheelchair, looking ahead, in waiting for her dinner to be brought in.  I made sure to get close enough so she could see me, said hello, and introduced myself.

What a beautiful moment for me when her eyes and face brightened up in recognition and remembrance!

We started talking, and she related to me that my mom, and our family have been in her thoughts.  She talked about the treats we brought her, and how she enjoyed getting to know Mom, and the visits we shared.

Then she asked the question.  “How is Mary?”

As gently as I could, I let her know that she passed away a few months ago, and that she died a peaceful death.  I told her that it was my mom’s time.

Elizabeth’s eyes started to tear up, so I comforted her, and let her know what a wonderful time Mom had with her, and that Mom appreciated her friendship.  Elizabeth told me that Mom brought sunshine into her life, and that because of my mother, she still goes to Bingo and the Rosary.  She said my Mom was fun and feisty, and that was a good thing!

I remember when Mom would wonder why she was still alive at such an old age…much older than she expected to live.  I always let her know that she touches many hearts just because of who she is, and that all the prayers that she offers for everyone is part of her Divine Purpose.  She literally prayed for hours and hours for everyone she knew.

Now, it is being revealed to me one person after another, what my mother meant to them and how she touched their hearts.  She left love, and a piece of her heart with all that knew her or crossed her path.

Through my mom’s journey, I am learning that we all strive to understand God’s Divine Purpose for our lives, and we all believe that we fall short.  However, our Divine Purpose is revealed many times through our daily interactions and choices to love and forgive.  It is in taking the needed steps when we hear the Holy Spirit’s familiar whispers to our hearts…moving past the fear and uncertainty that we feel and making the choice to reach out to those hearts in need of validation and love.

My prayer is that the Lord fill me with the humbleness and purity of heart that my mother possessed.  And I pray for Him to use me as a vessel to hold and pass on His love to all He sends me.

 

 

 

 


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True Source of Love

In the last week or so, my eyes and heart have been more fully opened to the daily struggles that oftentimes hinder joy, happiness and an intimate relationship with Jesus.  In fact,  many times the circumstances of life are proclaimed as the reason for lack of faith…souls in despair and darkness choose to blame God for their plight instead of inviting God into their lives and submitting their sins, struggle, and pain to Him.  Through that choice…made in stubbornness, fear, pride, or through the pain and deception of the evil one, darkness overtakes the life and very soul, leading to a life devoid of true love and joy.

These struggling souls do not need our condemnation.  What they need is prayer, that the Holy Spirit may cover them with love and peace, and that their hearts are opened to the intense love, mercy, and saving grace that only Jesus can provide.  They hunger for us to be strong enough in our relationship with Christ, that we can overlook the darkness and look for the spark of Jesus in their hearts.  They need our faith to be strong enough to be a light in their darkness…that we love and not judge. 

We have no idea how these souls arrived at the place where they are suffering and ‘stuck.’  They may or may not know.  However, the Holy Spirit knows the depth of each and every soul, and knows the root causes of choices made and the events that led to the damage in their hearts.

All of us have experienced pain, despair and darkness at different times in our lives.  It is only the saving grace of Jesus that set us free.  It is only the divine mercy and love of Jesus that fills our hearts and beings with an indescribable joy and peace.

This is the essence of Christianity…the desire to share this amazing love with as many hearts as we can.

Let’s take this day to offer our prayers to the Lord for someone in our lives that is suffering and in darkness.  Maybe we have tried to share Jesus with them, and they scoff or close their hearts.  They may even show intense anger when the name of Jesus is spoken.  Maybe we have provided for their needs, and given what we thought they needed, in love. However, those things are not their true need.

We must remember that their souls are crying out for the healing love of Jesus, even when they proclaim the opposite.

Let’s never forget where the TRUE SOURCE of love resides…

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.  1 John 4:7-8

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  Colossians 3:12-13

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  1 Peter 4:8

 

 

 


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One Heart at a Time

Yesterday, as my husband and I grabbed our morning coffee on the way to work, we were not greeted in the usual, friendly way we are accustomed to.  Most every morning, we enjoy pleasant conversation with the very warm and smiling staff.

That was not the case yesterday.  We were called to the register of the one young woman who seems to be in her own little world.  She did not look us in the eye, did not smile, and did not offer us any friendly banter.  She gave us our coffee, took our money, and delivered our breakfast sandwiches.  All of this without the least bit of a smile or acknowledgement at all.

So…why am I telling you this?

It is so easy to judge people by their actions, and by what we perceive them to be.  To tell you the truth, in times past, I would have probably written a note, or sent an email to the manager to make sure he/she was aware of this employee’s lack of customer service.  I would have been indignant as a paying customer, making sure that “they” knew how unhappy I was with the service I felt I deserved in their restaurant.

But yesterday, I felt something much different.  My husband and I both felt pain for this woman, who for some unknown reason, is visibly devoid of joy.  It was not the first time we noticed her behavior.

The first thing I thought about was to pray for her, and to try to brighten her day whenever we see her.  Instead of allowing whatever darkness she has in her life to consume us, we made the choice to share The Light in us with her.  And I think that we will send her a special little card anonymously, with a letter inside, letting her know that she is loved and treasured…by us and by Jesus who loves her more than she could ever fathom.

Because of this encounter, my eyes and heart are more open to the needs of the ones I meet everyday.

Through the Lord, we can touch so many lives with His Love.   Especially during this Lenten Season, let’s make a commitment to really see the hearts that are hiding behind joyless eyes.  Sometimes those eyes are angry, sad or desperate…or maybe even trying to camouflage with a fake smile.  Let’s look past all that, focus on the heart, and ask the Holy Spirit to direct us and to bless them.

What a different world we will live in as we share God’s love…one heart at a time!

 


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The Christmas Chair

untitled

As I get older, I realize that true joy is found in the blessings of “moments.”  I would like to share one of those moments with you.

Twenty one years ago, my husband, our two sons, and I moved from Northeastern Ohio to the Northern VA/DC area.  It was a traumatic move that happened rather quickly.

My husband and I were in dire need of employment, and the Youngstown area did not offer much opportunity.  Through friends of friends, we were made aware of available positions for both of us, in Springfield, VA, at the same company.  We would be starting at entry level positions…with room to grow.  When I called to inquire about the positions, I was told that we would need to be there on Monday, ready for work.  Did I tell you I called on a Wednesday?  That gave us two and a half days to pull some of our belongings together, and make the drive to Virginia on Saturday.

At this time in our lives, we were pretty much broke.  It will take a very full post to share all the miracles and all the ways that things just “fell into place” regarding our move…that story will be shared soon!  The four of us drove to Virginia  in a car we borrowed from my dad, with as much “stuff” as we could shove in the trunk and around the boys in the back seat.  We had enough cash for gas, some food, and a little to carry with us.  We were moving and living on faith.  We knew the Lord would carry us through our journey.

Coni is the woman who opened the door for us by offering us both a position in the company she worked for.  Not only did she offer us jobs, she offered, and insisted that our family of four stay with their family until we got on our feet.  Coni, Kevin (her husband), and their son, opened their beautiful home to us for what turned in to two and a half months.  Although we helped as much as we could once the paychecks started coming in, they never asked us for anything at all.  Jesus was definitely working through them.

We made the initial move to Virginia on December 4th, and then needed to drive to Ohio for Christmas and to pick up more of our belongings from our home.  That Christmas was a very lean one…we were unable to buy any Christmas presents at all.

What we didn’t know, was that Coni and Kevin had snuck some wrapped gifts into the trunk for all of us.   Our thirteen and ten year old sons knew, but were told to keep it a secret.

When we pulled up into the driveway of what still was “home” to us, my heart filled up and I had to just swallow the emotions I was feeling.  I kind of turned off my feelings, because I didn’t want my sons to know how much I was missing “home.”  Since we would only be there for a few days,  there were no Christmas decorations.  The thought that it was the last time we would be sleeping in our home was hanging heavy in the air.  None of us articulated what we were feeling.

What we didn’t know, was that Michael (our youngest) snuck into the crawlspace and pulled out our twinkle lights.  He then proceeded to wrap them around and around our recliner by the front window…where our tree usually stood.  The decorated, lit up chair was in the “laid back”  position, with the gifts that Coni and Kevin had sent for us laying underneath.  It was such a sweet, joyful moment, that I have tears in my eyes as I write this.

Needless to say, after experiencing the “Christmas Chair”, we realized how important it was to enjoy our last Christmas in our home.  We all dragged some decorations from the crawlspace, hung the wreath and displayed the Nativity Set.

I thank God every day for my husband, and my sons who teach me time after time  what is truly important in life.  I also thank God for all of the special  friends He has blessed us with over the years.

And we will always have a special place in our hearts for Coni, Kevin, and Robbi…who as “casual friends” that hardly even knew us at that time, chose to open their hearts and their home to our family, to help us on our journey.

My wish for you during this beautiful Christmas Season, is that you keep your hearts open to all the simple, beautiful moments that are presented to you and your family each and every day.  These moments are the true gifts that the Lord blesses us with.


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What are We Waiting For?

When our hearts are opened to the reality of true poverty in this world, we want to help in any way we can.   Mission trips open eyes to the poorest of the poor, and documentaries or commercials that spotlight a poverty that is entirely out of our daily realm, burn inside our spirits.   We look for ways to help…whether it be sponsoring or adopting a child, donating money, providing clothing and necessities, or offering service, prayers and love.  We know that through the Holy Spirit, there is some way each of us can help.  But how many times do we see, know, and feel the call to love through sacrifice, decide to take action…and then allow that decision to fade away?

 You know what the Lord is calling you to do.  What are you waiting for?

The time to clothe, feed, educate, shelter, heal, pray, love is NOW!  No matter how small you feel your contribution is, take that step NOW!  We are the Body of Christ.  Our love and all the blessings in our lives are meant to be shared.

They will know we are Christians by our love.  Are we sharing Christ’s burning love with this very needy world around us, or are we merely quoting Bible verses?  Are we seeing the poverty of spirit in the empty eyes and lives  of those who pass us each and every day?

Unless we ask that the Holy Spirit guide us to see with His eyes, and love with His heart, we might miss seeing the eyes that are silently crying out for help.  The eyes that try to fool the world into thinking they are happy, when on the inside, they are lonely, empty, and devoid of faith and hope.

Only Jesus can fill the needs of true poverty.  Only Jesus can infuse us with perfect love and mercy…overflowing our hearts to share that Divine Love with those suffering souls.

He is waiting for us to invite Him to work in us and through us.  What are we waiting for?

Always remember…they will know we are Christians by our love.

 

A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.  John 13:34-35

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?   When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’   “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.    Matthew 25:37-40

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.  If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;  but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud  or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!  Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture!  But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.

 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.  Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.  All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.    1 Corinthians 13:1-13