somebodylovesmeblog

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


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Be that “Somebody!”

Sometimes it is the simplest of words that can jump out and touch our minds and hearts.

Often, those words convey truths that already live inside of us, however, we have never fully comprehended the potential or power of that truth.

Today I was hit by a zinger by none other than Mother Angelica. I am reading one of her books, “Mother Angelica’s Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality.”  This book is filled with page after page of wisdom, written for all Christians…not just Catholics…in case you were wondering.  

“You may be the only Jesus your neighbor will ever see.”

Wow…an extremely simple and powerful thought.

How do we portray Jesus in our daily walk?  When we cross paths with the homeless, when someone is rude to us, when we are feeling triggered by words or actions, when we are stressed, when we are suffering, when someone doesn’t understand our intentions or beliefs, when someone aggressively disagrees with us, when things aren’t going our way???

We have all gone through those situations.  There are many times that I have been angry, disrespectful, apathetic, and unforgiving.  How blessed we are, that we can ask forgiveness from God, and not only be forgiven, but blessed in a way that helps us to repent from our hurtful thoughts and actions.

How can we show “Jesus” to our family and all those that we cross paths with?

For me, the most important step is to pray that the Holy Spirit works through me, and touches those on my path with His love…whether I am aware of it or not.  Meaning, that even when I fall short, or don’t handle a situation as well as I would have liked, He would bless those I encounter with His love and mercy.  And that He works through me in my daily life, helping me to be a transparent person and a true Christ Follower, so that those who happen to see me without my knowledge, will hopefully see the goodness of God working through me.

There are many ways that we can reveal the Jesus that lives within us to the world.  I am thinking of a few, however, know that in your creativity, you will find many other ways.

You may be the only Jesus your neighbor will ever see, when you choose to:

Make eye contact with all those you meet, including the homeless, or less advantaged…introduce yourself, initiate conversation, and if you are able, either share some cash with them, or ask if they need a meal or maybe a cold drink or a warming cup of coffee.  Allow Jesus to touch them through your kindness.  Let them know you SEE them…that they matter to you.

Share your smile liberally.  You would be amazed if you truly knew how your special smile can affect a heart…and someone’s day.

Give people the benefit of the doubt when they offend or are rude to you.  Take a moment to think before lashing out, and then pray for them.

Give honest compliments.  You know the kind…the thoughts that run through your head all the time.  “What a beautiful family you have!” “You were wonderful giving that presentation.”  “You look amazing in that outfit.”  “You have the most beautiful eyes, or hair, or spirit.”  “What a sweet dog you have, what is his name?”  “I admire your strength.” “You are an awesome teacher, and I appreciate what you do.”  “You are great at your job…thanks for the wonderful service.”  The list goes on and on.  Don’t be afraid to pass on the good that you notice or feel about a person.

Allow yourself to be human.  When you make a mistake, own up to it and apologize.  When you are feeling down or depressed, reach out and share your feelings with a trusted family member or friend.  Most of the time, they will already know you are going through a struggle and will be happy to understand why you are not being yourself.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking that allowing Jesus to shine through you means that you need to be “perfect.”

When there are tasks that need done, and you don’t feel like doing them, whether at home or at work, ask Jesus to work through you.  Say a prayer of thanksgiving for all of your blessings and offer it to the Lord.  Because, at that moment, the task at hand is God’s will for your life.  Learn to find joy in that knowledge.

Listen to the voice in your heart when certain names pop up in your mind.  That is the voice of the Holy Spirit, prodding you.  Make that visit or phone call, send a card or text to let the person know you are thinking of them and praying for them, fill a monetary or any other need that is an issue for them…always look for  a way to share love.  Oftentimes, it will be a small gesture, and sometimes you will be called to share something greater of yourself.

Learn to look for Jesus in each and every person…look past their weaknesses and flaws and look for the good.  If it is just a little flicker, focus on it and help them to understand the flicker (goodness) that lives within them.

And be sure to look for Jesus in yourself, and to focus on the goodness of His love inside your heart.  Bask in the mercy of his love, and your heart will overflow!

When I started this blog, I named it “Somebody Loves Me.”  I chose that name, because for many people, they need to know “Somebody Loves Me,” before they can start to believe that “God Loves Me.”

Be that “Somebody!”

 

 

 

 

 

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A Sign

As the years go by, I can look back and see how God was always working in and through my life.  At the time, I usually could not see his answers to my prayers, but I kept on praying in faith, not understanding why “God wasn’t answering my prayers.”

However, one time in particular, I received a concrete, hit you in the face kind of answer.  For me, it was a clear sign that the Lord was directing me.

When I was in my thirties, I knew something was not right in my spirit.  I was blessed with a family whom I loved very much, but I had difficulty feeling joy.  I also needed help with internal struggles…namely impatience, anger, and extremely low self-worth.  I decided to reach out for guidance and help, and started counseling.  By the way, the intense counseling revealed many layers of experiences and hurt that I had welled up inside myself…and the counseling ended up lasting for two and a half years.

One Sunday, I was on my knees before Mass, and I was praying to God for him to send me a sign.   My counseling/therapy sessions were going well, helping me to acknowledge and let go of much pain and hurt that had been festering for many years.  I trusted my therapist immensely…his name was Tom.

I was praying because I was then a part of a Renewal Group at Church… and I felt completely supported in love.  Our Renewal Group had weekly Bible Studies, and I was praying and studying scripture like never before.

My question to God was this…should I stop going to counseling now that I had more peace in my life and had the Renewal Team to support me?

I had the audacity to ask God for a sign. 

My head was bowed, and my eyes were closed.  After my prayer, I straightened up, opened my eyes, and there was Tom, my therapist, looking at me and smiling.  I did not even know he attended my Church.  You could have knocked me over with a feather.

I knew the answer that God had sent me was to continue my counseling with Tom.  As I said before, I continued with him for two and a half years, and that experience/work with Tom  put me on the track of where I am today in my spiritual journey.  I know without any doubt that God was working through Tom to start my healing process.

God is not through with me yet, and I cling to the promise that He will complete the work that was started in me.  There were many twists and turns on my path, and I look forward to where the Lord is leading me on my journey.

As a side note…the counseling/therapy sessions were extremely difficult work.  I was very emotional, and it was very painful facing and reliving some hidden and/or forgotten realities of my life.  Through this stressful time, my husband showed me what was truly in his heart.  He was totally there for me, supporting and loving me through everything.  That was the turning part of our marriage…when I realized my husband would never leave me.  It was the time when I learned that I could trust him with my life.

All things work toward good for those who love him!

Thank you Lord for loving me, and for shining your light of love and mercy into the dark places of my soul. 

Even when I cannot feel your presence…there you are. 

Even when I struggle and fall…there you are.

Even through my suffering…there you are.

Jesus, help me to always be open to your love, mercy and grace.

And help me to be a channel of your love, so I can touch those hearts you have entrusted me with.

Amen.

 

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  Philippians 1:6

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28


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Prayers Answered

So… something very exciting is happening…

If you have read my “About” page, you know my story of discovering the rosary.  I have been meditating on the rosary for about a year and a half now.  In that time my faith has greatly deepened, and I have been offering those daily rosaries for many intentions.

One of those intentions was for a good friend of mine, who was filled with many questions regarding faith.  Although she considers herself Catholic, she was not attending regular weekly Masses, and she and her husband were never married in the Catholic Church.  She had a confused and sometimes depressed spirit, which I could identify with.  She reminded me of myself…just a short time ago.  I could literally feel her confused “dark” spirit when she was with me.

I have been praying the rosary for her and her husband for over a year.  My prayers focused on them getting married in the Church, and also that she would be able to get her questions and doubts answered, and become closer to Jesus.

About four days ago, when she walked toward me, I could see and feel a noticeable difference in her whole demeanor.  She was glowing.  Her spirit felt joyful and light.  It was so wonderful to see her so joyful!!!

A few days before, she confided in me, that there were some women who were really upsetting her.  She had walked in and interrupted two conversations in which they were actually talking about her!  On top of that, these women were doing specific things to make her life miserable.  I suggested that she pray for them, even though it would be hard.  I let her know that not only would the prayers be good for the two women, they would also help to soften and open her heart.  The prayers were definitely answered!  I have never seen her so happy!

But that’s not all…she and her husband are preparing to marry in the Catholic Church, and she will be Confirmed!  When she told me, she was so happy, that it made me cry.  She is excited to be learning what the Church teaches about love and marriage….things she never thought about before. (even after being married for 10 years)  She is amazed about learning new things about her husband, who is also enjoying  the marriage prep classes.

I am watching a life being transformed by the love of Jesus!

Thank  you, Jesus, for allowing me the honor of praying  for one of your precious ones!  Help me to always keep my eyes, ears and heart open to ways of sharing your love with all the people in my daily life.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;  Matthew 5:44

Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  James 5:16


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The Circle of a Wedding Ring

This morning, I came across a little piece of paper I saved with these wise words written on it:  “How many memories lie in the circle of a wedding ring?”  I don’t remember where I found the quote, but the words hit home for me.  What a perfect way to acknowledge the awesome wonder and the “sacrament” of marriage.

Marriage and relationships are my passion.  I think we all learn from each other’s stories, so I thought I’d a share a little with you.  Maybe something I say will be of help to you or someone you know.

My husband, (Joe) and I have been married for 35 years.  I would be lying if I told you we were always happy and things always went smoothly.  Not only would I be lying, but I would be leaving out all the reasons why our marriage is now so blessed and rewarding.  The struggles, and the overcoming of the struggles together, weaved the strong fabric of our lives together…intertwining our hearts and minds as one.  Our life together…our marriage…is truly a miracle.

Joe and I married young – I was 20 and he was 21.  I have to be honest with you; we did everything wrong.  We “fell in love” when I was 17 and Joe was 18, meeting at a restaurant where we worked together.  Joe was a musician in a rock band. (a very naïve me thought he was in his High School Marching Band – didn’t realize he was the lead singer in a rock band!!!)  We had no planned goals, except for his rock star dream.  Neither one of us attended college. Well, I made it through one semester, before deciding that my career would be wife and mother.  Once we were married, the next ten or so years consisted of ups and downs, with some “very” down times.

On about three occasions, we were on that dangerous precipice teetering toward divorce.  We had two sons, and loved them very much, but did not know what to do.  We were miserable, each of us blaming the other for the unhappiness.

I could clearly remember our defining moment, that happened about 22 years ago. That moment came while we were holding each other on the couch, both crying, because we “knew” that we were headed for divorce.  You see, we loved each other, but didn’t know how to be happy within ourselves, and knew nothing of what glued together a relationship.  When we looked into each other’s eyes, we decided right then and there, that we would stay together and LEARN how to be happy.

God blessed that decision.  I attended a “Christ Renews His Parish” weekend retreat that opened my eyes and heart to God’s love.  Joe decided to do the men’s retreat the next year. His heart was touched that weekend in a profound way. He was a different man when he came home.  I started counseling that helped me see my own weaknesses and strengths, which led me to appreciate Joe’s strengths.  We started focusing on the goodness in each other, and somehow that helped us each to grow into better people.  We became better parents to our wonderful sons.

I am sharing a little of our story with you because I believe that many people do not understand what marriage is, and why they are not happy.  When I see married couples struggle, I wish I could do a mind meld with them to let them see what they could have if they just hang in there.  But hanging in there is just the start.  Marriage is much more than just “being there”.

“The sacrament of Marriage signifies the union of Christ and the Church. It gives spouses the grace to love each other with the love with which Christ has loved his Church; the grace of the sacrament thus perfects the human love of the spouses, strengthens their indissoluble unity, and sanctifies them on the way to eternal life.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church)

Beautiful thought, but how do we attain this love?  I’ve been mulling this question  since I found that piece of paper this morning.

Here is what I have discovered.  When two people “fall in love” and get married, hopefully they have taken the time to truly get to know their spouse in the dating and engagement process.  However, there are many layers in each of our hearts.  There are secret layers of fears, emotions, life memories (good and bad), and insecurities that reside in all of us.  What each spouse needs in the marriage is unconditional love, so they can feel safe enough to slowly peel away the layers that are masking their true heart and God given identity.

Therein lies the problem.  We are merely human and not capable of unconditional love.

The secret to a truly loving and joyful marriage is that the husband and wife both open their hearts to Jesus.  

When you make the decision to have a personal relationship with Jesus, and open your heart to Him, His Holy Spirit abides in you.  No longer are you floundering on your own…He fills your heart with love, compassion and empathy.  No longer are you just seeing actions or hearing words.  You learn how to love the whole person, and look for the root causes of the behaviors that hurt or irritate you.  Instead of pointing fingers and accusing your spouse (or anyone for that matter), you learn to overlook weaknesses and focus on strengths.  Forgiveness and acceptance start to become much easier for you.

I don’t mean to make this process sound easy…it isn’t easy at all, and will not happen all at once.  It is one of the hardest things you will ever do, but so very worthwhile!

Marriage is a covenant, a sacrament, and a miracle.  The real miracle is the changing of two hearts into the heart of Christ, and then the two hearts will become as one.  This oneness happens gradually, through love, support, loyalty, trust, commitment and forgiveness.  Once this heart and soul connection is forged, the marriage relationship is so much more wonderful than you could have imagined on your wedding day.

I recently heard a pure and simple truth from a newly married couple who went through the Pre-Cana Marriage Classes at Church.  They said that a married couple’s job was to guide each other to heaven.  How beautiful!  When that is your mission, imagine all the unique memories that will be contained in the circles of your wedding rings, on your way to Eternal Life!

May God bless your journey!

Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”  Matthew 19:4-6

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.  1 Corinthians 13:4-8