somebodylovesmeblog

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


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Do it Yourself?

Oh, the things my thirteen month old grandson, Brayden, teaches me!

Brayden’s Sunglasses

While spending time with him the other day, Brayden fumbled through a pocket in his diaper bag, and excitedly pulled out his cute little sunglasses.  He seems to be intrigued by glasses…always reaching out to touch and pull off mine.  After a moment or two of inspecting the glasses, and then trying to open them, he looked over at me, and handed them over.

At that moment, he knew  that I would be able to help him.

Brayden sat there smiling, so I put the sunglasses on him, and he sat there for about two seconds before pulling them off and looking them over.  Then he proceeded to attempt putting them on.  No matter what he did, those glasses were not going on correctly.  They were either on his head, hanging from an ear, or around his neck.  He kept shaking his head “no” when I put my hand out to help/guide him, and literally pushed my hand away.

Evidently, Brayden’s desire to “do it himself” closed his mind to the guidance that he needed.  He lost his faith in me, and after a few minutes of trying every wrong way to put the glasses on, he threw them down, and went on to the next adventure.

That really got me thinking.

How many times do we do that very same thing?  When there is something that we desire, or need, we know that God can help us.  We pray earnestly, and then hand it over to our Father.

We expect an answer.  We expect our answer.

When our prayers aren’t answered as quickly as we would like, we start to look for ways to make it happen ourselves.  When things still aren’t going our way, we come up with countless more attempts.

As all this is occurring, the Lord is speaking to us in many subtle, and sometimes, not so subtle, ways.  He is answering our prayers in ways we don’t allow ourselves to see.  Sometimes, He may be guiding us to something even better than we prayed for.

We push His hand away.

You see, so many times, our desire to “do it ourselves” is so strong, that we close our minds and hearts to the direction and guidance that is right there in front of our faces.   Sometimes, all we need to do, is take a step back, and ask the Holy Spirit to fill us up and lead us.

Then we need to listen to the Voice that is longing to speak to us, and is waiting, in love, for us to hear.  Really hear.   Our God, our Creator, the God of the Universe, has a Divine Purpose for all of us.  Each one of us has been placed here, at this particular time, for a particular reason.

Our Lord God knows that reason, and is leading us on a path that will reveal our purpose to us at the proper and perfect time.

In the meantime, when it seems as though our prayers aren’t being answered as quickly as we would like, we must remember that when Our Lord has a purpose that is unique to each one of us…He will lead us to it.  It is up to us how long it takes for our prayers to be answered and to arrive to our destination.  How long will we keep trying to “do it ourselves?”

Don’t be like Brayden throwing down the sunglasses and moving on to his next adventure because he couldn’t figure things out on his own.

Allow the Holy Spirit to dwell in you, and have total faith that God will direct you, bless you, and bring the desires of your heart to a fruition that you can’t even fathom.

 

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

Trust in the LORD and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the LORD;
And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.  Psalm 37:3-5

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight. 

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.  Proverbs 3:5-7


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The Sorrowful Mysteries

This is the second in the series of  “How Praying the Rosary Changed my Life.”  Please click here for the background of how I was led to The Rosary, and also to learn about The Rosary and The Joyful Mysteries.

Today I will cover the Sorrowful Mysteries, which are prayed on Tuesday and Friday.

My prayer is that The Holy Spirit will open your heart to these great mysteries, and fill you with the love, joy, and peace of Our Lord, Jesus.

There are five meditations associated with the Sorrowful Mysteries. I will cover each one.

  1. Agony in the Garden   Mark 14:32-46  Luke 22:41-44  (For true repentance of my sins)   Dear Lord, how can I even begin to understand the agony that you endured, as you prayed to your Father in the garden?  You knew exactly what was going to happen to you…that you were offering yourself as a perfect sacrifice in atonement for the sins that I have committed, am committing, and will commit in the future.  You took my place.  You also knew that you would be betrayed by some of those who were closest to you, and knew  you would be hated, spat upon, tortured, blasphemed, humiliated, and ultimately crucified by those who did not understand The Truth.  I am so much like your disciples, who could not even stay awake for one hour to keep watch.  Judas betrayed you with a kiss.  How many times do I declare my love for you, and then close my heart to your love, and to your presence in my life?  How many times do I “fall asleep” when there is work to be done and people to love?  How many times do I betray you by allowing my weakness and selfishness to come between us?  Help me to understand that even you prayed that your Father would take the cup away…and the angels actually came to strengthen you in your suffering.  Help me to remember that you are always with me…I am never alone.  Help me to always come to you in prayer, with praise, thanksgiving and petitions, and always  submitting myself to the Father’s will…not my own.
  2. Scourging at the Pillar   Mark 15:1-15  (For a Spirit of Mortification)  Lord, help me to face the hardships and suffering in my life as you did.  You accepted your scourging with love and humility.  You did not even utter one harsh word toward your tormenters.  Please help me to understand and always remember…You suffered in my place, Lord. Thank you for the perfect love that you offered me through your sacrifice, and the love that you are still offering to me now. Help me to find you through the difficulties, pain and suffering that I experience day to day.  Help me to accept them with joy…knowing that through the suffering I am closer to you.
  3. Crowning With Thorns  Mark 15:16-19  (For Moral Courage)   Lord it wasn’t enough that you were scourged; you were also mocked and blasphemed.  Through it all, love and humility radiated from you.  Help me to always be ready to stand for what is right in God’s eyes. When I am mocked or persecuted because of my love of you, I ask that you shower me with your mercy and grace so I can respond with love and humility.
  4. Carrying of the Cross  Mt 27:31-32  (For the Virtue of Patience)  Lord, the first thing that pops into my heard after reading this verse…is that Simon was forced to carry the cross.  Am I so different from him?  When I am sent crosses to bear, I am always looking for ways to alleviate my struggle, pain, and difficulty.  It seems that I am sometimes forced to carry my crosses…and in the process I become closer to you, and my cross becomes a blessing.  Help me to not only carry my own burdens willingly and lovingly, but also open my eyes to ways I can carry some of the burdens of those around me…lightening the pain and suffering of others so it is bearable for them.  Help me to be a blessing to all those in need, that you place on my path.
  5. The Crucifixion  Luke 23:34  Luke 23:45-46  (For the Grace of Final Perseverance)  My dear Lord, You suffered and died in my place.  Thank you for the love and mercy that stream from you.  Thank you for loving me.  When I am hurt or when evil surrounds me, help me to always ask God to forgive them, for they know not what they do.  And please fill me with your grace, that I may say, in total faith, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

May your day be blessed in the love and light of Jesus, Our Lord. May your heart be touched through these Sorrowful Mysteries.
Please feel free to comment with any questions or thoughts.

Pray the Rosary A Saint Joseph Edition  A wonderful little pamphlet.

 


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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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Patti, Your Life is a Prayer

Patti at 12 years of age

Patti at 12 years of age

This last weekend, I was blessed with some ‘one on one’ time with my oldest sister, Patti.  We usually get to visit only once or twice a year, being that she lives in Ohio, and I am in Virginia.  My mom has been living with my husband and me for over ten years now, so naturally all our visits with Patti are always together, as a family.

For some reason, I felt compelled to see my sister, and spend time with her alone.  There was no question in my mind…I needed her.  Just like I did throughout my childhood, and then as I grew to adulthood.

So, let me tell you a little about Patti.  She was a beautiful and feisty young girl, who now describes herself as a tomboy who loved climbing trees and neighborhood roofs.  To be honest, she was a little mischievous.

That very sweet and active little girl contracted polio when she was 12 years old. 

Sisters: Bernadette and Patti

Sisters: Bernadette and Patti

As a foreshadowing of the strength of character that would radiate all through Patti’s life,  when she was suffering through the onset of the disease, the doctor was called to the house to check on her.  When she realized she was to be taken to the hospital, she insisted that she would not be carried out.  She  climbed down the stairs on her own, saying that she wanted to do it herself, knowing she would never walk again.  According to my mother, Patti never cried about her plight…which was a very different reaction than that experienced by my mom, who as a young mother, watched her daughter suffer through a horrible disease that almost killed her, and then caused her to be totally paralyzed.  My mother’s heart broke for her daughter, and always wished there had been something she could have done to prevent this from happening.  Even now, my mom’s eyes fill with tears as she remembers those days when Patti first got sick, how scared she was that Patti might die, and what lie ahead.  The prognosis, according to the doctors at that time, was that Patti  probably only had about ten years to live in her condition.

Well, God had other plans.

Patti is now 72 years old, and I can honestly say I have NEVER once heard her complain or cry about her ‘handicap.’  Just so you understand her condition, she can only move her right hand and her neck.  Our mom and dad took care of all of her needs; my two sisters and I also learned to care for Patti’s personal and physical needs.  That is, until she moved away so she could attend Ohio State University, where she ended up earning her Master’s Degree in Social Work.  You see, Patti could never refuse to “walk” through a  door  that the Lord opened for her.  She walked by faith and the Lord blessed her life tremendously.  It was not always easy for her, however, her life has always been filled to the brim!

The funny thing is, I never saw my sister as ‘handicapped.’  In fact, she is the least handicapped person I have ever known. 

Patti is totally open to The Holy Spirit directing her life, and she always makes herself available to those around her.  When Patti is with you, she is focused on knowing not only your needs, but your heart.  She has a way of reading between the lines; she is an edifier, always loving and supporting in any way she can.

She has touched so many people’s lives, and is loved by so many, that it boggles my mind.  Being with her this last weekend was a Godsend to me.  I was once again reminded of all the ways my sweet sister  impacted my life…through all the stages I went through, the joys and the struggles.

She was always there for me:

When I climbed up on her hospital bed, snuggling up against her as she read my favorite stories and poems over and over again.  She never refused when I asked her to read to me.

When I headed straight to her room after school all the way up through high school, unloading the highs and lows of my days.

When I needed advice about friends or boys, and then later on as I was struggling in my marriage.

When I started to question my faith, and did not understand why my life seemed so hopeless.  She always gave me hope, and always shared her faith with me.

When she shared my joy as I became a mother; and as she loved my sons and enjoyed the time spent with them.

When she overlooked my selfishness, impatience and misdirection…always just loving me through everything.

Mostly, just by being present; in the moment.

So, as we visited, the time flew by.  There is so much in our hearts to share with each other, and really only had hours to connect.  And connect we did.  I realized that my sister is truly  a saint.  I am not saying that lightly, and being the humble person that she is, Patti will most probably not agree with my assessment.

My life has been richly blessed with the privilege of having Patti for my sister.  Through her journey, which she travels completely trusting the Lord in every way, I have learned faith, hope, and love.  I am learning to bloom where I am planted, and never to compare myself or my personal journey to others.  To just be me…the person that God created me to be.

I have learned that God works great things through all things.  Patti’s life, which has been filled with great adventure and much love, shows us that the Lord works beauty  through any situation we may find ourselves in.  All we need to do is open our hearts to Jesus, allow His Spirit to flow through us, and then trust that He is working through us.  The amount of hearts touched through Patti’s life is not even measurable; his love exudes from her.

When we were talking, Patti mentioned that she needs to work on her prayer time with The Lord.  That she feels bad that she hasn’t set aside as much time as she would like for praying and meditating.  I asked her if she talks to God, and she answered’ “all day long.”

Although I understand her desire to spend more alone time with Jesus, all that comes to my mind is…

Patti, your life is a prayer!

And thank you for covering me, and all the ones that the Lord has entrusted to you, with the light of that prayer.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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A Simple Path

After watching the beautiful film about Mother Teresa’s  ministry and life, I was led to read “A Simple Path” to learn more about her faith.

There is such simplicity in Mother Teresa’s total love and trust in Jesus that I cannot keep myself from being filled with the Holy Spirit as I read!

I would love to share a beautiful  prayer with you.  It is one of the daily prayers that the sisters say each day.  May God bless you as you read:

 

Deliver me, O Jesus,

From the desire of being loved,

From the desire of being extolled,

From the desire of being honored,

From the desire of being praised,

From the desire of being preferred,

From the desire of being consulted,

From the desire of being approved,

From the desire of being popular,

From the fear of being humiliated,

From the fear of being despised,

From the fear of suffering rebukes,

From the fear of being calumniated,

From the fear of being forgotten,

From the fear of being wronged,

From the fear of being ridiculed,

From the fear of being suspected.

 

Wow!  Love is simple.  However, this completely selfless type of love and trust in Jesus only comes to our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit.

May God bless you and fill your heart with His love!

 

 


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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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Look for the Pattern

Ok, I have to admit, I absolutely love playing a popular online word scramble game.  The kind that shows a bunch of letters, and you have to find all the words that can be made out of those letters.  If you don’t find the big word that uses ALL the letters, you lose.

When playing this game, I learned that the key is moving the letters around until you can find a pattern.  Sometimes it is easy to spot the word, and it is a familiar one.  Other times, if you just keep looking for a pattern and try it out, the word is eventually found.

Many times I never even heard of the word that is revealed to me.  I just had to trust the logic of the letters.

While playing the other day, the thought hit me that our lives are like the word scramble game.

For me, so many years of my life were a scramble, and I could not see any purpose or connection of one day to the next.  I was floundering.  The mixed messages from life experiences, peer pressure, inner turmoil and what I was hearing at school and Church, were scrambling my ability to see, think, hear and know what the Truth was.

My day to day existence was more or less just hanging on to the belief that there IS a God, and He says that He loves me.  I prayed, attended Church, and even was very involved with our Church Community, however, inside, I was struggling.

In those years, there were joyful moments with my husband, family, and friends, especially once my sons were born.  However, there was always a deep pain and longing inside my heart and soul.  I did not know where that darkness and pain was coming from, and I couldn’t understand why God wasn’t making it go away.  I could not see where He was working in my life.

Much like the scrambled letters in my word game.

Faith, spiritual growth, and the eventual opening of my heart to the Love of Jesus, has been a long process.  For so many years I have been only looking for the familiar patterns in my life, thinking I would be able to figure things out and heal myself with self-help books and visits to therapists.  Yes, progress was made, and I was enlightened one small step at a time.  But I knew something was missing.

Then, my journey took a sharp, unexpected turn.  I began to meditate on the life of Jesus through praying the rosary.  (something I never believed in before)  I meditated on the pure trusting spirit and humility of the Mother of Jesus, and how much God the Father trusted His Son to her loving care.  I realized that since God is my Father, and Jesus is His Son, then Jesus is my brother….that would make Mary my mother.  A loving mother that wants only good for my life.  A mother who is constantly praying, interceding and leading me toward her Son. The more I prayed, the closer my relationship formed with Jesus, my Savior.  I finally began to understand, that although I always believed that Jesus is the Son of God, I did not have a relationship with Him.  I didn’t know Him.

Through the Holy Spirit, I was lead to pray in faith, and to read spiritual books instead of “self help” ones.  I was being enlightened to READ AND TRUST the Bible, instead of trusting the scrambled so called “wisdom” of the world.

My foundation is now a firm one, and my eyes, ears and heart are being opened, a little at a time.

My journey with Jesus is just beginning.  There are many dark places in my soul that I trust that the Holy Spirit is working on right at this moment.  Many events that have occurred that have been scrambled from my comprehension…

In the past, I thought God wasn’t answering my prayers, because I asked Him to reveal things relating to my memories, and it didn’t seem as though He was allowing that to happen.  I felt like I had a steel trap door that was blocking me from seeing things that would help me to progress in my spiritual/emotional well-being.  I thought these things because I was unable to see the truth and the pattern of my journey. In order to do that, I had to look at my life through different eyes….see through the “scramble” and start to move the events around, seeing the patterns emerge…

because the patterns/evidence of Christ in my life were there, and the answers were there, all along. 

You see, the key to understanding, in faith, that God is always with you and working His wonderful plan for your life, is like finding the big word, using all the letters, in the word scramble game.  If you don’t find that word, you lose the round, and have to start over.

If you don’t put your faith in Jesus, you will flounder because you will not be able to see His work in your life, and will not see the pattern of your life.

Now, when I look at my life, I can see the pattern… the fingerprint of God.  He was there all along.  He was there loving me tenderly when I was afraid, lonely, suffering, and living in spiritual darkness.  He was there when I reached for help.  He was there when I prayed, even when I did not fully believe.  He was there when I demanded that He heal my heart…when in selfishness and despair I wanted certain people in my life to “disappear”.  He was there when I hurt the ones I loved the most.  He was there in my dreams, revealing bits and pieces of the source of my pain…ever so gently.

The Lord desires for us to be happy, living in His Presence.  The  mission of our life will be revealed to us…just be ready…expect the unexpected.   You will not find Truth and Peace  in the world’s scramble .  You will find it in the revelation of God’s love for you and the special place you hold in His Kingdom.

Never give up…always look for the ways the Lord is leading you.  He will speak to you in ways you do not expect.   But He is always there.

May you be blessed in the total peace and love of our Savior.