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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Wait on the Lord

As I look outside from my desk at work, my eyes are drawn to the small tree in my line of vision.  To tell you the truth, this tree, through each of the four seasons, helps to keep me grounded and calms my spirit.  The wind connects with the leaves either allowing them to ripple and shimmer gently in the breeze, or overwhelming them in a forceful way…causing the branches and leaves to sway and snap back and forth with each new gust.

God communicates with me through the character of this little tree.   Today, I feel the complete stillness of the branches and leaves.  Complete calmness.  There is a storm waiting to unleash; heavy dark clouds are hanging in the sky…blocking the warmth of the sun.

That is exactly how I feel this morning.

In the last three weeks there have been little storms and bigger ones in our life.  To name a few – our sump pump and hot water heater gave out and needed replaced, our two year old car had an issue that of course was not covered by warranty and was a sizable chunk of money, our air conditioner gave out and the system needs to be replaced, and the most current and threatening storm is my mom’s health.  My mother will be eighty eight next month, and she has been living with my husband and me for eleven years.  Lately, she has become noticeably weaker, and it is hard to watch her struggle to walk a short distance.

I feel powerless.

Like that motionless, still tree, I am called to wait…and trust in the Lord as the storms are brewing.  Although, being human, I feel stressed and sometimes very confused as to where our path will lead in the future, I put my full faith and trust in the Lord.  He knows all of our struggles, and holds us in His loving care as we weather those storms.

He works all toward good for those that love Him.  And we love Him!  Alleluia!

 

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.  Psalm 27:14

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.   Romans 8:28

 


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It Is What It Is…Except When It Isn’t

More and more lately, I am hearing people say a common phrase in a dejected kind of way…”It is what it is.”  I understand what they are trying to communicate, and many times they are correct in their assessment of a situation they are engulfed in.

Whenever I hear that phrase, it just doesn’t sit right with my spirit.  Because I know in my soul, the truth really is “It is what it is…except when it isn’t.”

You see, I have learned many lessons throughout my life, many of which took more years than I want to admit.  There have been countless times that my life seemed hopeless, and it seemed as though I was in a dark hole with no way to escape.  My personal reality during those dark times was filled with  seemingly hopeless situations that I allowed to rob my joy, and a life permeated with helplessness, confusion, pain, guilt, shame and no sense of self at all.   After the many times I tried to employ the “self help” teachings I learned about, and even made some progress, I eventually sunk back into the familiar black pit.

Looking back, I can see clearly when the changes started happening, although while I was living those years I did not “see” it.  When my oldest son was a year old, my husband and I had been married for three years.  We were going through trauma in our marriage, and at that time I was really sinking fast.  I loved my son, and my husband, but I was miserable.  Yes, the situation “was what it was”, but my eyes and heart were blinded to the miracles that were happening in the unseen.

While I was swirling around in the darkness, I was guided to attend a Renewal Weekend with my best friend at our Church.  I did not fully understand the concept of totally accepting Jesus into my heart and life on that weekend.  What I did understand was that God loved me and wanted the best for me.  All weekend I prayed only for my marriage.  I remember that I prayed that God would help my husband to love me even half as much as I loved him.

A simple prayer.

After the Renewal Weekend, our marriage and my life did not seem to change much.  I often  questioned why God wasn’t answering my prayers.  However, there were more little “miracles” that peeled layer upon layer of gunk from both of our hearts.  I was led to another Catholic Renewal Weekend, about 10 years later than my first one, and this time my heart and soul was touched in a way that is indescribable.  I understood what my stumbling block was from listening to the testimony of one witness.  My whole wall that I had built up around my heart was shaken when I heard one sentence that she spoke…

“I forgive you, daddy.” 

These words tore into me so hard that I ran out of the room, and was not only crying, but heaving and releasing pain from deep within my being.

That weekend started a new journey of healing and trust in God, and the decision that my husband and I made to dedicate our marriage to the Lord.  We made the decision to trust him to guide us, and teach us to be happy in our marriage…for neither of us had a clue how to be happy, and did not understand what the sacrament of marriage truly was.

This April, Joe and I will be married 37 years.  We have a marriage and relationship that I never even could have imagined or comprehended.  The Lord blessed me with a husband that is loving, kind, patient, trustworthy, and lots of fun.  We are best friends, and although enjoy spending time with our family and friends, our favorite place to be is with each other.  Our marriage is the crowing glory of our lives…it is our vocation and an important part of our ministry to share Christ’s love.

Now I look back and know that all through the years, the Lord was working all the stuff and gunk in our lives into good…totally in the “unseen.”  He was weaving a beautiful tapestry from the tiny little scraps we were able to offer him.  Because he loves us THAT much.

He loves YOU that much too! 

Always remember, “It is what it is…except when it isn’t.”  For the Lord works all toward good for those who love him…even when you can’t “see” it.

 

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.   Hebrews 11:1

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.    Ephesians 6:12

For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.    Colossians 1:16;

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans  8:28

 

 

 

 


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The Blessings of Barrenness

 

This is the time of year that I used to dread.  Most of the Christmas decorations have disappeared from our neighborhood’s homes, the warmth of holiday music has dissipated, the air is bitter cold, and the trees are dark and seemingly devoid of life.

My husband and I commute to work together, and lately I have been struck with beauty that I haven’t noticed before.  One thought has been swirling in my mind for a few days now.

There is great beauty to be found in barrenness.

This thought strikes me as my eyes take in the awesomeness of those trees that in the past I would describe as cold, dead and dull.  What I see now is entirely different and enlightening.

As we drive home after work, the winter sunsets are almost overwhelmingly gorgeous.  Last night there were deep shades of indigo, violet, magenta, pink and blue.  The colors were layered beautifully, and could be viewed through the intricate patterns of lace and latticework formed by the branches of those “dead” trees.

All it took for me to notice and see the beauty of barrenness was to look past it, and focus on the beauty through it.

Our lives are like that.  We tend to focus on what is lacking, and sometimes just can’t understand why a loving God would allow certain things to happen in the world.  We look at our own lives, our sufferings and weaknesses, and we feel barren and sometimes even abandoned.

We are called in faith to look through the barrenness and focus on the perfect beauty and love of God.

He is the beauty that calls, amazes, humbles, and overwhelms us with love.  He is The One that works all things toward good for those who love Him.

Do you love Him that loves you?  Are you willing to look through your weaknesses, persecutions, and sufferings and focus your trust and whole being on the saving love and grace of Jesus?  Will you open your heart to His Divine Mercy?

Only then will your eyes be opened to the intricate beauty of barrenness… for only Our Lord knows the full design of the tapestry that is being masterfully created through what we view as unacceptable.

 

Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.  2 Corinthians 12:8-10

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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Trusting the Winds of Change

Most of my friends know that I don’t like wind. There are a few reasons for my displeasure, but suffice to say, wind is not my favorite thing.

So what do you think happens every time I go for a walk? It could be the most still of days when I venture outside for my daily walk, I’ll be on my way for about 5 minutes, and then BOOM, the wind hits me with a rage. I’m not talking a gentle breeze, but almost a whirlwind!

I’ve come to realize, that the Lord is definitely communicating with me and teaching me through these winds.

You see, I am a person who has always sought peace and the calming comfort of routine. This need and quest for peace in my life stemmed from childhood, when I used to stick my head in a book at a very young age, and would create my own world. I would literally make my surroundings disappear, and would not even be aware of the craziness happening in the house around me.

This quest for peace directed my life, and I continually headed in the direction of my interpretation of “peace and quiet”. Many times, because of this internal guidance system that was on autopilot, I passed up countless opportunities for growth and even missed out on many joys because I was looking for a “safe” place to be. I had built myself into a cozy little box, and was not even aware that the real motive behind my self- imprisonment was fear. There, I said it…it was fear.

Back to the wind…or should I say the winds of change.

As my relationship with Jesus becomes more intimate, he is guiding and teaching me through his outpouring of grace and love. I am learning to TRUST God and his purpose for me. This trust cannot be forged when I shelter myself from all that I deem uncomfortable or a threat to my peaceful existence.

I am learning to open my heart and soul up to the Lord, and offer him all that I am. AS IS.  Although I am always striving to align myself closer to Jesus and his ways, I trust that he is working in me and through me, bringing me and those lives he touches through me, closer to him.

This involves great TRUST.

Trust, when winds come straight at me, and throw me off my usual course and way of thinking.

Trust, when I choose to not only listen to the whispers of the Spirit in my heart, but HEAR them and act on them.

Trust, that through the winds of change, I will be strengthened and ready for any storm that may come my way, or into the path of those around me.

As I sit, at this moment, I am feeling an extreme calmness of spirit. At the same time, I feel the intense energy and total love of Jesus through my entire being.

I am looking out the window, watching the trees and leaves that are momentarily motionless, as they patiently wait on the Lord to move them in his direction.

And I also wait on the Lord, for he is my all, and is my source of joy, happiness, and true peace.

I wait for the blessings that will be poured over all of his children, through the winds of change.

May God bless you and keep you in his care, as you wait on him and his direction for your life’s purpose.

 

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.   Psalms 27:14

 

 

 

 


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Simply Trust God

Peace of Spirit

Peace of Spirit

Why is it sometimes  so hard to let go and simply trust God?

My husband and I recently returned from our much anticipated and needed vacation…which consisted of visiting our son and his wife in Colorado, and then visiting with our other son, and his wife, in California.

Before I share about the joyful, perfectly wonderful time we enjoyed with our family, I need to confess something.

As anyone who is a parent would understand, the most important focus in our lives  has been our sons, and building our relationship as a family.   We wanted to provide them with a strong foundation of love and stability.  Through the years we made lots of personal changes as the Lord led us to  learn and grow…a lot of times through trial and error.  As we watched our sons grow into strong,  responsible and loving men, we also felt ourselves blossoming and growing into better versions of ourselves.  In our eyes, God worked a miracle in our lives…blessing our family with a close,  trusting relationship.

As our sons married, our family was expanded and our two daughters-in-law added a new dimension to our family dynamics.  By the way, they feel more like daughters than daughters-in-law.  It seemed that all of our prayers had been answered, and felt very blessed that we all were close and were able to enjoy each other’s company.  Life was good.

Then they decided to move across country.  From the East coast to Colorado and California.  

Although I would like to say that I was extremely happy that they were following their dreams and moving away from the traffic and craziness of the DC area, I have to admit, I can’t say that at all.  And the fact that both couples researched and found wonderful laid back communities that offered the beauty of the mountains and/or the ocean, and conducive to a peaceful life where most travel is by bicycle didn’t phase me at all.

Why would they leave us?

Not only move, but move as far away as possible from us.  Didn’t they know that everything we did was for them and our family?  Didn’t they know how much we struggled to make changes within ourselves so we could be good parents to them and give them what we never had?  Didn’t they realize what they were leaving behind…parents that are always there for them and the awesome times we enjoyed together?

Although my mind was happy for them, my heart could not let go.  I was holding back with clenched hands, and could not let go and offer my children to God’s safekeeping and His plan for their lives.  I wanted to selfishly hold on to them…and keep things the way I wanted them to be.

I wanted my family to be the peaceful haven that we worked so hard to attain, and I just did not allow myself to give it up.  In actuality, I was substituting  the love and need of  my version of  family relationship for my love of God.  My family had become my idol.

Thank you Lord for opening my eyes.

You have been flawlessly working your plan through all of us.  Because of the way your Holy Spirit guided us, we raised two wonderful sons that chose wonderful, loving wives.  Each of them have talents and gifts that you will develop and use for your perfect plan, and because of your divine intervention, our sons are strong and grounded enough to be able to follow the call that you set in their hearts.

So was this the most awesome and perfect vacation ever?  A thousand times YES!  The time we spent together will be treasured and remembered in our hearts…the time together was the most important facet.  Now add to that…bicycling, hiking, soaking in natural spring hot tubs, brewery tours, wineries, touring the Hearst Castle, attending Mass as a family at a beautiful Catholic Church and also a Mission,  meeting up with and visiting extended family in California, the mountains, the ocean, and also meeting some of our sons’ friends and coworkers and realizing the wonderful communities that they are now a part of.   Also the fact that both couples showed us their love by sharing their homes with us,  planning our time together, and the wonderful meals and special touches just for us.

Yes, I still miss them.  But I have finally opened my clenched fists to receive the grace to let them go and trust God with their lives and also ours.

Thank you Lord for this lightening of spirit that you have blessed me with.  Please keep us all in your light and open our eyes, ears, and hearts  to your voice and guidance.  Help us to quiet our lives and souls so we can hear your whispers, and give us the strength and courage to take up our daily crosses and follow you.  Wherever that may be.

 

And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. “For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?…  Luke 9:23-25


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Which Path Will You Choose?

This morning as I read my Daily Bible Passage email, my eyes and heart were drawn to a quote by Pope Francis.

“It is not easy to follow Jesus closely, because the path he chooses is the way of the Cross.”

Wow, that is a hard truth to digest.  How many times do we listen to those who preach the “speak into existence” gospel which leads us to believe that if we have enough faith, if we only pray correctly, our lives will be wonderful, and peaceful, because all of our prayers will be ansered exactly as we request?  Some of the preachers  portray  huge smiles, as they live their totally “blessed” lives… letting us see the joy the Lord has instilled in their lives, as if suffering and strive have no place at all in their lives anymore.

So we pray, and “speak our wants and needs into existence”,  faithfully live our lives for Jesus….and then can not explain why financial burdens are not lifted, physical healings do not occur, addictions remain, wars continue, and death touches our families and friends.  We are almost lead to believe that only good things will happen in our lives if we are true believers.

That is when Satan steps in, either through our own thoughts and doubts, or through non-believers who scoff at us and ask “Where is your God now?”.  How would you answer that question?

Being that today is Good Friday, I am reminded of the intense suffering that Jesus endured in our place.  He didn’t just somehow end up on the cross, dying an easy death for our sins.

No, the Way of the Cross that the Father chose for Him was through unimaginable suffering.  He was tortured,  ridiculed, spat upon,  blasphemed, and mocked.  All of this against an innocent man…against our Lord.  At Gethsemane, when He was praying to the Father, he agonized over what was about to transpire.  He understood the Cross that was chosen for Him, in a way that we could never comprehend.   He was afraid.

And yet the prayer that he prayed was:

My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.

When Jesus is hanging on the Cross, His last words are,

Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” 

When I think of Jesus talking and pleading with His Father, I realize that He is not TELLING what He wants.  He asks that the cup be taken away if possible, however, He goes on to add the most important part…not as I will, but as You will.  Later on, that thought is reiterated with the words “Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit.”

Once we open our hearts and say “yes” to Jesus, and to His saving grace, He enters our souls and we are united with Him.  We are one with Jesus.  Are we willing to be one with His suffering and pain through the crosses we are blessed with?  Yes, I said blessed with.  When we offer our daily crosses to our Lord, those crosses lead us closer to Him and become our biggest blessings.

When I started to read about the lives of the Saints, one thing kept jumping out at me.   The closer the Saints were united with Jesus, the more they offered their sufferings and hardships to Him.  They were willing to trust the Father with their very lives.  They prayed and asked the Lord for their wants and needs, however, always acknowledged that the will of God prevail, not their own.  They were willing to suffer on this earth, and unite that suffering with that of Jesus, committing their lives and spirits into the hands of the Father.

Today, on Good Friday, we must ask ourselves which path we will choose.  Are we willing to accept our lives, with all its hardships, and offer it as a gift to Jesus?  Are we willing to offer our day to day struggles in reparation for our own sins and those of the whole world?

Are we willing to trust completely, no matter what is happening in the physical world?

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  John 3:16

 

32 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”

35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

39 Once more he went away and prayed the same thing.   Mark 14:32-39