Be Bold, Be You, Be Loved

Every person longs for acceptance. We want to know we belong somewhere and fit in like pieces of a puzzle. This is why human beings have always sought community and solitary confinement is used as punishment for criminals.

When we don’t feel we quite measure up to the standard held in our families, our workplaces, our social circles, and even our churches, our first instinct is to walk away. The depression and anxiety that stems from deep insecurities lead us into isolation and suffocating interior darkness.

But God desires to love us into freedom. He created us with gifts, talents, and particular temperament that were meant to bless the world. Trying to navigate through a broken society and dealing with our own fallen humanity often makes it difficult to recognize our intrinsic value. Media advertising blares deceitful messages of simultaneous conformity and reckless abandonment. 

It’s a challenge to walk the line between compassion and justice. We’re hard on ourselves and hard on each other. At the same time in regards to objective sin, sometimes we’re too forgiving and complacent walking down a dangerous road towards accepting terrible wrongs as normal and acceptable. But St. Teresa of Avila accurately defines humility as truth. If we want to be humble enough to grow authentic virtue, it is absolutely necessary for us to pray for the eyes of Jesus through which we will learn to see ourselves as He does.

What do we do that are “kingdom actions”? What thoughts do we think are “kingdom thoughts”? As I pray through my days, I’m trying to be more aware of the motivations and stirrings of my heart that manifest themselves in word and deed. A recent soul project I’ve undertaken is a greater movement toward authenticity because I can only contribute to the Kingdom of God the person God made me to be.

It’s taken some time to figure out who exactly that is, but I’ve gained great consolation in knowing that the “Me” that I give the world doesn’t have to be perfect. That’s a bit scary because I’m afraid of being judged for my faults and imperfections. Yet I find that even in the daily struggles, my heart is being refined and purified from attachments I didn’t even know were disordered. So while people may misunderstand me or form opinions about me based on the limited knowledge they have, I can still thank God for the hidden work He is doing within me that is taking root in my soul.

He loves me. He loves you, too. He loves each and every one of us so much that He shed His blood so that we might be saved from the hands of the enemy. The devil doesn’t want us to be real with ourselves and with each other. If he can’t get us to physically destroy our own lives, he will deceive us into creating a world of fabricated selves that look nothing like the image that God created us in. 

The Lord desires us to be FULLY ALIVE…not the Walking Dead! May we wake up to the reality of God’s good graces and accept the gifts of the Holy Spirit that empower us reflect the presence of Jesus in our world.

“We will be the happiest people in the world if we belong to God, if we place ourselves at his disposal, if we let him use us as he pleases. To be this happy, we must belong to Jesus fully without reservation. He alone is worthy of our love and our total surrender. Once we really belong to him then he is free to use us, to do with us whatever he pleases.”

— Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta

  

Be Filled With the Spirit

“Brothers and sisters:
Watch carefully how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise, making the most of the opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not continue in ignorance, but try to understand what is the will of the Lord. And do not get drunk on wine, in which lies debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and playing to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks always and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.” (Ephesians 5:15-20)

Today I pray for:

  • wisdom
  • knowledge
  • discernment

Lord, I would like to know what to say, when to say it, and how Your message needs to be delivered. Please pour out Your Spirit upon my life – not only when I am called to do “big” things, but in the tasks and interactions  that I face every day.

My kids ask me questions all the time. They want to understand the world around them. They’re figuring out how to have healthy relationships with the people in their lives and what actions are good and bad. I pray that I will guide them rightly and most importantly be able to live out an example worth following. Amen.

  

The Inheritance

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“I gave you a land that you had not tilled and cities that you had not built, to dwell in; you have eaten of vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.”  (Joshua 24:13)

Today I pray for:

  • a deeper awareness of the shoulders I stand on
  • gratitude for the labor of love I have inherited in building up the Body of Christ
  • GUSTO (a.k.a. zeal for souls)

Tonight I was blessed to be in the presence of brothers and sisters in Christ who are very comfortable with tears. I needed to release the heaviness. I had to surrender the crosses I was not meant to bear.

In a recent conversation with a dear friend, I talked about how “edited” our lives end up becoming when we are trying so hard to be strong and hold it all together. This prayer meeting let me offer the “uncut” version of myself and receive the peace The Lord wanted to give me.

I’m grateful for these gatherings…for the authenticity…for the intercession. The healing process continues and the work will not be done until we take our last breath. In the meantime…

“ADELANTE! Onward!” – Ven. Mother Luisita, OCD

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YOUR PRAYER LIFE

Between Jesus and the soul there flows a current no one can see and a dialogue that no one hears. Form a rich and beautiful tabernacle for Our Lord within your heart and then do not let Him go. In that way you will always have Him within you. Enter within yourself and, meeting Him, tell Him all your experiences. Adore Him within yourself, as if everything were in silence.

How beautiful it is to be in the Hands of God, searching His divine Gaze, in readiness to do whatever He wishes. If you don’t omit prayer, you will find all your answers there. Prayer can do all things. It is our most powerful weapon against the devil and nothing can withstand it or resist it. Therefore, prayer is what will save you from the many dangers surrounding you daily. With courage, trust, and prayer adelante (onward), even if you have to walk among thorns.

Are you becoming a saint? God our Lord has given you a soul for that very purpose. God loves you very much, my child. Correspond to that love, by making acts of humility, especially interiorly. Be truly simple and try to detach yourself from everything that is not God. You’ll be able to do this through the intercession of Our Blessed Mother. Don’t doubt it.

(Excerpted from letters written by Venerable Mother Luisita)

My Gift to the World

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“Let your countenance shine upon your servant and teach me your statutes.” (Psalm 119:135)

Today I pray for:

  • a greater security in belonging to Jesus
  • a more complete detachment from the world’s attractions 
  • metanoia

I’m not being called to mimic or duplicate any other woman. The unique gift of myself that I offer back to The Lord is the greatest contribution I will make in this life. I’m praying with all my heart that it will be enough for me. Because that’s all I can really give…

 

In the Midst of Us

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“Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:19-20)

Today I pray for: 

  • the inspiration to pray 
  • to fight the temptation to worry
  • to include my husband and my children as I am praying 

Out of my prayer, I realized that:

  • there is so much I haven’t given to God
  • the enemy is actively trying to steal my peace
  • I just need to pray

  

Cheerful Giving

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“Brothers and sisters: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work.” (2Corinthians 9:6-8)

Today I pray for:

  • a deeper appreciation for the mission I have been given to preach the truth 
  • the ability to recognize the abundance of grace from which all of my work flows
  • more cheerfulness, especially when I am tired

I gave the first of these two talks at the Holy Family Young Adult prayer meeting tonight:

  

I definitely felt the weight of responsibility addressing such a heavy topic, but I hope that the beauty of authentic self-giving love will be embraced and shared by all who understand how desperately the world needs it.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph…we love you, save souls. Amen.

Imitation of Christ

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“Brothers and sisters: Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were sealed for the day of redemption. All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ. 

So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.” (Ephesians 4:30-5:2)

Today I pray for:

  • the ability to imitate Christ
  • the courage to live in love
  • the willingness to offer myself as a sacrifice to God

I understand that there is only so much of me that I can give to other people, so I am discerning and prioritizing for the sake of survival. It is possible to love many people, but I cannot realistically serve them all outside of the prayers I offer for them.

I do know my heart has a yearning for more authentic friendships, and I am trying to focus my efforts on those relationships that are most fruitful. 

It grieves me to realize that certain ties are not as strong as they once were, but it’s something I just need to accept so I can move forward. One day, they will know how much I love them. It may not happen in this life, and I just have to be okay with that.

  

And then there are my kids, who truly need me more than anyone else in this world. This audio of me and Kali was made a year ago, and my heart broke when it dawned on me that time is passing by way too quickly for us.  

 
My little ones are not so little anymore and the moments with them are fleeting. This is really where my focus should be. With a million and one things going on in my life, they deserve more of me than they’ve been getting. And this is where I need to start. Right now.

Moving Mountains

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“Because of your little faith. Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 18:19-20)

Today I pray for:

  • The Lord to be my strength
  • more faith
  • a greater expectation for the impossible

I am weary, Lord. Shower upon my soul the graces I need to persevere with love. Amen.

Out of my prayer, I learned:

  • the purest love given is when I have no strength left
  • moving mountains isn’t up to me
  • the impossible may not happen overnight

  

Living For You

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Jesus said to his disciples,“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay each according to his conduct. Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.” (Matthew 16:24-28)

Today I’m praying for:

  • a release of unrealistic expectations for myself
  • transformation and continuous conversion
  • humility and acceptance of my own limitations

My reason for this Novena of Rest: The Motherhood Days We Should Talk About

Out of my prayer I realize:

  • I’m not here to be comfortable
  • anything worth living for and working for is going to be hard
  • I don’t have to do this by myself 

Take the whole world and GIVE ME JESUS…

Resting in Him alone. Amen.

  

What I Wish

“For my daughters, for your daughters. For my sons, for your sons. This is what I wish.

You are young with eyes that spark and speak of innocence. Don’t trade. Don’t trade the pure peace that greets you each morning for a taste of something meant for later. Later, when a person handpicked by God will want nothing more than to protect you. They won’t want from you. They will want FOR you.

When I was young with eyes that sparked and spoke of innocence, I found myself lured by the pull of a want. A want that welled up from deep within the heart of a girl desperate. For love. For kind words. For that feeling of being wanted, noticed, and told she’s pretty.

I tucked my peace in my pocket feeling so certain it would stay even if I stuck my toes in the current of my want.

I waded out into forbidden waters. Ankle deep, the rush felt thrilling. Knee deep I felt old enough, strong enough and a bit annoyed that people I respected didn’t trust me. I knew what I was doing. This didn’t feel dangerous so I reasoned it wasn’t dangerous.

But it was. I was wrong.

This is what I wish. That I had listened.

Listened to voices of truth to turn back, run back, get myself out of the current. Resist the pull. Refuse the lie that feelings are to be followed. Feelings are to be brought up onto the solid ground of truth. Truth that doesn’t shift. Truth that doesn’t betray.

But I kept walking out further and further. Deeper and deeper. And into a current so strong I didn’t even realize how far I’d gone. Until it was too late. Waves of regret, anxiety, and fear swept over me. The one that told me I was pretty was gone.

And so was something else. I shoved my hand into my pocket now empty. I’d been so sure peace would stay. I was wrong. It had slipped away.

Oh if only I’d known even at that point to turn, run back to the truth, get back to solid ground. I would have seen peace had washed up there. When peace slips it always finds its way back to stand hand in hand with truth. Just like I eventually did. But to have never walked away and dipped my toes where they shouldn’t have gone would have prevented years of heartbreak and an ocean of tears.

Make that choice now. No matter where you are. This is what I wish.”

– Lysa TerKeurst