The Longing to Be Loved

Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche, was awarded the 2015 Templeton Prize. The purpose of this prize is to honor a person “who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works.” Vanier unofficially founded the L’Arche community in 1964. It is a loving community for people with disabilities to live in, along with people to live in solidarity with them and assist in caring for their needs. There are now L’Arche homes throughout the world. This short video is a great reminder of what is at the core of humanity.

We are all longing to be loved. It is written within our hearts. Some won’t admit it, but that desire is ever-present. It will come out in some way.

Most don’t know how immensely they are loved by God. Many don’t even know that God does love them. In fact, the depth of that love isn’t something we will even be able to fathom until we meet our God, face to face, after death.

Remember that you are loved—truly and completely. When you live in the confidence and knowledge that you are loved, it will be more natural to extend that love to everyone you meet. Every day, let us pray and strive to express that love to each and every person we encounter. “Be kinder than necessary; everyone you meet is fighting some sort of battle.”

“But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Psalm 86:15

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Purpose

“If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!” – St. Catherine of Siena

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Have you ever met somebody that inspired you greatly? A person who motivated you to be a better person, simply by being who they are. That person is living with purpose, and living within their purpose. I’ve known janitors with positive attitudes and the willingness to do the very best at what they do. They are much more inspiring than someone in a position considered high-ranking and who uses their position simply for their own advantage or does the minimum to get by. I would venture to say that most people are not living with purpose. How many millions of people go about their daily routine of working in an office, then going home, eating, watching TV, and going to sleep? Then waking up and repeating the whole routine the next day, and the next. Most people are not praying to be a better person, or looking for opportunities to better the lives of others each day. Off the top of your head, how many people can you think of that are living purposeful lives? People who are living with purpose are seeking every day to be better people. They are seeking how they can make a difference in this world. They realize that no good deed is insignificant, and that they are not insignificant. Purposeful people see that no moment is worth squandering. Even mundane moments  are opportunities. They realize that each day is a gift, and no time is to be wasted.

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Every person was created for some purpose. God made you with a specific purpose in mind. Really. Your talent for art, your ability to know exactly the words to say to people, even your knack for all things mechanical. Perhaps you have always had a very caring heart, or courage and boldness to stand up for justice. Even a so-called “disability” can be part of your purpose, and reveal God’s glory to others. These aspects of you, and aspects of your character, were all put together by an all-knowing God. You were made for more than going out a run-of-the mill life.  Is it hard to believe  that you were truly made to make a mark on this world? Ask your Creator to know your purpose. How are you meant to positively affect the lives of others? How will your talents advance the world? In what ways will you help others to know Jesus Christ even better? Ask God how you can live that purpose well, every day.  Are you living with passion and purpose? I pray for all of you, that you may live your purpose and live it well. In doing so, we can motivate others and glorify our awesome God!

Do You Worry?

If you answered yes, then join the club! I am a worrier also. I’ve frittered away countless minutes and hours worrying. What was the purpose of all my worrying? Well, there really wasn’t one! Worrying never presented a solution or a respite from the problem. The one productive thing that I have done in the midst of worries? Prayed, from the heart! When I take even a few moments to stop and pray, my mind is quieted. I am better able to listen to the Holy Spirit and to move forward.

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Check out my article posted on Ignitum Today about this very topic. May you journey from worry to prayer, which will lead you to greater trust in God, and peace. While you’re there, check out some of the other insightful articles posted. God bless you!

“The Drop Box”, and Life Is Precious

I saw “The Drop Box.”

A pastor and his flock  in Seoul, South Korea, began to notice abandoned children. Some people would leave children outside their door. He realized that they had to do something, or the children could die. They had heard about another country having a heated box in which parents could place their babies instead of abandoning them. On the other side of the box, nurses and doctors were available to receive the baby. Pastor Lee built one of these “baby boxes.” Since then, he and his family, as well as  church staff and volunteers, have received hundreds of children. They care for these children with great love. The first thing Pastor Lee does when he takes a child from the box is to hold them close, and pray over them.

Pastor Lee’s work of caring for these children, many with disabilities, reveals God’s love for us. God adopts us, and loves us, unconditionally.  Every life is precious to Him–no matter what. To the world, these children may be nothing. Most of them won’t go to college, or have a successful career. In fact, many of them will be cared for their entire lives. To their birthparents, they were a burden to “get rid of.” But Pastor Lee helps us to remember the value and beauty of these children. Though they will never be “normal” according to societal standards, they are loved by God. They are loved by many others, too. These children reveal to us many things about ourselves and life. You may not expect it, but often they are very happy and smiley! They have joy just because they are alive. Because truly, every life is such a gift!

There are families committing to a life of loving these children with special needs, but the finances can be quite a barrier to adoption. Thankfully, there are organizations able to help these families with the burden.

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Sweet Benji is one child who has quite a bit of money toward his adoption!

You can also help support Pastor Lee’s work, as well as a United States fund for families working to adopt domestically, through the Global Orphan Care Fund.

Please pray for Pastor Lee and his work. Pray for the children all around the world who are waiting on their forever families. Pray for parents facing difficult pregnancies, that they may have the courage to choose life. And pray that they may have the courage to place their child with a family who will love them and be able to handle their unique needs, if that is the best option.

7 Organizations to Support

Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are three focuses of the season of Lent. Tithing and almsgiving are a focus of the Christian life in general. Are you wondering about some organizations that you could help to support this Lent and beyond? Here is a compilation of 7 organizations to start with. Praise God, there are many more beyond this one!

1. Kiva. Kiva is pretty much one of the coolest things ever. People from around the world are looking to start or expand businesses to help support their families, often in impoverished regions. Some people are hoping for money for education. You can sort through countries or types of businesses/causes and choose a person to loan money to. As long as you don’t “dedicate” the donation to someone using the option on Kiva (for example, dedicating a donation to your mom), then once the person repays their loan, you will get to use that money again to loan it to someone else! It’s a gift that keeps on giving–forever!

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(I loaned money to this guy from Kenya. His name is David and the purpose of the loan was to help him improve & expand his dairy business. Picture from the Kiva website.)

2. Live ActionLive Action seeks to expose the racism, misinformation, condoning and cover-up of sex trafficking, and other huge problems rampant within the abortion industry–notably, within Planned Parenthood. These atrocities are even paid for by American tax dollars! The brave souls with Live Action perform undercover investigations in order to get to the truth of the matter. In the process, they are saving the lives of unborn children and better preserving the futures of women (and men) who would be hurt by sex trafficking and abortion.

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(Lila Rose, the founder of the organization. She is an amazing woman, and I have been blessed to meet her!)

3. International Justice MissionHuman trafficking and slavery is unfortunately happening all over the world today. IJM rescues victims of human trafficking/slavery, and also works to improve the response of the justice system in these situations.

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(Check out their Facebook page for stories of people rescued and updates on the great work they are doing!)

4. ChaliceChalice is a Catholic program that allows you to sponsor a child for $33 a month. The money provides educational support, nutrition and medical care, as well as other possible needs of the child and family.

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(Angelica is one of the children listed on the website in need of sponsorship. She is a 10-year old girl from Philippines and lives in the slums.)

5. Iraqi Christian Relief CouncilAbout 1 million Assyrian (Iraqi) Christians have been forced to become refugees. If they do not change their religion to Islam, they are forced to pay hefty fees or risk being killed. They have been strong, paying the high price of leaving their homes and businesses and essentially becoming homeless, in order to keep their precious faith. This organization provides supplies to these families who have been forced to leave their homes, so that they may have access to food, medical care, shelter, and other basic needs.

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(Mattresses are one of the many basic needs that have been provided by donations.)

6. FlowerFundThis organization allows you to donate to different causes that further the New Evangelization. For example, a church could use it to raise money for a special project. One current project is raising money to get books into the hands of women in crisis pregnancies. Another project is raising money for a new vehicle for a family so that the father can get to work. He was hit by someone with no insurance and the family vehicle was totalled.

(The car after the accident.)

7. Reece’s Rainbow. This organization helps families adopt children with special needs–children that otherwise would likely be institutionalized for the rest of their lives. There are many families who are opening their hearts to the beauty of adoption. For many families, the only barrier is financial. This family has recently made the courageous decision to adopt, again! They have a few months to raise about $20,000. I am confident that if the Body of Christ comes together, they can reach this goal and bring sweet baby Truman home!

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(Russ is one of the children listed on the website. He needs to be adopted, pronto, by the end of the month! Otherwise he will be transferred to an institution.)

Are there any other organizations that you know of that are making a huge difference in this world? I would love to hear about them! There are so many people working to make a better world, and our circumstances don’t always allow us to be “out in the field,” so to speak. The good news is that we can pray and support these causes with our hard-earned dollars!

Our Father’s Perfect Provision

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:25-26

Our Father in Heaven never ceases to amaze me by the way He provides for us. Often, I wonder why we fail to trust Him! Worries about my material needs often swirl in my mind. Yet, the fact is that I have never gone without. God has always perfectly provided for my needs, even going above and beyond.

I received an unexpected care package in the mail this week. It was truly a blessing simply to know that someone was thinking about me. It’s a great feeling to open up a package assembled with love for you!  Yet this particular care package also illustrated to me God’s love and concern for me & even my simple wants. During these cold winter days, I love to drink tea. Recently I ran out of my favorite kind of tea & began to run low on tea in general. Sometimes things like teas are “extras” and not in the budget. Well, guess one of the items in the care package!

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TEA! There is an assortment of tea in the care package. Now, I won’t have to worry about buying tea! Even this little extra, God provided for me!

Each day, God is constantly sending us little (and big!) reminders of His care for us. Sometimes, our Heavenly Father will even show us through something so simple as packets of tea! How have you seen His provision in your life lately? Once you begin to look, you will see it in numerous ways.

(Every day is a new opportunity to trust, and new situations arise that challenge us. I began writing this post yesterday, and today a new situation arose that tested me greatly! Whenever we get too comfortable, our Father always gives us a new chance to trust in His provision for us! Praise You, Jesus!)

Are You Ready for Your Best Lent Ever?

Lent. It’s coming in only 3 days! Have you given any thought to Lent, and what your hopes are? Are you struggling with what to give up, or what to do in general?

Maybe you’ve given up soda for the past 5 years, or 10. Or chocolate. Or whatever. You give it up, maybe imbibing on Sundays, and then, after Easter, you can have your soda again. Life is back to normal.

Don’t you want to go deeper, to come out of Lent renewed and in a closer relationship with Christ? Wouldn’t it be great to approach Easter as a stronger Christian, renewed in your commitment to Christ in the days to come?

This year is your chance to do something for Lent and make it happen!

Best Lent Ever (1)

Dynamic Catholic is rolling out a new program that will give you a focus this Lent.  Each week will have a theme and guidance around that theme, including how to act upon the theme, and a prayer. The tenets of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving will be focused on, as they are integral to the season of Lent. Other aspects of living the faith will also be explored.

Are you interested? Head to BestLentEver.com and learn more! I am looking forward to making this my best Lent ever! How about you?

Together journeying toward the Creator and becoming the creations we were meant to be.