Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

Because of Who They Were, I Am.

Lately I’ve been filled with gratitude. I’ve been pondering how I got to where I am today. I think about the people who contributed to raising me during childhood. They sacrificed so much for me, and still do. Many of them are still supporting me, praying for me, and cheering me on. Without them, I would not be the woman I am today.

I think about my ancestors, who hailed from a variety of countries. I don’t know as

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Photo by Brytny.com on Unsplash

much about them as I would like. I do know that without them, I would not exist. Many great qualities have been passed down. I think about the generous spirit that I received and learned from both sides. I think about the love of children and environments that embrace baby talking, play, and letting children be children. I was so blessed to grow up in these environments. Some people grow up in families that don’t know how to deal with children or see them as a burden. Every ancestry comes with various challenges. That includes mine, many times over. Yet I know the power of Jesus to break any curse. I know that I am not a lone individual, but I arrived on a foundation built by many others. 

I think about the saints who have gone before. Beginning with the Apostles, they had numerous weaknesses. Christ didn’t forsake them despite their evident weaknesses. Think about Peter, who Jesus put in a leadership position, despite his denials. The Apostles clung to the faith to the end, some even paying the price with

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Photo by James Coleman on Unsplash

their lives. Then throughout the past 2000 or so years, there have been countless others who lived lives worthy of their calling. There was Monica, who prayed her wayward son (Augustine) and her angry, faithless husband to unshakeable faith, even when it seemed her tears and prayers would have no pay off. These, and many, many more. They give me the example of keeping faith in any circumstance. They cheer us on and intercede still. The family of God doesn’t end with earthly death.

Always, we are “people in process.” I know that whatever my process looks like, and however far I feel from the person I was created to be, I am surrounded by people cheering me on to my finish line. Here in the earthly realm, and in realms beyond imagining. I can’t give up the fight. I’ve come too far. They came too far, and gave too much. Because of who they were, I am.

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Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”-Hebrews 12:1

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”-John 15:13

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”-Ephesians 4:2-3

 

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Waiting for the Whole Story.

In life, it is crucial to wait for the whole story.

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Photo by Jonas Jacobsson on Unsplash

How many times in relationships do we only see the smallest portion of the story? Many relationships have ended because one person failed to ask questions and assumed the worst. Other relationships have been tarnished and filled with animosity because one person knew a sliver of the story and decided not to ask any questions. They decided to hold onto a small shred of information (possibly not even true). That small shred of information, or misinformation, causes a divide in the relationship if the truth is not sought out. Great damage can be done in relationships and to individuals in these circumstances. As we choose to ask the right questions, we discover the whole story. We discover the motivations of the other person and why they behave in a certain manner. 

Your life currently may not look anything like the life you envisioned. You might wonder what is going on. What is God doing? What am I doing? Wait for the whole story, my friend. Life is often best understood looking backwards. Continue to look forward, as you await being able to look backward one day and better understand. If we don’t wait for the whole story, we may be filled with despair. We’ll lose hope. We must trust God with the whole story. 

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Photo by hiva sharifi on Unsplash

What if the apostles had simply moved on with their lives after Jesus died? What if they decided to forget all about this Jesus Christ that had turned their lives upside down? The story was far from over. Jesus rose from the dead. He then spent another 40 days with the Apostles before descending into Heaven. So as not to leave them alone, He sent the Holy Spirit (Who remains with us, now and forever). The whole story is very, very important. The Cross does not make sense without the Resurrection. The Resurrection does not make sense without the Cross. 

Wait for the whole story. Seek it out, if you have any questions or doubts. Your relationships will look different and you’ll be more apt to be generous with others. Relationships may be restored. Your trust in God will be stronger. You’ll be more hope-filled.

Wait for the whole story. You never know the difference it will make in your life and in someone else’s.

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Photo by Gus Moretta on Unsplash

 

From Fear to Faith.

Just over a year ago, I posted this. The gist of the article was about my fears surrounding taking a huge life leap–a leap that would disrupt the stability of everything in my life. Believe me, it was a turbulent time.

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Photo by Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

A year later, here I am. I’m still standing. I’m not in the same place, geographically, or in any other area of my life. (For that, I am thankful.) I have moved from fear to faith. Of course, this will be a never-ending process. Throughout our lives, we’ll continually be presented with opportunities to choose faith over fear. 

A lot sure has changed in one year! Here’s my testimony:

  • I left the full-time job I had been clinging to, but which no longer brought me life. I knew my Father would provide for me, but I had no idea how. God granted me a job that pays the bills and also allows the perfect amount of flexibility I need at this time in my life. It’s not easy to find that kind of gig–but of course, with God, all things are possible.
  • God has granted me a sound mind in order to continue my studies and to excel in them. I’m so grateful to be in school, studying a subject which interests me and will allow me to be an instrument of healing for others. I’m about halfway to graduation!
  • The clock was ticking, and I had a short time to move to a new home. In the nick of time, God came through with a safe and positive living environment. This also isn’t necessarily easy to find, but God knew what He was doing and opened the door to the place He wanted me to live.
  • I’ve discovered my true friends. The ones that will stick with you even when you (or they) move away. The friends that have seen you through thick and thin and show no sign of stepping out of your life. In this season, I’ve also met new friends that inspire me to grow deeper with the Lord and to discover new aspects of my life. (I pray that I am that kind of friend for them, too!)

Now I know the truth about fear. It’s stagnancy. Fear gives power to meaningless doubts instead of power to an UNLIMITED God! Fear leaves you a shell of the person that you truly are, and that God wants to transform you to be.

Fear is a lie and keeps you from experiencing the wonders that God has for you.

Now I know the truth about faith. Faith brings growth. Faith brings life. Faith brings joy and open doors that you could never have imagined. Decisions of faith mean learning to rely on God above all, and realizing that He truly does care about our lives and care about us!

Faith is the scariest step you can ever take, but it brings blessing and joy.

If you’re struggling to step out in faith, I pray that you will be strengthened today by the Author and Perfecter of our faith!  I pray that your spiritual eyes will be opened to whatever He has for you! I pray that He will release you from the spirit of fear, and pour down the spirit of faith and hope into your life! Thank You, Lord Jesus, for Your faithfulness!

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

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Photo by Abigail Keenan on Unsplash

Life In Christ=No Limits.

“For with God nothing shall be impossible.”~Luke 1:37

A decade ago, I would never have dreamed of the places I’ve been and the opportunities I’ve been blessed with in life. You see, I had a picture in my head of how God “normally” worked in people’s lives. Because of this picture, I placed limits on my life. I expected my life to follow a similar trajectory. I based my vision for the future based on what I saw in other people’s lives, and even what society expected. Very sadly, I was putting God in a box and limiting an all-powerful, limitless God!

As I began to be more open to God’s work in my heart, mind, and each aspect of my life, amazing things began to happen. My Heavenly Father placed people beside me that lived with purpose and did not follow societal expectations. Miracles happened. I was presented with opportunities that cannot be explained except through the eyes of faith.  My mindset shifted. My eyes were opened, along with my mind. I began to see that the only limits on life are those that we place upon ourselves. Yes, you read right–the only limits on your life are those that you allow yourself to believe.     

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Photo by Katerina Radvanska on Unsplash

I have crazy dreams for my future. Or should I say, I don’t have the “American dream.” (Thank God!) Other people sometimes find it difficult to understand when I tell of my dreams for the future or to understand why. I know that God has placed these dreams within me, and has confirmed them over and over again. The reactions of others and the practicalities could easily sway me from striving from these dreams. But, would God be pleased? Would I achieve what God put me on this earth for? NO. Does God want me to live within my comfort zone and let those gifts He has placed within my heart to languish? NO. In fulfilling our purpose and coming to better know our Creator, we find joy.

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Photo by Luca Zanon on Unsplash

Thank You Jesus, that these lives You have given us are limitless in YOU! Show us the limits we have set on ourselves for whatever reason, and show us the dreams that YOU have for us and the path You have set before us to attain them. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen!

“Because you are His sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are His child, God has made you also an heir.”~Galatians 4:6-7

Self-Care Isn’t Selfish.

Nowadays, self-care is “in.” However, some in Christian circles believe that the idea of “self-care” is equivalent with being selfish. Let me put that myth to rest for you right away. There are many accounts in the Bible of Jesus going off on His own for prayer and respite. (The crowds still tried to follow Him.) He was fully Divine, yet also fully human. Jesus needed that time alone to connect with His Father and to be empowered for ministry. 

“Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:15-16

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Photo by Nick Agus Arya on Unsplash

So if the One that we follow also needed time to refresh, how can we say that we’re above Him? Being fully human, we need to make a priority of our self-care. Every single day, we need to make time for God. We need to also be aware of the unique way that we are wired and to make time for those forms of self-care most fitting for us. Once we start making time for our needs, we’ll find ourselves better able to nurture and care for the people we’ve been gifted with in our lives. We cannot pour from an empty vessel.

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Photo by ilya gorborukov on Unsplash

There are seasons of life where we need to be firm & speak up about our needs. This is especially true of moms of young children. Moms of young children may need to let their husband know how depleted she feels. Single moms must pray for loving support and people they can count on.  There is no shame in asking a family member or another trusted person to take over for a few hours once in awhile to tend to yourself.  Every person has their own limits. It’s important to recognize yours and to take the steps to care for you before reaching your limit. Burnout comes after a person has given & given to others without fulfillment of their own needs. This state often leads to depression, resentment toward those one cares for, and tremendous fatigue. For most people, burnout isn’t a “quick fix,” so it’s important to be continually mindful of self-care. 

Every person is the “expert” on what works for them for regular self-care routines. Here are a few ideas to get started:

  • Prayer
  • Reading Scripture, especially in the context of a Bible study
  • Journal
  • Exercise
  • Therapy
  • Painting, drawing, sculpting
  • Finding a new hobby
  • Quality time with supportive & encouraging people
  • Support groups or “moms” groups
  • Reading “fun” books, such as novels
  • Time in a peaceful nature setting
  • Going out to eat (to a place that offers nourishing foods) instead of cooking
  • Make dates or intentional times to reconnect with your significant other a priority
  • Attend a concert, museum, play, or comedy show
  • Short weekend getaways or retreats

Importantly, don’t feel guilty about taking the time you need for self-care! There are people counting on you. Remember how Jesus told us that the second greatest commandment (after loving the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, strength) is to love your neighbor as yourself? (Mark 12:30-31) Jesus’ command assumes that we love ourselves! When you recognize that you were created in the Divine image, you will love yourself because you recognize WHO you belong to! When you take care of yourself, you will be much better able to care for others, and to do it well!

What is your favorite form of self-care?

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Photo by Nikita Kachanovsky on Unsplash

 

To Be Alive.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.~Ephesians 2:10

I celebrated my birthday recently. I’m not going to tell you how old I am…Most people are shocked at my age anyway, since youthful genes run in my family. Additionally, I’m quite petite. Put simply, the number doesn’t matter. These days, I’m pondering life and the lessons I’ve gained more than before.

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Photo by Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

I no longer put societal expectations about age and the timeline for God’s plan for my life together. God has given us each a different story to write. It’s refreshing that none of us is exactly the same. We can always learn from one another and the different ways that God works in each our lives. It can be difficult to understand why the Father gifts one person in a certain way and not another person, but He is sovereign. Only He knows why, as tough as that can be for us to swallow.

In the past year, I had many opportunities to actually “walk in faith.” By the world’s standards, I went about a lot of things in a way that isn’t normally recommended. I think some people think I’m crazy for the peace I’ve gained from Christ about certain areas of my life. But you know what? We serve a faithful, all-powerful God. He has never let me down, and I know that same faithfulness will continue this year and forever.

I am astounded when I think upon the gift of life. Earthly life is definitely not perfect and there are always struggles of various types. Yet when I ponder that this life is a gift, and I could have never existed at all, or even not been given the chance to live…It puts it into a whole new perspective! What a tremendous gift, to live, learn, and love.

I was an idea of the God of the universe! So were you, and every other person in existence at any time. I don’t think our minds can fully comprehend it. What is also profound is that each of us were created for a specific & unique purpose!

I can’t wait to grow closer to Jesus Christ during this next year of my life and to see how He leads me further into the purpose I was created for…

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Photo by Rob Bye on Unsplash

The Power of Being Welcomed.

Recently I moved to a city that I knew very little about. It’s truly been a seamless transition, and I’ve actually forgotten that I’ve lived here for such a short time. What has made it such a seamless and easy transition, you ask? I have been welcomed with open arms.

One great source of welcome has been my new parish community. I’d heard a lot about this parish from other people in my age bracket. I went there and saw for myself how welcoming and kind the people were. At a recent event, a woman found out I was new to the parish and quickly made sure that I knew where she was sitting and that I was welcome to sit there, and introduced me to the people she was sitting with. On Donut Sundays, I know that can I sit at any table and find new friends. (By the way, I think every church should have an opportunity for fellowship after Mass or the Sunday service. Why is it not like this? That’s how community is built!)

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Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

Lately I’ve been reflecting on how this experience is bringing me closer to Christ. By experiencing His love through the kindness of others, I am coming to know in a greater way Who He is.

The chilling truth is that many people have left the Church because they didn’t feel welcomed. Any person who is new to a church should find smiling faces and people ready to talk to them and bring them into community. It is up to us, the Body of Christ, to witness to Christ’s love. When a person is welcomed to a church, they will begin to grasp in a greater way Who Christ is. They will be more open to learning about Him. We’re called to make disciples of every nation. Let’s start in our own churches!

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Photo by Chang Duong on Unsplash