Here I am in your midst...

Here I am in your midst...

MARK 6:7-13

MARK 6:7-13
Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two
and gave them authority over unclean spirits.
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick
–no food, no sack, no money in their belts.
They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic.
He said to them,
“Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there.
Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you,
leave there and shake the dust off your feet
in testimony against them.”
So they went off and preached repentance.
The Twelve drove out many demons,
and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Healing

Hosea 11:1-4
"I lifted the yoke from their neck. I bent down and fed them." 

So often I hear people speak of spiritual dryness. A period of time where a person struggles to feel or hear the Lord's presence. Over the last couple of weeks I have experienced my own battles with what felt like "dryness". I could not pray as usual. A myriad of distractions would never cease to disturb and confuse me. And while I could find a multitude of reasons to suppose at why this was happening, I was too frustrated to try to figure it out. I decided instead to let it pass and to persist in prayer. 

But every time I tried to pray, all I could feel was silence. Scriptures stirred no movement in my soul. Nothing seemed as usual. But I again patiently endured it. Searching for nothing, seeking nothing, just allowing the dryness to continue on its own terms. 

And then this morning... I felt the Lord calling me to rest in the silence. And I had a vision of myself resting in a special healing place with the Lord. Jesus was caring for my wounds and Mary was nursing me to health and I could hear the Lord telling me that I was to stay in this place until I was filled with His strength.

What occurred to me was that, maybe these places of dryness are not really dryness. Maybe these places of extreme silence in our prayer life is really just the Lord calling us to internal stillness. That in this kind of quiet He can heal us from the wounds that we don't even know of. Haven't you ever had someone ask you, "Where did you get that bruise?". And your response is, "Geez, I dunno." I can't imagine that our spiritual lives are any different. 

How do you handle periods of spiritual dryness? Perhaps we should take these moments of our spiritual life as intentional places of healing where the Lord is emptying us of ourselves and filling us up with Himself. That the intense quiet is a reminder of our own mortality and the desire of our hearts for salvation. Imagine a person who is both deaf and blind. They cannot see or hear the world they live in, but yet it still exists.

Jesus, come to me in my dryness that I may trust in Your presence even when I don't feel it. Help me to rest in the quiet. Please use the silence of my soul for great healing. That when this passes me, Your strength will encompass my being. Help me to trust that when I cannot hear your voice or feel your presence, that you are speaking to me in ways I cannot understand. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Mary, my mother

St.Louis Demontfort tells us in "True Devotion to Mary," that Mary's complete submission to the Lord can save the whole world.
... This makes me think that if we too can give ourselves over to God, like Mary did, then we will also become, "like Earthen vessels," to the world. The more we loose ourselves and give ourselves over to God's work, the more we will become more truly ourselves.

"Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." MATTHEW 10:39
http://www.usccb.org/bible/matthew/10

If we look to Mary for help, she can help us transform our own human brokenness and mortality into life giving fruit.

There is nothing that Mary did to save the world. She did not go preaching out to the town, performing miracles or beginning some kind of profound ministry. She simply said, "yes." This authentic gift of herself to God the Father is what changes the course of mankind. Her yes saved the world from their sins. That was all she had to do... say yes. God and the Holy spirit did the rest.

This is all that God asks of us. To simply wake up everyday with a, "yes." Yes Lord, I will rely on Your strength today and not my own. "Yes Lord," I will rely on your wisdom and not my own. "Yes Lord," I will surrender to you. We don't have to do anything. For scripture tells us....

"He saved us and called us to a holy life, not according to our works but according to his own design and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began" 
2 TIMOTHY 1:9
http://www.usccb.org/bible/2timothy/1:10

Where is God asking you to say, "Yes," in your life? Ask Mary to help you, and that in your own, "yes," you will glorify God.


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Spiritual Direction

Recently I felt the Lord tugging on my heart.  Anxiety had overcome and overrun me in so many ways and I was determined to get "control" over it. I went to counseling, and sought out guidance. From a very trusted professional, I was able to see more clearly where my life and thoughts may need adjustment. I saw my doctor and sought out medication. Testing revealed the hormone imbalance within my body that needed treatment. And these things immensely helped me. But I still feel the Lord calling me, drawing me.... Something else was a the source of all this struggle and pain. Something much deeper and a void that only He could see or care for.

So I sought out spiritual direction, and the concept of this was not unfamiliar to me. I had heard of and received this kind of direction in the past. However, this time I needed it. God had smacked me with the kind of humility necessary to realize that I could not even wake up in the morning without his help and grace. And as difficult as this suffering phase of my life had been, I was grateful for it. I was grateful to need Him so desperately.


Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here, I find my rest
Without You, I fall apart
You're the One that guides my heart

Lord, I need You
Oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense
My righteousness
Oh, God how I need You

Where sin runs deep
Your grace is more
Where grace is found, is where You are
Where You are, Lord I am free
Holiness is Christ in me
Yes, where You are, Lord I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

Lord, I need You
Oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense
My righteousness
Oh, God how I need You


Read more: Matt Maher - Lord I Need You Lyrics | MetroLyrics 


So I am committing, with the direction of spiritual advisory. I am committing to prayer. Everyday. Because, right now, I need You to do anything. I can't anymore. I have finally run myself down, thinking I am capable of so much. Thinking that I can just control everything into being perfect/right. And I have seen with my own eyes how weak I truely am. Our feet are made of clay. And I am devoting myself to prayer. I am devoted to praying everyday, to see the Lord in scripture and find Him in the place that he waits for me. That through scripture, repetition and examination of my conscience I can truly begin the soul healing that the Lord is desiring for my heart.

Lord take over my life and make me whole. I want to be Yours and Yours alone. I give you my children, my husband, my family, my job, my life, my home, my joys, my sorrows, my passions, my strengths, my weaknesses, my friends, and my enemies. I give it all to You Jesus. I surrender. And I commit to waking up everyday as Your servant. Lord Jesus, help me in the call that You have for me, that I may serve You well. And that everyday, regardless of joy or struggle my goal and purpose is to serve You and Your Holy Will for my life and for the whole world. Jesus, my feet are made of clay. Please give me the grace to persist in this devotion. Because temptation will arise from the enemy to distract me from Your dwelling place. Make me strong Jesus. And give me a heart like Yours to serve You and You alone.  Help me to seek You in prayer everyday and may it become for me the very air that I breathe. So that not a moment of my life may come without the mention of Your name. Jesus, I trust in You. Jesus, help me surrender all to You. Jesus, make me whole.


Lord, I need You
Oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense
My righteousness
Oh, God how I need You

Real Life

It's 9:00pm and I am home sick with the kids. My husband, poor man, is visiting with his ill grandfather who is in his last stages of life. We are out of clean towels, the baby needs her sheets washed, a mountain of dishes in the sink and I am literally about to fall apart. I need you Lord to enter in here. I am waving the white flag.

Real life is...
Feeling depression and not wanting to get out of bed to be mommy, wife, daughter or anything.

Real life is...
Having the baby smile at you for just that moment that you realize that when you thought you didn't have enough you might be able to keep going.

Real life is...
Feeling guilty about being sick when your husband is mourning the loss of his beloved grandfather.

Real life is...
Knowing that you need Jesus. That this life is just too much for any human person to handle, and that waving the white flag means that you are tired of doing it alone and desperately want the Lord to intervene.

Go ahead and wave your white flag. Give up and give over to Jesus. Let him carry the burden while you rest in His peace and the love of the eternal Father will envelope you and surround your heart with a peace that surpasses all understanding.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

To Jesus

... through Mary

At Easter of 2013, my husband and I had a miscarriage. I was 11 weeks when the pregnancy passed, but at 8 weeks we knew that there was no heartbeat. There were so many things difficult about this time in our life. No one can prepare you for the heartache of miscarriage until it happens to you...

At 5 weeks I got a positive pregnancy test and was ecstatic. We had been trying to get pregnant for about a year, so this news was long awaited. However, in the pit of my stomach, something did not feel right.

I remember spending some time in adoration begging the Lord to let us keep the pregnancy. This was before we even knew. But something inside my heart felt off. I never told my husband, but I later found out that he had similar feelings.

At 8 weeks I went in for an ultrasound and the ultrasound tech was very quiet. "How many weeks did you say you were?".... "Are you sure you aren't off?". We use NFP... I knew what was going on. There was no baby. We had a blighted ovum miscarriage. No baby. I remember only being able to contain myself enough to get dressed and leave the room before busting outside in tears. I wanted that baby to be there so badly. I wanted that day to end so differently. I wanted to go back and redo it all. I wanted to come out with a cute little picture for the fridge and excited phone calls for our family. I was frozen outside not wanting to move forward.

I remained pregnant for another 3 weeks. Full blown morning sickness and all. It was horrible. I remember begging the Lord to make it end, because everyday that I was pregnant was like a sick reminder of the emptiness I now felt inside me. Couple that with a trip to the ER for dehydration (morning sickness and depression are not a good combo) and I was completely broken.

By Easter Sunday I was having the miscarriage. It was the most difficult experience I have ever been through.

Psalm 23:4
"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For you are with me; your rod and staff comfort me."

I began to loose my trust in the Lord. Not because I didn't trust Him, but because I didn't want to trust Him. I wanted to be the author of life. To keep all the bad things from happening. I wanted to control, because letting go was too... scary.

Psalm 62:9
"Trust God at all times."

... at ALL times... not when you feel like it. Not when it makes sense to. Not when things seem right in the world... but at ALL TIMES.

Romans 8:28
"We know that ALL things work for good for those who love God."

TRUST AT ALL TIMES.
ALL THINGS WORK FOR GOOD.

My faith would tell me to trust in God. My faith would tell me to love Him in the good and bad times. But my heart said that it hurt too much. I was mad at Him. I was hurt by Him. And that honesty led me to prayer.

Sometimes, God wants our honesty. Our brokenness... Not the politically correct version of how you feel. He wants us to come with guns blazing, heart abandoned. Tell Him how he wronged you. Tell Him how mad you are. How much he hurt you.... but be prepared, because that kind of honesty will get you somewhere.

This honesty led me to Mary. "Mary  my mother, your son has hurt me. Do you see what has happened? How could he do this to me? Mary please... help me..."

This is a prayer that no mother would ever turn down. Mary was a mother. Mary understood the pain of loosing a child. Mary understood my hurting in a way that only a woman could.

I had a vision of Mary coming into my life, into my mind. And every painful memory that was laid on the table she placed herself there in the midst of it. So that all that time where I felt I couldn't take it, I couldn't handle it, I couldn't bear it, she would  be there in it. And if the memory would come again, I would feel the pain, but I would feel her too. And I could trust her. I could rely on her. She would be the mother I couldn't. She would cry with me. She would sit with me in the silence. She would care for me the way I really need someone too. The way only a mother could. And I would trust her. Openly I could trust her. Because no matter what bad things happened she would be there to do what I could not...

And as I sat with her in our secret place, she looked at me and said,
"He wants to see you..."
"Oh no! I can't! I am broken. He has hurt me too much."
"He loves you..."
"....."
"He wants to forgive you...He wants to hold you...He misses you.... You know its true."

And she would walk me to Him.... slowly. At my own pace. Because, Mary never acts on her own accord. She takes everything she does and looks directly back at her son. Because she is under his mission and purpose. And she does all things for Him.

So if you are in a place, where you cannot trust God... go to Mary. She will lead you back to him. But only when you are ready. I am learning to trust Jesus through Mary.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Real Truth

For over a year I have struggled with PPD and PPA. It has not been awesome.

I spend nights and days praying for God to zap me with the Holy Spirit and take away the struggle and grace me with the trust and faith in Him that will replace my fears and worries... but it never happens.

I know he can do this. I know he can take this away. But he is allowing it... why???

As Christians we live by truth. But what is the truth?
 I recently had a priest tell me that the truth is... that we are sinners.
Pope Francis was asked in an interview, "Who are you?" and he responded simply, "I am a sinner." The truth is, that we are broken. We cannot do anything ourselves. We are flawed and in desperate need of redemption. Truly living out our faith means, admitting that we don't have the answers. That we cannot do it ourselves. And we need Christ to step in and give us the answers. Why are we searching inside ourselves for the answers to something that He alone can give us?

This resonates so beautifully for me. I need Christ. He has the power to zap me with great faith and trust... But instead of Him giving me Trust, He is gracing me with opportunity to trust Him more. And instead of giving me great Faith, He is gracing me with opportunity to believe blindly.

My struggle with depression is very real. But my best days are not my "best"days. My best days are the days when I am most fearful and paralyzed by my own thoughts... Those are the days where the only way I can keep moving is if I keep my eyes solely fixated on Him. I have two young girls to care for. I cannot lie in my bed and hide from how I am feeling. The only thing I can do is to repeat over and over and over, "Jesus, Mary.... Jesus, Mary.... Jesus, Mary..." And they come to me like a flood with comfort. They don't take away my struggle or depression, but they help me bear it. And then walk me through it. Because I am LEARNING faith, trust and surrender. And if they handed me the answers, then I wouldn't be learning it for myself.

Really, I am not struggling with fear. I am not struggling with depression. I am not struggling with things of this world... I am struggling to accept the fact that I can't control what happens to me, or my family. I can't make things perfect. I don't have the answers...

My struggle is simply Jesus's overriding questions for me, "Do you trust me? Do you believe in me? Do you have faith in me?".

I always thought I did. I go to church every week. I am heavily involved in my church's ministries. I pray fervently.... But my struggle is helping me to see that maybe I don't have the faith I thought I did. Because if I did, I wouldn't be so afraid.

Romans 8:28
"We know that ALL things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to HIS purpose."

ALL things.... good and bad
HIS purpose... not my purpose

And I am starting to realize, that if my fears were completely gone, then I would forget how much I really need him. Because I am a sinner. I am afraid. And I need redemption from a Savior, who loves me with abiding love that I will never comprehend.

Lord, no matter how much I struggle. No matter what life throws at me... never let me doubt your love for me. Lord I need you. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Looking for Love

If we need evidence that we are social beings looking for relationships...
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
If we need evidence that we are a people looking for love, affirmation, and acceptance...
Likes
Comments
Followers
If we need evidence that our hearts desire salvation and mercy...
#supportFrance
#GivingTuesday
#beatcancer

Why are we so moved by acts of kindness? Why are we so touched by the generosity of others? What is so inspiring about selfless acts of love?

Love is who we are. If we are created in the image and likeness of God, and God is love, these images reflect truth. They reflect the deeper meaning of our identity that we will never fully understand. And it is in these moments that we become who we truly are.
2 Corinthian 4:7
"But we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us."

This is why we crave social media. The attention, the affirmation, the admiration of others is an addiction born from a depravity of love. We want to be loved. Because we were made by God, who is love.

The truth is that God is already loving you. He loved you before you were even made.
Jeremiah 1:5
"Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you."
And he loves you unconditionally. No matter what you've done. No matter what mistakes you made today, last month, last decade... He loves you. He loves with a love that we cannot even comprehend. And we can spend all the time we want on social media looking for it. But we'll never find it.

I took social media out of my life.
Matthew 5:30
"And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off."
I look at it from time to time. But I found my only motivation for looking at it was to see what other people were doing and want it. Or to post something about myself to gain admiration for it. And I struggle with love. I struggle to accept the unfailing, unshaking, unchanging love that God has for me. And the use of social media (no matter how much I try to justify it or use it for good) always leads me back into my struggle with love.

God has won the battle of love for me. I am already being loved, with a love that surpasses my own understanding. I don't have to find it. It is already there, waiting for me to receive it.