Monday, December 4, 2017

It's in the Waiting

Now! Everything in our lives has become so centered on that word. We want the Wi-Fi to work, now. We need the newest technology, now. We rush through our day because our bosses’ need it done, now.
We’ve become so reliant on same-day delivery, immediate responses through emails and web-based search engines that we have forgotten about patience. The ever-churning of our instant gratifying world has removed our ability to sit and wait.
It’s the same in our faith lives’.
“WHAT?! Good, Christian people are impatient?” …Yes, you’ve got it exactly! We want Jesus to overflow our heart in one adoration visit. We want God to answer our prayer by the time we get home. We want our life-plan to match up with His character plot. We have become so used to now that we expect God to snap His mystical fingers and align our life so that everything is perfect… even if it’s our “perfect”.
And while, yes, God most certainly could sweep over us as we sleep and re-arrange our lives’ to be exactly as we think they should be, He doesn’t. Take, for example, when Jesus rose Lazarus from the dead. Martha and Mary sent word that Lazarus was sick, and instead of immediately running to their aid, Jesus “stayed two days longer in the place where He was” (John 11:6). But why in the world would He wait? Why wouldn’t the Man who loved Lazarus so much get up and go?! Well, in a simple way, it wouldn’t have been as cool. Think about it. Jesus made people well all the time. He would smear dirt over eyes, and the blind would once again see. He would utter: “Your faith has saved you, go in peace” (Luke 7:50) and the sick would walk. Healing was no big deal for our perfect savior, and people would blame it on circumstance. But to bring someone, who was dead for FOUR days back to life… that would be an undeniable miracle.
Don’t worry, the story isn’t over! After the death of their brother, Martha and Mary were told Jesus was coming. THIS is the best part!    Mary stays home. She’s so defeated by her waiting that she doesn’t have enough faith or trust to even greet our Lord. Martha, however, goes to meet Him. She starts with some classic, female sass: “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21). Jesus, in all His mercy, asks Martha if she believes He is the resurrection. At her “Yes!”, Jesus calls out to Lazarus, “Come forth” (John 11:43) and don’t you know it, the guy comes walking out of the tomb!!! CRAZY, right?!?
So, are you Martha, or are you Mary? Do you sit at home, doubting He’ll do it? Or do you show up?    Make the journey to your church, chapel or favorite path. Go to the place you’ve met Him before. It's hard, believe me I know. You wont “feel” something magical every time you pray and you might never have a burning bush type of experience, and that’s OK. Wherever your “place” is... just show up and be. Don't feel obligated to speak or even look up. Just be.
 Peace is in the waiting.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Voice of a Woman

I was sitting around the table, looking at all the beautiful women who have been given the honor of being someone’s mother. I was listening as they shared memories of their children’s younger years, as they discussed all the “mom fails” and learning moments and as they sat in awe of the blessing God gave them in being a mother. It was then that I tuned-in to the voice of a woman. It’s so gentle and sweet, but has the ability to grab the attention of so many and demand respect as it gives instruction. It’s loving in its deliverance and travels long after it has been spoken.

 The voice of a woman carries a greater mission than I think anyone has ever tuned-in to notice. The soft sound that comes from a woman’s mouth is partnered with the purpose God gave it. A woman of faith has been crowned with a distinct, God-given voice. Who was the small, often unnoticed voice in the Bible? Women. Who has crumbled and sat speechless in the corner for far too long in the Church? Women. I think, as a woman, it’s time to recognize our voice and to lift it in order to follow the mission God placed in our hearts.  

 Elizabeth, the Virgin Mary’s cousin, was the first to proclaim the pregnancy which would bring forth our Savior. “Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, ‘Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.’” (Luke 1:41-42).

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is often noted to be, well, silent throughout the Bible. As Mary holds a small speaking role in the gospels, there is one story where her gentle voice meets the start of God’s mission. The Wedding at Cana is marked as the start of Jesus’ mission, and His mother, Mary, gives Him a firm push. “When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ [And] Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servers, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’” (John 2:3-5). 

 When Jesus had to pass through Samaria, He came across a woman at the well of Jacob. After talking to her for a short time, He spoke truth and told her the things she had done. The woman, recognized she was speaking with the Messiah and immediately got up, “went into the town and said to the people, ‘Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Messiah?’… Later, “Many of the Samaritans of the town began to believe in him because of the word of the woman” (John 4:28-29, 39).

 After going to the tomb to find Jesus’ body missing, Mary Magdalene was alone when Christ appeared to her. “’Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?’… ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him, ‘Teacher.’ Jesus said to her… ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples. ‘I have seen the Lord.’” (John 20:15-18).

What an honor to be the first to tell of the coming of Christ and to share in Mary’s joy? How appropriate that Jesus’ mother be the first to command the start of His mission?  Isn’t it beautiful that the often ignored Samaritan woman spoke directly to the hearts of non-believers? Wasn’t it wonderful that Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene and sent her to share His glory with the others?  God is constantly using women, and their small voice. I think it’s time women of the Church look into their hearts to see what God is calling them to share. What an amazing world this would be if we heard the voice of a woman.

So women, get up, go out and speak the message God instructed you to share! You may never know what your words can lead to, but if they are spoken in faith, they can only lead to goodness.

Jesus said, ‘I am the truth’, and it is your duty and mine to speak the truth.” –St. Teresa of Calcutta 

This post was written for the Catholic Faith Blog on 5/22/2017

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Unapologetically Authentic

I was sitting in the Adoration chapel a few days ago when I caught myself thinking a dangerous thought: “I wish I prayed like her.” How often do we think things like that? “I wish I could kneel as long as he can. Maybe then the Lord would grant my prayer. I wish I could read the Bible and understand it as easily as my group leader. I wish I had the same relationship with God that she does. She just gets it.”

No! STOP RIGHT THERE!  God made you to be you! He designed you apart from everyone else! You were thought-out and uniquely formed! He didn’t look through a catalog and say “Sure, I’ll make her just like number 277089. The world needs another one of those.” LOL! Are you kidding me?!?!

He pieced together every beautiful inch of your body and smoothed over every longing curve of your heart. He looked into the world and thought it needed YOU!!! The King of the universe and the God of all things thought YOU were needed in this time, in that person’s life, and in every moment of your life that is to come!

That same God did not ask you to pray like the girl to your left. He didn’t ask you to kneel as long as the boy in the first pew. And He most definitely did not call you into the same relationship as the girl in your Bible study! He called you to be you! He asked you to share this life with Him. He asked you to be vulnerable, and to show people a little glimpse of Him in everything you do. He wants you to be silly, or be serious! He wants you to sit and journal, or to kneel and pray the Rosary. He wants you to know Him… no matter how that may come!

So, be you! Be so unapologetically authentic that you start to see yourself as He sees you! You were made for something so much more than what we can see, and His love is SO proud to be seen with YOU!

 “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” Psalm 139:16