Wednesday, November 16, 2016

He is with you. Every faltering step.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like I’m failing God. It’s like I know what I should be doing. I know I should be setting aside time every day for prayer. I know I should be treating everyone I come across with kindness. I know I should be pursuing Him in every waking moment of my day, but sometimes I just don’t. Sometimes the extra hour of sleep in the morning sounds better than sitting up with a cup of coffee and a journal to pray. Sometimes I can’t muster up my “nice side” to hold the door open for a few more seconds while someone comes in behind me. Sometimes I feel like what I want is better than what God is directing me towards.
Sometimes I fail and I fail epically.

 But where does that put God? How does He feel when I intentionally sleep in, or ignore the people I pass, or choose the world over Him? How does He see my constant, epic failings?

 Well, I’m not claiming to have all the answers, but I have made it this far and what I’ve seen is that He couldn’t care less. God doesn’t care that we are the worst when it comes to time management. He doesn’t get angry when we don’t see His face behind everyone we encounter. He doesn’t mind us taking a wrong turn here and there because we think we know what’s best. God doesn’t hold our failings against us because He has already won. He already knows our story… He wrote it!

 Our loving and good Father doesn’t have a rap sheet with our name on it. He doesn’t shake His head when we “fail.” I don’t even think He considers our mess ups as failures! I think He looks at us with His loving eyes and sees only our beauty. I think He sees the beautiful soul He created and He sees the light He placed within us. We can’t fail Him because He doesn’t have an expectation for us. All He has for us is love… A LOT of love! And while we feel we are failing and pulling further and further away from Him, He is right beside us!

 When we press the snooze on our morning alarm, He settles in our heart and lets us rest. When we turn our head from a homeless person, He awakens our compassion and gives us the courage to roll down the window the next time and give what we can. When we decide to follow our plan instead of His, He walks with us and carries us when it gets too hard.

 So, when you feel like you’ve done too much wrong and you think you’re too far away from Him, know that He is not holding it against you and that He is right beside you.  He is with you in your “failings” and He will never leave you to solve them on your own!

 “God doesn’t require us to succeed, He only requires that you try.” –St. Teresa of Calcutta

Sunday, October 9, 2016


I was driving back to school after an amazing weekend at home. I already felt all mushy inside thanks to the beautiful time I got to spend with my niece and nephews, the movie time I had with my mom and the all too familiar conversation about my car with my dad. As I drove away from my childhood home I noticed the stunning sunset and thought, “How good is my God?”. As the last bit of sun fell behind the clouds and my perfect weekend came to a close, a song I’ve heard a million times, but never quite as deeply, played. “You are I am” by Mercy Me.

 The opening verse says: “I've been the one to shake with fear and wonder if You're even here. I've been the one to doubt Your love. I've told myself You're not enough.” How often do I feel this way? That my God cannot overcome the mess of this world! That surely, I am too much of a disaster to fix this time! How often do I doubt His goodness and gloriousness? How is it that I know a HUGE God, but I always try to squeeze Him into a tiny box?
The chorus continues: “You're the one who conquers giants. You're the one who calls out kings. You shut the mouths of lions. You tell the dead to breathe. You're the one who walks through fire. You take the orphan's hand. You are the one Messiah. You are I am!” I sat in my car stumped on this for the next 2 hours. You are I am. It sounds so simple, but it holds so much! You are the breath I breathe. You are the light in my darkest days. You are the comfort in my despair. You are my strength when I am weak. You are simply everything.

It’s silly, really. Knowing a good, good Father, but not thinking of Him. If I were honest, the way I think of God is much... much different from the God I know. You see, I know God is my father. I know He is good and loving and caring. I know He cherishes me. I know He looks to me and has joy in His heart. I know He is pleased with me. I know He will care for me. I know He holds my life in His hands. Even though I know all of these things... I do not think of these things.

To me, my life is too messy, and the world always seems to get in the way! And when I think of God stepping into my personal life... stepping into the wildness of this world, I think of a God who is holding my happiness hostage until I get everything in order. I think He is disappointed more often than not. Most importantly, when I think of God... I think of a God who has time to think before He has time to love. You see I believe in a God who is nothing but love. But I think of a God that I've allowed my pains, hurts and wounds create. I hold all of my cuts and bruises against Him... rather than truly dropping them at His feet. It's a wall I've built up against Him. As to protect myself from Him, and from the many bruises and cuts to come. I know of a loving Father, but I do not think of Him. 

So, how do I change my thinking? How do I look out into the world and see nothing but the proof of a loving Father? I guess I’m still working on that answer, but I think I’ll start by tearing down the walls of that tiny box! I cannot squeeze a HUGE God into that tiny space any longer! I have to allow myself to see Him in everything. In my morning alarm, my rushed breakfast, my classes and everyone I see on campus. In the flowers growing out of the sidewalk, the sunny days and the gloomy days, the countless hours spent trying to understand biology and the drives home from work. If I start to see God in everything maybe I’ll start to see the goodness in everything and maybe I’ll be able to see that my big, loving and good Father isn’t so far from this world, but rather, in it!

You are I AM, and I am because of You!
“I assure you that God is much better than you believe. He is content with a glance, a sigh of love.” –St. Therese of Lisieux

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Trust in the Fall

How often are we told to “Give it to the Lord and trust that He will take care of everything”? How often do we tell ourselves, “I AM giving it to Him!” knowing deep down inside we’re only giving Him what we want to give Him? We can never seem to let go! Why would we?

God is not tangible! I cannot reach out and hand Him my problems. I can’t sit down at a coffee shop and tell Him face-to-face all of the things weighing down on my heart and watch as He thinks of the best advice to give and listen and He says “You know what, never mind! I’ll handle that for you!”. Sometimes talking to the “Big Man upstairs” isn’t cutting it and we give up on trusting in Him and learn to trust in ourselves. Here’s the catch with that… we can’t do everything on our own. We can’t handle life without accepting the fact that sometimes it’s just too much and we need Him to do all of the heavy lifting!

I’m the type of person who always has to be in control. I like to know what I’m going to make for dinner two nights in advance, I like to know how I did on a test right after taking it and I like to know what the next four years of my life are going to look like. I can’t stand not knowing the answer to all of my problems; so learning (and practicing) how to hand everything to the Father was excruciating for me! I had to compare God to my earthly father. I had to think of times where my dad said: “You know what, never mind! I’ll handle that for you!”.

“Jump. He’ll catch you!”
I’ve often thought of this “jump” that God requires us to take as a little girl learning to swim. I don’t know about you, but I remember the fear of jumping from the side of the pool into my dad’s arms! Try as best you can to put yourself there. You’re a little girl. It’s your first time at the “big kid” pool. Your dad climbs in ready to teach you everything he knows. When he looks back, you’re standing on the side shaking... a little because you’re cold, but mostly because there is a “huge” body of water in front of you that you’ve never tip-toed in. He walks back towards you. Now he’s standing about three feet from you. His arms are stretched out and with his gentile, loving voice he is encouraging you to jump. Everyone can see that you’re not that far, and he is your dad... of course he’ll catch you! Now, the first time you muster up the courage you only leap... You reach out to his hands, touching the tips of his fingers and plop into the water. You didn’t really give him the chance to catch you because you didn’t really jump! He lifts you out of the water... acting like it was the most glorious jump he has ever seen and encouraging you to do it again. This time you have even more fears. You know how cold the water is, you know you can’t touch the bottom and you know that with out him you will not come back to the surface... but still he is there... arms stretched to you with encouraging phrases and the promise that he will catch you. So, you do it... you REALLY jump! And he catches you!!! His promise was kept!

So it goes with giving God our burdens. We so often tell ourselves we are giving it to Him, when in reality we are only letting Him have the tips of the struggle. We like to hold onto it... we like our feet to touch the concrete as long as they can. And when we plop into the unknown we become fearful and question why we still have burdens or suffering. It’s not until we REALLY give them to Him that He can REALLY catch us and we can learn to trust Him.

So, when it comes to you giving Him your burdens... are you REALLY giving them to Him, or are you just letting Him touch the tips while you still have “control”?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” –Psalm 3:5-6