Do you desire holiness?

Before writing these blogs, I try to seek God’s guidance because He knows this audience better than I do. He knows what that one person needs to read to grow closer to Him. In doing so, I pray about what to write and try to be in tune through out my day on anything God may be directing my focus towards. I do believe this technique is how we should each discern God’s will for us in all that we do.

Somedays I see, hear or feel nothing that God is placing before me to write about and other days like today I see connections that I know are not coincidences.  This morning, I flipped a devotion on my desk to today’s date – about a week of flipping, because I do not look at it everyday. The devotion was about holiness. Stormie Omartian the author of The Power of a Praying Woman writes, “God has made a way for us to live in holiness. And He is able to keep us Holy. When our heart wants to live in purity and do the right thing, God will keep us from falling into sin. It is only by the grace of God that we can live in holiness, even after we have chosen to do so. That’s because God enables us to do what He asks us to do. But we still need to ask Him to do it.”

60254E24-269B-4449-81D7-716E6C20CA93

When I read this, a conversation I had with a beautiful sister in Christ struck me. Just yesterday, I was in a “funk.” I was being the victim. I was needing to vent a little, share my heart a little – just needed a listening being. My friend, whom God has given a gift to nurture others, received my victim mode – for that I am grateful. In the midst of my rambling, I shared with her how I was praying and she made a comment of me being “holy.” I think I had a burst of laughter – thinking to myself, me holy? In fact, I responded, “not really, just found many years ago that my relationship with God is key to life.”

When I examine myself, my life, there is no way I can see myself as being holy. I strive to do what’s right. I feel I’m grounded in my relationship with God. Yet, I sin, I fall, I complain when things don’t align with me, and I’m selfish. My list goes on and on why I cannot achieve holiness.  The slow learner that I am did not realize that my response stated two things my lack of belief in my ability to be holy and my relationship with God that is key to my holiness.  I have heard and read that anyone can achieve sanctity and that is our primary goal as children of God so why do I not see myself as being holy or capable of holiness?

I think God has many lessons for us to learn. Those lessons involve His grace so that we can be open. And this is where my lesson on holiness began this morning. When I read this devotion, I realized that holiness is not a perfection. I’m going to falter. I’m going to fill the victim role at times but it’s God’s grace and my desire to receive it that grounds me in holiness, creating the role as victor in my life. It is ‘my relationship with God’ that brings holiness upon me, not my faults.

Friends, holiness is our strive to see, hear and follow God’s will for us. It is the grace He gives us to do what’s right. It is seeking Him in prayer and the Sacraments to receive this grace freely offered to us. It is in this grace that we receive all we need to align with His will, making it easier to avoid temptations of sin and be righteous. It is here that we are not the victim but the victor and arise to holiness.

Do you desire holiness? Do you embrace your relationship with God above all things? Are you open to hearing Him throughout your day so that your will aligns with His? My dear friends, I think this is our journey to holiness.

 

 

Journey through the desert

Take a journey with me. Let’s walk along a path that seems to have no foot steps in front of us. Perhaps there have never been any or perhaps they have been covered up by the sands.

There is nothing living among the path we walk, everything appears to lack life. As we walk, let’s look at the moments in our journey that did not bring life into us. Look at them closely. Is there anything you can learn from those moments that will breathe life in you today? Something present that will help you with a trial, tribulation or a feeling of unrest?

Walk along this desert floor and feel the heat of each of these moments. Feel the dryness of your faith. Do you thirst for God as you trodden this warm, sand filled land? Do you see a mirage of your Heavenly Father before you inviting you to sift through the sands of the desert in your life, to draw closer to Him by offering these feelings to Him, bringing life upon you? Or do you see a mirage of something that isn’t from God, tempting you to turn back and dwell in the journey behind you suffering death within, clouding your vision to move forward – to see God in the moments of hurt and pain? Which mirage will you turn to? Which one draws you near?

You continue to walk along this journey and notice above your head there appears to be a dove. He flys just in front of you. You have to glance upward to see him. You wonder what is a dove doing in the middle of the desert. Yet you feel an exuberant amount of peace. Could it be the dove’s presence? Can you feel his guidance along your path? Follow him. See where he takes you.

It looks like he is guiding you to a spring ahead? It appears to be a spring of life giving water. Is it another mirage tempting you? Or is it a spring from your Heavenly Father inviting you to dive in His love, accept the grace He has given you? Will you drink from it? Will you dive in? Or will you pass it by because your vision is cloudy and the reality of the spring has been covered up by your conscience?

adventure alone arid barren
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It is your choice to drink from the spring of life to come to the table and receive the Eucharist, the life giving body and blood of Christ. It is your choice to dive into the moments of desolation, the moments when God feels distant and search for His presence, His invitation. It is your choice to allow Him to bring life into your being or remain in the desert of death. Which choice will you make today? God will draw close to you in the desert filling you with a spring of life.

Doubt – discovering a deeper relationship

Doubt is but another element of faith. St Augustine

Have you ever considered doubting God or your faith a good thing? Has your doubt sparked a stronger relationship with God? Has God drawn you closer to Him by using this doubt as a catalyst to get your attention?

Doubt is a good source for deeper, more intimate prayer, a deeper, more intimate conversation with God which leads to a deeper, more intimate relationship with Him. Perhaps the moment where Jesus asks “why have you abandoned me” gives us a pathway to meet Him in a deeper level through His suffering. Although He did not doubt God’s plan, He bore “the same sufferings of our doubts” revealing God’s mercy. Often in the midst of our sufferings we doubt the most. We wonder where is God and why has He abandoned us. We may question His answers or His timing, or we may question His love and compassion. Doubt stirs up a search within us for the God we’ve read about, we’ve heard about and we know.

person holding compass in forest
Photo by Tobias Aeppli on Pexels.com

There was a time in my marriage when I had great doubt. I was growing in my faith and my relationship with God. My desire for God had gone from about fourth or fifth place to first. Yet there was one major issue that baffled me. My marriage had really begun to spin out of control. What I knew about the church’s teaching on marriage didn’t align with the struggle in my heart. My struggle had become a tug of war between my marriage and my relationship with God. I remember having a conversation with my father-in-law while picking blackberries. He told me that God wants our whole heart but I had chosen to be married and I couldn’t give God all of it. This really confused me. Although I could feel God’s presence and this deep desire for Him, I was uncertain of His plan in my marriage and in my life – the path He had placed me on. As a result of this doubt and confusion, I began to talk to God more intensely, seeking direction. What I discovered was a deeper, more intimate relationship with Him that led me to understanding His will and presence in my life. Through my doubt, I sought clarity and answers and found truth and peace.

Often when you doubt, you are generally out of your comfort zone. You begin to question reason and faith, resulting in questioning God. When you question God, you dig deeper for truth. When you seek truth, it leads you to God’s deep desire – a relationship with you that takes precedence over all things. My dear friends, when you doubt and begin to search, you open the doors for the Holy Spirit to enter. Once that happens, all things are clearer and your oneness with God’s will is ignited. This is truly your “faith in the fire of the Holy Spirit.”

pigeon and seagull flying above body of water
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

When you doubt and question God, see it as a gift of discernment, a gift of seeking God deeper. It is in our questions that we are awakened and set on fire in our faith, and our relationship with God. It is in the journey for truth in our lives that He meets us and welcomes us with a love burning bright. Open your heart to doubt and let it bring you closer to your Heavenly Father as you seek Him beyond the depths of the sea.

The Companion

When I walked in the desert, I felt alone.  My heart was distant, anxious and alone.  I thirst but was not satisfied.  I longed for something more but could not find it.  My mind searched as my feet shifted the grains of sand beneath them.  The desert winds tossed me here and there as the sand whirled around me and I could not see.  I was blinded by all that was swirling around me until I caught a glimmer of movement.  “Please rescue me from this storm” I yelled.  “I can’t breathe any longer.”  I began to focus on this movement beyond the whirlwind around me that was within my reach.  Suddenly, the winds calmed and there You were, my constant Companion, my Refuge.

When I walked along the river alone and distracted.  I hungered for something but could not find satisfaction from the fruits along the path.  I longed for more and searched here and there with no gratification.  My mind wandered into the past as I stumbled and fell.  Into the raging river, my body was swept away.  I was tossed and turned beneath the water’s furious current.  From beneath the water surface I could see a hand reaching down.  I yelled, “Help me. I’m drowning.”  As I focused on this hand above me, I was pulled from the raging waters and there You were, my constant Companion and Refuge.

A volcano is where I ventured to dwell in my pain and suffering.  My fears surrounded me and overcame me as I ventured alone.  When I approached it’s base, it began to erupt.  The lava surrounded me, trapping me as the heat around me intensified.  Nearby I could see a figure.  As I looked upon it, I began to yell, “Help me, please.  Release me from this fire.  Please don’t let it consume me.”  As I focused on this figure, I was lifted from the fiery lava and there You were, my constant Companion and Refuge.

As I dwell in the desert, drown in the raging river or am consumed by the fiery heat of a volcano, You are my Companion, opening your arms with love and telling me I’m never alone.  Your love and companionship is constant.  It is I who ventures off, leaving You, ignoring You.  When I place my focus on You, “Through rivers, [I] shall not be swept away.  When [I] walk through fire, [I] shall not be burned, nor will flames consume [me].”

We are never alone when we welcome Jesus to be our Companion and Refuge.  Your anxieties, distractions, pain and sufferings, although present are second to His presence.  He rescues you and provides all that you are longing for – His loving presence.

Messages From God

Often I feel like I am playing hide n seek with God. Sometimes it feels like He is hidden from me, but when my mind is open to seeing God in all things, I see these little messages all around me. I don’t have to seek very hard to find Him.

When I’m faced with adversity, I read a message on my prayer table that says I may have troubles in this world but take courage because He has conquered the world. He tells me this so that I may have peace in Him, John 16:33.

When I need reassurance that I have conquered the enemy with His help, He tells me He is my refuge and His arms are everlasting, that He has driven the enemy out of my way, Deuteronomy 33:27

When I am afraid, He journeys with me into the woods to name and face my fears and then He tells me to not be anxious but come to Him in prayer and His peace will guard my heart and mind and He will give me all that I need, Philippians 4:6-7, 4:19

When I am feeling hopeless, He reveals a tiny purple flower to me in the midst of a bed of dead leaves below my feet, reminding me that new life and a new journey is upon me.

When I just need to know He’s there, I walk outside and He paints a picture and sings a song to me through the beauty of nature and the sound of the birds.

When I need to hear joy, He shows me His presence in the laughter and joy of my children.

When I need to know He is on my journey with me, He places an image upon my window in my car to let me know He is guiding my journey each step of the way.

Through the daily messages He sends me, whether it’s a Bible verse I read, a passage from a book that speaks to me, something I hear on the radio at the right time, something a friend may say, the beauty and sound of nature or my children, I know that if I am always open and seeking Him, He will always let me know He is there carrying, guiding and taking care of me.

Ever feel like God is playing Hide-N-Seek?

Ever feel like God is playing hide n seek with you? He is hidden and you are seeking. Ever sit in prayer longing for God to speak to you, to answer your prayers, your cries for guidance? Or may be in a moment where you find the enemy, his temptation but you can’t find God to help you through the temptation. It’s like God is hidden. God is not hidden even when it appears as so. Look at the sun rise, the sun set, the trees, the flowers, the bees, the birds, etc. God is present all around us. He is anything but hidden, so why do we seek so fervently? Perhaps, we are not present to God? Perhaps it is our own desire we are seeking, our own satisfaction of comfort and gratification, having something tangible to know God is there. All the while, He is sitting there waiting, saying I’m here, seek my presence right next to you, within you, in this very moment. That’s where you will find me. I am not hidden, see me in the color of that flower, or in the ridges of the tree, or the designs in the clouds or even in the storm that you went through yesterday. Your inner heart is where you will really go to find me. Place your trust in me, I will never let you fall into the enemies grips, I will guide your journey if you just trust I’m with you, all around you. There is no need to seek when I am not hidden.IMG_1068