Heavy Burdens

pexels-photo-715414.jpegHow heavy are your burdens, the weight of the rocks you carry around daily?  Are they heavier than the cross that was carried by our Lord?  A humbling event is to pray the Way of the Cross, Jesus’ journey to His crucifixion.  As you walk along side Jesus, the way His mother did, observing every fall and every wound inflicted from the torturous hits, can you imagine the weight of the cross He carried?  Can you see the weight of each one of your rocks being added to His cross?  Perhaps when your rocks were added, He fail for the first time or may be the second time.

As I prayed the Way of the Cross, I realized how insignificant my own burdens are compared to the burdens of the entire world.  Jesus carried the weight of the entire world as He carried His cross to His crucifixion.  The weight of my cross is a small fraction of that in which our Lord carried, yet I often complain or feel sorry for my own crosses I’m asked to carry.  When I complain, I pray that they are taken away, that I no longer have to carry them.  Then God reminds me that there is sweetness in carrying my cross.  In this sweetness is victory, this victory is my relationship with Him, my reliance upon Him in the midst of carrying my cross.  When I see this victory, I feel the weight of my cross lift, as that weight is added to Jesus’ cross.  As I continue to carry my cross as the weight has lifted, I walk beside Jesus and observe every detail of His journey as this is now my journey.   I pray that I complain less about my crosses and embrace them more because this is the journey to accepting God’s will and living in unity with His desires in my life.  This is the way to sainthood.

Have you embraced your crosses with love and acceptance, or with anger and resentment?  Or have you rejected your crosses that God has asked you to carry?

An Encounter by the Creek

“We must speak to God as a friend speaks to his friend, servant to his master; now asking some favor, now acknowledging our faults, and communicating to Him all that concerns us, our thoughts, our fears, our projects, our desires and in all things seeking His counsel.” – St Ignatius of Loyola

Imagine that you are sitting under a tree, near the edge of a creek flowing into a small pool.  The water flows across each stone, one by one, moving uniquely across each stone as if it were a unique part of the creek.  The colors before you, on the side of the creek, are vivid and the sound of the water dropping into the pool sounds like a musical instrument resonating in your head.  The breeze is gentle and cool.

As you watch the water flow over each stone in the creek, you notice each stone in your own life, moments of pain and moments of peace.  As you look up from the view before you, you see this man beside you.  He is very gentle in nature.  His eyes appear to be full of sorrow, yet his face appears to be pure as the driven snow.  His eyes reveal a story of pain and of love.  There seems to be something very familiar about him but you can’t put your finger on it.

You greet him with a smile and a warm hello.  He sits beside you embracing the view before you.  His demeanor seems very welcoming.  You look into his eyes and you can feel this deep sense of trust within him, not something you would feel with a complete stranger.  As you sit with him, you feel an enormous amount of peace all around you and everything seems more vibrant and full of life.

He turns to you with gentleness and invites you to share your sadness, your joys, your thoughts, and your desires.  You feel very comfortable opening up your heart to him, you don’t know why but he feels like the perfect companion.  You begin to share your deepest desires, your deepest hurts, your fears and the moments that bring you joy and happiness.  He looks at you with love and compassion and holds out his hands so that you can feel the warmth of his love.  It is at this moment that you realize your new found friend, this stranger beside the creek is your first true love, your best friend.  He is your Lord, Jesus, listening and loving every bit of you and waiting to embrace you with his exuberant love.  Will you accept his invitation of friendship?  Will you sit with him as he gives you his undivided attention?

 

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Hope

Tomorrow is the first day of Spring. When I think about spring, I think about hope. It’s the time of year when flowers begin to sprout and bud. It’s a time of new life. We celebrate Easter, the greatest celebration of the year.

The Easter season follows Lent, a time of death from worldly things, preparing us for new life at Easter, when Jesus rises from the dead. His resurrection brings new life to each of us as He is present in each of us. Our hope doesn’t come from the world or the things in it, it comes from our inner core, our center, where Christ lives within us.

I remember a time in my life when I didn’t feel hope. That feeling was dark and cold. Each day I felt like nothing would change. I would be stuck in this place of pain and suffering. Then hope peaked through a tiny crack of light and my faith began to sprout. The world seemed different. The colors surrounding me became vibrant, the birds were no longer silent and the springs from the ground seemed refreshing.

When hope fills you, a new life and a new journey takes route, leading you to unimaginable landscapes. The walls that were built up begin to tumble and reveal stepping stones to a God who loves you more than anything and guides you closer to Him. He leads you to greener pastures, where the clouds aren’t dark and the sun shines bright, where the wildflowers dance in the fields as a beautiful tapestry of color before your very eyes. As you stand there in awe, taking in all that you can, full of hope, full of life, He holds your hand and you feel the warmth of all His love flooding every crevice of your body. That is the ecstasy of hope.

Trust in God

IMG_E1094Over the years, God has been refining my trust in Him.  My trust in myself was always greater than my trust in God.  What I have discovered is that since I had placed my trust in myself, I was in the middle of a dark storm that whirled around me and I couldn’t find my way out.  It was kind of like being sucked up into a tornado and not having enough strength to get out of the force that was holding me along the outer rim.  Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about trust and God’s will.  I don’t find myself being stuck in the tornado.  I wouldn’t say I never get sucked into it but when I do, I’m able to surrender it to God and be released from it.  Sometimes it still may take a little longer than I want but the more I practice trusting, the easier it becomes and the more I can accept the storm with joy instead of bitterness.

Webster defines trust as “an assured reliance on the character, ability, strength or truth of someone or something; a dependence or confidence placed on something future or contingent.”  Ever sat and just wondered God’s characteristics, ability, strength and truth?  Some people may say that’s simple.  He is the creator of the universe, our Father in Heaven and the Bible says “for God all things are possible,” Matthew 19:26.  In our minds, most of us know this but in our hearts and our actions, do we really?  If we fully understood, felt and knew God’s characteristics, ability, strength and truth, we would never be anxious of anything, would never ask where is God, would never be sad, bitter or angry when a storm rained down upon us.  Instead, we would embrace it all, knowing that God sees the bigger picture and He will always bring goodness from all things.  His love is present in each of those trials.  If we understood that, we would have 100% trust in Him and would always be filled with joy knowing that He will always bear the sweetest fruit from the tragedy, the storm, and the pain.

I often am disappointed in myself when I don’t trust God with the things I’m dealing with, when the weight seems too much, especially when I reach out to others before going to God in prayer.  I often look at the picture of the Divine Mercy and say “Jesus I trust in You”.  I find it is easy to say “Jesus I trust in You”, but if it is not heart felt, I haven’t truly surrendered that trust, “woe to the faint of heart, for they do not trust,” Sirach 2:13.  I’m not saying it’s easy to place 100% trust in God at all times, because it isn’t.  We are human and we will falter but life’s storms are so much easier to bear when we realize that God has it and there will be a garden of delicious fruit on the other side.

I think when we don’t place our trust in God, we allow an open space for the enemy to enter, to convince us of our selfishness and our pride and we begin to fall, to separate ourselves from God.  Our anxiety creeps in, fear of the unknown or speculation of the future attack our minds and conquer our peace, we ask why and become angry or bitter and the list goes on.  When we “trust in the Lord with all [our] heart and lean not on [our] own understanding,” Proverbs 3:5, He will guide our steps.  When we do the opposite and lean on our own understanding, the enemy directs our actions and feelings.

As I mentioned earlier, God has been refining my trust in Him.  When I was in the storm of my life, I called out to God in prayer often.  I poured out my heart and washed the anxieties away with my tears.  Each time I went through this process, God drew me closer to Him.  God prevailed in my life through each instance.  Today as I look back at my journey, God provided me with all the tools to guide my steps through my sufferings, to comfort my heart and carry me.  Every moment of weakness, I found myself knocked down on my knees and lifted with strength.  He began refining me through each moment of weakness, building my trust, drawing me closer and inviting me to have an intimate relationship with Him.  I weathered a huge storm in my life and without that storm, my relationship with God would not be where it is today.  I would not be where I am today.  As God refines my trust in Him, I am beginning to accept the storms with joy as I know that there is a beautiful landscape that will be born from the ashes and debris of the storm.  He is scraping away the impurities and lack of trust that have surfaced from the fires in my life and as the smaller storms come today, I am able to begin to embrace them with trust, joy and acceptance knowing that His will prevails in all things.  God is good and His will is perfect.  Why make it complicated, “Jesus, I trust in You”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Do I Write?

A tough question to answer because I’m not quite sure. I have always been mathematical and analytically driven and writing was torture. As I began a new journey, seeking God, I began to write. My mind was infused with words and I was finding deep comfort. I was feeling as if my words placed on paper were communications of my heart and Jesus. My writing was becoming a refuge and comfort. I found the most comforting words and love abounded everything that I placed on paper. I sought love and received it and wrote about it. Diving into a piece of paper, the words in my mind and the conversations with Jesus were as real as I could have ever imagined. The love that surrounded me, the joy I felt amazed me in the struggles that I was going through. The only answer I can come up with is that I wrote because God gave me this gift to converse with Him, to feel safe and loved. Now I think He is asking me to share His love through this gift to others. I feel this is why I am writing. I pray it’s not about me but about what God wants to do through me as His vessel of love to at least one person. When I write I want it to tell a message of love, a message of God because it’s His story that is portrayed in each of us. He is the author of it all, the artist in each masterpiece.

This blog is a result of a blogging course… 😊

Life Giving Water

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I always find that nature teaches us so much about life.  It is awesome to just sit or walk along a stream of water or just watch a waterfall.  We can learn a lot about our journey by watching a water stream flowing.  Each moment we have in life is never the same, just as the water that is flowing before our eyes is never the same water.  Life continues to move just as the stream continues to move.  The directions may change as there may be twists and turns.  There may even be spots where the water free falls.  When obstacles get in the way of flow, the water flowing may change speed, yet it still finds a way to move around it and continue to flow.  In our own life journey, when things don’t go our way or we are met with resistant, often we may become anxious or upset.  Life continues to move.  The beauty of the water stream we observe is that there is life all around it and within it.  If the water becomes stagnant and has no way to move or be refreshed, it can become toxic, and not be life giving.  Keep this thought for a second.  Let’s parallel that to Jesus.  In John 7:37, he says “If any man is thirsty, let him come to me!  Let the man come and drink who believes in me!” and about another verse down it says “from his breast shall flow fountains of living water.”  So as I reflect on the life giving stream of water flowing in nature, I draw parallels to my own self knowing that there is life giving water flowing within me.  This life giving water is my faith in Jesus.  Each time I come to him, he strengthens me and satisfies my thirst in a way that no one or nothing else can.  If I fail to come to him, am not refreshed with his life giving water, and my life remains stagnant in the wasteland of adversity then my life will be barren and toxic.  As my journey continues to flow, if I want it to bear fruit along the landscape of my life, it is imperative that I keep Jesus as the center and continue to come to him, refreshing my soul and pouring life into my heart.  Have you come to Jesus lately and allowed him to refresh you?  Have you just sat with him in the stillness of your heart, inviting him to renew you?  If you are feeling lifeless, stuck in the barren wasteland, invite him to sit with you and fill you with this “life giving water” he offers to each of us.

 

He Guides You

Listen to the water pouring from the fountain.  Can you hear the fast movement of “drip, drop”?  Envision the water as your soul, mind and heart pouring out to Jesus. All your thoughts and the feelings within your heart are pouring just as the fountain.  As the water free falls from its highest point, feel the surrender of your own will.  Let Him guide you, give you strength and wisdom to bear your crosses in your life with love and humility.  Feel the stirring inside you.  You know He is near.  He is present in the wind and in the flowing water from the fountain.  He sings a song of peace to you as the birds chirp.  He whispers ever so slightly that He will never abandon you.  He will walk with you, sit beside you and guide you in each intimate time you spend with Him.  All you need to do is open up your soul, mind and heart. He loves you and wants you to come to this place and sit with Him and pour out the deepest part of your soul, mind and heart.