Speaking the Truth
- Mother Angelica
Friday, July 31, 2009
And He did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith. Matthew 13:58
It's hard to watch the news nowadays because of all the evil that is done to others out there. And there are lots of us who pray for an end to the evil in the world. Maybe there are times where we wonder, "When? When are You going to save us?!" But then I look at society today. We are God-less, faithless people. Our decisions are not led by our Lord. Just look at television. What do we see? I'll tell you what I see. I see kids shows that I have to monitor because I'm not sure if it will have sexual undertones or not. I see commercials during kids' shows that are questionable. I see shows for us adults that promote promiscuous behavior and fornication. I see shows that diminish the value of marriage and what marital relations are all about.
So when I wonder why God isn't working His "magic" with mighty deeds in our small little section of the world, I think of these things. Do I have the faith that it takes to make a difference? Do I have enough faith in everything God encompasses to make a change? Do I have enough faith in God to want to follow each and every one of His commandments to the fullest? I would definitely like to think I do. But I also know that I don't have the power to change minds. I can raise my children with a strong faith and the ability to fight the secular world we live in to stay true to that faith. And maybe then God can work His mighty deeds in them.
Lord, I love You with all my heart and strive every day to follow an ultimate faith of You and only You. Help me to take away my thoughts and feelings the devil entices me with.
Leviticus 23:1, 4-11, 15-16, 27, 34-37 Psalm 81:3-6, 10-11 Matthew 13:54-58
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Better one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere.
Better the threshold of the house of my God
than a home in the tents of the wicked. Psalm 84:11
Television has a lot of new shows these days. I say new here because they still feel new to me. One in particular sticks out in my head, The Housewives of Orange County. This show is about women who are either married to a very wealthy man, or are out there making the millions themselves. Either way, their houses are multi-million dollar houses with the best of the best inside. Their cars are the same way. They live a very relaxed (except for the drama they create for themselves), seemingly fairly happy life.
Sometimes I think about what it would be like to have all of that, but then I look at what I have. I have a husband who comes home every night to his family. I have three children who are happy and healthy. I have family and friends that are close to me who I can call on if I ever need anything. We have food on the table every night (and all day long). I have access to the Internet every day!
While my house may not have an HD compatible flat screen in every room (including the bathroom). It may not have a kitchen that could fit an army. It may not have wide open spaces. But this house is our home. God is here. And I would rather be here, living happily by his rules, than in Orange County where God may or may not be.
Lord I am happy spending my days with You, wherever You are.
Exodus 40:16-21, 34-38 Psalm 84:3-6, 8, 11 Matthew 13:47-53
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
She said to Him, "Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that You are the Messiah, the Son of God, the One who is coming into the world." John 11:27
Today we celebrate St. Martha. She is the patron saint of servants and cooks. She was such a believer in hospitality that she neglected to focus on what was truly important in the presence of our Lord, listening to Him. She finally got it today in Scripture when she left her house full of mourners over her brother's death, to go meet Jesus.
Do we do that? Do we leave our worries and schedules and activities behind to meet with God? I know I don't do it as often as I should. I'm talking about prayer here. I'm trying so hard to keep up with my house and the kids that it can get in the way of spending time with our Lord if I let it. And I let it. But when I put all of my priorities aside to pray, to talk with God, I feel better. I feel rejuvinated. I feel ready to face the day again. Jesus demands our attention. How can we expect Him to give us His attention when we don't do the same?
I didn't know much about God or Jesus or Mary or Joseph for the majority of my life. I have always wondered about the story though. I wondered who Jesus really was. I knew He was the Son of God, but that was about it. I always believed He existed, and God too of course, but that was about it. I never knew what the commandments were all about, but I wanted to.
As an adult, after having three children, I decided to take action. I went to RCIA and became confirmed. I felt good about that, but I still felt like something was missing. There was something in my heart that just wasn't all there yet. Something happened in the fall of 2008 when all the buzz was happening around the election. All the talk about abortion and Obama... something hit me. It all began to make sense and I finally truly believed that Jesus was the Messiah.
I finally believed, in my heart, that everything I had was from Him. I finally believed, in my heart, that everything I did was because He allowed me to do it. I finally believed, in my heart, that He needed to let negative things happen in my life to get the good from it. I think that was the hardest one to come to terms with. It was so freeing to finally be able to say that I truly and honestly believed in God and everything about Him!! Are there times that I have doubt? Yes. And I feel terrible about that when it happens. But I always look to God in prayer for answers in those tough times. Today, I am going to make that my priority, put down my worries and schedule, and talk with God.
Lord, I believe You and You alone are the Messiah. Help me to continue to listen to You.
Exodus 34:29-35 Psalm 99:5-7, 9 John 11:19-27
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him... Psalm 103:13
My husband and I took the kids up to the Church and School to get some exercise last night. I put the baby in the stroller, and hubby took the kids in the parking lot where they rode their bikes around. I walked about a mile and the little one wanted to be with her daddy and brother and sister, so that's what we did. My oldest also had a jump rope with her and was practicing that. As I stood there watching my family, flashbacks of my own childhood started seeping in.
My parents used to take us out on bike rides together as a family (I have 2 brothers), we played sports every season and my parents were at every game (don't know how they did that, but they did), I took piano lessons, my brother and I rode horses and eventually my mom did too and we ended up with some horses in our backyard (thanks to dad and a lot of help from friends and family who built our barn), my mom was always home to get us on the bus and off, we weren't allowed to make fun of or talk badly about anyone else, and we also got everything we ever asked for at Christmastime.
While my parents didn't talk a lot about God, it's apparent to me that my parents had a Christian attitude when raising us. There were things they didn't want for us kids based on their upbringing, and I would venture to say they were very successful.
As parents, we all want what's best for our children. We look to our own parents for examples to follow, or not to follow. We all do it. We take what we like and leave what we don't and try to change it to suit the way we want to raise our children. That's compassion isn't it? It's compassion for our children and the outcome we want for them.
God sent His only Son to save us poor, lost souls. He endured ridicule, torture, doubt, all the while knowing it was His Father who created us and could easily take our lives away. But He did it. He endured all of this for His children. We as parents endure certain crosses for our kids, don't we? That's compassion. We would love to be able to take their pain for ourselves if it would only make their lives better.
God, thank you so much for the compassion you have showed me through the sufferings of Your Son. I will always be grateful.
Exodus 33:7-11; 34:5-9, 28 Psalm 103:6-13 Matthew 13:36-43
Monday, July 27, 2009
At Horeb they fashioned a calf,
worshiped a metal statue.
They exchanged their glorious God
for the image of a grass-eating bull. Psalm 106:19-20
I was talking to my husband last night about my vision I used to have of myself. It started when I was about 10 years old I guess. I knew then that I wanted to be a teacher. I used to spend time in my room pretending to be my teacher and "correcting" my papers. My workbook looked like a 2-year-old's coloring book it had so many marks in it! So I got my degree in teaching the little ones. I just love that age group. I got married and acquired a job with special education children which was also something that was in my heart. So I was definitely happy with that. I began working on my Master's.
Then life happened. My husband and I had our first child, then our second, and I decided to "take some time off" until our second went into school. I was still taking classes for a Master's in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment. I was home, but I was still restless. I felt like I had to do "more." I felt like I had to be making money for my efforts to be worth anything. In my effort to do so, my children became burdens. They were "in my way" of the happiness and success I had developed in my head. I was working from home with a wonderful company and doing quite well, but my home was a disaster. I define home here as my relationship with my husband, my children, and the general condition of my house.
I was still going for my Master's. I had these visions of being a Curriculum Specialist and helping teachers implement what they needed in their classrooms. I had these visions of helping them accommodate the special needs children, as well as the gifted. I was going to make a difference. God apparently had other plans for me. We have 3 children now and I am still staying home. I'm making a difference in my home now.
Through His grace I have come to see how important my role is as a mom. I have come to see my children as true blessings from Heaven above and am very grateful God allowed my husband and I to raise them. My metal statue was of myself. It involved my dreams and my idea of what my life would be. And who knows, maybe it will still happen. But for now, I'm content and happy with my life that God has opened my eyes to. I'm no longer willing to exchange my God for my own image I have of myself.
Lord, thank you for the blessings you have given my family and me. Please continue to bless us with Your truth and Your light.
Exodus 32:15-24, 30-34 Psalm 106:19-23 Matthew 13:31-35
Friday, July 24, 2009
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul. Psalms 19:8
I recently had this period of time when I missed Church, two weekends in a row. We went on vacation and I did not make the effort to get to Church that Sunday. We got back on a Saturday and again, I did not go to Church the next morning. I was feeling badly about that. I made sure I got to confession and all, and went to Church the following Sunday. I never thought I would say this, but it felt good to be back in Church!
When I go to Church, I get to participate in the Eucharist. When I go to Church, I hear God's Word and am able to experience it through Mass. I listen to the Scriptures being read and pray with my fellow Catholics. I listen to my pastor's homily and reflect on that so I can hopefully get closer to the holiness I desire. He explains to me God's law. He refreshes my mind and my spirit with His Word that will enable me to go out into the world and evangelize.
I received Communion that Sunday with a clear mind and a resolve to make sure I don't miss Church again. It felt like a big weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I was renewed with His Word and His Grace and was ready to face the world. Without His help, following the Commandments can be more of a challenge.
Lord, I know Your law is the only law to follow. Help me to follow it with all my heart.
Exodus 20:1-17 Psalms 19:8-11 Matthew 13:18-23
Thursday, July 23, 2009
As I was perusing the information on the USCCB site, I found this site, For Your Marriage. I also never knew this one existed! I love finding new information! It looks like a good one to be following.
I just wanted to make sure I got this info out there to my online friends! Make sure you talk about NFP and the dangers of the Pill and how contraception use can destroy marriages.
Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it. Matthew 13:17
I think sometimes of how amazing it would have been to be one of Jesus' disciples. To be one of those chosen to carry on His teachings would be, well, awesome. What would it take to live up to that kind of discipleship? Complete trust. Complete faith. A complete openness in my heart to Him and all of His works and teachings. I think I have a long way to go.
I do try to be open to everything, but it's not easy. It's not easy in the society we have created. We live in a world where telling someone the truth about our faith can be seen as judgmental. We live in a world where we are supposed to be "understanding" about everything, including homosexuality. Being understanding of someone's lifestyle does not mean I have to agree with it, nor does it mean I have to teach my children it's right just so they can feel better about themselves.
Having complete faith and complete trust in God is a good starting point for becoming holy. We must also have the courage to evangelize the truths God has set forth for His children. That is a big job. I would venture to say that is probably the biggest job anyone could ever have, and it doesn't pay a thing, at least monetarily. Just think of how it pays off in Heaven, in our Father's eyes.
God, I strive to have complete faith and trust in You, both in my mind and in my heart. Send the holy spirit to be with me and with all so we may spread Your truth, just as Your disciples did.
Exodus 19:1-2, 9-11, 16-20 Daniel 3:52-56 Matthew 13:10-17
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
I WAS A WINNER!!!
I never ever win anything in my LIFE and it turns out that a good online friend, Laura over at Our House of Joyful Noise, was doing a give-away. And a random search of emails determined me to be the winner. ME!! I was just excited that I won. She could have sent me a notepad of paper and I would have been happier than a pig in... well, I will let you finish that. No bad words on this site! :)
What I won was much, much better than I could have ever expected. Laura is a Catholic homeschooling mom of 4 beauties. She also runs a photography business. Her husband also works a truck lettering and sign business from home. I think they are very blessed to both be able to be home to watch their children grow.
Laura sent me a wonderful book called Work in Progress: An Unfinished Woman's Guide to Grace by Kristin Armstrong, and a beautiful mug to go with it. Who doesn't like to cuddle up with a cup of coffee or tea while reading a good book?? I DO! I DO! (Can you tell I was excited??)
Here are some awesome pictures that Laura took of the items (she's a wonderful photographer):
Here's another fabulous photo:
How cute is THAT?!
And it gets better...
So every time I take a sip, I'm reminded of our Lord. LOVELY!!
And here's a pic of the two together:
A perfect pair...
OK, so I couldn't wait to start reading the book, but as soon as I did, life hit. I was immediately called to motherhood and had to put it down. But I took a few minutes this morning after checking email and read the first couple of pages. I am REALLY going to like this book! It looks and feels real. It's something I'm going to be able to relate to in order to become a woman of more grace in my strife to become more holy. It's not something I have always pictured myself with, but hey, I can change.
Anyway, as I read, I will be posting my thoughts on it. I often like to do that with the things I read. Some things just jump out and I have to share.
So I want to say a great big THANK YOU to Laura and her wonderful family over at Our House of Joyful Noise. I am just so EXCITED!!
Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned to Him and said in Hebrew, "Rabbouni," which means Teacher. John 20:16
Sometimes when my kids are fooling around and playing together, I get highly irritated. Yes, the hormones kick in and I don't find their antics very funny. I become a stiff, rather strict, mommy. I try to tell them to stop, and am just not amused by their funny faces and noises and laughs. I'm in a mood.
Then I think about all the parents out there who don't get to see their child's funny faces, hear their silly noises, or listen to their unending laughter, even when I have repeatedly told them to stop. And I start to feel guilty. Because of my mood, I have failed to recognize Jesus in my children. I failed to recognize Him in those annoying noises that they make, the goofy expressions they are competing with, and their beautiful, happy laughter. I let my mood get in the way of seeing Jesus in those moments.
I'm sure there are many other moments where I'm looking for Jesus and He's right under my nose. He's there in everything I do, everything my kids do, and everything my husband does.
Lord, thank you for helping me to recognize my errors and finding you in my life when I don't even know it.
Exodus 16:1-5, 9-15 Psalm 78:18-19, 23-28 John 20:1-2, 11-18
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
As the water flowed back, it covered the chariots and the charioteers of Pharaoh's whole army which had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not a single one of them escaped. Exodus 14:28
My husband turned on a movie the other night called "Meteor." I didn't see the beginning, nor did I stay awake to see the end, but I do know what the story line was. Apparently there was this meteor shower headed right for Earth and we were trying to figure out how to stop it. A few meteors had already hit, and some were still hitting. But there was the mother of all of these "little" meteors still out there. In order to fight this, they had to find a scientist that specialized in these kinds of things. Well on his way to the base in the states (he was in Mexico), a car hit him and he died.
In the meantime, the coordinates of the mother meteor were off. Our military and scientists were teaming up to try to figure out how to handle this. Of course they were on a time line because if they waited too long, the pieces from the meteor could kill us all. I don't know how it ended, but I'm sure we all survived. That's how it goes in Hollywood, doesn't it?
I thought about this movie in terms of God. I always think about how He's going to pick and destroy those who are faithful and those who are not. Is it going to be a meteor shower? Is He going to make things right by destroying the opposition with a meteor shower? It's most definitely possible! And it was funny because, if you think of the movie in terms of God, here we are, measly little humans, trying to fight this massive meteor shower with our measly human power. All the human power in the world is not enough to fight the awesome power of our God. And no matter what we do, He will triumph.
In Scripture today, we see yet another incident with water that destroys people who anger God, the Egyptians. They do not believe in Him. They doubt Him, and so they died. This does not sound like the loving God we know, but really, it is definitely a story of love. He saved those that were faithful to Him, the Israelites. That is love. Just like He has the power to create us all, He has the power to take it all away.
Lord, help me get through the water before the sea flows back. Lord, help me to find the shelter I need to get to You when you come again to judge us.
Exodus 14:21-15:1 Exodus 15:8-10, 12, 17 Matthew 12:46-50
Monday, July 20, 2009
Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, "Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you." He said to them in reply, "An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet." Matthew 12:38-39
It's always amazing to me when I compare how I act towards God and how I act towards my fellow humans. I used to have no problem offending God if it meant I would fit in in this world. I still do it to a certain extent, just not as bad. I recognize when I do it now and try to make it better. It seems so easy to ask God, "OK, what is going on here? Why can't you send us a sign that you really exist? Wouldn't all of these problems just go away?" This kind of question is insulting for Him. But then I can turn around and be afraid of asking my friend a question that might insult him/her. Why is it that we find it so much easier to offend God than our neighbor? Why is it that we doubt God so much, but can take a strangers word for it?
Jesus denies the scribes and Pharisees the sign they were seeking because He knew they saw Him as a sign of Satan. There was nothing He was going to be able to do to convince them. He knew what was in their hearts. Do we see God as our Father, as our friend we can talk to and have faith in? Or do we see Him, not as a sign of Satan (because I don't think anyone reading this blog really thinks that), but do we see Him as unfair or unjust and are asking Him to prove himself? I think we do that, whether we know it or not. Would you do that to your boss? If your boss said, "Joe, I want you to join Team A and work on their project with them (a project you secretly think isn't going to work)." Would you question him/her? You might. And depending on your boss' personality, he/she might get mad for your doubt about whether or not that was the right decision, right? Well, how do you think God feels when we do that to Him?
I used to think about why God doesn't come down from the Heavens and show Himself to us. But you know what? He does it all the time. He is always giving us signs that He is with us. For me, I see Him in my children. I see Him in my children's smiles and the way they talk and love each other (when that happens). I see Him in my home when I think, "I hope we're going to have enough money for that," and I get a surprise check in the mail from one of my businesses. I see Him in my husband and his ability to support a family of 5, 2 dogs, and private Catholic school for my kids. I see Him in the flowers and the bugs and the wildlife we have in our fields (even though we may not want them there). God made all of these things possible. He created us and everything around us, and it just makes them all the more beautiful to me.
So a sign? I don't want to insult God with questions of a sign of His existence in my life. I get them each and every day. I just have to open my eyes, my ears, and my heart to them.
Lord, thank you for the signs you give me every day so I know you are always with us. Help me to keep my mind and heart open to You so I can continue to see You in each and every thing I do.
Exodus 14:5-18 Exodus 15:1-6 Matthew 12:38-42
Friday, July 17, 2009
If you knew what this mean, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice," you would not have condemned these innocent men. Matthew 12:7
Thank goodness, right?! Thank goodness our Lord is merciful. Thank goodness we have confession to go to and confess all of our sins and be forgiven by a merciful Lord. Although I have to admit that sometimes I feel that my penance is not enough for the sins I have committed. Sometimes I feel like there should be something more that I should have to endure, or suffer. But He is merciful!
Because our God is merciful, He expects us to be merciful towards each other. Our earthly, human views are nothing in God's world. What we think is right and wrong here on earth may not be what God had in mind.
I came across an article the other day sent to me by a friend. It's subtitle is Why Barack Obama represents American Catholics better than the Pope does. At first, I thought it was going to be a sarcastic article by a Catholic. I was wrong. This article was written by none other than liberal Democrat, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. She points out several percentages of Catholics who agree with Obama on several important issues, and is suggesting that the Catholic Church needs to open their eyes to what the majority is saying and change the Church's ways! Can you believe that?!
This article is wrong on so many levels, but I'm going to try to stick to Scripture today. The Pharisees had rules that Jesus "broke" and consequently, they thought he was a fake. Jesus points out that it is not our rules that we should be following, for He has supreme authority over the law. The Pharisees were human. Americans are human. Just because we say it is OK to have an abortion, does not make it so in the eyes of God. Just because most Catholics say it is OK to use birth control, does not make it so in the eyes of God. Just because most Catholics say it is OK to have sex before we get married, does not make it so in the eyes of God. Majority doesn't rule in God's Kingdom. Who says these things are OK? Humans? HAH! Who are we to make those rules? God created us and gave us everything we have. And the day is coming where He can take it all away.
God doesn't follow us. He did not create a democracy. He doesn't take a poll and change His rules to accomodate us. It's when we let our own selfish, human wants and needs get in the way, that we get in trouble. And then we take it upon ourselves to condemn those that follow God, just because they are the minority in following Him in every way. In God's Kingdom, we are far from the minority.
Lord, please help me to see You in everything I do and be merciful to all the way you are.
Exodus 11:10-12:14 Psalms 116:12-13, 15-18 Matthew 12:1-8
Thursday, July 16, 2009
I am meek and humble of heart. Matthew 11:29
I am going to post a devotional by Fr. James Stephen Behrens this morning. He wrote this for Living Faith, where I get to read my devotional every day. He just wrote it so beautifully that I had to pass it on to you:
Prayer involves listening with the "ears of the heart." It is a listening that invites humility in order to be attuned to voices other than one's own and learn from them. Jesus asks that we learn from Him, that we be meek and humble of heart. From the time we are very young, we first learn by listening. Words that deeply touch us we take to heart. We keep words of love and remember them.
We are asked by Jesus to be like Him, and in prayer, as we listen to the loved stillness of our lives, the peace that kind of prayer brings becomes a part of us. We should rest a bit every day and take that time to hear what is good and gentle around us. The more we listen, the more humble we become- and the more we become what we are longing to hear.
Listening is not one of my strong suits, but I practice every day. It's actually easier with adults than it is with my own children. I have to make a conscious effort not to interrupt them, look them in the eye when they talk to me, and listen, really listen to what they have to say. Sometimes I get so caught up in the dishes and other housework that I'm not fully listening to them. And they can say the darndest things! They have a way of putting the truth out there, even when I don't want to hear it!
Lord, help me to be humble enough to hear what You have to say so I can live my life with You.
Exodus 3:13-20 Psalms 105:1, 5, 8-9, 24-27 Matthew 11:28-30
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
At that time Jesus said in reply, "I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although You have hidden these things from the wise and the learned You have revealed them to the childlike." Matthew 11:25
My oldest daughter is 7 years old. Right before she goes to bed each night, we have started praying for her guardian angel to be with her to ward off bad thoughts and nightmares. We pray that he (or she) help her to think of all the good things God blesses us with. Well, last night after we did that, she had some questions for me. She said, "Mom, God can't be with me all the time to make sure I don't have a bad dream." I said, "Yes He can honey." She says, "How can he be in all these different places all the time?" I told her that He's not like a person, He's a being and He can be wherever He wants to be in as many different places. And He uses our guardian angels to help protect and guide us. She looked at me kind of funny and still didn't understand. I told her that we don't have to understand God, just believe in Him and trust Him. She said OK, gave me a hug and went off to go to sleep.
I'm not sure that she trusted me with this conversation. She was trying to use her mind to understand how God could help her, when really, it's our trust and love we have in our hearts for Him and our complete faith that gives us the understanding we need. So often we use our intellect to try to understand God. Good luck with that. Our measly human minds can't even begin to comprehend the kind of being God is and understand everything about Him. Being childlike is having a simple, innocent trust in God without all the intellectual thinking. It's not our job to try to understand Him.
Sometimes when we try to make sense of God with our minds, it leads us down a path of selfishness and disbelief, such as the scribes and the Pharisees. The reasoning and intellect we have here in this world, here on Earth, is not what gets us into Heaven. It's the childlike, undying belief we should have in God.
Lord, I want to love you completely with all my heart. Please send my guardian angel to protect me against the thoughts of disbelief.
Exodus 3:1-6, 9-12 Psalms 103:1-4, 6-7 Matthew 11:25-27
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
But I am afflicted and in pain;
let your saving help protect me, God. Psalms 69:30
Wow, how many times do we ask for God to protect us? I have asked Him a lot, but do I mean it? I say that because I will ask for His help, but then still try to take matters into my own hands, even when it looks like He has found a solution.
For example, when our pastor resigned this year, I was extremely upset. I was upset because I felt like he was being pushed out, and I was upset because I thought I had found someone I could confide in. He was helping me with a situation in my life that I needed some spiritual guidance with. Two days after we established this relationship, he announced he was resigning. My heart sank. My heart sank big time. I felt so deceived and I was angry. I wasn't angry at him, but at the situation. So I started digging and probing and trying to figure things out in my little human mind. And while I found answers to my questions, it didn't make anything better. I asked God a couple of times to take it for me and give me some resolution, but I didn't realize that He already had.
As we lose a wonderful pastor that renewed my Catholic faith, along with hundreds of others in my parish, we are getting a new one. And I don't know this new guy, but I have been told from several different sources that we are getting one of the best.
So while I may have thought that our pastor was it. I thought he was the solution to our problem in our parish, I think God has other plans for him. He started the ball rolling, and now God is sending in someone to finish the job and I just have to trust that this is the right thing to happen. It's so very hard to let go of myself and what I want, but it has to happen. And time has truly been a blessing for me to come to terms with that.
Thank you Lord for providing me with the answers I need.
Exodus 2:1-15 Psalms 69:3, 14, 30-31, 33-34 Matthew 11:20-24
Monday, July 13, 2009
Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. Matthew 10:34
When I first read this, I must admit, I was a little bit confused. Even the next couple of sentences were confusing because He tells us that we will be set against members of our family. But as I continued reading the passage, I understood. Because He wants us to love Him more than our earthly treasures, including members of our family.
While I was away with my family this week at Disney, I felt very far away from God. I looked at my Bible and devotions right before we left and decided to leave them because I probably wouldn't have time for that. "Time for that?" No time for God? I guess I figured we would be so busy running around, I wouldn't have time for my prayers. Looking back, I feel so awful about that. I could feel it though. I could feel the distance that I created. I still thought about Him a lot, but it didn't feel the same. It didn't feel the same as spending time in Scripture each morning and thinking about my behavior according to Him. And it was harder to act like I should have and I could feel the secular perspective of the world seeping into my mind.
I put myself and my family ahead of God last week. And while it wasn't a terrible trip (we had a lot of fun together as a family and feel truly blessed to have been able to do this), I feel guilty about being selfish. This one attribute can really get in the way of having that undying faith in God that makes us holy. And I had a week of selfishness. But it feels good to be back at home, back in my routine.
So back to Scripture here. Love God more than my own parents? Love God more than my own brothers? Love God more than my husband? Love God more than my own children? Yes. Because our life on earth isn't about us. It's not about what we want and living a life we think we should live. It's about God. He put us here for a reason and we are to live our lives the way He envisioned for us.
This passage reminds me of the quote I have on my blog from Mother Angelica:
We don’t like to speak the truth about evil because we’re going to hurt somebody. Let me tell you, you are going to hurt somebody, but that Somebody is God. If you would rather hurt God than your neighbor, there is something wrong with your spirituality. It’s your obligation to speak the truth and everyone can either take it or leave it. But truth must be in us. We live in such poverty of the truth today.
I just love that quote. It puts all of this in perspective. God comes first. Period.
Exodus 1:8-14, 22 Psalm 124:1-8 Matthew 10:34-11:1
Saturday, July 4, 2009
As you are reading this, we are probably driving on our way to DISNEY WORLD! We will be there all week. So unfortunately, I will not be writing any devotionals this week. We will see about any other blog posts. I probably won't have a chance.
So please send some prayers our way that we have a safe trip down and back!
Thank you and will miss you all!
Friday, July 3, 2009
So here is what I did:
First, I took the ends off the beans of course, then washed them off. I then stuck them in rapidly boiling water for about 3 minutes. You really don't need to do any more than that:
Then I took them out and immediately put them in ice cold water for another 3 minutes:
I actually put them in a strainer after that to make sure most of the moisture was off before I stuck them in the freezer bags. I got out as much air as possible before sealing the bag completely. And that was it!!
Then this morning I realized I hadn't been out there for a couple of days and we probably had beans ready to be picked... AGAIN. And lo and behold, I was right (we also had weeds ready to be picked again!!). I picked about another gallon-bag full of green beans and blanched those this morning too.
I thought my blanching job was done when my husband told me we had some broccoli and cauliflower that needed to be picked and blanched too! So I started blanching the cauliflower, and I'm waiting for more ice. So I thought I would share my story with you all.
Doesn't it look yummy?!?
I'm actually having fun with this! I love that we are producing our own food, saving money, and eating things that don't have any harmful chemicals on them.
Now I'm going to have to go make some food for our trip to Disney next week!
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed. John 20:29
Long before I met my husband, I worked in a small-town corner store. And a guy I knew used to visit me often and ask me on dates. I wasn't really that interested in him so I would always say no. One day, he was visiting and mentioned that his wife was going to stay home and take care of his house and his kids. Now it could have been the way he said it, his house, his kids, but that really rubbed me the wrong way back then. I stood there, looked at him and said, "There is no way that I will be stuck home taking care of the house and the kids. I will work!" I thought it was so demeaning for this guy to sit there in all of his arrogance and expect a woman to take care of him and his kids! How dare he?!
So how do I feel now? Well, staying home and taking care of my kids and my house and anything my husband needs, is something I enjoy. Granted, there are days when I wish I had something else to do, but I like being here to meet the needs of my family. How did I get to this frame of mind? My faith. Because I have a secure faith in God, I was able to understand how important a mom's role is in the home. In God's eyes, it's not demeaning at all. It's one of the most important jobs I could have.
I didn't come to this understanding on my own. I didn't come to understand this and then say, "Oh yeah, thanks God for that." No, I developed a faith in God like I have never had before and from that faith came an understanding and a belief that nothing will be able to take away from me. It's amazing.
You hear people say all the time, "Seeing is believing." But that's not true. I believe and then I see. From my faith comes understanding. That's what St. Thomas Aquinas says. And it makes perfect sense. Once we have a belief in God, we see Jesus all around us. He's in the homeless person on the side of the road. He's in the tears of a mom and a dad who just lost their unborn child. He is in the laughter of my children as they play in the next room. And He is in my husband when he works hard to provide for our family.
I'm so grateful I have my faith so I may understand the world around me, through the eyes of God.
Lord, I believe in You and everything You have created. Thank you for always being around me.
Ephesians 2:19-22 Psalm 117:1-2 John 20:24-29
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home. Matthew 9:6
When Jesus said this, He was speaking to a paralytic. And He first told him "Courage, child, your sins are forgiven." (Matthew 9:2) He saw the faith in this man, and forgave him his sins. The scribes thought He was fake, but Jesus told them that it was better to say that than "Rise and walk." (Matthew 9:5)
So cleansing us of our sins is like releasing us from our paralyzed state. For me, when I have a sin that I have not confessed, it consumes me. It's all I think about until I get to confession and get it off my chest. Phew! That weight has been lifted off my shoulders and it's like I can breathe again! Talking to God about my sins and allowing Him to forgive me is very freeing. It breaks me from my paralyzed state of mind so I can move on and take care of business. I'm a wife and a mom of three. I have work to do. We all have jobs to do.
It's really about allowing God to forgive me. Sometimes I feel like my punishment should have been worse. God knows the faith that I have in my heart. He knows whether or not I am truly sorry for the sin I committed against Him. And He forgives me, and allows me to get up, pick up my stretcher, and go home.
Is there a sin that you have committed that is weighing heavy on your heart?
Lord, thank you for Your love and willingness to forgive.
Genesis 22:1-19 Psalms 115:1-6, 8-9 Matthew 9:1-8
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Who among you loves life,
takes delight in prosperous days? Psalms 34:13
One of my favorite websites, Faith and Family Live!, started a special blog each Thursday to honor the Small Successes we achieve as moms each week (yes guys, it could apply to you too- but this site is mainly geared towards women). Essentially, we type up 3 things that we have accomplished that might not seem like a big deal to the naked eye. But as moms, we know how those small things can really add up, and to get those done, is a big feat for us.
I posted a few things for last week, and it's those little things that get done that can make me feel like I had a prosperous day. A prosperous day for me could be taking time out to nurse a boo-boo, dance to a favorite song with my kids, read books to them, take them outside and let them eat raw green beans from the garden, pray the rosary with my daughter... the list could go on and on. I don't have any money of my own coming in (except the checks I get occasionally from my businesses), so to feel prosperous can be a challenge because I don't have a paycheck to measure my work by.
I have come to love life through those "small" successes in my day. After all, my family's happiness is very important. If I can learn to love life through these prosperous moments, I imagine God would be pleased with my work for that day.
Lord, I am grateful for the opportunity to prosper and be with my family each and every day.
Genesis 21:5, 8-20 Psalms 34:7-8, 10-13 Matthew 8:28-34