Sunday, February 28, 2021

Meditations on the Mysteries of the Rosary: The Agony in the Garden

 After having meditated on all the different mysteries of the rosary throughout my life, the Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and Luminous, while each have their own merit, the Sorrowful Mysteries have been the most comforting to me. Not because I love to be sad, or love to dwell on trials and sufferings, but because they make me feel closest to my Savior. 

The Sorrowful mysteries of the rosary include: The Agony in the Garden (my focus today) the Scourging at the Pillar, The Crowning of Thorns, The Carrying of the Cross, and the Crucifixion. I can see how much He loves me when I meditate on His sufferings. I know by them that He’s been through the very worst version of whatever hard thing I’m going through or will go through, and offers the strength of His nail-scarred hands to take me through them. 

Luke 22:41-46

After withdrawing about a stone’s throw from them and kneeling, he prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.” And to strengthen him an angel from heaven appeared to him. He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground. When he rose from prayer and returned to his disciples, he found them sleeping from grief. He said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not undergo the test.”

Meditating on this agony He suffered, I see an opportunity to love my Savior as I imagine myself kneeling next to Him in the garden, thanking Him for what He’s about to do for me, telling Him I’m sorry for my sins, laying my head on His shoulder. I consider the humility it took for Him, as the creator of all things, to accept comfort from an angel, to allow Himself to be weak for my sake. I think of all the souls that have and will reject Him regardless of His sacrifice, and I beg for the grace to never do so myself, no matter the cost. 

For more meditations on the mysteries of the rosary and a brief explanation of how it’s prayed, I created a page for them in the menu up above. Have a look. 😊 and God bless you. 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Speak Words of Life

 Speak life. Into your marriage.  Into the lives of your children. Into your own journey. Into your health. Into your future. 

Do you label your health? Your life? Your marriage? Your children? Your career? with negativet things?  For example: 

“My family has a history of health problems (weight, fatigue, diabetes, thyroid, mental health, etc.), that’s just a part of my life.” 

“My marriage is never going to get better. My spouse will never change.” 

“This child has always had a hard time with___ (fill in the blank) and probably always will.” 

“Bad things just happen to me, that’s just my lot in life.” 

“My future is looking pretty grim.” 

“I am a failure as a ____(mom, dad, student, whatever your career is, as a human being) 

“I am just not like (that other person) and not able to do the things they do.” 

Do you say things like this? In your head? Before you go to bed? When you wake up? When you make a mistake or your family members do? 

STOP TODAY. Make a decision to purge negative thinking from your life. It is draining, life-sucking poison. For you, for your physical and spiritual health, and for the well being of your loved ones. 

Who is your God?! Is He not all-powerful and ever faithful? Do you (and those you love) not belong to Him? 

Every time a negative thought comes into your mind, replace it with the opposite. Start training your brain to think and speak life. 

Write down all the blessing and good you want to see in your life. And read and speak it several times a day. 

Some things I have written down include: I am healthy and strong. My body is healing itself. Because I am giving it the tools to do so. I have the grace and energy to raise 6 kids. My marriage is getting better every day and will continue to grow. My kids are going to thrive. I am a beautiful daughter of God. 

Friends, speak healing and life! Speak it to yourself, your spouse and your kids! 

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat it’s fruits.” Proverbs 18:21

“Set a guard over my mouth O Lord! Keep watch over the door of my lips!” 

Psalm 141:3

“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings rhealing.” 

Proverbs 12:18

“It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail. the words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.” 

John 6:63

“For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans for peace not disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” 

Jeremiah 29:11 

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Love Hunger and Healing

Recently, I had a moment where I sat down to a meal, and stopped in the middle of it, overcome with gratitude to God, for celery. But I never would have pictured myself 30, 20, even 15 yrs. ago, ever feeling that way. 

I want to talk about food, my evolving relationship with it, and how God is healing me from the inside out, through it. 

As a child I developed an addiction to sugar, partly going to it for comfort, and partly as I learned later in life, due to an unhealthy gut balance. When I say sugar, I don’t just mean the white granulated stuff, I also mean starches, breads, cereals, and of course sweets. 

As a pre-teen/teen I began to develop food allergies (though I had eczema and asthma before this) and GI issues, as well as staph infections. This is the physical health part of my story. Sugar in combination with multiple doses of antibiotics and steroids was wrecking my gut health and immune system. 

On the spiritual side, I remember reading a book called “Love Hunger” by Frank Minirth. God opened up my eyes and heart to see, that sometimes I was going to food for affirmation and comfort, instead of Him, either as a fun “party” friend, or to help me reach that goal of perfection that the world around me seemed to hold up as standard, and I always felt I was falling short of. I have been on ALL the diets. The worst was a 4 day fast on nothing but beet juice. I still hate the taste of beets. 🤢

I would like to say I turned the corner at this point. But that book did plant a seed in me. 

Fast forward to motherhood, my first pregnancy I can remember treating myself to cookies every afternoon, because after all, I was eating for 2. I believe after the birth of my 2nd baby, having borderline gestational diabetes myself, and her blood sugar not being stable right at birth, I tried to cut out sweets with my 3rd child. She was at least, smaller at birth, and I gained less. 

I quickly returned to old habits though and after the birth of my 5th baby, playtime was over. 

I had to take an antibiotic due to a UTI, and multiple sensitivities, food and other, became impossible to live with. I had GI symptoms and rashes/hives constantly, and could rarely leave the house. My first diagnosis, proposed by a naturopath but later confirmed by a doctor, was candida overgrowth. Candida feeds on sugar and thrives in an unhealthy gut. There were many other issues discovered further on, but all related to my gut health, ultimately. 

I had no choice but to start eliminating foods.  I was forced to eat healthier than I had ever considered. This was full on “tough love” from my Heavenly Father, as I look back on it. Because I now had immediate painful consequences to every abusive choice I had made with food, and even some healthy foods I was deprived of now. 

At the same time though, before it got really bad, I saw that food was an obstacle to my relationship with God. And I began asking Him to change my heart, and remove anything keeping me from Him. 

So guess what? I became allergic to everything. Food became my enemy. It no longer gave me joy, it gave me great suffering. 

I can remember a pivotal experience. It was Thanksgiving. My favorite meal of the year. And I couldn’t eat anything I enjoyed previously. But in my heart a spontaneous prayer rose up, a healing moment only possible by God’s grace, and I said “YOU are my banquet, my God. You are the delight of my heart.” And I was happy and satisfied, in Him alone. 

I’m not going to tell you, I have always felt that way when I had to watch others eat things I couldn’t. But it was the beginning of a new freedom in my way of thinking.

Another lesson He began to teach me, was the serious responsibility I had to the temple He had given me, my body. I not only was accountable for the stewardship of this gift, but accountable because my family, my future grandchildren maybe, need my presence in their life. My full, healthy presence. Not taking care of my health was not only irresponsible but even selfish. 

After everything was stripped, all food, except for a few things to survive, He had to teach me from scratch, by reintroducing me to food again, in a way that was nourishing, balanced, and healing. 

I could go into great detail about all the cleanses, supplements, and treatments I have tried. But would rather dwell here, on what I have learned thus far, because I am still on this journey of healing- body, mind, heart, soul. 

I’ve learned that every meal counts, towards healing my health, or destroying it. 

I’ve learned that all the things God has created for food, *can* be good for me, in moderate amounts, and preferably, in their pure forms. 

I’ve learned my limits and “near occasions of sin” which is a catholic phrase regarding avoiding moral temptations, but for anyone 
trying to avoid any forms of destructive behavior, can be understood as, know your triggers. 

I’ve learned that no magic number on the scale, approval from others, or even a nice big tasty brownie, will make you feel loved. Only God and your confidence in His love for you, can fulfill that need. This is honestly, the most important lesson I have learned, and central to all the others. 

I’ve learned that sugar is addictive. The more you eat the more you want. It sets you up for cravings, then crashes, and repeat. I’ve learned (thanks to Trim Healthy Mama) that keeping your blood sugar under control is everything. It’s also taught me self-control and given me a new perspective on trusting in God for the freedom to eat to live, and even enjoy it while doing it, but NOT live to eat, a slave to cravings, and destructive behavior. 

I have become more and more dependent on my loving Father ultimately to satisfy a hunger that goes way deeper than an empty belly. 

Recently, thanks to a special doctor helping me and being able to implement some gut healing in my diet, I have been able to add back foods, slowly. 

As I said at the beginning of this post, I sat down to a meal I have had countless times, once just eggs, then able to add turkey, then peppers, and most recently added, celery. 

There was a time when I never would have imagined getting excited about celery, much less it’s nutritional benefits to me, endowed by my Creator, but I started eating and I had a moment. I tasted celery, really tasted it, for the first time. It’s distinct flavor and texture added so much to my previously repetitive meal.

 I was overwhelmed with gratitude. and I seriously stopped to thank God, for celery. 

It took a long and arduous road to get to that point. I still have more to go. But I am grateful now, for every step of the way. Even if I wouldn’t have chosen it. We never think to choose the hard path. But it’s where growth happens. 
Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Stayed on You

 Sometimes the Lord sends me a message through a song, then through scripture, then repeats it in a life experience, and so on until it dawns on me, “Maybe you are trying to tell me something?” 🤔

The song was “Stayed on You” (by Eben) while listening to some praise and worship music during personal prayer time. The refrain was: 

“I will keep my mind stayed on you

All I want to do is to worship you

For you are great and greatly to be praised

You alone are God...”

The refrain “stayed” with me for days. For the past several nights since recovering from the more acute symptoms of this insipid virus, I have been experiencing insomnia. Not a usual thing for me. It’s been pretty intense too. My brain is wired sometimes with anxious thoughts, or just thinking through  my day ahead, and it can’t seem to shut down. I mean, until 2:30 or 3 a.m. No matter what aids and methods to prepare myself for sleep. No matter. So I researched it. 

Apparently it’s a common after-affect. The virus affects people neurologically somehow in addition to other commonly known symptoms and many people have experienced acute insomnia even after seemingly getting over it. 

So last night, rather than allow my anxiety to build and build, no end in sight, I thought of that song. And I remembered a priest that greatly influenced my spiritual life before he passed away, teaching us (fellow disciples) a method of praying, repeating the name of Jesus in a simple phrase over and over such as “Jesus I trust in you.” Or the one he had learned based on what God had done in his life was “My Jesus I trust in your mercy and love.” He had developed such a habit, that he was saying it out loud in his sleep, like breathing it in and out. And I thought “this is one simple way, to keep my mind “stayed on you.” And I began praying “My Jesus I love you I give you my heart.” Because it is what came to me when he taught us this method, over and over. Gradually, peace came to my mind. I probably prayed this way for over an hour. And eventually, I was asleep. 

Then today I thought, I bet there’s a scripture about “keeping my mind stayed on you” and there it was, in Isaiah. 

Isaiah 26:3 “You keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” 

“Because he trusts in you” I thought to myself. And today the Bible in a Year podcast I am following with Fr. Mike Schmitz from Ascension Press, was about Abraham trusting the Lord, and Job, trusting the Lord. Especially, when it’s really hard to. 

Being at peace is really simple. It’s shutting out the noise around us, no matter how intense, and keeping our mind stayed on Him. Because He’s trustworthy. 

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Face Down


I noticed this wiseman toppled over a few days ago and chuckled to myself thinking “that’s about how I’m rolling into 2021, falling into it.” But then I looked at it again later and saw it differently. He’s on his face. In complete surrender and adoration to his king. And he’s the only one! I left him that way. Here’s hoping all of us can surrender everything to Him this year, seeking Him like the Magi, adoring Him, and trusting Him completely, no matter what anyone else is doing around us. Happy feast of the Epiphany! ✨