Saturday, September 16, 2017

Finally Getting Answers

Back when I was in college I remember experiencing debilitating fatigue and muscle weakness. I thought I was just being lazy.

After I had my second kid, it got worse. Again, I thought I was just being lazy. 


There were days I couldn't even pull myself off the couch. One day that was particularly awful, I heard the Lord tell me that I had a physical illness. He also showed me some other stuff which you can read about here.

That began the long road to getting answers.

I started going to doctors, which was difficult because I don't like to complain. Some thought I was crazy, some thought I was just depressed, and none were able to find anything wrong with me.

Finally after my 4th kid, about 9 years ago, I saw a Rheumatologist who did the right blood work and it showed I had some kind of connective tissue autoimmune condition but it was non specific. He said I also had Fibromyalgia.

At least I had some answers.

Several years later, that Rheumatologist retired and I started going to someone else. He did my blood work and found nothing.

Meanwhile, my symptoms have been getting worse. I now experience pain in most of my muscles and joints along with the debilitating fatigue. It is also strange, because it is not everyday. It can also vary from the morning to the evening and the days I have flare-ups, I also experience a low-grade fever.

Not knowing how I am going to feel from day to day or even hour to hour, has at times made me nervous to make plans. I never know how I am going to feel. I usually have to remind myself that God always gives me the grace when I need it.

Sometimes I catch myself worrying what people will think. I look healthy, so I wonder if people just think I am lazy or passive because I am not involved in more. I've really had to learn to not worry what people think. I know I need to pace myself and only do the things the Lord is leading me to do. That is the only way I will have the grace and strength I need.

I started going to a new doctor here in Indiana. I told her everything I was experiencing. She really listened, seemed to care and ordered a massive amount of blood work.

I'm finally getting answers!

It turns out, I have multiple conditions that could be causing my fatigue: Hypothyroidism, low iron, low vitamin D, and yes, an autoimmune, connective tissue disorder. She also ordered some more tests to see if we can find out a more specific connective tissue disorder.

I am very encouraged! Not because I am sick, but because I am finally getting answers to why I often feel the way I do and I can start doing things that will help me feel better.

I know the Lord's heart for me is to be whole and healthy. I know he wants me to  live life to the fullest. I also know for every year I've had to live with all this, he is going to give me a double portion of his Spirit. He is going to restore the years the locusts have eaten. I rejoice in him for who he is and what he is doing! He will have the final say!

At the same time, the lessons I have learned from all this has been invaluable! I have learned to be tenacious and to persevere. I have learned to cling to and be dependent on the Lord in all humility. I have also grown in an intimacy with him that I don't think I would have experienced any other way.

Recently the Lord brought back to my mind something I heard when I took my daughters horse back riding. Before we got on our horse, we had an instructor teaching us how to ride. She saw that many of us had tennis shoes on instead of cowboy boots. She said we would have to be extra careful because the benefits of cowboy boots was it had a heal. The groove of the heal could help you stay more securely in the stirrups.

The Lord has called me to ride with him. Where he is taking me, I am going to have to make sure my feet are securely in the stirrups. He might go fast. I believe the Lord showed me the following:  The crook of the heal keeping the boot in the stirrup on one side is faith joined with humility. On the other, it is love joined with prayer.

We are coming into some amazing times! We are going to see some amazing things! Many are going to be called to participate. In order to keep up, and not fall off the horse, we are going to need to be firmly grounded and rooted in Christ. Now is the time to prepare and get ready by surrendering to the Lord's transformative work. He knows what he is doing! 

Let us rejoice in the process that makes us feel weak but in actuality, makes us stronger!
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 - And he has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my grace is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Eye of the Storm

Whenever I intercede, I first ask the Lord how he is interceding regarding a situation. Jesus intercedes for us at the right hand of the Father (Romans 8:34). When Jesus was on earth, he also only did what he saw the Father doing (John 5:19). In the same way, I want to seek what he is doing and partner with him instead of getting in the way and praying the opposite of what he is doing. I also ask Jesus to show me where he is at in a given situation.

 As we see from the Gospel reading last Sunday in Matthew 16, Peter tried to stand in the way of what God was doing when he told Jesus he didn't need to die. Jesus told him, "Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do (Matthew 16:23)."


It is important to get in touch with God's heart and the mind of Christ.


I have been praying and seeking the Lord's wisdom regarding Hurricane Harvey, the wild fires in Montana and now Hurricane Irma. What the Lord showed me is he is not going to let the people affected, "hang out to dry". I looked up the meaning to that idiom and the first definition that came up was "not abandon to danger".


I also asked him to show me where he was at regarding these situations. 


With the fires, he is in the midst of the fire like he was with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in Daniel 3.


With the flooding in Houston, he is reaching out his hand, pulling people up. We even see this happening through other people because we are his hands and his feet. 


With Hurricane Irma, he is in the eye of the storm where there is peace and rest. Even if the storm passes over, refuge and protection can be found in the Lord. He can be found right in the center where there is a sense of calm.


Several years ago the Lord gave me an image of duct tape on a window along with an impression. What came to me is that some people put duct tape on their windows when a hurricane is coming. The duct tape doesn't prevent the window from breaking but it can keep the window from shattering. In the same way, God doesn't always promise that bad things won't happen and we won't become broken in the process but when we put our trust in him, he does prevent our lives from shattering and he is with us in the storm.



Romans 8:28 - All things work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose.

Let us pray:


Heavenly Father, we thank you that you are a good and loving Father! Thank you that you are with us even in the midst of the storms of life and you will not abandon your people in times of danger! We pray for the people in Houston and surrounding areas, that you would continue to rescue anyone that is in need of rescuing and you would provide for all their immediate and long term needs. Help them to rebuild, with you as their sure foundation. We pray for the people affected by the fires...be with them, protect them and provide for them. We pray for the people in the path of Hurricane Irma. Help them to seek refuge under your shelter and protection. Give them a sense of peace and calm even in the midst of the storm. Help them to place their trust in your majesty and loving kindness!


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Arrows in the Lord's Quiver

Right now, some of you are experiencing the Lord drawing you to himself. You have been like an arrow hidden in the Lord's quiver as you respond to the call, "Come away with me, my Beloved!" You have been called to a place of intimacy. Like an arrow being drawn back in a bow, you are being drawn back into the heart of Jesus. You are called to stay there and drink from his life giving waters until the right moment when he releases you.

Like the scene from the movie, "Brave Heart", where the enemy is coming closer and closer, but Mel Gibson's character, William Wallace shouts, "HOLD!" as everyone draws back their arrows, you are being drawn back into the Lord. 

Because they waited before acting, they had a much bigger impact and gained victory when they finally released their arrows.

In the same way, if we draw back into the Lord's heart, getting in touch with his heartbeat, we will have a much greater effect and will be able to hit the mark or bulls-eye more effectively when the Lord finally let's go.

When finally released, the fiery arrows of God's love will consume all those they come in contact with!

Isaiah 49: 1- 7 -  Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother's womb he has spoken my name. He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver. He said to me, "You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor." 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Bullying at it's Worst

One thing I have been talking a lot about lately is the importance of knowing our true identity. It is important that we know who we are in Christ and we walk in the knowledge of that. Especially in this day and age, it is so important for Christians to be confident in who they are, who they are becoming and what they are called to do lest you be pulled in every direction.

If you are on social media at all, it doesn't take long to encounter people trying to pit one group against another and bullying others into activism. Even fellow Christians are partaking in this form of bullying.

If you are not confident in who you are in Christ, you could easily succumb to either being a victim of this kind of judgmentalism or join in with this type of judging of others. Somehow, even if you are not a part of either group pitted against each other, it could make you feel guilty for even being human when you read such rants. If you join in the conversation, it can feel like entering a den of vipers.

I don't know if I blogged about this before but the Lord once asked me if I wanted to be a fly on the wall and see the schemes of the enemy. What he ended up showing me was rather horrifying but to sum it up, the three biggest schemes of the enemy that the Lord showed me was to distract, cause anger, and cause division.

Perhaps it is time to step back and engage again in real life. It's time to be present to the ones closest to us.

Mother Theresa said, "If you want to change the world, go home and love your families."

Often, this is the place to start.

There are times in our lives where the Lord might call us to activism. There are other times in our life when we might be called to retreat, be still and grow in our relationship with Christ. And, in both seasons in life, we are called to love our neighbor, those closest to us, and everyone we come in contact with. That is the place to start. We change the world, one person at a time.

When called to action, often times actions speak louder and is more effective than words. Please don't project your own convictions and calling on others by judging them and looking down on them if they are not doing what you think they ought to do. You could actually be having the opposite effect.

It is easy to spout off judgments on Facebook or other forms of social media but it could do more harm than good.  There is a reason Jesus said to take the plank out of our own eye before looking at the speck in someone else's. Maybe we should pause and think about how our words will effect others. Will what we say cause a greater divide and fuel anger or will it bring about unity and peace?

Often we can have a greater impact if we are willing to practically love those around us by making little daily sacrifices than pointing out the sins in everyone else. Especially, if we are pitting one group of people against another, we are not advancing the Kingdom of God. All we are doing is feeding into anger and division.

We need to be discerning. Don't take on the false yoke of others or be bullied into action if the Lord is not calling you to action. Also don't join the mob mentality and attack. It is better to take a step back and respond to God's grace in a situation rather than be reactionary. Often times it is also better to give people the benefit of the doubt instead of being quick to judge.

The body of Christ has many parts. One day, I am sure, we will see the powerful things that happened as a result of cloistered nuns praying with great faith! I think we will be amazed that someone could actually have such an impact when they never even had a smart phone, access to the internet and never left their convent.
James 1:19-20 - Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. for man's anger does not bring about the righteousness that God desires.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Let's Not Be Puffer Fish!

When Tom and I started and pastored a non-denominational church years ago, there was a young, single guy that joined us. When we came back to the Catholic Church, he followed, went through RCIA and became Catholic. 

He is currently in Thailand as a missionary, fighting human trafficking. He works with a Protestant organization but greatly desires to partner with Catholics. Unfortunately, he hasn't had much luck finding Catholic groups over there to partner with. The reason is because most of the Catholic groups in Thailand, working with human trafficking victims are more into social justice and they don't see the need to evangelize; they don't see that the people would be better off if they knew Jesus instead of believing in Buddha, or their Hindu god. It is good that they want to take care of their physical needs, protect their dignity and rescue them from trafficking, but unfortunate that they do not see that true freedom only comes from knowing Jesus and having a relationship with him.

I do not know what the reason for this is, perhaps fear; fear of rocking the boat and offending people. I want to give these Catholic groups the benefit of doubt and think they somewhat know Christ but I seriously question whether they know him intimately. 

Scripture talks about perfect love driving out all fear (1 John 4:8). Perfect love comes through knowing Christ intimately; not just knowing about him or having a superficial relationship where we hold back or hide some areas of our heart from the Lord.

We are called to give it all and open the door of every area of our heart to the Lord's sanctifying grace.

I believe St. Peter had a fear of intimacy with the Lord at first and that is what led to him denying Jesus three times during his passion as Peter succumbed to fear.

There are several things we see in scripture that would indicate that Peter may have had a fear of intimacy.

At the transfiguration, Peter tried to change the subject, suggesting they build tents, possibly because he wasn't willing to enter into the intimacy of the moment and fully receive what he was being shown (Matthew 17). 

When Jesus was preparing to wash the disciples feet, Peter didn't want Jesus to wash his feet (John 13).

When Jesus appeared on the shore after his Resurrection, Peter clothed himself before jumping in the water to see Jesus (John 21). Could this represent trying to hide his soul and not letting Jesus see all of him?

After Jesus' death and Resurrection and before his Ascension, Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him. By the third time, I think Peter finally got it, had an ah-ha moment and realized the Lord sees all things and nothing can be hidden from him. He then understood that what is most important is an intimate relationship with God and it is only out of this intimate relationship that we can perfectly love others.

Since Peter originally had a fear of intimacy and wouldn't let Jesus see everything about him and allow his perfect love to drive out all fear in his heart, he didn't have the fortitude to resist the temptation of denying Jesus when the pressure was on.

If we fail to have an intimate relationship with the Lord; hiding parts of our souls from him, we could actually do more harm than good. If we don't allow the Lord to love us perfectly, we will cave to fear when the pressure is intense; fear of man, fear of failure, fear of rejection, etc. This fear will make it nearly impossible to make ourselves vulnerable and love others. Instead we will try to defend ourselves and lash out at people.

That is what puffer fish do; when they become afraid and feel threatened, they puff up and can injure if you get too close.

As Catholics, we especially have an amazing opportunity through the Eucharist to enter into deeper intimacy with the Lord but we need to open our hearts to the graces that are available. 

The Church needs people who will radically abandon themselves and allow Christ to thoroughly love them. When we are willing to enter into an intimate relationship with Christ, allowing the fire of his love to penetrate our hearts, we will be compelled to go out and share this love with others; radically loving them into the Kingdom even if it means dying for our faith!

Monday, July 24, 2017

The View of Self that Does Not Lead to Pride

Especially as Catholics, many of us have been taught not to think too highly of ourselves or we will fall into pride. I myself have fallen into spiritual pride.

You see, when I first started following Jesus at the age of 19, I ran way ahead of him. A lot of what I was doing however ended up being in my own effort and strength. This led to spiritual pride.

The next 10 to 15 years, I went through the wringer of life which felt like tumbling around in a washing machine trying to catch my breath. Through these life circumstances however, the Lord taught me how to surrender, lean back in him, rest and just be; finding my worth in being a child of God and not worth in the things I was doing for him.

After a time of purification however, I was afraid of thinking too highly of myself, falling back into spiritual pride and going forward.

In my last blog post I talked about the importance of having the right perception; the right perception when it comes to other people and our circumstances.

It is also important that we have the right perception about our self.

Lately, the Lord has been impressing on me how important it is to know our true identity in him. It is also important that we know how the Lord sees us.

Our true identity can only be found in Christ but it is this identity that is imperative for us to know. When it is rooted in Christ, it doesn't lead to pride but is important to know if we are going to advance the Kingdom; do the things Christ has destined since the beginning for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10 - "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works that he has prepared in advance for us to do."
Now, I'm not talking about the Barney or Arthur mentality that was taught to our kids about just believing in yourself and we are all special and should all get trophies. This kind of mindset leads to self-absorption and egotism.

I'm talking about identity rooted in the truth of who we are in Christ and whom he is calling us to be. Scripture is full of examples of God calling people higher by revealing their true identity and calling. Take the examples of David, Gideon, Peter, Paul, and Philip to name a few.

Many of us go through life not really giving much thought about how the Lord views us or who we are. I wonder if that is what the scripture from Proverbs 29:18 is talking about when it says, "The people perish for lack of vision."

We just kind of wonder around aimlessly with no real purpose.

Did you know it is okay to ask the Lord questions?  I think he actually loves it when we ask him question!

Try asking him how he sees you. Ask him who you are in him. Ask him what he has destined for you.
If you ask him, I am confident that he will show you. Once he shows you, write it down, declare it, stand in confidence, and walk in that knowledge!

Also, it is only when we come into the knowledge of who we are in Christ that we will be able to see the majesty and goodness of who God really is.

1 Corinthians 13:12 -  "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I am fully known." 
Let me know what the Lord shows you. I would love to hear!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Perception is Everything!

What we focus on in life makes all the difference in the world! What we focus on can either invite God's blessing into a situation or hinder his blessing.

Do we look at a situation and see the majesty of God or adversity? Do we look at the world and see darkness or see opportunities for God's light to break through.

Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more (Romans 5:20).

Yesterday, I took my children to the pediatric dentist. My kids had been called back and I was sitting in the waiting room, waiting. A teenage girl walked in by herself. She had several facial piercings, a black shirt with curse words and vulgarities all over it, and an expression that said, "Leave me alone! I hate you and I hate life." Understandably, I think most of the mamas in that room were shielding their kid's eyes.

This girl ended up sitting near me. I felt the Lord's presence. I began praying for her. For a long time she would not look at me. Finally she looked at me and I was able to strike up a conversation with her. I smiled at her and said, "Interesting shirt." She replied, "Um, it's my friends." I said, "I bet your friend has had a hard life!"

I then got called back so I couldn't talk to her anymore but hopefully through those few words, I was able to show her the Lord's kindness and understanding.

Now, I could have looked at this girl as trouble, stayed away from her and kept to myself but I would have missed out on an opportunity and a "God" moment.

The right mindset doesn't just apply to people we come into contact with in life, but even difficult situations we find ourselves in.

A few years ago we went on a retreat as a family. The retreat grounds were beautiful! At first my kids were enjoying the beauty of  nature all around us but then started noticing the bugs and started complaining. I told them not to focus on the bugs but God's beautiful creation. In that moment, God spoke to me that I have a tendency to do the same thing. I can often focus on the negative and fail to see what God is doing in a certain situation and see the opportunities that are available.

Also take a lady bug for example. Some people will see the lady bug and see a pesky bug. The lady bug is a also called a lady bird. Some people will see this creature as something beautiful.

Recently, the Lord gave me a word for a friend but I do not think it was just for this person but for anyone who is trying to follow Christ. The word was:

"You have heard it said, 'When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.' but I say 'When life gives you lemons, don't see the lemons as adversity, but see them as opportunity. Opportunity to encounter an aspect of my nature that you wouldn't otherwise have been able to discover."

The majesty of God is bigger than any situation or circumstance we find our self in! As we allow ourselves to be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2), we can find rest for our weary souls in his sovereign majesty!