IMG_1511

 

My deepest wound. My greatest cross. Pride.

Lord, I don’t know how many times I asked “why am I like this?” I’m so frustrated with all the sass that rests in my face and the all strength I feel like my heart needs to have to carry this part of myself. Lord, I’m so tired of carrying this extra unholy side of me.

I see all the other Christian women with such child like love and purity that reigns from their halos. But I am nothing like them. I have a “tough love” heart and I don’t always have joy or a smile in every moment. But this is my heart. And it sucks.

Truthfully, this personality of mine makes me feel ugly. I’ve tried to change, I’ve tried to soften my voice, make gentle my heart, and intentionally loosen my facial expressions but I don’t feel me. Sometimes I don’t feel me in any personality. I don’t know why You made me like this. I doubt this is what Mary was like. I’m struggling with me.

I know You’ve created me in so such goodness. You have gifted me with amazing spiritual experiences and I feel so unworthy.

But Lord, why do I feel mean? How do I get rid of this pride? What do I pray to make it go away? How many Hail Mary’s, how many Our Father’s?

When is my sweet side going to triumph this sass?

 

————

 

If I am made in Your image, then no other woman can compare to how You crafted me. Although I have questions, I am affirmed in my own beauty that You created me to have. You were sassy sometimes too, and I feel closer to You when I read scripture that shows that.

Thank You for who I am, even when I don’t want to be. Thank You for the strength You blessed me with, God. I fall short of seeing the image You paint of me, but I hold close that You see me even more beautiful than my own fiancé does.

Mama, you who held beauty perfectly. Pray for me to draw closer to your Son.

God, allow my words to fall into a love letter of Your word to this world. I ask that in every encounter, no one remembers me (and my sass), but only You. To take away all pride, make me little. Allow my worry for coming off like a “super Catholic” to disappear and just to continue to draw closer to You. Grab my heart so tight that there is no room for me to care what people think about me, but love unconditionally. I am Yours.

If pride is the root of all evil in sin, I will pray for humility at all cost.

Make me a child Lord.

 

Advertisements

This Lent was the hardest I have ever gone through.

Lord, I have never been so brutally honest with You before.

I have never shed so many tears. I have never felt closer to my husband. I have never felt pain so deep. I have never felt closer to You.

When I lost my baby on the first day of Lent, I blamed You. I threw out the one phrase I preach to others without a second thought – that if You do no will it, You allow it to happen.

I couldn’t get past that comma. I could only keep saying over and over in my head that You did will it. I convinced myself that willing and allowing are the same, and that You did this to me. I framed you as a punisher.

And I had it out with You, and then we didn’t speak. For the first time in my entire life, I found it hard to receive You. The pain was too deep. But I did. I went up, and stared at your body, and stared at your blood, and received.

And I couldn’t fall asleep at night because of how deeply my heart ached, and so I went to Your mom. I couldn’t face You. And I prayed Hail Mary’s until I fell asleep. And she brought me through those nights. And she brought me through the waves of tears that would hit me throughout the day. And she brought me back to You, because she knows what it’s like to lose a child.

And I danced between anger and wanting love from You. At the same time I was so angry and confused, I just wanted to be with You. And I didn’t know what to do with that. I was the most honest I have ever been with You. For once, I didn’t hold anything back. The hot tears felt right, like you were waiting for me to come.

You were waiting for me.

You were waiting, for me.

We named the baby Ezekiel. I pray to him everyday. I wish so badly that I could still be with him. And I still don’t know why you allowed this. Lord, I didn’t want my baby in Heaven praying for me, I wanted him with me, here, now.

But now I talk to Heaven all the time. And now, the Eucharist has completely transformed me. I am sure of only one thing from this Lent, and that is the communion of saints is real. I receive and I get to be with my baby. And my husband gets to be with our baby. And we get some moments as a family. And for that, I am thankful.

I feel like a part of me died this Lent, and Lord I pray that you raise me again too. I am less angry now, but no less lost in the purpose of this. And part of me doesn’t expect to understand. But the other part of me longs for answers.

Lord, raise me again with You. Raise me in faith in You and Your goodness. Raise me in joy in having You.

Momma Mary, thank you for carrying me through this Lent. You were what I needed. Thank you for carrying me, and loving me, and leading me back to your Son. I needed my Heavenly Mother and you were present more than I could ever imagine.

I love you both.

God, I wish I had found You sooner.

Especially that freshman year of college. At the liberal school of no grades, no expectations and no supervision, I thought I was living freedom when in reality I was more caged than ever by careless temptations. They dangled the key just out of the reach and I believed I had no other option than to make that cage my home.

I found myself intoxicated in all worldly belongings. I fell to the addictions of TV and seclusion.

Then to top everything off, I fell deeply into the sins of flesh.

I don’t want to go into details because, Lord, You know what my heart went through. I tried to make it stop but fear made me silent. I cried myself to sleep for countless nights. I withered in pain physically and emotionally as the bruises began to bloom on my skin. Your daughter. I didn’t believe in You yet but Your love for me didn’t stop You from continually pursuing me. Somehow I knew You were walking with me through this.

I had panic attacks and breakdowns and pure destruction wrecked dangerous damage in my heart. A heart You made.

Lord, I’m sorry. But I am so thankful You lived through the hell with me.

I’ve learned over the years that it wasn’t my fault. Yes means yes and no means no. The beauty in the binary is that it is clear.

But it has taken me years to accept that struggle with peace is okay. Years.

For years before, I blamed myself. I blamed myself for inviting him over. I blamed myself for taking drugs before thinking it would help. I blamed myself for thinking sex before marriage was a smart or sexy decision. I blamed myself for thinking it was something I ‘needed’ to do.

I blamed myself for believing it would actually open the cage door instead of weld it shut.

The day I found You again, Lord, You gently opened the cage door like you were coaxing an abused animal from its abuser. You allowed me to walk out into the openness that is Your love. I’ve glanced back at that cage since and sometimes feel like it is where I belong, but You continue to guide me toward the firm rock to proclaim Your glory and Your love.

True love! In seeking lust, I found love. Eternal, never-ending, pure, all-consuming love.

That night was a part in my story of being led me back to You, Lord.

For a while, the blame game was still ablaze in my heart and mind. It feasted on every piece of forgiveness You gave me and left only ash. But like Job 42:6 reads, “Therefore I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes.”

From nothing comes something. Redemption.

I am redeemed, I am a daughter of the King of Kings, and I am clothed in holy, sacred cloth as His beloved.

I am not my past. I am not my regrets. You have freed me from that weight. I was reborn in You.

I am no longer the blamed, I am the bride for God.

Thank You Lord.

Amen.

nils-stahl-180770-unsplash

 

Lent began today.

 

And I lost my baby.


Lord, I sat here in front of You not long ago and took the test. It turned positive faster than I’ve ever seen and I was filled with a peace in knowing You trusted my body enough to gift me with such a miracle. I have never felt that kind of joy before. I was going to wait until the morning to tell my husband, but I couldn’t. I surprised my him with the news, and we fell more in love that night. We could put a name to our love in nine months, and how so incredibly special that we could go through this together. I will never forget how he looked at me when I told him. And I will never forget how it felt to shake my head yes and convince him this was truly happening. We were pregnant.

Lord, I was filled with peace and love and happy. I had no physical signs of being pregnant but I felt different. Something was different and I loved it. I walked around differently. I looked at myself in the mirror differently. I loved talking to my husband about what these nine months would bring, about how we were going to tell our families. I loved thinking about how in a few weeks I would start showing. We made our first appointment to see a doctor. We talked about how we prayed for our baby that day and what our fears were. I gladly restricted my diet to be a healthy mother making a healthy baby. I felt so lucky to be trusted by You. I felt so lucky to start this journey with him.

But I lost that baby today. In a shock I have yet to overcome, our baby is gone. We had our little one for five weeks and two days. He or she seemed to leave just as quickly as we found out of their existence. And I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to phrase my heartbreak, my disappointment. It is so easy to put the blame on myself because I was carrying something I was doing everything to keep safe. But I had absolutely no control over this loss. It just, happened.

But amidst the blood tests and ultrasounds and nurses not making eye contact with me, we made it through.

My husband and I fell more in love again today.

Scientifically, out of the million things that need to go perfect to have a baby, one of them simply didn’t. It’s not in my control. It never was. Something just… didn’t happen how it should. And You knew that. I know we are young and healthy. I know we can get pregnant again. We can try again. I want to. And I know You know all of that too. But Lord, this has put me on my knees.

After we got the news, my husband read me something that You said to someone a while back. He sat next to me in the hospital bed, and we had a moment to ourselves. He read it with the love that I believe You said it with.

Years back You consoled Mother Angelica as she prayed to You about her baby leaving too. Lord, these words hit us deep today.

You see, the child lives. Instead of the wind he hears the sound of angels singing before My throne. Instead of the beauty that passes he sees everlasting Beauty—he sees My face. He was created and lived a short time so the image of his parents imprinted on his face may stand before Me as their personal intercessor. He knows secrets of heaven unknown to men on earth. He laughs with a special joy that only the innocent possess. My ways are not the ways of man. I create for My Kingdom and each creature fills a place in that Kingdom that could not be filled by another. He was created for My joy and his parents’ merits. He has never seen pain or sin. He has never felt hunger or pain. I breathed a soul into a seed, made it grow and called it forth.

My baby never felt pain. My baby never felt the weight of sin. My baby knew only us and You.

What a beautiful life. How could I have given our little one any more.

Lord, I am in a puddle of my own tears, but I am looking at You. And I am asking You to somehow show me how You will redeem this.

Please tell my baby that we love them so much. Please tell my baby we can’t wait to see them one day. Please hold them tight, because I never got to.

Please redeem this.

 

God,

Here I am, so unworthy and so needy. I’ve had one of those moments again. The one where I need You. Over and over I have walked out of prayer so bored and so unsatisfied, but today I need You. I NEED this prayer to work. I trust in You. Today, I trust in You.

The beauty of Your heart shows great love every time I run into Your arms. Like a child, I run to my father who I need to protect me. But today, I am a woman who sprints to the foot of the cross in need of rest and peace.

I have this dream of You crying at the sight of me running to You. I hear your quiet sobs, the sound of relief that I’m coming to You. And because I am human I fall short and can’t make it all the way to You, but You’re already hand and hand with me.

You rest my head on Your chest.

No words, no noise. I rest.

I am your little girl all grown up, but I miss being small. I miss how easily I would rely on You, my Father. The beginning of my conversion was easy, You gave me a clear road of gold to start my journey. It was easy to love You.

I miss that.

The challenge I have to fight to follow makes me stumble, but does it count that I am still walking?

I know You love me.

Thank you for loving me.

I miss You.

Lord, hold me like I’m an a little girl again. I am Yours. I am Yours.

Dear Lord,

I go about my day overthinking everything that troubles me in my life. I lay in bed and I fuel my mind with thoughts that create a knot in my stomach and fill me with worry. Lord, my anxiety becomes the most transparent here and I choose to let it stifle my joy and surrender to You.

So many days and nights I have cried out of desperation because everything seems to be out of my control. I create scenarios and solutions in my head according to what is most convenient for me. And when those solutions fall short, so does my breath and my patience. I begin to fear that You are not working in my life.

Lord, you know that I am an over-thinker and it exhausts me. I say that I love You and that I am open to Your will for me… but in reality, my anxiety comes from a lack of trust in You. I believe the lie that You will not fulfill Your promises and when my life seems stormy, I fear that You will not come through. I see what is at hand and I reject the graces that are ahead. Sometimes, I would rather take the reigns of my life and take it to where I please.

But Lord, it doesn’t work this way. You don’t work this way. I have become so self reliant that I forget that You care about me. I have become the sick patient who tells the doctor how to cure me. I am anxious because I rest on my own puny power to live and not on Yours. My biggest downfall has been to rely on human strength and not in Your love for me.

God, You want to take care of me. If only I surrender to You, then there is no need for anxiety. My ego gives birth to worry, but You have come to crush it.

There is nothing more in my life that will cease my overthinking other than my full surrender to You.

You remind me to cast my worries onto You, that You will take care of everything. My surrender to You causes the rest that I desire. A peace that brings me to a right relationship with You.

Lord, You perform miracles in proportion to my full surrender. By Your love for me, You will fight for me and take care of me because that is what a good and loving father does.

Lord I beg of You to crush the lies that lead me to anxiety, crush the fears that keep me from leaping into your arms and crush my hesitation to trust you when I’m over thinking. And every single time I say “Thy will be done”, may I recognize that it is an affirmation in my trust for You. You take care of it.

_____________________________

Sister, is something in your life bringing you anxiety? Repeat “Oh Jesus, I surrender myself to you. Take care of everything” (10 times).

Reflect on Luke 12:22-34.

Give your overthinking and worry to God. He cares about those thoughts and He has your back.

to the woman who avoids the present

 

I’ve always been a romantic, head stuck in the clouds, heart thin enough to be opaque.

It used to drive my father nuts… “You keep having these dreams and it’s only going to disappoint you when it all comes crashing down.”

I’d roll my adolescent eyes and go back to writing poetry of Alaska, big cities and dangerous boys. For most of my young life, I lived in the future.

At least I did until until my father’s honest adage began to come true.

Alaska was bitterly cold, big cities were awfully lonely, and dangerous boys were dangerous for a reason. My little heart began to grow scar tissue and got too heavy to return to the sky.

Then my father left when I was eighteen.

My world seemed to slow into a sepia-tinted reality and I disowned my God. I screamed it at my ceiling as I brought blades to my wrists.

It was around then that I started to change my address from the future to the past.

I would reminisce about anything and everything as a form of escape. I would look out windows and imagine towering skyscrapers replaced by the Western Red Cedars of my childhood, or kiss a boy with another in my mind. When the world became too true, I escaped to the past.

It wasn’t until a certain day on a certain beach that a certain voice spoke to me for the first time.

And I was finally called to live in the present.

Be present, be here with Me. I’ll keep you safe.

I’ve been promised that before: from my father, and then when he left, the dangerous boys with a kind smile, and when they left, there was no one. How could this voice be true? What made him so special? I wanted to scream this to the stormy sea with the same voice I screamed at my ceiling from years before. Scar tissue was growing heavy again. Tears followed a carved path down my cheeks. I felt like this was my last chance to trust a man, especially a face-less, faith-based, Father.

Gulping stormy, icy air, I said ok.

That was the day I came back to my faith after nearly nine years. On a grey beach in Washington State. Alone and crowded at the same time on that driftwood log.

Me and Jesus together facing the storm that the world had built for me.

No one should live in the past or the future.

In the past, nothing can change and no amount of rose-tinted revelry will.

In the future, no amount of worrying or panicked pauses will morph the unseen.

When I yearn for the past, I live in depression.

When I crave the future, I live in anxiety.

God doesn’t want us living in either of these. Not only does it hurt His children, but more importantly, He can’t be with us when we’re not present.

God cannot communicate with or aid His daughters when they are not in the present moment with Him, devoting their time and mind and souls and bodies and pain and joy and tears and shock; their life.

I am still a romantic, but now with a heart for the King of Kings, not empty dreams.

When I find myself not in the present, I ground myself with God.

I don’t go back to when my father was a better man or when I was back in my hometown or when I was dating one of my ex’s. I don’t go forward to imagine my future marriage or my dream career.

I go back to God. I go to Him, and then I don’t need to go anywhere else.

I’m home.

 

****

Laura Domek

to the woman who struggles with the pain of others -- anya

 

Dear Lord,

Sometimes I hate how emotional You have made me. I often times have such strong empathetic connections to people, people who I haven’t ever met, that I find my heart constantly torn.

A few months ago, You placed me in an Uber one afternoon for a grocery store run. You had the driver take a route through a neighborhood I had never been through before. You had me pass a house surrounded by cops and ambulances. You had me find out that a young man at my school had taken his life right there that day. And it destroyed me.

God, I couldn’t imagine why I had to see and hear of such a terrible thing. And it was even more upsetting that it made me feel the way it did. I cried on my floor for the boy, for his family, for his mom. I thought of how he felt, of how his mom would feel. And I cried and cried. Lord, I didn’t even know him, but you broke my heart for him. I don’t understand why.

As I felt this pain so deeply I felt called to reach out to my patron saint. As I scanned the endless Saint Therese quotes on google I came across one that helped me start to make sense of all this pain. Saint Therese once said, “It is good to serve God in darkness and trial! We have only this life to live by faith.” As I wiped the tears on my cheeks I realized that You are calling me to live my life by faith and through faith, which means finding You in the midst of pain.

God, you are asking me to say yes to feeling the pain of others and being their warrior and protector in prayer and intercession when there is nothing else left. It is only by this pain that I can truly carry out what You request of me: to live my life with pure faith and trust in You that everything happens for a reason.

I am still realizing that You made me with this heart so I could feel this much pain and feel called to action. I think You made my heart hurt so much so I would pray for his soul and his family everyday since then. You made my heart hurt so I would pay more attention to those around me. You made my heart hurt so that You would help me see the pain You have for people like this boy.

God, thank you for making me feel emotions ten times as strong as it seems everyone else does. Thank you for teaching me that pain can be an opportunity to help others, whether it be through prayer or physically engaging with others. Lord, I am saying yes to this heartache and pain and because You are asking me to live out my faith and help protect and intercede for your children who are hurting and alone. You are asking me to pray for hope and love to be brought into this deep pain.

Thank you for surrounding me with people who remind me that my empathy is my gift. And thank you for making my empathy stretch further than pain, but also to joy, as it makes life so much sweeter. I love you with my whole heart, and I can’t imagine not having the heart that I do, no matter what pain it causes.

to the woman who is distracted

Lord.

I don’t know where I’ve been. I don’t know why You aren’t at the top of my list everyday. I don’t know why praying feels like going to the gym. I just don’t want to make the effort anymore. I’m holding on to this imaginary thought that You will win my heart over even when I know my arms are closed.

I know is that my back is turned. My priorities are: my wedding, my classes, my job, my life after college, my friends and the list goes on. My heart breaks at the realization that You are far behind everything else in my life.

I remember when it was easy. I remember feeling off when I didn’t pray. I remember when I prayed twice a day just because I had so much to say or so much to hear.

I don’t feel far, I just feel distracted.

I feel like making time for You means less time for me and I’m selfish.

I know some of the most important things in this world are to give money and time. I literally give You neither at this point.

I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry for becoming the friend who won’t make time for You. I am that friend.

It’s not that I don’t miss You, I just feel so busy.

How do I start again? How do I begin to fall deep into prayer again. Where does the gift of discipline come in? What do I take time away from to see You more?

I once heard a story about Mother Teresa and how the nuns in her convent felt they did not have enough time to finish the work they were doing each day. They asked her to cut their prayer time a bit shorter so they could give themselves to the sick and poor a little more. After hearing their request, she then changed their schedule from praying one hour a day to two hours a day. The nuns were confused and didn’t understand why she made this decision, but Mother Theresa explains that putting prayer first will open up your day up to the Lord. He will supply all the time you need.

Lord,

You believe in me more than anyone ever could. With Your grace I will fight to follow. Business is an illusion because you make time for the things that matter. You matter.

Steal my heart again.

I love you