I’ve been there, numerous times, that place where you aren’t really living for God. You aren’t living a bad life, but you know you aren’t living for God. Sometimes we think, “but I’m so busy today, I will get to that tomorrow…” tomorrow comes and goes and the day after and we have yet to kneel before our Lord and even tell Him a simple thank you for all He’s given you.
Friends, let me tell you, everything in your life that brings you peace, love, and joy comes from the Father. Do not fool yourself into thinking that you alone are the cause for all that is good in your life. The devil is quite crafty and good at telling people this lie. I was really good at believing this! Pride, ouch, that is one sin that I struggled with daily. I still do at times. I have come to realize though that all I have and all that I am is a gift from God. Without Him I am nothing and I have nothing.
So if it’s been awhile since you’ve spent some time with God how do you find your way back to HIM?
Often we picture God as this mighty judge sitting on a throne waiting to condemn us or so far away that He’s just unreachable. STOP. RIGHT. THERE. First and foremost let me explain the most vital part of a relationship with God; it is a relationship. This part is vital so I’m repeating it, it is a RELATIONSHIP. He loves you more than you could ever fathom and what He wants is to have a genuine relationship with you. In order for that to happen you talk to God like you would your nearest and dearest friend, because He is! He can handle all your moods, all your stubbornness, all your grief, all your joy, all your frustrations and everything in between. If you’re angry with Him, tell Him! If you’re lonely, tell Him! If you’re so filled with happiness, PRAISE HIM! He yearns for you to talk to Him, no matter what it’s about.
I recently wrote an article for my church about how my spiritual life has grown so much over this last year and how I helped that happen. I say helped, because God knocked, and I simply answered the door. At first with a handshake, but now when He knocks, I rip that door open and lunge into His loving arms for the warmest embrace that envelopes every part of my being.
Here’s what I wrote. I hope it helps someone, even in some small way. Please know I am praying for you! Leave me a note and let me know how I can pray for you or if you’d like me to talk more on this topic.
This past year I’ve been learning what it means to be inspired and transformed by God. During Lent I had decided to not give things up but to instead take the very first part of my day to be with Our Lord. It changed me. St. John Vianney said “We must take great care never to do anything before having said our morning prayers…The devil once declared that if he could have the first moment of the day, he was sure of all the rest.”
At first it was difficult to focus and keep my mind on things above instead of the tasks laid out before me for the day. Slowly I started to find little things that would help me grow in my prayer life and holiness. I journal my prayers to God each day. This alone is such a blessing, because as the months go on I can go back, re-read it, and tears of joy flow as I see the ways God has answered some of those prayers. Many times in ways I never could’ve imagined!
I downloaded the YouVersion app on my phone and use it every morning. It is a Bible app that also has thousands of devotions to pick from. Another app I use is Laudate. It is a wealth of goodness for Catholics. Each day I read the daily readings from Mass, followed by the reflections and the saint of the day. It also has hundreds of Catholic prayers and so much more!
I began listening to podcasts (on iTunes) from Catholic priests to learn more about our beautiful faith. The beauty of podcasts is I can listen while driving, folding laundry, making dinner, and especially while working in my garden. Being surrounded by nature, God’s creation, and learning about Him at the same time has brought an abundance of peace to my life in a myriad of ways. My mind was opened to see how our Church is so rich with history and of Saints that we can learn so much from!
Learning about the Saints has lead me to pray Novenas (there are apps for this), and I am constantly in awe after seeing my prayers get answered. The amazing thing about praying to Saints is the reminder that many of them started as very broken sinners, only to be transformed by God and become incredible Saints! There is hope for us all.
It is said that pride is what turned Angels into demons and humility that turns men into Saints. So, I printed off the Litany of Humility but my pride got in the way at first. I struggled to say this prayer and really mean it. Thankfully He is patient and merciful, because eventually I surrendered and through this powerful prayer I have grown closer to God.
A few short weeks ago, after communion, I reached the point of surrender. I uttered the words “Lord, I give my life to You to do with me as You wish”. I let go of the fear of the unknown to let God take control of my life. I pray to Mary for help with this, because it’s a constant, daily, surrendering of myself. She is the perfect example to all of us what surrender looks like. “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38 Complete surrender and lack of fear for God’s plans in our life-not our own plans-offering ourselves as a living sacrifice to Him. Allowing Him to use the resources and gifts He has given us to glorify Him.
My life has changed and though I am thankful for my past because it has taught me so much, and it is a living testimony to others, I look intently into the future to see what God has in store for me, to serve Him.