a story book life?

You know that cliche analogy that compares our lives to that of a chapter book? The many events that unfold in our lives can be likened to new chapters, filled with exciting adventures, new beginnings, tragedies, unexpected events, life, loss, despair and hope.

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I think this analogy works quite well, and over the past years, I’ve found myself starting several new chapters along the way. For the most part, I’ve been “writing” my chapter book since early adulthood ( well co-writing… I mean, God is the ultimate author and I’m doing my best to follow His plan). I’ve played the leading lady in this exciting novel of life, and generally speaking, my decisions have dictated the direction of the plot and adventure. It’s been a great and wonderful journey, and I’m so happy with the way things have unfolded for the most part….

But what about the chapters that we didn’t choose for?

What about those events that are thrust upon our story, that we never asked for, never planned on, never wanted? Those chapters that completely mess up the plot that we had anticipated and hoped for?

Of course, Covid would be the easiest example at the moment. But I also mean those personal crises that we all face throughout our lifetime. The moments that bring us to our knees, have us questioning God and His plans, have us searching for answers yet finding none.

I’m in one of those chapters at the moment, and it’s been extremely hard to accept. I’m going through a physical diagnose that I never imagined, which is causing me immense pain and discomfort most hours of the day. It’s something that I never dreamed would ” happen to me” and something that makes me angry at times. I’m sure if I asked you reading this, you could think of a time in your life that was similar. Perhaps it wasn’t physical but emotional, social, psychological etc.

So what now? Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer. I think that sometimes in life there are chapters that we just can’t disappear from. Where we can’t devise some amazing escape plan, because we have to live and fight through this chapter to the end.. .I’m trying to stay hopeful, stay faithful and stay positive. I do know that God is in control, even though it feels like I’m slipping from His hands at times. I know He doesn’t want our suffering, and that this pain can be redemptive and it can bear an eternal fruit.

To all of you suffering right now: I know I can’t take it away. Nor can anyone else. But I want to validate what you are going through and say that I’m sorry you are going through this. Remember that you ARE a beloved son or daughter of the King. You don’t have to force yourself to be happy when your hurting, but keep the hope and remember that this too, shall pass.

Much love,

Jenny

hello stars ✨

Hello stars, I’m still awake,

My thoughts so clear and deep.

Many hours will it take,

Till I am fast asleep?

Shining brightly in the sky,

I’m captured by your light.

Like a lantern I rely,

For you to guide my sight.

Soon enough the sun will rise,

And you will fade away.

Colours painted in the skies,

Will welcome the new day.

dancing before the King

Do you ever feel like God is being a little too quiet in your life? Despite your prayer times, participation in the sacramental life and various missions… it just seems like you can’t hear His voice anymore?

I’ve been feeling like this over the past few weeks, and it was starting to get really discouraging. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit reminded me of something this past Friday during adoration:

God does not hesitate to use others to communicate His love and presence with us.

We attended an adoration evening on Friday, and we came late so we sat in the very last pew! Due to our seating, I could see the whole church and in particular a little girl with gorgeous blond hair near the front.

As the choir started to sing, this little girl stood up in her pew and started to sway back and forth to the music. There was something so peaceful and innocent about her movements and her presence before the Lord.

Immediately, I was touched to tears as I watched this young girl, so powerfully free, dance before her King. At one point, her sister tugged on her jacket to sit down, and she just pulled away and kept on swaying.

I knew exactly in that moment, that God was calling me to be free like this little girl. To find my comfort, my peace and my joy in Christ alone. To be so wrapped in His love, that I could even dance before Him.

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This little girl modelled what radical and pure love for Christ looks like. It’s unafraid, it’s bold, it’s present, it’s pure and it’s contagious.

So, even though I didn’t hear God in my morning prayer or the mass readings, I sure heard Him speaking through His precious child, who beautifully danced before her King and her Lord.

wise words in unexpected places 📕

So I’m just finishing up the first book in the Lord of the Rings series and loving it! If you enjoyed the movies, you HAVE to read the books. I would argue that the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien far outshine the Hollywood movies.

Anyway- last night I came across this passage that struck me;

“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all the lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater“ ( p. 454, Fellowship of the Ring)

The quote is from a secondary, less important character, so I won’t focus on who said it, but rather what was said. Doesn’t this sound like our times? Peril, dark places, grief…. I have to think of recent elections, disunity, extreme weather emergencies, hateful speech, pandemics, radical movements, angry protests, evil laws being passed…

Yet even in the darkest of times, there are things that are fair and love that is greater. Though these words come from an elf in a storybook, they are profoundly true today. We can fix our eyes on the dark, chaotic and oppressive events, or we can seek out the beautiful, lovely, life giving and authentic events that continue to take place.

Perhaps a good question to ask ourselves is: What do I choose to see in the world each day ? Am I contributing to the darkness, or do I shine like the stars that give light in the night ?

outer or inner self.

Suffering.

This one word manages to invoke so many different thoughts, emotions and fears in my heart (perhaps yours, too?) No one really wants to suffer. We all want lives that are happy, healthy, carefree and joyful!

Yet try as we may, we all come face to face with suffering at one point or another. Some will hide it, some will highlight it, some will run away from it… but suffering is apart of our broken humanity. ***But please don’t run away now- this post has a happy ending! As do all the best of stories. I want to share some encouragement I received from the Lord. Something that has lifted my spirits in a season of suffering.

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After getting pregnant (praise the Lord) I had to go off most of my eczema medications. As a result, my skin has officially gone bonkers ( but seriously, it’s been horrible). It’s either red, open and inflamed, or dry as the desert. One thing a lot of people don’t realize, is how debilitating eczema can be. It’s not just a little itchy skin (at least for me and many others), it’s an insatiable itch that can be all consuming at times. It means waking up in the night from scratching, constant moisturizing, physical pain, and a lot of emotional burdens from feeling and being inflamed/swollen/red/itchy/worn down……

I’ve been really trying to grow in trust and faith throughout this trying time! During adoration this past week, I remembered a verse that in the past has brought me a lot of peace when it comes to physical suffering. I had my bible and thought, ” it would be so great to find that verse tonight”. I flipped to a page in Corinthians, and it wasn’t on that page, so I turned one page back and sure enough, there was the verse, waiting for me! The Holy Spirit had definitely guided me to this place, because like many good Catholics, I know the verse but have NO IDEA where it is located. This is what it said,

” So we do not lose heart. Though the outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day” – 2 Corinthians 4:16

Isn’t this beautiful! When we feel our outer selves wasting away ( physical sufferings and burdens we carry on/in our bodies), we can be reassured of the fact that Christ wants to strengthen us and our spirit. He does not want our inner self to waste away, fall into despair, feel rejected or forgotten.

No!! Christ wants us to hope, and “not loose heart”! Christ is near to us in our suffering, even when we feel alone or frustrated. We have the opportunity to invite Christ in to our sufferings. To be vulnerable, open and honest about the crosses we carry. To ask him for his help and presence in our pain. To unite with Christ on the Cross each and every day.

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Although this doesn’t “solve” the problem of suffering, or even take away my pain (or yours), it does remind me that our suffering can become life-giving. We can ask Jesus to use these hard times for someone else’s good (spouse,child,friend,world) and trust in this mystery of redemptive suffering. This is not an easy path, but I know the Lord sees our efforts, sufferings and offerings, and will reward us- either here on earth, or hopefully in heaven one day!

powerful intercessor

Hi!

Welcome to my blog and thanks for stopping in!

Today is just a short story about the power of prayer. I think sometimes we forget how powerful prayer is, and all the gifts our Heavenly Father wants to bestow on us through prayer.

A few weeks ago, I was driving home with a friend after a nice night out. We were chatting a little bit about Mary and our relationship with our Heavenly Mama. We both shared some of our joys and struggles with this relationship, and even questioned if we could pray with Mary too much? Was this taking away from our time with Jesus?

As we hit the freeway, our conversation was abruptly stopped because my friend’s little three month old baby started to cry. Now the thing is… this baby doesn’t soothe herself in the carseat. No. The carseat is the one place that makes her grumpy, upset and unconsolable (understandable… those seats have almost zero padding). Even worse, we were a long way from home.

My first thought was “this is going to be a horrible ride home”, because the baby was getting progressively louder and louder. Not to mention that my friend has, in the past, had to stop on the side of the road multiple times to soothe her little peanut. Perhaps worst of all, it was so sad to hear her crying with almost no way of helping her.

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But then, something happened. I had to think of our conversation about Mary. Out of the blue I just said, “why don’t we pray a Hail Mary?”. Literally as soon as we started praying the words together, the sweet little baby in the back started to calm down. It was incredible. No soother. No mama. No milk. Just the words, ” Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with Thee…”

I looked at my friend, she looked at me and said, “ I think were going to have to pray the whole rosary!”. And that’s what we did. We said the whole rosary together, and the baby didn’t make a sound. In fact, she was soothed to sleep by the sweet words and intercession of her Heavenly Mother.

Words don’t do justice to the beauty of that moment. Just physically seeing the power of prayer answered in our midst. Seeing how Mary wants to, and delights in, answering our prayers. Not for her own benefit. But for the love of her Son.

Saint Maximilian Kolbe once said, ” Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did” . This couldn’t be more true. Loving Mary, asking for her intercession, seeking her aid in times of trouble is exactly what Jesus wants! He knows that everything we entrust to her, is taken to Him.

Mary Mother of God- Pray for us!

washed clean

Hi Again!

During these crazy times, access to the sacraments have been scarce. We’ve had to adapt to streamed masses, reserving spots for mass online ( if your quick enough!) and a whole lot of hand sanitizer….. Let’s just say, it hasn’t been easy.

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But there is something that has brought me (and perhaps you, too?!) A LOT of peace and comfort during the past months and that is:

Confession!

Confession has been the one sacrament that has been relatively easy to receive during the chaos of Covid-19. I don’t know about your experience, but we could make appointments with our parish priest anytime and every Saturday morning from 11:00-12:00 there was “drive through” confession!

I found so much solace in the sacrament of Reconciliation, because it was the closest I could get to Jesus when our masses weren’t taking place.

The Lord knows how painful these times have been and still are. He wants us to receive him again through the Holy Eucharist. He wants to be united, heart to heart. But if we are unable to go to mass, don’t forget to encounter Jesus in confession, as well ! It is a powerful encounter where Jesus himself, through the priest, can heal all our sins, anxieties, mistakes, fears and missed opportunities to love.

I can testify to the power of this healing and life giving encounter with Jesus through confession! Every time I went to confession during the “pandemic”, Jesus was speaking so clearly through the priest about my heart and the areas that needed deep conversion. That kind of realization is humbling, but I drove away every time feeling more loved, joyful, peaceful, motivated and light. It’s a feeling you cannot buy, and one that comes only from the healing touch of Jesus our Saviour.

God bless you all!

right now.

So last Sunday, we were watching the mass with Fr. Mike Schmitz and he said something in the homily that has stayed with me all week. He said ( I’m paraphrasing here) we can’t encounter God in the past or the future, only in the present.

Obvious? Maybe. Profound? Definitely. If we actually believe this, it has the power to change our attitude, our perspective and our life!

How many of us are guilty for playing on repeat the mistakes of the past, or the way things should have gone? Or how about the worries of the future? How much time is wasted thinking about what might happen, what could be, or the perfect scenario?

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What Father Mike is encouraging us to do, is to radically trust in the power of God working in the present moment! Isn’t that freeing?! Just think: actually letting go and surrendering all that happened in your past, and all that you worry and fear for in the future. Just living moment to moment with your Heavenly Father.

Lord Jesus,

You see each one of us right now. You know our hearts, and our thoughts. You see the burdens we carry from the past and the fears that we hold for the future. We surrender all of these moments, worries, anxieties and hopes to you. We want to live in the freedom that you have won for us on the Cross. We want to live with you right now! Come Jesus into our hearts and meet us in this exact moment. Show us how to live a life that is truly present to you and your people. Send your Spirit to guide, inspire and enlighten us. We love and thank you.

Amen.