third trimester thoughts 💭

Being pregnant is such a beautiful adventure! It is a 40 week rollercoaster ride both physically and emotionally. Approaching the end of my third trimester, I find myself reflecting on the past months of pregnancy, and how I’ve grown ( literally and figuratively speaking haha!) as a person, a woman and a mama.

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Just a few little lessons/blessings/take aways that I thought I would share. Regardless of if you are pregnant or not, I think these can be appreciated by all:

  1. People love babies/new life- The degree of friendliness/love/generosity that I have received throughout my pregnancy, has increased with each passing month. The bigger I am, the friendlier people are!! The respect and love that total strangers ( and friends/family) have showered on me, is a testament to the power and sanctity of life. Humans are designed to welcome and love new life, and they do it without even realizing it.
  2. Pregnancy is proof that God exists- If you don’t believe that God is real, just watch the process of a growing baby in utero. It’s the most amazing and underrated miracle taking place every day around the world. The fact that this tiny, perfect, functioning human life grows from the fusion of a sperm and egg and is able to live in a woman’s womb for 9 months…. is incredible. Even as I carry my own son, I am often baffled at God’s miraculous and mind-blowing creation. How can you explain such a perfectly designed process without God?!
  3. We need to advocate for life- It doesn’t matter if a baby was conceived 1 minute ago, or 9 months ago… a beautiful life with a unique soul was created, and has the right to live, like you or I do. The lie that has crept into our society, claiming that abortion is a women’s right, a freedom, a choice… has to change. These tiny miracles from God are our most vulnerable humans that ought to be protected, fought for and loved. Let us keep praying for an end to abortion, and the conversion of hearts who control legislature and media.

There have been so many other beautiful and memorable moments, but those are stories for another day! Perhaps we can take some time today to thank the Lord for the gift of our own lives, and the fact that our parents choose life. I think we often forget to thank the Lord for this most fundamental gift, and this miracle that we were apart of.

God bless!

hope is greater

A little while back, I wrote a post about the limitations of the English language, particularly for the word love. How is it possible that this rich verb can be used to describe the most beautiful union between man and women, while at the same time describing affection for a pair of shoes?!

It recently dawned on me, that the same goes for the word hope. This was the word I received for the new year, and the Lord keeps revealing to me how necessary hope is for the world- especially in these confusing times.

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It’s funny though, how often we use this word for everyday, simple experiences.”I hope it doesn’t rain today”, “I hope we make it on time”, I hope she likes the gift”… you get the idea!

Yet in reality, hope is so much more than these simple desires we ascribe to it. Here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church writes about hope:

The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men’s activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity.

CCC #1818

Isn’t that beautiful!? Hope is like the compass that points us to our heavenly home! It’s the antidote against discouragement, depression, despair. Hope leads us to happiness, opens our hearts, and reminds us that we are journeying towards Christ himself.

It is my prayer, that you, wherever you are, and whatever you might be going through, are renewed and strengthened by this promise of authentic hope. Let us all fix our eyes above the current situation, and hope in what is to come, and in He who is the source of our hope.

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healing love.

O Spirit of God,

On us descend,

So that we might see,

The hearts to mend.

Those broken and lost,

Or crippled with fear.

The lonely and hurt,

O let them hear:

That God is alive,

His Word stands true.

His power to heal,

Is meant for you.

Full freedom from chains,

Authentic peace.

A place to call home,

Will never cease.

Let Christians proclaim,

This healing love.

A message of hope,

Sent from above.

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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.

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!

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.