I’M JUST LETTING GO


It was so hard for me to get out of bed this morning. The alarm went off at 6 a.m. and I turned the bedside lamp on. At 6:30 my sweet husband came into the room with a cup of coffee and told me “I heard you snore so I thought I better do something.” What? Me, snore? Yeah, that was me. Oh how I wanted to sleep! But here’s the thing – I wanted to see Jesus more than I wanted to sleep. I practically had to scratch my way out of the warm and cozy trap that is my bed and adjust my crown of attitude into one more conducive to dedicating my Sabbath to the God of Glory, instead of What Nancy Wants. If attitude can get a person anywhere, projecting a good one is a start. So, half an hour late already, I struggled to set about getting ready for early Mass. Wonder of all wonders, I managed to get dressed and head toward Bunkie town.

Flash back: In June, I had the true honor of being one of the many prayer ministers at the Steubenville South Youth 2017 Conference in Alexandria, Louisiana. Long ago, when the movement first came to this part of the country, I was a part of the prayer team but took a hiatus when I married Pete and moved further south. It felt so good to be back into it this year. Man, if only I could tell you in human words what it is like to gently nudge a young person to the Way! All that to say this: The message, the speakers, the music, everything was great. It was mighty. A person would have to be a pillar of salt not to be moved. Hosted by Paul George, who by the way, knows how to get a young person’s attention (“clap once if you can hear me, clap twice etc.”) That really tickled me. The speakers were quite the line up of young adults who knew where they had been and know where they are going. Fr. Leo Patalinghug (EWTN, & Beating Bobby Flay – think “Holy Guacamole”), Megan Mastroianni, Chris Mueller, Sarah Swafford. Our own Josh Blakesley Band (http://www.joshblakesleymusic.com), and guest Sarah Kroger(http://www.sarahkroger.com) provided absolutely perfect music.

I’ve been a fan of Josh Blakesley & company for years. In fact, although my beloved and I are in our -ahem- 60’s, we have been known to travel the 40+ miles on a Sunday evening to Mass in Alexandria during which the music is rendered by said band. Enter Sarah Kroger. I had not heard of her before Steubenville South 2017. I found a couple of her CDs for sale and scored.

Ok, now flash forward to today: On the way to Mass, my thoughts were the usual “gosh I’m getting old, how did this happen, maybe it’s too late to do so-and-so, my memory is missing, something is wrong with my brain, gosh my hands hurt, oh, my back, this oldage is killing me, on and on and on.” Suddenly for some strange reason, I heard Sarah Kroger singing. Oh yeah, I forgot I was playing her CD. The words I heard captured me, literally dragging my attention away from my internal dialogue. Wow. How did that happen? The song must have been written for that very moment in my life. No? Well, you might not think so but I do. Let me say this about that; isn’t it amazing how God’s timing is perfect and how He reaches us exactly where we are and exactly when we need Him? Here, read these words.

“I thought by now I would be running on an open road

Not here standing with a heavy load

Unable to move

I thought by now it would be everything I ever dreamed

Not unsure of what there is for me

Or what I should do

And I can’t see straight and I just can’t seem to find my way

So I’m letting go, I’m letting go

For once in my life

I don’t need to know. I’m just letting go

Oh I’m letting go.

And like a friend this heaviness is settled in my soul

I don’t have to hold it any more

You whisper to me

“Be still don’t fight. Just let me make the burden light”.

So I’m letting go, I’m letting go

For once in my life

I don’t need to know. I’m just letting go.

Oh, I’m letting go.

I will not be afraid to open up my hands

I will not be afraid to let you in

I will not be afraid, your love is more than I could know

So I’m letting go, I’m letting go

For once in my life

I don’t need to know. I’m just letting go

Oh, I’m letting go.”

Powerful, huh? I meditated on that after I took a seat in church. The message I got from that wonderful song is simply to stop worrying and trust more. Sounds like a cliché but it is what it is. It comforted me. It helped me see that the course my life has taken is not so far off what it should be. I am more aware of the road I am on. If I can let go, if I can trust.

Now here’s where it gets Real. To my delight, Father Taylor Reynolds was the Celebrant for Mass. I’ve watched him grow up in Bunkie. His mother is a lady I know and admire. He is with our parish for the summer before he returns to Rome in the fall. So you can imagine how it warmed my heart to see him this morning. When Father Taylor read today’s Gospel (Mathew 14:22-23) he had my complete attention. What he said afterwards brought tears to my eyes. And it still does. It is the story of Jesus walking on water. Allow me to paraphrase the homily. First Jesus leads the disciples to the boat, rides with them to the other side of the lake, and then leaves them and goes off by himself to talk to his Dad. The guys on the boat carry on until the wind gets tough, the ride gets rough and terrible fear moves in. Suddenly, they look up and see Jesus walking on the water toward them. But, as Fr. Taylor pointed out, he didn’t calm the seas. He didn’t tell the wind to stop. He did, however, say “don’t be afraid”. Peter told Jesus “Lord, if it’s You, tell me to come to you on the water.” Jesus said “Come” So, Peter stepped out of the boat in faith. Then he faltered. But Jesus reached out and caught him. Thank God! Fr. Taylor pointed out how close Jesus was to Peter as he took his faltering steps and started to sink. He was right there, close enough to grab him. What wonderful news! What a fantastic analogy!

So the lesson God gave me today goes like this; Life is a journey, yet another cliché, but true none the less. On this journey we hope we are doing the right things. We have our problems, our burdens, our forks in the road. We don’t know where to turn. We need Him to show us the way. We need to trust Him through the storms. We need to step out in faith and know that Jesus is right there for us when we falter, and feel like all is lost or it’s too hard to carry on, or we don’t know what to do. We need to believe.

Let go. Release the heaviness in your soul, your burdens, your insecurities. Step out in faith knowing that He is in control and He won’t let you go. He’ll be there for you and with you throughout your journey. “Be still, don’t fight. Just let Me make the burden light.”

I’m praising Him for that lesson today! Oh Jesus, I’m loving you! Thank You from the bottom of my heart! I wish I could convey my concern and compassion to the many who have not yet entered into a life with Christ. It just doesn’t make sense not to want to love and be loved, not to want a richer life with riches that matter and carry over into the next life, the one that is Eternity, not to want a better, more meaningful life. I’ve had a life without Him, although as a believer I thought I had it all. Wrong. There is more. So much more.

Below you will see the CD cover I reference by Sarah Kroger.  She’s awesome.

 

Pray for peace, people. Our world needs your prayers.

 

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As I recover . . .


I thought I would re-post the following from over a year ago.  I’ve got a new post rolling around in my head but everything is still jumbled up from my recent craniotomy so I shall have to let a bit more time pass before I can put two sentences together in a reasonably cohesive way.  Oh, but when I come back!  Wait for it!

https://nantubre.com/2014/07/25/the-motorcycle-mama-and-the-lord/

enjoy, and please pray for peace in the world.  Don’t forget!

The Motorcycle Mama and the Lord


stock-vector-mad-granny-on-a-bike-89888923

We went for a lovely late afternoon/evening motorcycle ride and didn’t get home till somewhere around 9:30pm. It was really nice. I wear a full helmet that has the thing around the front and the visor that can be pulled down over my face. I gotta thing about wrecking my face if I ever fall off.
ANYWAY, I discovered that the rear view mirrors are right in my line of sight so I thought I’d take a peek to see what a woman in her 60th decade would look like sitting behind her man on a Harley Davidson. Lawd, first thing I thought was “Damn, I shoulda tucked my face in!”

When I was a kid, there was a period of time when my family was surrounded by motorcycles. We all rode. Heck, my brother even had his very own Honda. Those were good days, a summer of fun, exploring, stretching to see how far we could go. It was the last summer we had as a family and I’ll never forget it. Even my mom rode, may she rest in peace. I still chuckle at the memory of her on a bike, snaking across a pasture behind our house, her very ample boobs about to beat her to death, poor thing. As for myself, I was always a little timid when I drove. I don’t know why. I remember a dirt bike trail we frequented. I finally made myself brave enough to take it on. And to my surprise, I found it to be FUN! But still….every time I got a good run going I backed off. Why? What was I afraid of? Broken bones? No, it wasn’t a dangerous track and I don’t remember any of us ever getting hurt on it. It’s funny how we develop personality traits at a young age. I’ve done the same thing for most of my life in many different areas. The thought was worth exploring.

Now all of these years later, I realize I was afraid of success, of letting go, of stepping out of my comfort zone, of feeling unworthy to succeed. Man, it took me a long time to put an end to that kind of behavior! It’s basically the story of my life. How sad! But you know what? It’s never too late to change, to grow, and to prosper. Ok, you know where this is going, right? John 10:10. If you get a chance look it up in the bible. Meditate on it. It will change your life.
It says:
I have come that you might have life, and have it more abundantly.

Wow. He loves me enough to see that I am well taken care of! He wants me to live and live well! To see that end, He has to heal me, body, mind, and soul. And guess what? He has over and over and over. For every crack that keeps me from wholeness, he patches up with his love and desire for me to have life and have it more abundantly. Oh Sweet Jesus, how can I repay you?

Well, the answer to that is not such a hard one to find but you gotta look for it and do what the instruction manual (Bible) says. Very clearly it says to love one another. And in doing so, do everything else that comes with it like help each other, take care of each other, reach out to the poor, lonely, displaced, misfit, etc. Just love one another. That’s all He asks. Everything else will fall into place. As it should.
Can you imagine a world where we all took the time to love one another?

Pray for peace, people. Please.

Spiritually Overcoming Abuse


jesus and child

I intended to post the following yesterday but I had to sleep on it and pray about it to be sure I wanted to share it with the world. Plus, I don’t want to hurt anyone who has hurt me in the past. With healing comes forgiveness. Or maybe the other way around.

I don’t even know how to put into words the experience I had, or I should say, the truth revealed to me last night. I was at my weekly prayer meeting, a group of Catholic Charismatic ladies who get together to praise God and offer prayer intentions. And sometimes share a bottle of wine. Hey, we’re Catholic, what can I say?

ANYWAY, during the course of the evening we shared and prayed and meditated. I think we all had the same thing on our hearts because it seems the conversation drifted into the realm of our pasts and the pain of our childhoods. Isn’t it something how God brings people together who have so much in common? Not a coincidence, a God-incidence. There were only three of us last night but we still made a joyful noise unto the Lord, as the saying goes. When we got down to brass tacks, it was all about surviving abusive relationships and childhoods. One by one we shared things in our lives that were devastating. We cried for each other and prayed for each other. And we thanked God that He is a God of mercy and compassion. The more I thought about that, the more I began to recognize a truth that had evaded me for as long as I could remember. And with that truth came healing.

In terms of what we all have to suffer in life, I can’t say I know the reasons why we do. The world wide web is not the place to discuss some things so I’m not going there. But I will say this: God’s timing is not our timing but his timing is perfect. Recently, I saw a post on fb that said our bad memories need to be removed from our lives because they are toxic to ourselves physically and mentally. Personally, the suffering I have had to endure was bad in my eyes but compared to some, maybe not so much. Nevertheless, it was so complicated it had to be healed by layers. I can’t say I was always fully aware of each step into healing. All I knew was I had pain that was tattooed on my heart and soul and I wanted to be free of it. I wanted to be ‘normal’, whatever that was. As the healing progressed, I began to understand the reasoning behind why I felt ‘less than’, as well as defining and understanding my own behaviors that were destructive and self-deprecating, at the same time, inevitable; symptoms manifested by my pain.

A little at a time, the eyes of my heart have been opened to see the reasoning, if there is such a thing, behind why I suffered what I did. With each revelation came healing. Like an onion (I’m sure you’ve heard this before but it still rings true) peeling away layer by layer, so were the obstacles that kept me from the area in my life that most needed healing. And it was a s l o w process. Finally, just last night, I came to understand that I needn’t search for healing and the ability to rise above. It would come to me. God would see to it. Suddenly last night, as clear as a bell, I realized that God knows what He is doing. I had to wait until His time was right to complete the work He began in me. I discovered that the reason I wasn’t healed the first time I asked was because God knew I couldn’t deal with the reasons why what happened happened. I simply wasn’t ready. God knew when I would be and he tilled the soil and fertilized the field, and pulled the weeds until I was in the exact spot I needed to be, a place where I could accept hearing what happened, what made me the way I am.

I would have not been able to handle it otherwise. Premature enlightenment of the truth might have destroyed me. There could have been weak areas in me that couldn’t go there without more damage occurring.

God’s timing is perfect. I’m pretty sure I am a much stronger person with perhaps more insight and rebounding abilities. All thanks to God.

I don’t blame Him for the bad, bad experiences I have had. His gift to the human race is free will and it isn’t His fault that the choices of others have had a negative impact on my life. For that matter, some of my own choices have had negative impact on other’s lives. But God, in His mercy, has all the tools we need to become whole. His understanding and compassion are perfect, therefore He knows the exact time in which we will be able to accept our healing so that it will become totally complete.

Amen.

Please pray for peace.

Got My Sunday Preachin’ On!


I was inspired by a blogger by the name of Andrew Hines. I’ve included the link here: http://www.andrew-hines.com/2013/10/06/more-than-average/ This young man is a fresh new voice with a beautifully developing spirituality and I think he will definitely go far. I hope you take a look at his blog to see what I mean. I’m pretty sure you’re going to like his point of view. ANYWAY… his post for today is great food for thought, but if you know me, you know that I can’t leave well enough alone, especially when the subject is anything Divine. I had to offer my opinion, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just how I roll.

I LOVE that Andrew’s point of view today is to be more than average, and change your circumstances to fit your dream, and God wants you to be happy. Wise, wise words, don’t you think? This is the comment I left on his page:

“Andrew, I like your post but please allow me to add my two cents. John 10:10 “I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” Jesus said that. He also said “It’s easier for a camel to get through an eye of a needle than a rich man to get into heaven.” Seems to be a contradiction here, right? No. first of all, if you do your research, you will find that Jesus wasn’t saying that all rich people are not welcome in heaven. If you note, he was referring to those rich Pharisees (and others) that give a lot of lip service to doing good things and focus on material things as valuable, serving their pride and status before anything else at all.
That’s not what Jesus meant. He really does want us to have ‘life more abundantly’ but not to the extent that all we are is a materialistic people making our worth nothing more than the amount of electronics we have, how many awards we have, how big our bank account is. An abundant life is much more than that. To love one another, to serve one another, to be His hands and feet on earth are far more rewarding than anything material.
At the same time, He blesses us with the desires of our hearts. There is not one thing wrong with being rich. There is a lot wrong with using wealth only in a self serving way.
I love what you said about bettering ourselves and changing our circumstances to fit our dreams, not the other way around. Self-improvement, working hard to succeed, being grateful for your blessings, becoming a better person – If that brings out the joy in you, imagine how proud our Heavenly Father is of you! Love is a mighty thing.”

I felt pretty good about what I said and that I had taken the chance on that platform to say it. Then I thought I might sound a little bit holier-than-thou and that’s not the impression I wanted to give. I hope you forgive me if that is what you thought. But God has a way of working things out and I shouldn’t be surprised when he does. I received a lovely email from a priest I know with this quote from Pope Francis’ Angelus address given today:
Pope Francis and Doves

“Do not be ashamed to bear witness to our Lord, nor to me, in prison for him; but with the power of God, suffer with me for the Gospel” (2 Timothy 1:8). But this is meant for everyone: each one of us, in his everyday life, can bear witness to Christ, with the power of God, the power of faith, the small faith that we have, which, nevertheless, is strong! With this strength bear witness to Jesus Christ, be Christians with your life, with our witness!”

Wow. Of course, I can not add anything to the wise words of our Pope, except for this observation that may relate to the subject of Andrew Hines’ post and my reply to it. In the scripture from 2 Timothy, Paul says he is in prison for Him. He willingly faces the consequences of the decision he made in life to declare the good news of our Lord. He becomes a prisoner for what he believes in (notice I didn’t say by what he believes in).

In the same way, we too make a decision to face consequences for what we believe in – materialistically and spiritually. To become a slave to a materialistic life cannot bring joy, not everlasting joy, not joy that counts. But to use the gift of our free will to become the best we can be in all areas of our lives is a testament to the love and generosity of our Father. He is a good God and we are His beloved.

I’m probably going to get some flack from non-believers and haters who ask “where is God during wars, starvation of children, birth defects, etc?” That’s ok. Exercising free will is still a gift whether you believe it or not. And I am not so learned or knowledgeable to spar with them. Simply put, I don’t know the answer to that except to say that maybe, just maybe, He wants US to act, to prove our integrity, to be His hands and feet on this earth. Maybe He expects us to feed the hungry, give to the poor, ease despair, do what we can in His name. 2 Timothy 1:9 makes more sense of it: “He saved us and called us to a holy life, not according to our works but according to His own design and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began,”

Can I get an AMEN?

Can I get a comment?

And don’t forget to pray for peace, ya’ll. Believe me, the whole world needs your prayers.

NO JUDGMENT HERE


spoiler alert: Got some good preachin’ goin’ on up in here!

Isn’t it odd how we think of ourselves as good people because we are good deed doers and don’t judge others for the mistakes they make, for being down on their luck, or suffering from their weaknesses? How sometimes we go out of our way to help a person because they have a specific need? How we think we are doing the right thing when we give to the salvation army, or buy raffle tickets for a worthy cause, or do volunteer work? It makes us feel good, like we are nice people trying to do the right thing. Like we are people who don’t judge others. See a man on the side of the road picking up cans? Here, you can have this one too. No judgment here. See an obviously homeless person hitching a ride? Jump in, no judgment here. Some painfully poor person panhandles for your loose change? I’ve got plenty, no judgment here. How about this one: a perfect stranger on face book needs someone to listen to her problems? Sure, take my ear. No judgment here.

My question is this: Do we exert ourselves in the same manner for our family, and friends? Are we as kind to them as we are to some strangers down on their luck? Do we give the people we love the most the same amount of respect as we do to people we don’t even know, or perhaps will never even meet?

I’m asking these questions of myself today. A distant memory triggered this onslaught of soul-searching and I realize there are a lot of sins I have not asked God to forgive. I hadn’t asked Him to forgive me for resenting my mom’s efforts to help a child in another country with a monthly donation. It was probably thirty five years ago and I remember my grandmother saying at the time “charity begins at home”. I agreed with her because I thought my mom would have better spent her money on me every month, after all, I was a single mother trying to get by. In all actuality, I was a self-centered knot-head with an it’s-all-about-me attitude. My world had an invisible boundary that hindered my ability to think beyond the ‘dome’. I never stopped to consider that my mom’s contribution might very well have changed the future for one little person, a change that might have an impact on the whole world, all because of that one little gesture, one little contribution. God said He forgives me. I hope my mom does too. If she were still with us, I would ask her from the bottom of my heart to forgive my selfish resentment – and for judging her wrongly.

Mankind is best served by all of the do-gooders out there and for obvious reasons. Jesus said “love one another”. Did you think this post would be about serving others, taking care of the poor or homeless, loving others as we love ourselves? In a way it is, but don’t forget about those already in your life, people. Don’t forget that your family, maybe friends, too, need your kindness. Or understanding. Or forgiveness. Or even to be forgiven. Don’t forget them in all your efforts to serve God’s people. They might be the ones who are down-trodden, disheartened, or misunderstood.

Don’t judge them either.

I used to be the world’s best at judging others. Just ask any of my former co-workers. I was baaad. It’s really hard to think before I judge, but I am practicing.

I’m going to have a go-to-Jesus meeting for a long list of wrongs I’ve done that I brushed aside because I thought ‘doing the right thing’ was enough. And I’m sure you’ve heard (over and over) how if you are in flight and the oxygen mask falls down, put it on yourself first so that you have the strength to help the person with you.

That’s what I’m talking about.

So keep doing good things, people. Don’t stop, increase your efforts. And keep in mind there will be no judgment here.

think before speaking

And don’t forget ya’ll – pray for world peace. Our entire world needs more prayer.