Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lenten Walk 2012: Day 1 — Choosing Silence

Today marks the beginning of Lent. Ash Wednesday; where Catholics all over the world bear the mark in ash of the sign most precious to our our salvation, the cross.

I was battling a bit with my sacrifice, trying to decide what I'd give up for lent. About a few months ago I wished that I could take a silent retreat; just remain quiet, not say a word. I wanted to take advantage of my silence to become more observant, to remain silent so I can hear God. But it's hard to stay quiet as a mom of two. I find it hard to communicate with others without saying a word. I wished to become silent, but I retracted out of fear.

So my dear Lord, the founder of the true wish foundation, granted me my wish.

I got strep throat; and so my voice is gone. It hurts to even whisper.

So there you have it, my Lenten sacrifice for 2012. Minimal talking. I say minimal because there will be times where I will need to talk, but I'm hoping that in being silent I can listen more, learn more.

God gave us two ears and one mouth.

That must mean something right?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

God's Love is More than Enough

Ever watch that show Hoarders? The people on this show are trapped in their own homes because it's full of stuff they can't get rid of. Some collect things to fill a void, letting it get too far. Some realizing that the objects they've gathered have brought nothing but sadness instead of reprieve from their pain. Others remain in denial. Either way, it's sad to see them struggle to change, realizing that all they've amassed, all they have around them, doesn't allow them to live freely.

Although some of us are not that extreme, many of us, including myself, can agree that we do store a lot of junk. Clothes that no longer fit, toys no one ever plays with, books already read, etc. Our lives can get pretty crowded, with objects that have sentimental value or things we just don't have it in our hearts to throw away. I can admit great joy in buying a new electronic or brand new shoes. For a moment I am content that I have something new, I feel blessed. God is good, especially when I can get a new car.

But is God also good if, say, my car gets stolen, or I am in a terrible accident while driving it?

The answer is yes.

It is true that God continually blesses us and wants us to be happy and safe, but our happiness, our worth, shouldn't come from the things we have or don't have. Our worth comes from within, from what's in our hearts and what comes out of our hearts. The things we say along with the things we do, are what really make us who we are. If we have nothing in this world but our breath, God is still very good because it is what's inside that counts for Him.

I had the pleasure of meeting a gentleman who travels a lot to South America and spends time in a hospital for sick children. Most of these kids have been abandoned by their families because they were ill and either couldn't afford to pay medical bills or, sadly a reality, think that their child's sickness is a curse and so they leave them at the hospital never to return. This particular hospital takes them in to care for them, basically giving most of them a home. There was one little girl with stomach cancer that this gentleman friend of mine grew very fond of. Every morning, to wake up, to sit up, to eat, and get dress was a trial for her, and yet, when she finally managed to rise and continue her day, she always wore a smile, was always ready to play and enjoy her day. This gentleman said he'd never met such a brighter soul, despite all that she lacked in the world, possessions, a home, her health, even her family, but she always had a reason to smile.

What a great testimony to God's glory, coming through in such a dire situation. To have very little, and still find a reason to smile. The Old Testament tells of a similar story, Job, the man who had everything but all was taken away. Job had to learn that God's love isn't equated to the amount of what we have around us. God's love comes in abundance and is the only possession we can boast about. Everyone has an equal amount of His tender love and mercy because no matter what He's chosen to give us, no matter who has more than who, He can't help but love us all the same.

Let's all give thanks to God for all we have and for all we don't have; for who we are, and for who we aren't. Tomorrow may bring on many different adventures, but God's love for you will always remain the same. Let's give Him, and in turn, our neighbor, all the love we have in our hearts. Let's show the world what really matters to us and to Him; how much love we have for God and for one another.

God bless!