Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Perfect Person I Am Not

Dear Liani,

First off, let me start by saying that I love you immensely, and it is because of this love that I write this to you.

I feel that my responsibility as a mom is to be as loving and honest as possible. Sometimes parents find reasons to tell untruths to keep our children happy, to prevent from hurting them in any way, but it is done out of love.

I want you to know something about me. I am not perfect. Although I am constantly telling you how to be a better person, showing you how to be what I consider happy and normal, I myself need a lot of help and lecturing. Yes, as an adult, I too don't have it together.

As you know I am very messy. It is why I get so upset at your messiness. I don't want you to inherit that from me. I wish I was neater, but, I'm not, yet I expect you to be. Not good.

I also sometimes make promises that I know I won't be able to keep. I wish I had a better handle on time management, on my responsibilities, but I don't and yet I expect you to get your act together when it comes to school and homework. Not good.

Mommy is lazy. Sometimes I have a spurt of energy and desire to get things done, most times I'm lethargic. I get upset when you try and take the easy way out, yet I watch myself do the very same thing.  Not good.

There are things that mommy does that perhaps you are still too young to even think of doing. I gossip, which is awful because I hurt people that I say I love and care for with words that way. I am full of pride and I love getting the glory, knowing, thinking I am or should be the star. I have a temper that isn't set off by much. I am not very thankful sometimes. Many times I say things that are wrong, not nice, judgemental. There are times where I think of something bad happening to someone just because they hurt me. I have so many faults, so many sins. Mommy is not a perfect person.

I'm just a weak sinner who needs Jesus. This is why I go to church, why I pray to Mary, why I read about the Saints. I need Jesus to help me get better. And every time I get a little better, I turn to Him with a thankful heart. You know, Jesus said that He came for the sick, for the poor in spirit. He came to lift us up, to take us out of our slavery to sin. He came to heal my heart and increase my faith. He forgives me because He loves me and knows that I will probably sin again. But when I go back to Him, head and heart hung low, He forgives me again. I go to Mary because I want to be like her. She loved Jesus best. I go to her so she can help me, show me how, because moms know how to show their kids to be better. And the Saints are people like you and me, struggling to do better, many times falling, but getting up to try and love Jesus and our neighbor better with each rising. It's not about their faults, but about how they know Jesus loves them in spite of their shortcomings, and their persistence in always doing better next time. They weren't perfect either, like most people think. On the contrary, we can relate to their imperfections and ask them to pray for us to improve.

I just wanted to tell you that I'm sorry. I mess up a lot and not just with you but with lots of people. Each day I pray that I do better as a mom and as a person. I want you to know that you don't need to be perfect. But always strive to be better, more loving to God and His people. (Everyone is a son and daughter of God, whether they acknowledge that or not, whatever their sins are. We are called to love, forgive and not seek revenge. ) And always lean on Christ for help with everything. Because sometimes we think we know and we don't know a thing. But He knows everything and He loves us anyway.

Love you to pieces my baby girl,
Your Mommy

God bless!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Finding Strength in Him

Seek the LORD and his strength;  seek his presence continually
— 1 Chronicles 16:11

This weekend, while on retreat, I'd walk down the hall from my room to be with Jesus in the tabernacle of the chapel. We spoke like I'd speak to my friends. I smiled and looked at the tabernacle when I saw something cute or funny as if, like an old friend, I knew He'd be giggling too. I spoke with Him about my worries, my insecurities, my fears. I thanked Him for all His blessings, for the opportunity to be with Him in this way. Many times, I just sat in silence, we sat in silence, Him and I, just being with each other, just hanging out. I felt myself growing closer to the Lord.

Friday night, after dinner and the talks, I changed into my pajamas and walked to the chapel to say hello. I walked the stations briefly. Then, as I sat down, there was a rosary in the pew. I could feel Him winking, egging me on. I'll do just one decade, I thought to myself, exhausted from the trip.

Ended up doing the whole rosary. It felt nice.

On Saturday morning I walked into the chapel and He was with a priest, who happened to be celebrating a solo mass. I figured I'd stick around. Any friend of Jesus is a friend of mine. We both received Him together. Very nice.

Later, in the retreat house library,  I had picked up an old book called "Teach Us to Pray." I turned to page 18. This is what it said:

"Our words hide things, instead of reveal them."

It went on to describe how full of wonder we are when we see an unknown flower, bird or insect. We stare and marvel at our ignorance of it, how we long to soak it in, get to know it. That continues until we are told or reminded of its name. Once we know it, we stop getting to know it. We don't know it anymore. This moved me. I can ramble on and on, then complain why I never hear Jesus talk back. I can repeat prayers and yet feel a dryness when I am done and get up to go. I've given Him little chance lately to communicate back to me. How can I get to know a friend if I don't let Him share something with me? How can I grow closer to someone I truly don't really know.

I felt small. I felt embarrassed.

So I walked back to the chapel and sat in silence with Jesus, because as much as I'd like to say I know Him, fact is I don't even know the half of it. What I don't know, what I don't understand of Him, is vast.

I came back various time that day. We spent time together. No one else walked into the chapel during these times. It was as if Jesus alerted everyone that He didn't want the chapel to be disturbed, since His good friend, Ivy, had come into town.

Sunday was my last day. I spent the morning with Him in silence. We'd grown closer in these last few visits, but I knew that once I stepped out into the outside world, my time would be monopolized. This saddened me greatly. I went through the morning feeling very disconnected. When it was time to go, I dragged my luggage out of my room and left it right by the chapel door.

I walked in, blessed myself, but instead of sitting down in one of the pews, I sat on the step leading to the sanctuary. I cried.

I told him,

Jesus, we had such a great time this weekend. We had alone moments I would've never dreamed of having back home. That's where I'm going now, back home, back to the normal. Funny thing is that You are my reality and I know where to find you. But I know it won't be like this for a while. Please keep me close to you. Call my name so I don't just wave and pass by. I want to sit with You, be with You, talk, or not. Just be with YOU.

I remained quiet for a while, hoping that He would reveal something to me.

And He did.

In His gentle manner, He told me something sad. I prefer not to share it. Let's call it a secret. But I'll share His advice. 

He reminded me that I was now in a sort of tabernacle, this retreat, joined with Christ in a most special way. When I leave, I'll be joined to Him in a different way. My eyes were moved to my Friend on the cross. This world is a cross. He invited me to get up on a cross, to suffer this world.

"But when you're tired," He said, "when you have no more strength, get off and come meet Me here, at the tabernacle. I'll help you get right back on the cross."

I left with a mix of emotions. How could one not be filled with all kinds of feelings when one encounters the Lord. There's no describing all those things I felt. One thing I can say for certain, is that I was a little more prepared for the outside. And each time I visit my Brother, my Friend, Jesus, He will keep filling me with strength and courage, perseverance and most certainly, love. 

For how could anyone face the world, our crosses without a heart full of love for Jesus and His people.

Visit Jesus in the tabernacle.
Go be with Him at a Holy Hour.
When you get there, sit, and be silent,
...and never stop visiting Him.

His doors are always open.

God Bless!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lent 2013: Ashes, ashes and dirt and dust

I need saving.
Sometimes it's good to say things more than once, so...

I, Ivy, need saving.
Everyday, I need to be saved.

Because if I didn't believe that, feel that, know it, then I wouldn't need a savior, want one.
And I want Jesus.
I do.

My soul needs dusting sometimes. Other times it needs a major clean-up. I don't mean to be so messy, but life just trods through with muddy boots and though I attempt to clean the mess, the footprints stay embedded, reminding me constantly of those dirty moments, those muddy walks I took. My mess, my past is overwhelming. There's no way I can clean up a mess like that. I was never made for these circumstances.

And you should see me when I'm in a mess. I'm not happy. I'm pacing back and forth. I'm looking for ways to make this easy. I'm planning out my escape from facing it. My mess gets messier by the minute. I find the only way to clean up this kind of mess is by walking into a confessional.

Letting God in to clean up.
He loves to dust me off, wipe the stains clean, sweep away any worries. I am brand new. Cleansed.

Think what you want. This is my way of healing and has been for the rest of my family for over two thousand years. It's the only way that healed. This life, I thought was mine to control. My destiny, my dreams. Somewhat true. But they are nothing but dust and dirt if I don't recognize that without God those wishes will have no weight. So sad, as Jesus puts it, to gain the whole world and lose your soul. For when I die, I can't take my worldly dreams with me.

And because I love love love God, nor do I want to.

So this beginning of Lent, as the ashes are placed on my forehead  as I am reminded that from dust I was created and to dust I shall go, I will remember who lifted me up from dirt...

and He who will lift up this soul when this life is done.

God bless!