Monday, February 27, 2012

The Best I Can Give Tonight

I'm actually not sure of what to write about. Even as I have contemplated this last week, I still couldn't come to any conclusions. The truth is, it's been really hard. Everything seems so fresh again sometimes. And I guess that's just what it is. The last month seems to have had more harder days than not. That's the name of this game though - ups and downs. It's all just exhausting. The road of life looks long right now and even as I continue to press forward and push, I sometimes just stop and let it be. I just let all the pain be where it is, right inside. I try not fight it too much because surrendering is sometimes the best choice. I see the Truth, but sometimes it doesn't set in and reside in me. This is where habits of trust and service come in handy. I fall back on them and I am grateful. All the questions spin in my head as the world continues to spin as well. How? I wonder. How does time continue to move? I gaze upon Jesus hanging on the Cross - limp, lifeless, bloody, and battered and I say "I trust in You, my sweet, sweet Jesus." Can't we just skim over this part? Go straight to beautiful, glorious, light-filled Jesus after His Resurrection? It gives good feelings and brings happy thoughts. No. We can't. Seeing the "before" picture, makes us see the real transformation in the "after" one. And besides, I relate more to the body hanging on the Cross right now. Thank you Lord, for choosing me. Thank you for choosing all of us sinners. You didn't have to. Your really actually shouldn't have... but You did. Thank you. I will praise you all the days of my life, no matter what they look like or what is in them. I hope against all hope for the glory to be revealed in times to come, in places to come, in LOVE to come. I hope against all hope in the Love that is here, in all of these tears. I throw myself at the foot of your cross and intercede for many who are suffering. For those you have given me knowledge of and those I have no idea about. You allow these moments of pain to continue to visit me, just as You allowed your own death come upon Your very life. For You knew the life of this world was NOTHING compared to the one to come. Why do I try so hard to understand it all? I can't. It's not humanly possible. I surrender it all. Thank you for the wounds I gaze upon. Thank you for those wounds you bore so my daughter could be held by all the splendor and glory only pure Love embraces. Please, come close to me now and comfort this little fragile soul, your Francesca.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Exerpt

"If I were to direct you to a course that would bring you closer to Me, would you accept it? Would you walk into this course with joy, singing My praise because I had taken your hand and led you quickly into the heavenly mysteries of holiness? Would you be grateful to Me for choosing you amongst many to be one of My closest companions? Would you recognize that great grace that I had given to you by selecting you to proceed with Me down this course that leads so directly to My heart, even if it were to lead you away from your companions? My beloved one, if you are suffering, be assured that I have chosen you to accompany Me as a close companion. Only in suffering is it possible for Me to visit you with certain heavenly graces. These graces are distinguishable from other graces by the impact they leave on a soul. This impact alters permanently the viewpoint of one who has experienced suffering. Some reject My presence in the cross and become bitter. Poor, poor children of God, who do not see God in their cross. You must pray for them and rejoice if you are one who suffers and understands that your Savior is asking you to accompany Him on the walk to Calvary. Could I abandon you with your suffering? Would such a thing be possible when I, Myself have chosen you to be My closest companion? If you experience the cross, My beloved apostle, you experience Me, but you must desire My companionship as I desire yours.

My beloved apostles, do not be downhearted because you suffer. Consider that suffering is learning. What do I teach you in suffering? There are so many advantages and revelations possible in suffering that if you are suffering you should say, 'Truly, I have embarked upon a course of study. I am studying Jesus in the cross.' In this way, you will view your time spent carrying the cross as time spent with intensive learning and intensive advance into things holy. One of the the things you will struggle with is temptation to reject the cross and rebel against the cross. Anyone who is carrying a crosss of suffering requires exertion. You must exert yourself to remain faithful and recollected when you are carrying a cross. This is wearisome at times. But the fact that one is tired does not mean that one is finished. If the cross has not dimished then you must carry it for a time longer. I am the personal instructor of those carrying crosses. Do you listen carefully to your instructor? Do you seek to remain close to Me? If you do, I will teach you how to carry the cross in the way that benefits your most, and by benefitting you, remember that heaven benefits all around you and all that is close to your heart. Just as the Father blessed many through My Passion, He will bless many through yours. You are not alone. I am with you."

- Whispers from the Cross,
Reclaiming the Church through
Personal Holiness

Monday, February 13, 2012

Frustrating Self

Have you ever been so frustrated by your own weaknesses? Do you ever surprise yourself by how the things you know you shouldn't do or say or think, you still do, say and think?! Paul talks about this in the New Testament. I do it all too often. I drive myself nuts, actually. Using all of my self-control to not say or do something and then I still end up saying or doing it! It is baffling how weak I am. How I want to be all good and loving and yet I am not. I am not God. However, there are two things that I can think of that are good in this. I realize that I am able to see and recognize the faults in me. It gives me the desire to at the very least, to keep trying and trying to become better and overcome these hindrances. I am in no way in denial of them or don't care enough to work on them.

The other thing that I see in the struggle is that there must be more than this world for me. In the constant struggle to be better, to overcome, to fight, and at times be victorious, I see that I am made for so much more. I read these words from Jesus and they settled in my soul - "While you are serving in exile, away from heaven, you feel that you are apart from something that you crave. This is a good feeling because it shows that you are experiencing the longing for heaven that calls you home. I, too, experienced this longing for heaven. It is an aching feeling. It tells you that there is something else that you should have that you do not have? It is union with your Savior. You will feel complete when you have this forever; with no risk of losing this union." I do experience this. I am thankful for feeling this. For many years, I did not. I felt longing for Christ but longing for Him in m life on earth. Heaven, home, was an after-thought, a bonus to loving God. By observing and living in my weaknesses, I become disgusted with myself. I see a sliver of the vast space between God's greatness and my nothingness. This viewing of our great distinction reminds me of His Divine Mercy. It reminds me of glimpses of who I can be, where I started and how far I've come. In Christ, for Christ and through Christ I crave a better me. I know it must be possible because I crave it so intensely.

It reminds me of when someone falls in love. Not only does the beloved want to behold her lover because of him, she wants to behold him because she is a better version of herself with him. She sees never-known possibilities of her own grace and beauty, her own transformation. This is what I crave when I think of unity with Christ, with Heaven. The best version of me. The version I no longer have to battle so much. The version I will be completely at peace with. The version that will no longer have to search, gain, and lose again. Complete - me. Complete with God. But until then, I keep on fighting. Keep analyzing my struggles. Keep asking for forgiveness. Keep getting up time and time again after each fall. Keep on working towards becoming better. Keep relying on Him. One day at a time, one moment. Blessings on your week. I have to go now and yell at the children ;)

***By the way, I was wondering if ANY of you reading or checking in on my blog would like to be a feature writer for a week. Don't just count it out right away. I ask that you just pray about it and see if maybe you are called to. Email me your thoughts, your experience, your gratitude, etc. I would LOVE it. Then I get to use your writing here and there throughout the weeks. Remember, we are all in this together!! ***

Monday, February 6, 2012

Perspective

Saturday evening I sat outside with my sister-in-law. The children were riding bikes and racing each other. The sun was starting to set. A little color in the sky caught my eye. Over a neighboring house, I could see a faint, vertical rainbow. I lifted my sunglasses and the colors were gone. I put them back on and the rainbow returned. Interrupting our conversation, I told Monica to look over the house and what I saw. She did, and confirmed how yes, with sunglasses on, the rainbow was visible but without them, it wasn't. An interesting moment I thought. I continued to think of it as I believed I was being shown something. Perspective. One's perspective is crucial to seeing the Kingdom. I have often talked of the eternal perspective. This is a concrete example of just that. Perspective when paired with Truth does not see and experience what one wants to see and believe. Perspective is looking at something from a different point-of-view. I think it is important to think of this concept I am familiar with. If a small dog runs up to Gia, a one year old and gets in her face and licks her. Her perspective of the small dog might actual be big and invasive and scary. Gia cries and reaches up to me for help. As her adult mom, my perspective of the dog and situation is that it is a cute little dog who is trying to kiss and be friendly to my daughter who is scrambling for help. I laugh. The reality or truth of the situation doesn't change. However, our two perspectives of it are different. And therefore make us REACT differently as well. I laugh. Gia cries.

I think of seeing the rainbow through my sunglasses and how it was gone without them. I am still seeing with my own eyes the same spot in the sky, however, with sunglasses on, I get to enjoy a beautiful rainbow that makes me smile. However, without the sunglasses, or a different perspective, I probably would not have looked at that spot in the sky to begin with. And I would not have just received an extra moment of beauty and joy.

Looking for His Kingdom on this earth is perspective. The eternal perspective, looking through the right glasses. Peeking through the veil between Heaven and earth is done by practicing keeping our glasses on at all times or we will miss the heavenly gifts and presence that is lavished on each of us. Those gifts, those blessings remind me of what is to come in eternity.

I went for my run this very morning. I prayed before I started that since I had a little time to myself that God would help me to see His gifts on the run. It is easier to look for the Kingdom when we are not distracted. I have my usual route. I saw two tiny, tiny morning doves. They were so precious. I admired them and praised God for them. Gift one. I saw the morning sun just getting higher into the sky. It turned the clouds and sun silver. I thanked Him for that too. Gift two. I was getting close to the sunflower house. It's a marker in my run. I always enjoy the sunflower house. In the front yard, there are golden sunflowers. They are beautiful, so I know gift three is coming up. As I approached the house I noticed two small birds on the wire by the sunflowers. I was overjoyed thinking the two tiny morning doves have followed me. I get closer and I can't even believe m eyes. Feasting and kissing the golden sunflowers is a dozen Love Birds! They were bouncing from one flower to the next chirping and full of complete joy. I only know they are Love Birds because Johnny and I researched them for a pet. They are not native to Arizona. They have indigo blue tails, bright green bodies, and peach colored faces. They are magnificent! Later my father-in-law told me that someone in another part of the valley raised some and had to get rid of some so he let some go. Apparently they adapted and have multiplied, but are not often seen. I was marvelling at them and filled with the presence of the Creator. I grew up in gorgeous Northern California and have travelled many glorious places. I would have never thought that one of the most delightful moments with God's nature would have been in suburb Tempe, AZ. And yet I see cars and people just passing all of this by! How could they?! He not only loves to give, but to surprise too. My cup is overflowing. I think of Johnny right away. He would LOVE this! I have to share it with him!

I sprint over a mile back home to grab John and put him in the car. I don't want them to fly away. Panting I burst through the front door. Johnny is slowly trying to wake up. I tell him to hurry and I have a surprise to show him. He starts asking what it is in a cranky-I'm-trying-to-wake-up voice. I tell him so he will be excited. He simply says, "I don't want to go." My heart sank. "What?! But John, you gotta.If you come with me, you won't even be able to believe it! It's so beautiful!" Thinking I must have convinced him, John responds, "No. I don't want to go. I want to stay inside." The joy and experience I could hardly wait to share just got shot down. I immediately sensed another lesson being shared with me. I felt in a small degree, the rejection of the Father from His children, from me. My heart hurt and I felt ashamed. How many times have I rejected a gift God so ardently wanted to give? How many times have I begged for a gift, a blessing and when He places something in before, I throw my head over my shoulder and say, "NO, I don't want that one." How terrible of me. Especially when the package of the gift doesn't look to impressive, or even a bit ugly. When I found out I was pregnant with Stella and my plans were "ruined"? How I cried for a month. How hurt He must have been. But He knew. He knew the absolute GIFT her life was and is for me in thousands of ways. When I begged for more gifts and I opened my hands pleading. He placed the death of my daughter in them. Repulsed, by the packaging on that gift. How His heart must have broken. All the beauty and joy He wants to share through such gifts. God is all good, God is all Love, and God is all knowing. All gifts He gives are good, loving, and given with perfect perspective. He is so excited for us!

So I want all the gifts now. I want ALL, not just the ones with pretty ribbon and paper. I want ALL of them, because I want ALL of Him and I want to learn His perspective more. With Eternal Perspective, there is no need for fear, discouragement, dispair, confusion, etc. Only good, only love, and only a path in the Kingdom's direction with an all-knowing driver infront of the wheel.