Monday, September 26, 2011

When Life isn't fair and I want to fix it

Women of Faith:
I texted to a friend this week: “I so want to help, but I know God is the only answer. Pray to forgive, pray to change, and pray to heal.”

I searched for hope and help and I was answered with my favorite prayer: “Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” (Serenity Prayer)

And I thought: “Life is not fair. I should be able to change or help change more than myself.” So I searched for the wisdom to know “what is life, and what is me.” I searched for why I am not given control and why God is.

And as I pondered “how to help” he put answers in front of me with this week’s readings:

“Thus says the LORD: You say, "The LORD's way is not fair!" ... But if he turns from the wickedness he has committed, he does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life; since he has turned away from all the sins that he has committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die. Ez 18:25-28

“...Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vain glory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also for those of others. Have in you the same attitude that is also in Christ Jesus. Who, though he was in the form of God ... emptied himself, ....he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. ... that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend... Phil 2:1-5

Life isn’t fair and I can’t fix it no matter how much I want to help. I can’t take away the pain or suffering. And it won’t help to worry about a problem that I can’t fix.

I can’t fix someone else’s heartache. I can’t heal someone who is sick. And I can’t fix the corrupt world around me.

I can only change my own reactions and feelings. I can only pray for His healing of others. I can only try to mirror Jesus’ example here on earth: by forgiving more (70x7), serving more, and always loving more—by being completely selfless in each and every part of my day, in each and every relationship in my own life. And hopefully by being a good role model in my own choices—by choosing what would be God’s will.

There is always some part of life that is “not fair.” But I am not given the power to fix it. I am only given the means thru the power of prayer to ask God for His grace, His compassion, and His loving mercy.

And I don’t have any control. I can only pray for His healing, His strength, and His courage so that I can be with Him for all eternity.

My hope, my strength and my courage are in Him, thru Him and for Him.

I can only trust that God will hear my prayers.

Heavenly Father: Your mercy is all powerful. Thank you for giving us Your son to be an example of selfless loving; an example of true compassion thru the mercy of His forgiveness; and an example of what it means to never tire in serving others. Help me to share hope with those who struggle to see you in their pain. Help me to change myself by forgiving others; help me to have the courage to accept what I cannot change and help me to have wisdom, patience and understanding that it is not “my will” but your will that is done. Amen

It is with deep humility and heartfelt caring that I ask God for His blessings in our lives so that we will truly know the Prayer of Serenity,


Monday, September 19, 2011


Women of Faith:
This is a reflection of hope; a hope that I am always encouraged within the encounters of those also searching along a similar journey in their marriage vocations.

It is often how I feel after we spend time preparing for and sharing within our Covenant of Love, date night family as we did last night.

The response is overwhelming humbling. It is the knowledge that we are given so much, yet need so very little. It comes from those who are also searching for the truth. Ready to share, willing to give up everything for each other and yet so like ourselves in their struggles in daily life. Trying to balance love for each other with their own needs; trying to balance family needs with life’s worldly pressures.

I find myself searching for just the right words, to reach just one more person. I find myself searching for just the right answers, for some secret that will fix all the brokenness, not just in the small circle of those closest to us, but in the entire world around us.

And as most answers go, the answer is so close we tend to overlook the most obvious. (I had to look no farther than these readings left open on my computer.)

“With their patience worn out by the journey, the people complained against God and Moses…."We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you. Pray the LORD to take the serpents from us."” 1 NM 21:4B-9

“Hearken, my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth…they inquired after God again, Remembering that God was their rock, … but they lied to him with their tongues, Though their hearts were not steadfast toward him, nor were they faithful to his covenant. But he, being merciful, forgave their sin and destroyed them not; ...Often he turned back his anger and let none of his wrath be roused. Do not forget the works of the Lord!" PS 78:1BC-2, 34-35, 36-37, 38

"Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped…., he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death,… that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend." 2 PHIL 2:6-11

“So must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life." For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,but that the world might be saved through him." JN 3:13-17

Heavenly Father: With my patience worn thin, help me to remember that You are my rock. Thank you for forgiving all my sins, for not being angry when I search for something or someone other than Your all merciful truth. Let me bend my knee in prayer, so that I may have eternal life. Thank you for Your never ending merciful, healing, forgiveness. Thank you for sending us Your son so that we might all be saved. Amen.

It is through Him we have hope. It is through Him that our searching will be completed. It is through Him that we are saved.

Seek and you shall find! Forgive and be forgiven! Pray and your prayers will be answered!


Monday, September 12, 2011

9/11 Promises Made

Friends in Faith:

Just over ten years ago as the Twin Towers fell in New York City, we counted our blessings, prayed for healing for those directly impacted, took extra time to give our spouses and children an extra tight hug and asked for forgiveness from those we had wronged.

In those moments we looked at each other differently—realizing just how fragile life is; realizing that life is about more than the possessions we accumulate or the trips we take. We appreciated and thanked God for all those we love—our spouses, our children, our parents and siblings, and all the friends we have shared with over the years.

Many of us felt as if God was trying to tell us something. “Remember your last days, set enmity aside; remember death and decay, and cease from sin! Think of the commandments, hate not your neighbor; remember the Most High's covenant, and overlook faults.” 1 Sir 27:30-28:7

We made heartfelt promises—that we would pray more, hug more, be more patient, be more compassionate, and judge less.

We were also reminded of our need to forgive not only those closest to us, but the perpetrators of this devastation. “Peter approached Jesus and asked him, "Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive? As many as seven times?" Jesus answered, "I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.” Mt 18:21-35

So we also promised to forgive more and be more merciful to those who cause us to sacrifice or to suffer. We understood in that moment that this is what Jesus was calling us to do.

But as Deacon Joe said on Sunday, “Change is not about words, change begins in our hearts.” It is about a change in our attitudes and the things we DO, not about the promises we make.

So, how many of these promises have we kept? Did we say it in the moment and after a time forget what we were reminded of in that instant? Did we return to living our lives “status quo” with more time for things than for people?

Did we truly “change our hearts?” Are we doing things differently now because of this moment in history? Are we listening to what God is telling us, living our faith, believing and changing our hearts to conform to His will instead of ours?

Heavenly Father, You are all forgiving, all loving and all merciful. Help me to treat those I love and those I meet in the same loving, merciful, and forgiving manner as You treat me. Thank you for the people in my life that You have blessed me with to serve and to love. May I continue to be reminded that life and those I love are what is truly important. Help me to take the time to pray more, love more, and forgive more. Amen.

May we be blessed in keeping the promises we made on 9-11-01.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Love One Another

Women of Faith:

Listening to and reading God’s word is a little bit like watching a beloved movie, over and over again—no matter how many times you’ve seen or heard it, there is always something you missed the first time.

Yesterday’s readings were no different. “Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence love is the fulfillment of the law.” 2 Rom 13:8-10

For some reason as I listened I realized that none of this was about me, but rather it is all about the way I treat those around me. None of it is about how I must be “treated.” It really makes no difference whether “I feel” as if I have been slighted, because I am still suppose to give and to serve, regardless of how I am treated in return. It is about how I “want” to be treated, not how I “am” treated.

“But if you warn the wicked, trying to turn him from his way, and he refuses to turn from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but you shall save yourself.” 1 Ez 33:7-9

We are asked to have moral courage; the courage to tell others when they are “at risk” in not following God’s commandments. This isn’t always a pleasant task. There is only satisfaction when our warnings bring change. There are also those times when change does not come and a friend may be lost. But if I have prayed for the right words, if my reason for holding someone accountable, if my corrective words were said with love and encouragement then God’s heavenly reward will be and is much more important than how I feel now.

Is it no wonder then that when I feel the most joy, when I feel the most hope, when I feel the most love and satisfaction is when I have given of myself unconditionally, not when I have received something—because it truly is not about me, it is about how I am called to love.

Heavenly Father: Praise be Your way. Help me to be granted a clear understanding of how You want me to serve. Help me to seek Your rewards in heaven even when I am not feeling Your rewards here on earth. Thank You for giving me moments of joy in the rewards of satisfaction I feel when I see Your love being returned to others. Amen.

Love one another, not to receive something in return, but to fulfill God’s commandments. This is what we are called to do as Christians. Our reward will be heaven.