?

Log in

Previous 10

Feb. 21st, 2012

d*

Taking Lent Through the Roof

p a x 

Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him.  After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.  When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Child your sins are forgiven’… They were all astounded and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.” – Mark 2:4-5, 12

Lent is one of those liturgical seasons that has a way of sneaking up on me.

One moment we’re singing Christmas songs at Mass, admiring the poinsettias that have been strategically placed all around the Church, and then all of a sudden we’re being asked to bring in our palms for Ash Wednesday. 

We start asking questions about what we should “give up”, consider the usual options like chocolate, TV, and Facebook, and mark our calendars to attend the Friday Night Fish Fry (probably brought to you by the Knights of Columbus).  Ready or not Lent still comes… a season of sacrifice, prayer, and almsgiving. 

But I have to ask myself, do I really understand what Lent is all about?  Surely it is more than sacrificing sweets for 6 weeks?

One of the Sunday readings that has helped me wrap my head and heart around this Lenten season was the “Healing of the Paralytic” from Mark 2:1-12.  This isn’t your usual miracle story; in fact, it’s probably one of the strangest healings we hear about in Mark’s Gospel.   We have a paralyzed man and his four companions.  Jesus is preaching at home, the house is packed full of people, so what do these guys do?  Head to the roof.

You have to wonder what that must have been like.  Jesus standing there, preaching about the Kingdom of Heaven, when all of a sudden a man is lowered through the ceiling.  I’d like to think Jesus smiled, maybe even chuckled to himself with their creative methods of reaching him.  Going through the roof may have been an unusual or even an awkward option, but it was a sign that these men had faith… So much faith that they were willing to do whatever it took to get to Jesus. 

The group of people that had come to see Jesus in the home were probably people of faith as well.  They gathered to hear Jesus preach the word.  They came in, sat down, and listened.  This is good, but what makes the four men and paralytic so astounding is the extra effort they went through to get to Jesus.  And of course, they are not disappointed.  The man is healed and the crowd says ‘”We have never seen anything like this!” 

For many of us, Lent is a time of doing the usual sacrifices.  We “give up” things, try to pray more, and maybe even add a random act of kindness here or there.  These are all great things.  But maybe this Lent God is calling us to something more.  Maybe something unexpected, something that shows that we are really trying our best to welcome Jesus into our lives.

Lent is a time to ask, “How much am I willing to give for love of Christ?  How far am I willing to go?”  Maybe it’s going to daily mass in the early hours of the morning, or spending some time with him in the adoration chapel, or maybe Christ is calling us to befriend that person that gets under our skin the most. 

This Lent, Christ is calling us through the roof.  It might be painful, it might even be a little awkward at times, but if we’re willing to give ourselves to him in faith, we will never be disappointed.  Perhaps we will even see something in Lent and Easter that we’ve never seen before. 

This is the journey.  This is our faith.  

be at peace
walk on water
be not afraid

d*

Aug. 1st, 2011

d*

Feeding 5 (Thousand) and Walking on Water

 p a x

 "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."   

We've all heard that phrase before... I suppose today I feel it is especially true.  It's August 1st.  I've known it was coming for a while now... but I can't help but look at my calendar and feel as though it snuck up on me when I least expected it.  

With August comes change, new responsibilities and more opportunities to step out of the comfort zone and onto the waves.  New adventures... and with those adventures comes that all too familiar sensation of "sea sickness"... which usually amounts to me asking over and over again, "Can I really do this?  Are you sure God?  What if I fail?  What if I fall?  What if...What if...What if..?"  The list goes on and on.

But the funny thing is that I already know that everything is going to work out just fine.  I already know that at the end of the year I'll be able to look back (God willing) and say "Wow... look at how far He's brought me!  Look at everything God was able to accomplish!"  

It's just a matter of remembering where the Call came from in the first place.

I don't think it is a coincidence that yesterday's Gospel and next Sunday's gospel readings are two of my favorites... two stories that seem to reflect my journey over the past few years: Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand   and Jesus Walks on Water (Matthew 14).

The first story tells us that when we place even the smallest gifts that we have into God's hands, awesome things happen.  What we may think to be insufficient, God can transform into an overwhelming sign of His love for us.

The second story reminds us of the call to step out of our comfort zones and trust Christ with everything that we are.  It's about eye contact with Jesus, faith, and the knowledge that even when we feel like we're sinking, He's right there to pick us back up again.  


So here we are on August 1st.  Those stories still speak to us now.  

We can hold back and tell God how "little" we have and that we'll never be able to do what He's called us to do and that we aren't strong enough.  We can get as far away from the edge of the boat as possible and allow the "wind and waves" in our lives to intimidate and control us.  We can allow fear to keep us in our comfort zones and never experience the life changing adventure that awaits us....

OR...

We could give those gifts to Christ.  We can see our weak spots, our failures, the few abilities that we may have, and place them in God's hands.  We can say "I'm not strong enough, but with You all things are possible," and allow God to do the unexpected with our willing hearts.  We can run to the edge of the boat, accept Christ's invitation, and fix our eyes on Him as He leads us to something greater than what we would have imagined for ourselves.  
 

Jesus never forces us to surrender our gifts or to get out of the boat.  He is patient with us... even through our fears and self doubting.  He is gentle and loving... and faithful.  Oh so very faithful.  
 

If there's one thing that full time ministry has taught me, it is that I can do nothing on my own... and with God I don't have to go it alone.  There is no time for self doubt.  Fear and worry serve no purpose on this journey... and really, there isn't time to worry about things like "Am I strong/smart enough?"  

The answer to that is easy..."No, you aren't...  

But God is."

St. Paul put it best... "For when I am weak, then I am strong..."

Whatever your ministry... whatever your job... whatever your gifts.. hand them over to Christ.  No matter the journey... the adventure... the moment.... He's calling us out of the boat and into something more.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.  The journey towards Eternity begins with The Cross.

This is our faith.

May you always know the gentle joy and presence of Jesus one moment, one step at a time.

 

be at peace
walk on water
be not afraid

d*

Jesus en ti confio
 

Jul. 29th, 2011

d*

Rhythm 25.5

  p a x

I feel like God has allowed me to experience and appreciate the "rhythm" of life over the past few years. Sometimes that rhythm is awkward and uncomfortable. Sometimes that rhythm is frustrating because it doesn't seem to fit with my plans... but recently it has been a gradual progression of beginnings and changes that I've learned to adjust and grow into slowly... only by the grace of God.

I'm 25 and a 1/2 now... Looking at the "rhythm" of my life now compared to a year or two ago... Goodness. I can't help but see God's gentle hand guiding me from one step to another. Has it all been happy go lucky and perfectly comfortable? Heck no. But I have learned so much about others and myself...

I've learned that God usually has a better idea of what's going on than I do and He's 100% trustworthy... Even if that means moving to a city you never even knew existed :-p

I've learned that when I really allow myself to let go and *trust*... awesome things happen. Although I will always struggle with finding the courage to step out of my comfort zone, I realize more and more how Christ is right there when the waves get rough.

I've learned that God almost never calls people who are "qualified". He qualifies the Called. Looking at what I'm doing at work now compared to what I was worried about last November... Wow. The best part is that this only the beginning and I'm still being formed :)


There are still moments when I worry... Am I strong enough? Am I smart enough? What's going to happen next? Where will I be 6 months from now??

But the truth is that all I have to do is look back on the last three years of my life and realize how faithful and awesome God has been when I surrender things over to His hands. I'll never get this "let God take the lead" thing down perfectly... but I'm definitely noticing that my "quick step" isn't nearly as beautiful and grace-filled as the choreography that God is capable of when I stop resisting.

So there is this rhythm to life that I am rather enjoying right now. There are plenty of challenges ahead... many changes that are coming my way, both in my personal life and the ministries in which I'm involved.... but for the moment I feel a sense of peace and joy. At 25 and a 1/2 I can honestly say that I wouldn't change a thing... only that I wish I had learned to "be at peace" and surrender a little bit faster along the way.

The Rhythm will continue to evolve... and I'm sure there will be moments when I want to shake my fist at the Creator and say "What the heck is this?!" And that's OK. That means growth is coming... and growth means humbling experiences, the occasional mistakes, and a lot of learning.

Again, this is only the beginning. There's a lot to be thankful for. There's a lot to hope for. There's a lot to wait for.

"For I know well the plans I have in mind for you says the Lord..." (Jer. 29:11)



I'm not the best dancer Lord... but thanks for the lessons. One step, one moment at a time.


be at peace
walk on water
be not afraid

d*



Jesus en ti confio

Jul. 9th, 2011

d*

looking back & stepping forward

pax

Reading journal entries from 5-7 years ago can be a strange combination of feelings for me. Sometimes I'm embarrassed, humbled, or even hurt by the words that I left on the page so long ago...

But at the same time, those journals remind me that there is so much joy in my life... so many beautiful experiences that God has blessed me with throughout my 25 years of life... All of them, leading me to this moment. This chapter.. here and now.

and that gives me hope.

Taking a moment to glance into the past reminds me that God is faithful. God is trustworthy.

I can look at the scar from my knee injury, I can look at the times of tears and frustration, I can look at the darkest points of my journey and see that God never left me. I might not have realized it then... and I may not have even noticed the moment of "healing", but He was there, forming and guiding me.

and that gives me hope.

I look at where I am today, the people I've met, the places I've been, the ministry I'm involved in and see that God was a part of all of it. I whisper the hopes that I have for the future and I know that God sees the desires of my heart. I know that as "perfect" as my "3 year Plan" might look to me, God's plan is infinitely better.

"For I know well the plans I have in mind for you says the Lord. Plans for your welfare, not for woe. Plans to give you a future full of hope." - Jer 29:11

I believe that. There's no way that I can look back on the past 7 years and not see God's hand at work.

and that gives me hope.

That tells me that this is only the beginning. 5-7 years from now I hope that I can look back and continue to recognize God's movement in my life. And I hope that I can continue to move forward with even more faith and confidence in Christ.

He gives me life. He gives me hope.

This is what it means to get out of the boat... to accept the call to walk with Christ even when the waves are crashing all around. I'll never be the expert water walker that I'd like to be... but I figure that I have a lifetime to keep learning how to walk.

and that gives me hope.

Wherever we are on the journey, I pray that we can look back and see His footprints in the sand, and that we can have the courage and faith to continue moving forward in Christ.


be at peace
walk on water
be not afraid
d*

Jesus en ti confio  

Jun. 29th, 2011

d*

Something to Celebrate

p a x



God took a coward and made him the Rock of the Church (Pope!)…..

God took a murderer and made him one of the greatest preachers of all time….

Imagine what He can do with YOU!

Happy Feast of St. Peter & St. Paul!



 



be at peace
walk on water
be not afraid

d*

Jesus en ti confio 

Jun. 21st, 2011

d*

Post-It Notes from Heaven

  p a x


I was feeling a little low this afternoon, and in between tissues I came across some words that were like a Bear Hug from God.  A tight squeeze that you can't ignore because it knocks all of the breath out of you... yet at the same time is incredibly comforting :)  

I thought I'd share for anyone who might need a Tuesday "Pick Me Up"....


"Do you desire security? Here you have it. The Lord says to you, "I will never abandon you, I will always be with you" If a good man made you such a promise, you would trust him. God makes it, and do you doubt? Do you seek a support more sure than the word of God, which is infallible? Surely, He has made the promise, He has written it, He has pledged His word for it, it is most certain
."
- St. Augustine


"As for trials, the more the better!!"
- St. John of the Cross


"God would not urge us to ask, unless He were willing to give."
- St. Augustine


"If God seems slow in responding, it is because He is preparing a better gift. He will not deny us. God witholds what you are not yet ready for. He wants you to have a lively desire for His greatest gifts. All of which is to say, pray always and do not lose heart."
- St. Augustine

be at peace
walk on water
be not afraid

d*

Jesus en ti confio

Jun. 19th, 2011

d*

Treasure Hunt

 p a x

Everyone likes a good treasure hunt.  The searching... the pursuit of something valuable... It's exciting!  

We start to pick up on this at our first Easter Egg Hunt.  We learn that the prize is something that we must find quickly, gather as much of as possible so that later on we can enjoy the fruits of our labor (or in this case, delicious chocolatey goodness) .  

But it doesn't stop at the Easter Eggs... it continues into our adolescence and adulthoods.  It's no longer the candy we're after... It's social status, money, clothes, cars... We hope that our reputations and resumes build up through college so that we can get that next big job and continue to climb to new levels of importance and power.

Now, there's nothing wrong with great work ethic.  There's nothing wrong with pursuing something better for yourself... pushing yourself mentally and sometimes even physically to become "the best version of yourself" (a common phrase from Matthew Kelly).  There's something very good about desiring something more and working towards goals throughout life.  In fact I'd say that that's a very healthy thing.   And yet, sometimes we have to put these pursuits into check.  


At daily mass on Friday, the Gospel was from Matthew 6:19-23.  Jesus talks about treasure hunting.  It's one of those scriptures that most of us have heard before... "For where your treasure is there also will your heart be."  

Usually when I listen to this Gospel the thing that comes to mind is that Jesus is just telling us that pursuing things like money and a wealthy extravagant lifestyle isn't healthy.  He says "don't store up your treasures in earthly things where moth and decay destroy and thieves break in and steal."  The things of earth are passing... So it doesn't matter how many cars we own, how large the house is, how many digits our bank account balances have... In the end won't mean anything.

So as a twenty-something on a tight budget, my first reaction to this is "Yeah, I don't really need to worry about that.... I'm just trying to get by with the few coins that I have!  Forget trying to store UP treasure on earth... Let's just make it through the month!"

But as I continued to think about that whole idea of "storing up for yourselves treasures on earth..." and "where your treasure is, there also will your heart be..." the deeper message started to sink in.

What is it?  What is the treasure that I should be searching after?  Where is it that my heart should be?

Then it hit me: As Christians the greatest treasure that we can pursue is Heaven.  That is, or should be, our ultimate desire.  Perfect union with God for all of Eternity.  

What more could we ask for?

Well, we're human and we get distracted very easily.  While I might not be in pursuit of a big house and a fancy SUV.... I realized that there are other things that I desire in life that can pull me away from what the real treasure is.

I've been trying to make a certain relationship the "be all and end all" treasure of life.  Michael and I have been in a relationship for the past year and it has been almost entirely long-distance.  While we both realize that this is where God is calling us to be right now, I had really been struggling lately with accepting the call to live in the moment.  

So much energy and thought was going to how to make this work so that we could get married on my timeline and start a new chapter of our lives as soon as possible.  But what I was finding was this was causing a lot of unrest and frustration in my heart.  I was forcing my agenda onto God, instead of embracing those beautiful words, "Your will not mine".

My treasure hunt was set on marrying this amazing man of God.  But when I heard those words, "Store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal..." I realized that this pursuit of moving to the next stage in our relationship, while it is a good thing to desire, is NOT the final goal.  

Deanna, what about Heaven?
Heaven?  
Yes.  Heaven.  

Do you long for Heaven... do you long for union with God the way that you long to be reunited with your significant other?


Whoa.  Do I?  Is Heaven a priority?  Do I even take the time to think about eternal union with God?  Or has my love of this person become the ONLY goal in life?

"For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be..."

As I let those words sink in a little bit deeper, I actually felt a sense of peace about my relationship with Michael that I hadn't felt in a while...  If Heaven is my ultimate goal, the treasure of my heart as a Christian, then God of course is going to do everything to help me and lead me to that magnificent and eternal state of happiness and union with Him.  So worrying about the details of the future of my relationship with Michael is useless... 

If marrying Michael is God's way of helping us get one another to heaven... then I can have full confidence that God will bring us together in that way in His perfect timing.  At the same time, if another vocation is God's will for us, God's way of leading us to Heaven, then I have to trust that He will give us the peace and strength to accept that call as well.  That possibility, that we won't be married,  is still a little bit hard to accept sometimes... but I know that God trustworthy and He's proven time and time again that He knows the deepest longings of our hearts and He's the only one who can truly fill that desire.

No matter what happens, we're going to be OK, we're going to be at peace, we're going to be happy :)

It might sound silly to lay it out this way, but it has really helped me to surrender this relationship, and really more of life over to Christ.  Becoming Mrs. ____ isn't going to satisfy the longings of my heart.  Union with God, on the other hand, is something worth pursuing.  That is something worth pursuing for our entire lives.  

If we build up treasure in the things that lead us to Him, our hearts are with Him.... and that is something to be at peace about :)


Our life as Christians is more than just an "X marks the spot" kind of lifestyle.  It is a daily search, a daily longing for Heaven.  Yes, we'll go off course along the way... and yes we'll distracted by other "shiny" objects from time to time.  But there's still hope.  In His own perfect way, God will lead us on this journey of faith.  

And when we're really listening... when we really take the time to "be still", we realize that the treasure we've been searching for all along is Him.  

Where is our treasure?  Where are our hearts?

Lead us on Lord.  The Cross marks the spot.

The ‘natural desire’ for happiness..is of divine origin: God has placed it in the human heart in order to draw man to the One who alone can fulfill it” (CCC 1718). 

be at peace
walk on water
be not afraid

d*


Jesus en ti confio

May. 1st, 2011

d*

Remembering the Man in Red

  p a x


I remember walking into my elementary school and seeing the picture of the man dressed in red. I didn't know who he was, but I remember thinking "He looks like a nice man." His was the only picture hanging in the church and school buildings for a period of time because Memphis did not have a Bishop just yet.

I don't remember when I learned who that man in red was. I don't know if I ever had a "moment" when I was instantly drawn to him. It's more like my love and admiration of the Pope has grown over the past 20 years at various stages of my own journey.

I would say that I first began to feel really drawn to John Paul II in the 7th grade when my family traveled to St. Louis to see him and attended mass in the stadium. That feeling of being among hundreds of thousands of people screaming "John Paul II, we love you!" and literally standing less than a hundred feet away from the Pope Mobile, seeing JPII wave and having to cover his eyes because of all of the camera flashes.... I'll never forget that.

That was probably the moment that realized just how beautiful and inspirational this man was.

But it wasn't until 2005 as a freshman in college that I was finally able to begin to appreciate how much John Paul II meant to the Church and to the entire world. When the news broke that our beloved Pope was dying, I felt the ache. In my own spiritual journey I had been in a dark place, but I knew that I could join in the prayers of people around the world.

And then it happened. I was at work when I heard the news. John Paul had died... He wasn't suffering any longer. But we missed him... and it hurt.

I watched specials on EWTN about his life. I watched footage of him from the 70s and 80s, laughing, dancing, twirling his cane. I listened to his words, how they challenged, encouraged and inspired the Church. I saw how he stood for truth and was not afraid of defending it.

At 19, I heard those powerful words... a message that he preached throughout his entire life, "Be not afraid."

About a week after his death our parish had a prayer service in honor of John Paul. It finally hit me... he was gone. I cried for a long time... it was like my own father or grandfather had passed away. I missed him... and I began to wonder, as I'm sure many Catholics did, what would the future of the Church be? JPII did SO much... how could anyone take his place?

My interest in JPII's writings grew throughout college. My sophomore year I was introduced to bits and pieces of his Theology of the Body, and used his words to defend my faith in my Feminist Theory class. In Oral Comm, I gave a presentation on how the Catholic Church declares someone a saint, using John Paul II as an example.

I really feel like Pope John Paul II prayed for me and my family as we struggled through a particularly dark time in our lives. I know that in my own journey, I would not have survived without the prayers of so many people... including JPII.

So this morning as I rolled out of bed at 3:30am to catch a glimpse of his beatification, I could not help but be moved. As I continue to study and teach Blessed John Paul II's writings I know that he is praying for me, encouraging me, pointing me to Christ.

At 25 years old, I know that I am just beginning to get to know this incredible Servant of God. I know that the same message he preached across the globe is the very same message that he whispers to our hearts today...

Do not be afraid! Life with Christ is a wonderful adventure. He alone can give full meaning of life, he alone is the center of history. Live by him! (Blessed JPII, 1997)


Blessed John Paul II, pray for us


be at peace
walk on water
be not afraid

d*

Jesus en ti confio

Apr. 17th, 2011

d*

When Dad Lets Go

 p a x

It's a familiar scene...

Dad says you're ready to take off the training wheels.  He pulls out the tools, and you watch as those little white wheels are removed and set aside.  Your helmet is on and Dad says it's time to ride.

You mount your trusty steed, grip the handle bars, and take a deep breath.  Dad assures you that you're ready, and places a firm hand on the bike seat.  "Start pedaling," he says with a smile, "I'm right here.  Just focus and keep pedaling."  

If you're going to stay upright, you have to move forward.

Your little heart races a bit, but you're ready.  It's time.  Dad's holding on to the back, and you know that he's not going anywhere.  You pedal faster, and a little faster... and Dad is running along behind or beside you.  He encourages you to stay focused, to watch your steering, and you're feeling more and more confident that those training wheels were ready to come off.  

And then it happens.  At some point or another, Dad has to let go.

For some, the moment in which Dad's presence is not longer felt, all confidence is lost and the bike crashes into the pavement or grass (if you're lucky) in disappointment.  If you're like me, you might have fallen and fussed at Dad through your tears, "I wasn't ready!"  But Dad just smiled, helped brush you off, and said "Let's try again."

I don't remember how many times it took me before Dad could let go of the bike and I was able to ride off into the sunshine on my own, but the memory of him encouraging me, picking me back up, and holding onto the bike seat while running beside me... that is something I can't forget.  

I remember how good it felt to be riding on my own... I was only 5 or 6 years old at the time, but with my little pink bike with the basket on the front, riding courageously through our neighborhood... I was invincible.  I might as well have been riding a horse.  I could do anything.

I imagine it took a lot of patience and strength for my 6ft 9 inch Dad to hold me up, guide me, and pick me back up when I fell.  But he never stopped encouraging me to try again.  Even though he had to let go of the bike, he never left me or abandoned me.  Somehow he knew when it was time to let go. 


That scene popped into my head as I was driving around town yesterday.  I was thinking about those times, particularly over the past 3-4 years, that God's way of helping me grow... God's way of guiding me to the next part of the journey and making me stronger, was kind of like when Dad lets go of the bike seat.

There have been moments, often uncomfortable or intimidating, in which it has felt like the training wheels have come off, and it's time to try something new.  I know that God's telling me that I'm strong enough to do this, and I know that I can trust Him.  At first I can feel His guiding hand behind, before, and beside me.... I know that He's the reason I'm able to keep going.

But then it comes... that moment of truth when it feels like God has somehow "let go"... As though everything were going fine until... ouch!  And it hurts a little bit.  Sometimes we're left with a couple of scrapes and bruises.  We know that this is an experience in which God is helping us grow (or at least that's what people are telling us), but it can be easy to get discouraged... Why can't God just put the "training wheels" back on?

And one day, maybe when we least expect it, we're stronger.  We're focused.  We're balanced.  The "training wheels" might be off, and it might not feel like God is right there... but we know we can trust Him.  We know that even though we can't "feel" Him, He's there.  He's watching, He's guiding, He's encouraging.  

We can't find balance and strength when we're standing still.  We have to move forward.  

I think my training wheels started to come off when I moved to Dodge City.  New job, new environment, new challenges, new ministry.  But through these first 6 months, I've really had a strong sense that God is here and He's the reason I'm able to do any of this in the first place.  I feel like His hands have had a firm hold on me, guiding me through this learning curve and giving me the confidence I need to move forward.

It occurred to me yesterday that perhaps God is in the process of teaching me how to take that next step in trusting Him.  He's not abandoning me, or leaving me to do this ministry on my own.... but He's helping me grow.  It's like He's asking me to be confident in myself, in the strength that he's given me, and encouraging me to keep going... even if my path is a little wobbly at first.  

As a loving Father, He is allowing me to learn from the failures, the rough spots, the challenges... and He's always right there to pick me up when I fall on my face.

Strength is found in the journey.  Strength is found when we are balanced and focused on Christ, unafraid of moving forward.


 

Let's ride.


be at peace
walk on water
be not afraid

d*

Jesus en ti confio

Mar. 27th, 2011

d*

m a d e

p a x

Although I don't agree with all of her philosophies, beliefs, and opinions... there is something that is very profound and beautiful about the life of Oprah Winfrey. Yes, she's one of the most influential and wealthiest people on the planet.... but beyond the glitz, glamour and fame is a woman whose story is an example of what it means to not only "follow your dreams" but truly survive some of the most horrific experiences and embrace the truth that God's plans for our lives are so much greater than what we can dream up for ourselves.

These thoughts came to me as I was channel surfing this evening and caught the last half of Oprah's "Master Class" show in which she was the subject of interest. Just listening to bits and pieces of her life and how she believed that she was created for something more... it was inspiring. I mean, I realize that it's the OWN network and most shows are designed to give you that tingly-happy-grabyourtissuebox-feeling... but I have to admit that the depth and beauty of Oprah's life really touched me, and it made me think about my journey, my own story, and how I'm really just beginning to discover my purpose.

I haven't written a "public" entry on LJ or Facebook in a long time. Most of my writings have been quick friends only posts on LJ in which I ramble about the current happenings... As great and therapeutic as that is for me, I really feel called to write, to reflect on my faith, and share it with others. Throughout college and even during my year in Mexico I was writing very often.... at least once a week. "Blogging" (although I still hate that word, sounds like word vomit :-p) makes me feel alive, it's where I'm most often "in the zone".

Granted, my writing style and skills need a lot of work.... but practice makes perfect. And who knows, maybe I will write a book or two or three someday. Maybe God will take my desire to write, and possibly even my desire to be a more confident public speaker, and transform it into something that will impact more lives than I could have dreamt of on my own.

Oprah said that one of the most important moments for her was realizing that she needed to be herself, not an imitation of Barbara Walters. Once she came to peace with that, she blossomed. And I think I'm seeing this as a lesson that I'm still learning.

God didn't create me to be the next Oprah (as one of my Uncles predicted when I was 6..)
God didn't even make me to be the female, Spanish speaking version of Christopher West.
He didn't form me to be the next anyone.

God knew and loved me from the beginning of time with a beautiful plan in mind... He created me to be...me, Deanna. There's no one else in the world like me :) I am not repeatable. I am not "the next" or the "future".... I am Deanna. I am now, and God created me for a beautiful purpose that cannot be duplicated by anyone else. I am unique and I'm a part of something bigger than myself.

And the same goes for you.

God created you to be YOU.
There's no one else in the world like you.
You're not repeatable.
You're not the "next" anyone.
You are you.
You are now, and God created you for a beautiful purpose that cannot be duplicated by anyone else.
You are unique and a part of something bigger than yourself.

I think there's something powerful about realizing just how important our individual lives are in the grand scheme of things. This is the moment, this is the time to discover who we are and what we have to share with the rest of the world.

I know that this is a lifetime lesson to learn. It might be decades before I write my first book or do any national or international speaking... but I know that every experience I've had, every person I meet, every lesson (no matter the difficulty) has it's purpose and place. It's all a magnificent preparation for the next and an appreciation for the now.

As much as I'd love to have the power and influence that Ms. Winfrey has, something tells me that I was created for something even better than that. Sure, her paycheck is probably more than what I'll make in my entire life.... and she has an international influence on millions and millions of people.... but perhaps I can make a difference in the life of just one person with something that only I can give to the world.

So where will our stories lead? What will our legacies be?

Regardless of our future fame and fortune, I'm certain that if we take a moment to embrace our potential, to recognize our unique place and purpose on this journey.... to learn to appreciate the simple miracle of being alive... what a wonderful gift we could give to the world :)

This is your story, and with God the possibilities are endless.

Write well and keep the faith.

be at peace
walk on water
be not afraid

d*

"You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother's womb. I praise you, so wonderfully you made me; wonderful are your works!"- Psalm 139:13-14

Jesus en ti confio

Previous 10