Signs

Last night Craig was sleeping with his head on my shoulder and I just realized I’ve been given a second chance at life. In another generation having diverticulitis and a hole in your intestines would be a death sentence. Your intestines would leak and you would get sepsis and die. But modern medical technology, as gross as this bag is, allows me to have a second chance to live my life and be with my husband. And that’s a beautiful thing because I can’t imagine being without him. And I can’t imagine leaving him alone to spend his days and nights by himself and raise our daughter alone.

Nonetheless I woke up this morning depressed by my bag. As I was sitting on the sofa feeling tired and depressed, Angelica randomly brought me one of my Bible devotionals. It was open to a page about guardian angels and I realized there’s an angel around me. I’m not alone. I have an angel watching over me. It gives me some comfort.  Maybe my guardian angel was convincing me to go to the hospital on the day my intestines opened up. I was in pain, but I couldn’t imagine that anything was seriously wrong so I was on the fence about going to the hospital. I almost didn’t go. If I hadn’t my intestines might have leaked and I would have had sepsis and died. I can’t imagine leaving Angelica motherless.

Later on I opened the devotional myself to a random page and the page landed on was about trials and tribulations. It was about God rewarding you at the end of a trial. This is a trial to me. But if I can get through this I will be rewarded with abundant life when it is over – if I draw closer to God.

It’s funny how these devotionals can really speak to you and just the way you need in times of stress and duress. It’s the workings of God.

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Why Me

A week or so before we left for the trip and this whole health fiasco happened with my stomach, my husband put on an old episode of Mother Angelica.  In it she talked about being in a situation where she was asked to do things she didn’t feel capable of doing and she kept wondering why me. So she prayed to Christ and said, “why me?” And he answered her, “why me?”

I remember thinking how profound that was, and that maybe there was a reason I needed to hear that. Then two weeks later I am in the hospital with a hole in my stomach. A week after that, my stomach has been pulled through my skin and I am excreting into a large, uncomfortable bag.

At a time like this, it is easy to ask, “why me?” I have had a hard year with two surgeries and a bone infection and being on PICC line antibiotics for weeks. And now this. And I’m only 28. Why the hard year?

But then why did Christ, who was blameless as a flower, have to suffer on the cross and die. By rights it should have been someone who did such a terrible wrong that they earned it, but He was white as snow and still had to pay with His crimson blood for our sins.

My troubles are so small compared to His suffering. And life is not fair. And our Father takes care of all of us. And why not me? Diverticulitis is going to happen to someone. Why not me?

If I’m smart, I’ll use this trial to draw closer to God. It’s hard to imagine, but it is probably what I need.

How Does God Feel

” When I met my husband, I liked him. As I spent time with him, I got to know him more and more. We talked and laughed and even cried together and I realized my like had turned into love, and I couldn’t get enough of him. When God surveys our love for Him I wonder what He sees. Does He find us being in “like” with Him only? Is He sorrowful for what He knows our relationship could be but isn’t because of the absence of time together? Is He sad when we talk and laugh and cry only with others? Does he weep when we let the fire of our love grow cold?” -Lynda Hunter Bjorklund

Reading this made a light bulb go off in my head. Isn’t it amazing that we have a God who cares? This is a reciprocal relationship. It isn’t just that we as human beings are concerned with drawing close to God and being loved by God, but God wants to draw close to us and He wants us to love Him. He loves us. The almighty creator of the universe cares about us and how we feel about Him. He wants to be in communion with us.

Do I give God enough love and attention? Do I laugh and cry with God? I do not. I pray to thank Him for my many blessings. I pray to Him to help people in need. But when is the last time I poured my heart out to God? Am I close to God?

If I want to be closer to him I need to talk to Him more, and listen to Him more.

Gluttony

Today, when I got home from taking Angelica to speech and visiting with my mother, I was in the mood for cake. And I had some cake left over. Well one frosting covered by led to another and pretty soon I had eaten all that was left of the cake.

I’ve always struggled to understand why gluttony was a sin and today I think I figured it out. Any time something comes between you and the Lord It’s a Sin. After eating all that cake I tried to study my devotionals and read my Bible, but I was in such a sugar coma and felt so lethargic that I couldn’t focus to study the Word. I had eaten too much and it was preventing me from drawing closer to God.

Being fat is not a sin. Having soda or cake or ice cream, even frequently, is not a sin. It is only when eating comes between you and God or between you and fulfilling your God given responsibilities that eating becomes a sin.

Of course gluttony isn’t limited to eating. It can include anything from shopping to crafting to drinking, to anything really. Anything you indulge in too much at the expense of your relationship with the Lord falls into the category of gluttony.

Armed with this conviction, I am determined to never over eat again. I’m not going to give a song-and-dance number about how I’m going to go to healthy eating habits, because I love sugar. I’m not doing this to lose weight so I’m not going to make any goals in number of pounds. I simply don’t want to eat until I am overfilled ever again. This control will be good for my spiritual growth.

Prayer Room/Altar/ Sacred Space

I saw something online where a bunch of women who are pagan have altars to their various goddesses in their homes. I wondered if there was a Christian equivalent so I asked around and did some reading. There is, especially among Catholics. Many people are making special places in their houses for they have Christian artwork and Crosses and rosaries. They create these beautiful spaces as a sort of act of worship. Many use these areas to pray in, study the Bible, or worship together as a family.

I would like to have something like that in my house. I would like to have candles and beautiful candle holders and to collect some more rosaries. Rosaries are really beautiful works of art and although I do not pray the rosary I sometimes hold the rosary when I pray. I would like to learn more about the Rosary and other prayer beads. Prayer is very powerful and tradition is very beautiful.

How and where can I design such a space? A corner of the library? My craft room?  I know it may seem like a silly thing to do when I am not Catholic, but there are many things about Catholicism that I admire. Plus I don’t see why you should have to be Catholic to make a beautiful sacred space in your home, and I want to incorporate symbols of what is important to me in my house.

I am thinking I could convert part of the craft room into a sort of prayer space. Then again I really like doing my devotionals and bible study in the library where it is nice and sunny, so it would make sense to have it in the library. Better yet maybe I can use the FROG . Right now that room is unused and maybe I could put it to good purpose. I know that next year in military housing we will have to go down to having three bedrooms and I will have to find a prayer space, a craft area, and a library in the mix of that. But for now I have 4 bedrooms and an office and I may as well use them.

I am really giving this some serious thought and I’m going to start shopping around to see what I could put in the room. I won’t put in any iconography because my husband is against it. But surely there’s a wealth of beautiful religious art that isn’t iconography that I could use to make a dedicated religious space in my house. Of course the Holy Spirit will move through the whole house, but I think having a designated place would be a lovely idea.

The Excitement of Christianity

Being a Christian is exciting. I got brand new devotionals on Saturday, the first devotionals I have ever had. We went to Books a Million and I found so many I loved that I just couldn’t stop. One of them even talks about headcovering. That spoke to me immediately. But all sorts of topics are covered, and they are designed for women. One focuses on women of the Bible and verses addressed to women. Another has morning and evening reflections for each day based on scripture. Another is a Biblical meditation on finding beauty.

If you like self improvement, living creatively, creativity and art, studying, reading, and anything timeless then Christianity is a thrill. Personally, I love always having something I’m working on, and my faith always gives me new goals to accomplish. Whether it’s delving deeper into the Bible, working on my personal relationships, or practicing submission, the quest to follow my Savior always means I’m a work in progress. I like that feeling.

Worship creates so many opportunities for creative people because there are so many ways to worship God. Singing, writing, painting, crafting, graphic design, photography,carpentry, and so many other things can be used to worship God.

If you like reading, the Bible is an amazing book because no matter how many times you read it you will stumble across verses that feel brand new because you are seeing them in a new light. I recently read one page of the Bible ten times in a row and it was so thought provoking that I’m going back to that page. As I get older and have new life experiences, verses speak to me in ways they didn’t used to. One verse can apply to numerous subjects and situations. I love education and discovery, and I feel like I get an education every time I open the Bible.

Maybe one of the most exciting things about Christianity for me is that it isn’t fashionable. It’s not cool. It’s timeless and unchanging. It’s more vintage than vintage. And yet, like a dancer, my faith is flexible, pirouetting gracefully from era to era, just as full of energy and vitality today as it was at its birth.

Christ is electric ecstasy.