New Every Morning

Yesterday was a stinker. Pain wracked my body and kept me from being able to enjoy the day, much less be very productive. Last night wasn’t much better and I found myself getting up in the night to take my strongest pain pill to help me try and get some sleep since the pain was doing such a great job at creating insomnia. I don’t like writing about the times when things aren’t going well because I don’t know how it could possibly be encouraging–not to mention I don’t have the mental energy for blogging when I’m in a lot of pain.

Still, I got up at my regular time this morning and ended up poking my head out the front door to see if the FedEx delivery I was expecting yesterday had arrived last night and the guys just missed it during the football game. Instead of a dreary cold morning I was met with a glorious blaze of colors and crispness in the air that boosted my spirits enormously. My day may have not started off the greatest but here was a very clear and present reminder that God was in it and His mercies are new every morning. So this morning I’m grateful not only for my new, more powerful medication to help me cope with the pain but also for the simple reminders that each day is unique, and God’s grace is uniquely suited to each day’s needs. I may not feel great and have low expectations of what can be accomplished today but as my friend James says, “God is always good, and we are in His hands”–and for right now that is enough.  As Elisabeth Elliot would instruct me, I’ll just work on “doing the next thing” and do my best to observe “the sacrament of the present moment” (Jean-Pierre de Caussade) that gives meaning to all I do–or don’t do–today.

I hope your day is not stinky and that you are having a wonderful first day of December! But if you’re not, remember, you’re not alone. Many of us are suffering in one way or another and we will get through this day, one thing at a time, and ultimately “all shall be well” (St. Julian of Norwich).

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Looking to God

Currently I have been struggling with a new source of stress in a year–actually two, to be honest–of great frustration. As I caught myself starting to sink under the weight of the stress I reached out to God via all my characteristic ways of coping and held on for dear life to the assurance that God is in control. Still, the sense of being overwhelmed did not leave. Thoughts of the stressor constantly invaded my mind–thanks ever so much, anxiety disorder–and despite my repeated use of my faith tools I found myself sinking.

As soon as I could this past week I consulted an older and wiser dear friend who has seen much suffering in her life. Her observation was that perhaps I was looking at the problem too much and not at God enough. I reflected on that and realized she was right. In the necessary course of things there were tasks I had to complete as a result of the change in circumstances and yet once those were complete I was still wrestling with the whole thing instead of giving it to God. Clearly this was enough of a stressor that I would need to keep giving it back to Him in surrender to Divine Providence, which reminded me of a beloved book, Abandonment to Divine Providence. (NB–It is also translated as The Sacrament of the Present Moment and my preferred translator is Kitty Muggeridge.) Time to pull it out and start steeping myself in its truths as yet another tool to fight the battle of doubt and worry about how God will provide for us in all of our needs.

Is there anything you’re struggling with today? Perhaps you are–like me–getting a little too focused on the problem and not enough on the solution: looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2). As we approach Thanksgiving and then the end of another liturgical year, with the feast of Christ the King to look forward to, may we be thankful that our God truly is ordering all things in our life together for good (Rom 8:28).

Thoughtful Thursday: Rest in God

This is a rerun and perhaps as I still haven’t learned how to do this routinely yet there is someone reading this that will also benefit from the repeated message…

I don’t know about you but true rest is sometimes elusive for me, even on days of rest such as Sundays. In that vein, I’m sharing words I found comforting from St. Edith Stein (Sr. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross). I plan to put her counsel into effect today in hopes that tomorrow I will be experiencing Sunday as “a new life.” Maybe you will want to do the same…

“God is there in these moments of rest and can give us in a single instant exactly what we need. Then the rest of the day can take its course, under the same effort and strain, perhaps, but in peace. And when night comes, and you look back over the day and see how fragmentary everything has been, and how much you planned that has gone undone, and all the reasons you have to be embarrassed and ashamed: just take everything exactly as it is, put it in God’s hands and leave it with him. Then you will be able to rest in him–really rest–and start the next day as a new life.”

Rest in God

I don’t know about you but true rest is sometimes elusive for me, even on days of rest such as Sundays. In that vein, I’m sharing words I found comforting from St. Edith Stein (Sr. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross). I plan to put her counsel into effect today in hopes that tomorrow I will be experiencing Sunday as “a new life.” Maybe you will want to do the same…

“God is there in these moments of rest and can give us in a single instant exactly what we need. Then the rest of the day can take its course, under the same effort and strain, perhaps, but in peace. And when night comes, and you look back over the day and see how fragmentary everything has been, and how much you planned that has gone undone, and all the reasons you have to be embarrassed and ashamed: just take everything exactly as it is, put it in God’s hands and leave it with him. Then you will be able to rest in him–really rest–and start the next day as a new life.”

Living with a Rule of Life

Eleven years ago–in my continuing saga to learn to live in the present moment–I read and tried to implement a rule of life. Ultimately I was unsuccessful at sticking to one and became frustrated with my search for greater spiritual and personal stability. Over the years as I tried rebooting my attempts I used two very different resources on this subject;  unfortunately neither one provided me with the ability to create something that I could stick to for the long haul.

I’ve come to finally realize that it was probably not in any way due to the books being inadequate but rather a result of the combination of my ADHD and OCD tendencies, in addition to deep-seated perfectionism, and, probably most significantly, an extremely challenging season of life that included multiple chronic health issues that sabotaged my attempts. Now that my health is improving I am optimistically embarking on a reboot of a rule and have decided that it has a greater chance of sticking if I share it here and therefore insure some measure of accountability!

My primary resources for developing a rule are those two books that have helped me in one way or another over the past decade. While I don’t agree with everything the authors have written I’ve gleaned what makes sense to me and feel both books have more content that is worthwhile than not.

The first book I read was one devoted exclusively to the subject, Holly Pierlot’s A Mother’s Rule of Life:

http://www.amazon.com/Mothers-Rule-Life-Bring-Order-ebook/dp/B005D9IDZ2/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1459767168&sr=1-1

The second and ultimately most helpful was Jane Tomaine’s St. Benedict’s Toolbox: The Nuts and Bolts of Everyday Benedictine Living:

http://www.amazon.com/St-Benedicts-Toolbox-Everyday-Benedictine-ebook/dp/B010EINBZS/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1459767086&sr=1-1

This book was greatly expanded and revised last summer so a few months ago I treated myself and was not disappointed. What was already an exceptionally good book was made even more outstanding and although it has only one chapter specifically devoted to developing one’s rule it is packed with helpful insights and practical instruction.

So, gentle reader, join me as I share my ongoing journey of developing and living by a rule of life–all for the glory of God!

 

 

Monday Musing: Afterlife

Just heard Switchfoot’s “Afterlife” for the first time and then found this blog post (which includes the link to the video) that I thought worth sharing. Have a great Monday!

http://blueprintforlife.com/blog/im-not-waiting-for-the-afterlife/

Just Be

All that is necessary is to just be. That’s all that is truly necessary. So simple. So not easy. So, a few more breaths. A few more sentences. And then life must go on. Moment by blessed moment.  Sacred heartbeat by Sacred Heart beating within mine.  So full of love, so full of grace, so full of mercy for all of us in desperate need of it. For all around us who experience our “mess” landing on them, God help them! And He is, He most certainly is; thanks be to God! Yes, thanks be to God for His indescribable gift (2 Cor. 9:15).

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