Monday, January 19, 2015

Here am I, Lord?

Sunset, by Beniamin Pop (2007) via
I had to laugh. The Responsorial Psalm at mass yesterday from Psalm 40 was "Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will." Imagine this: I have the little one on my lap and he was so wiggly that not once but twice, he threw his head back and popped me in the mouth. Felt GREAT! Then the big one was not happy not getting my full attention and was fighting to push shut the book that I was "reading" to the little guy. It was not a banner day. On days like this, the best this single mom can do is try to catch every few words that the priest says and glean something worth hanging on to. On days like these I find comfort in the words of a dear friend, "Your kids are your prayer right now".

Still, when I started singing along to "Here am I, Lord" I thought, "God is probably laughing at me and asking- Where are you?" My mind just happened to focus on the mass for that moment and I chose to participate, but seriously, was my heart really speaking the words my mouth was saying? Nope. Then I got to thinking about all the distractions we have in our lives and how even when I don't have two toddlers vying for my attention, I'm still a pretty sorry example of attentiveness.

Thankfully, God knows our hearts. He knows when we want more of Him but are pulled in two or three other directions. He knows when we are just babbling and when we are really sharing the desires of our hearts. BUT (and here's the kicker) we can't rest on that. We can't say, "God knows I WANT to spend more time with Him so it's ok if I keep this same routine and keep giving Him the last five minutes of my day or one hour on Sunday."

From Mark 2: 22, "Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins." When we feel the Holy Spirit inspiring us to go deeper or devote ourselves more fully to our faith, we can't continue the same habits and lifestyle.

The good news - small changes can make a difference. Set that alarm 5 minutes earlier (It's not going to kill you!) so you have a chance to start your day in prayer or read the psalm for the day. Start praying before every meal, not just dinner. Try to make it to daily mass one more time per month. Join in a Bible study or download one onto your phone. If the wine is new on the inside, change the skin on the outside! What one thing can you do this week to make your actions match your heart?

Friday, January 2, 2015

$20 vs Mud

That's my friend, Renee. On New Year's Eve she found $20 on the ground. She posted the photo to social media with the declaration, "2015 is going to be a great year!" Friends chimed in with words of congratulation and agreement. I asked her (not trying to be a pessimist), "Since you found it before midnight, are you sure it isn't an exclamation point on the end of a good year?" She poo-poo'ed me.

Whether it's hitting every light on the way into work or getting a run in our tights, we often let one incident set the tone and our level of expectation for a day or sadly, even a year. It's great if we allow this to make us optimistic and hopeful, but I think more often than not, we tend to focus on the negative.

Renee thought that $20 was just the first in what would surely be a year of good things, but what if she had,instead, at the same spot on the sidewalk, gotten splashed with mud by a passing car? Is 2015 destined to be rotten?

I am guilty of doing the backwards version of this. 2014 was a rough year for me and it all started on January 1st. New Year's Day. 3:30pm. So as the year drew to a close, I said more than a few times, "I'm ready for this year to be over" as if the calendar determines how things will unfold.

The days, months and years will unfold how we allow them to. God is continually molding and shaping our lives and our hearts. If we have a hardness, like dry clay, what can He do with us? Holding on to an attitude of, "Today is going to be a bad day" or "This month is just awful. I can't wait for it to be over." will put up a wall where God might want to come in. We could miss out on opportunities to see $20 on the ground or silver linings on the clouds. So here's to 2015 and what each moment holds!