A Son’s Love

Today I was given a precious gift.  I took my son and his friend to the public pool this afternoon and while they swam and played, I got lost in a book I was reading.  I was so engrossed with it, I was completely unaware of anything going on around me.  After a good while of reading, I finally closed my book, set it aside, and looked out onto the pool.

And there, God gave me a precious gift.  As soon as I looked up, I saw my 12 year old son swish down a water slide.  When he got up, I watched as an older woman talked to my son and handed him her small grandson, who couldn’t have been more than a year old.  As I watched my son carry this stranger’s grandson, I was in awe.  It was clear that she had asked him to carry the child to the slide and go down the slide with the little one.  My son cheerfully agreed, carefully walked up to the slide, holding this cute little stranger, gingerly sat down with the babe on his lap, and slowly started down the slide, making oohh and ahhh noises as he went.  He carefully set the child down on his feet when they reached the bottom and cheerfully handed him over to the woman.  It was a beautiful thing to watch my son take so much pride and joy and love in doing this and I was so proud of him.  I found myself grinning from ear to ear.  As I watched this take place, I couldn’t help thinking how good my twelve year old is with small children.  He seems to delight in playing with his two year cousin and he was a natural with this child on the slide.  I couldn’t help but wonder if God was giving me some sort of glimpse into His plan for my son–maybe he will work in some way with children when he gets older–maybe not.  But I knew at that moment, I was watching love in action.

After another 20 minutes or so, it was time to leave. My son ran over to me with a huge smile and the first thing he said was, “Did you see what I did?”  He was so proud of himself!

I knew the moment I watched this wonderful scene that it was a gift God was giving to me.  It was a beautiful, precious gift of love and I will always remember it.

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When God speaks, it does not have to be a life changing event.  It does not have to be in words. It does not even have to make sense.  But He speaks to us all the time.  He speaks to us in all sorts of ways.  All we need to do is open our eyes!  He wants us to see the wonders of His love as often as He gives it…always.

Lost and Found

Sometimes I feel lost.

From an early age, I had control of my future. I knew early on that I wanted to be a teacher. I became a teacher right after graduating from college and after more than ten years of teaching, I knew I wanted to get my Masters Degree and become a principal. I got my Masters Degree and then, suddenly, I lost control of the direction of my life. Suddenly, my life took a turn I was not planning or expecting. Suddenly, I was far away from family in a new state, in a new school, doing a job that I had not planned on doing. Now, going on five years later, I am still at that school, still at the job I had never envisioned myself doing. There are things about it that I like, but there are things about it I don’t like as well. Often times, I get the feeling that my job has little purpose…or rather, that I have little purpose in the job I am doing. I have prayed and prayed that God show me what He wants me to do and the scariest part is, when I think about what I would want to do, for the first time in my life, I have no idea…I have no direction…I have no plan. Nothing sounds exciting, nothing ignites a fire. I often times just feel lost.

Last night, as I fell asleep, I remember asking St. Anthony to help me find myself. He is the finder of lost things and I felt as though I had lost…myself. Who was I? What was my purpose? What am I supposed to be doing? As I drifted off to sleep, I just kept repeating, “Help me find myself”.

I’m sure everyone, at some point, has these feelings of being lost. But this is scary to me. I think it’s because I have never lived feeling lost. I have always had a purpose, a goal, a plan. I was always in control. I know that God is teaching me to give up my control and give it to Him, to trust in His plan for me–in my heart I know that. But after five years, you’d think He would start showing me what that plan is–or at least give me a glimpse. But no, I am exactly where I was five years ago–still searching, still wondering…still lost.

Today in Adoration, I told him how lost I felt. I prayed that He would show me the way. I prayed for a long time. Then I decided to spend a few minutes reading a book that I’ve been reading during Adoration, but had not read in the last 2 weeks. I picked up where I had left off in the book and here is what I read today:

“I find that when we’re willing to serve like Jesus did–while we’re on the way–divine appointments…start popping up everywhere.  And if we’ll take the time to stop and listen, we may find our destination, even when we thought we were lost.” (Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, Joanna Weaver) 

And, “When we surrender ourselves to be used by God, we don’t always get to pick the time, the method, or the place of ministry.  In fact, sometimes, we find ourselves doing nothing at all–except praying and waiting for God’s leading.”  (Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, Joanna Weaver).

And finally, “…the key is not in our activity, but in our receptivity to God’s voice–and in our willingness to be used in whatever ways he brings to our attention.  When we bring to him our willingness to serve, he’ll always, eventually, point us toward something we can do for him.  And that task will always have something to do with love.” (Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, Joanna Weaver).

It is no coincidence that this was the section of the book I was on today.  God knew that I needed to hear these words–that I needed reassurance that, while I may feel lost, God has not lost sight of me.  

This is the journey I am on and while I may not understand it or have any control over where it will take me, He does.  Maybe, when we have so much control over the direction of our life, God needs us to lose all control so that we can find Him.  I am always looking for the destination, but  maybe God is trying to teach me that it is what we do on the journey that matters. 

Wherever we are on our journey, we have an opportunity to serve God.   And while we may not know where the road will take us, maybe what really matters is just knowing that we are on the road with Him. 

And He knows where He’s going.

Answered Prayer

Have you ever had a new thought or an answer to a problem pop up during prayer?  This happened to me a few weeks ago.  I was at  a meeting and the morning was not going well.  My coworkers knew this and right before we began our opening prayer, a few of them said they were going to pray for me.  Not but a minute into that prayer, the answer to a problem popped into my head.  Sure enough, once I tried what I thought of, the problem was solved.  It was truly amazing and I know without a doubt that God heard my coworkers prayers and He supplied me with the answer.

On another occasion, a few months ago, I was saying my morning prayers and I suddenly felt a need to pray for one of my coworkers.  This was a bit difficult for me because I find it very hard to get along with this individual.  There are very, very few people that I don’t get along with, but this was one of them.  I listened to that voice in my head however and, while it was a difficult thing to do, I did pray for him.  This went on for about a week, each day getting alittle easier.  I wasn’t sure really what to pray for, so I just prayed that God would bless him and give him much happiness and good health.  It had been about a week of praying for him when he told me that his wife had just had a miscarriage.  In that instant, I knew why God had urged me to pray for him and I could honestly tell him that he was in my prayers.  That actually led me to not only pray more for him, but also to include his family in my prayers as well.  After that happened, I urged friends and family to always listen to that voice in your head.  That prompting, I knew, was the Holy Spirit. 

I find that those clear cut answers or promptings in prayer are not frequent.  It seems to me that God speaks to me in more discreet ways, in more quiet ways that sometimes seem forever to make themselves known.  But there are times when God’s voice is very direct, very clear.  Through all of the ways God speaks, I have learned that prayer is incredibly powerful.  I think sometimes He shows me the direct effect of prayer to strengthen my belief in its power.  There are some prayers I have been saying for some people for a very, very long time and yet, nothing changes.  I know God hears those prayers, but I wonder why they don’t seem to make a difference for those people I have been praying for.  Maybe, when God shows me answers to prayers like the two instances I wrote about, He is also showing me that all of my prayers make a difference, even the ones that seem to go unnoticed.  He is showing me that our prayers are always heard, and that when the time is right, and in His perfect way, our prayers are answered.