The first time I experienced the terror and uncertainty of a “reduction in force,” I was on a short break away from my desk when I got a frantic text from a coworker. “Joe is gone,” it read. “Sandy is gone, Joe is gone, and I think they just called James from his office.” My stomach dropped. My palms were sweaty. Facing cutbacks is never easy, and until this point our department had remained relatively untouched. The afternoon wore on, and the cuts kept coming. In those fearful moments, I stayed relatively calm. I prayed that I might keep my job, but that if God had different plans for me, I was on board. Like, literally on board. I visualized myself in the boat with Our Lord, who has authority over the wind and the waves and the storms of our lives. I saw myself riding out the storm with Him at the helm, no matter what. Practically speaking, I also packed up my office, just in case. Continue reading
A mutual friend texted me the news, begging for prayers for the stricken family. I could barely choke out the words to tell my husband. My friend’s son, just 22 years old and loving father to two sweet babies, had died by suicide two hours earlier. I did the only thing I could think to do – I drove to the Adoration chapel.
I threw myself onto my knees and began to sob. For the next 45 minutes, I stormed Heaven, crying out for the salvation of his troubled soul and for comfort of his grieving mother. The agony etched on the Blessed Mother’s face in the statue of the Pieta haunted me, reminding me of my friend’s agony taking place in real time over 100 miles away. I prayed through the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, my heart heavy with the sudden gravity of their meaning. I couldn’t see through my tears as I fumbled through my Missal, desperate to find the words of any prayer that expressed lament or sorrow or a plea for mercy.
As we settled into the pew for Ash Wednesday Mass, I’d reminded my kids to “talk to Jesus” before Mass starts. At 11 years old, she knows the drill by now. Elizabeth leaned over to me as we both knelt in prayer, and she shared what had just happened.
Over the past few years, as my spiritual life has deepened, I have learned that sometimes God speaks to us through a Scripture that hits us a certain way, a poem, or a song lyric. Sometimes, He uses a more subtle approach, whispering into our hearts during time with nature or as we study beautiful art. So when she pulled me aside to tell to me about the connection she’d made, I was filled with a feeling of joy – joy for my girl’s discovery at what I am sure was the prompting of the Holy Spirit. So what was this sweet insight?
It’s the last day of the year, and we wanted to make sure to end 2017 with Confession and Mass. Experiencing the cleansing mercy of absolution, closely followed by the reception of Our Lord in the Eucharist, was just what my soul needed on a day when the temperature outside is dropping like a rock and the hours of the year dwindle to a close. We went to one of the only parishes in Houston that offers Reconciliation on Sundays – Our Lady of Czestochowa on Blalock. Would you just look at this gorgeousness?
Without further ado, here’s where my head’s at we venture in 2018, knowing full well that the Lord is the one in charge and there’s no telling where I will actually be 365 days from now. Continue reading
When we celebrated the turning of the calendar page at midnight on 12/31/2016, here’s what I knew:
- I knew that 2016 had been tough physically on my body, with baby #5 arriving in August after sapping every ounce of energy throughout the entire pregnancy (not to mention the 30+ weeks of twice weekly progesterone injections)
- I knew that 2016 had been tough for me mentally, as my sister got married in June and I was the self-appointed Wedding Planner, a role which under normal circumstances I would’ve relished, but given the pregnancy described above…well, way to think that one through, genius!
- I knew that 2016 saw a move to a new home, where water rose in the streets when Houston was drenched in rain on April 15th, now known as the Tax Day Flood. I saw the creek near our home escape its banks, flood the houses that sat along the bank, and I breathed a sigh of relief that the house we lived in just half a block north maintained its record of staying high and dry since its construction some 30 years earlier
- I knew that the county I live in failed to dredge the creek near my home after the “historic” amounts of water, sludge, and earth that flowed downstream in torrents during the flood
- I knew that the year 2017 spread before me like a bright, open book, full of hope and wonder and possibility
- I knew that God’s love, mercy, and steadfastness are ever-present and unchanging
Here’s what I didn’t know: Continue reading