22 June 2017

Dear Lysa, God doesn't hate you because you are divorced.

I had some really exciting news last week. 

I learned an article I submitted to America Magazine was going to be published. #cuedancinginmyoffice
You think I am kidding? That really happened.

I've had several people in my life encourage me to start to do more freelance writing, so it was encouraging to learn my first pitch will actually be published.

The title? God hates divorce. But He doesn't hate divorced people. 

The words come from a time I met with the vice rector (now one of our regional bishops) of our local seminary. Since then, those words have taken root deeply inside me as I look around and see a gaping hole when it comes to pastoral care for divorced people or those with irregular marriages in the Catholic Church.

I prayed those words over Lysa TerKeust this week as I learned she is divorcing her husband after learning he was unfaithful with a women he met online.
I am sad for her, her husband Art, her kids and grandkids. 

Having made such a decision myself, I know she didn't make it lightly.

On the day I would have been married for five years, I just find myself thinking about this woman I'll probably never meet and what she has to be thinking and feeling, especially as one who is in the public eye.

There will be some people who will question her decision or say there are never Biblical grounds for divorce. And there may be some who say you can only walk away if circumstances meet certain grounds. Some will say she was brave for leaving and some may say she was a coward.

And while I wish the best for this suffering family in such a painful time, I am yet reminded of the great need there is in the Church today for so many people who are hurt, wounded, and suffering.

All of us, all of "them". 
The alcoholics, ragers, cheaters, sex addicts, marriages in crisis, abused, divorced, drug addicts, etc.

Pope Francis has used the image before of the Church as field hospital on the battlefield: "The thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds...And you have to start from the ground up."

My own lived experience is calling me to speak into a specific area I see a desperate need for greater support and pastoral attention. I am not really sure how what it will look, but bit by bit the Spirit is lighting something up in me that's not dimming anytime soon.

Like the Pope said, I want to do my own little part to help heal the wounds of hurting people...especially people who traveled a similar path that I have.

It feels weird to say, but I almost feel like going through a divorce has expanded my heart a hundred fold for people on the margins; people who facing great pain, suffering, and struggle. 

In a world where 50% of marriages end in divorce sometimes the commitment of marriage can look scary or that it cannot be done. One the most numbing experiences is to start to listen to the subtle whispers of the Evil One..."You'll never have a good marriage"...."you can't do this right"..."no one will ever love you." To enter into that inner dialogue never bears any good fruit and is spiritually dangerous.

I know sometimes I can catch myself feeling overwhelmed or anxious about not being able to have a healthy, life-giving marriage someday. I mean who wants to repeat the same mistake and get another divorce?

Today I would have been married 5 years. Its funny looking back I still remember the day crystal clear, but now I can look back with a healthy level of detachment and acknowledge it as a chapter in life.

I thought today would always be one the happiest days of my life and it sucks that it didn't turn out that way for me. But that doesn't mean I'll never get it right someday.

Today I just keep thinking about another sister in Christ whose walking a path she'd never thought she would have to travel...

Lysa, I hope you are surrounded with support and love from every angle. I hope you find an amazing counselor that will help you deeply forgive Art, forgive yourself, heal, and accept and grow from this painful reality.

Yes, God hates divorce. But He doesn't hate you. You are brave for leaving. And you'd be just as brave for staying too.

The heartbreak and pain of divorce are something our Father cares passionately about. They are deep, painful wounds that need healing and care. Don't run away from these wounds.

Because just like the sacred wounds of Jesus bring us our freedom, facing these painful wounds will profoundly and radically change you if you let God lead the work.


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12 June 2017

Learning to Stay in My Own Lane

When I first learned to drive I was horrible. Like to the degree I didn't get my license until I was well into age 17.

One of the scariest things for my was learning how to correctly merge into traffic on the freeway. I would tense up and have a severe death grip on the steering wheel. It took awhile to learn I should never hit the brakes while doing so and who had the right of way.

I was learning how to safely get into a lane while not killing myself or another driver. This is similar to how I am learning to stay in my own lane when it comes to living my life.


Over the last few years, my counselor has helped me learn how to stay in my own lane. I have discovered it is very easy for me to look at other people and wish I had what they have. You name it, I've probably felt insecure about it at some point. 

I start wishing I had that "thing" or allowing myself to feel less than because I don't. Or if I am really living up the pity party, I whine to God saying I deserve to have this to or when is it my turn for this particular experience.
Thankfully, I have people who call me out on that crazy nonsense. Because duh, that is not how God works.

It is like the 17 year old version of crazy Patty driving or merging on the freeway. I get distracted, start swerving, and possibly get myself into to trouble. When I get distracted driving, it throws me off and makes me more anxious.

It is the same exact thing in life. My job is to stay in my lane; accept and learn from it. Just like lanes of traffic they change; you merge in and out or the scenery will look different from time to time. 
The current lane I am in right now is not necessarily permanent or forever. 
It's just the right now for Patty.

I don't want to live my life wishing for the things I want and don't have right now. I am really trying to use "the right now" to stay humble and teachable.

It is more than just acceptance or contentment with the current season of life.
Staying in my own lane helps me find the beauty and gratitude for life right now even if it is not exactly the way I want it.
But wait since when is life exactly how we want it? ;)

I drive an old, rusty 99 white Lincoln aka the big white boat. Honestly I hate my car, especially when I see friends or family members who have nicer, cooler cars. But right now my car is paid off. 

And driving this piece of crap is what I have to do to get rid of that nasty college debt. 
The sacrifice now will pay off even more in the future when all my loans are gone.

Thankfully over the last 10ish years my driving (and merging) has gotten much better. I no longer break into cold sweats approaching the entrance ramp. And my counselor has to remind me less when we meet about staying in my own lane.

When I have hiccups or moments of insecurity, I try and catch myself and tell myself, "just stay in your own lane Patty. Just stay in YOUR lane."


What helps you stay in your own lane?



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09 June 2017

7Qt on Confirmation interviews gone horribly wrong, birthdays, and summer reads

Its been awhile since linking up with Kelly and the gang, so keeping it fresh on this rainy Friday morning...


(one)

Part of my job consists overseeing Confirmation prep. Interviews were this week. I had two young ladies who couldn't tell me what happens in the sacrament and what person of the Trinity Confirmation has most to do with.


I have a great pastor who believes in not just pushing young people through to receive the sacraments, but it still can be so frustrating sometimes.
By the end of the day, I wanted to punch a hole in the dry wall in my office. Thankfully I did not.

(two)

Wednesday was my sister's birthday. She works in downtown Detroit, so I drove there and took her out to lunch. The older we get, I think the more we like and appreciate each other. She's been a big source of support for me over the last year, and definitely my voice of calm reassurance as I start dating...



She also gave me a gorgeous yellow, lace dress to wear next Friday to a fancy shmancy fundraiser for our local seminary. Thanks for being pregnant Annie, feel free to give me any other clothes! ;)


(three)

I got together with one of my friends and partner in crime in doing youth ministry. We always do our summer youth leadership camp together. And this year we are leading the teens through UnBound. It is type of healing and deliverance prayer ministry that walks people through five keys (Repentance & Faith, Forgiveness, Renunciation, Authority, and the Father's Blessing) as way to experience greater freedom in their life.

I am really excited for it:)


(four)

Been at the library a lot, returning and picking up news books to read.

Here is what I have read lately:

Born to Run -autobiography of Bruce Springsteen, I cried

A Mile Wide by Brandon Hatmaker

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

UnChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity...and why it matters


Any good books you've got going right now??


(five)

Over the 4th of July weekend, my Dad and I decided to go to the Upper Peninsula for a long weekend. We're staying at the hunting cabin he goes to with his buddies. We're talking limited bathing and no electricity. I am excited, mostly.

This week we started talking menu idea's.


(six)

It is a really awesome time to be a Catholic in Detroit.

Our Archbishop just released an important document that is going to tangibly change the culture of southeast Michigan.

Like CYO sports being mandated to not have any sporting events on Sundays, and top priorities are evangelization and discipleship of players and coaches. Right!?

GO read it. I about killed my highlighter.


(seven)

My apartment is kinda gross right now. There is dust everywhere and the bathtub needs a good ol' fashioned scrubbing. Tomorrow afternoon is cleaning, lots and lots of cleaning.


Have a great weekend! :)







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