27 April 2019

How Parishes Can Support New Female Converts

At the parish I work at, one of my new responsibilities is overseeing the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). 

While there were a few learning curves, the experience of walking with these people has been so life giving to my own personal faith. We had a unique group this year, in that of our ten candidates and catechumens, all were female except one!

They came from very different religious backgrounds.

Some were raised Catholic and some had no religious upbringing of any kind. Another was Jewish and a handful were unbaptized.

Working mostly with women, my heart has become attuned to the better ways our parish community (and all parishes!) can help support and nurture the growing faith of women as they enter full communion with the Catholic Church.


Anything to add? What is working in your parish community?

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05 April 2019

When Jesus Tells You More Needs to Die

Friends, it has been a Lenty Lent.

In more ways than one.

I am working through my feelings and thoughts from a recent break-up.

I look at the calendar and realize today, April 5, will be three years since my divorce was finalized. 

Several weeks ago, I saw my former husband for the first time since the day of our divorce.

On top of all this, Jesus has made it very clear to me that there are more things inside of me that still need to die. Ouch, Lord.

Let me explain.
In the middle of March, my Mom and I went to a night of prophetic prayer ministry at a local parish. Upon sitting down and looking around, I realized my former husband was also present. The last time I have seen him was at court for the finalization of our divorce.

Instantly I felt anxious and afraid. I wanted to flee the scene, but I didn't want to run away because we saw him.

So we stayed. 
The worship team began to play the song "Reckless Love."

Tears started running down my face. 
My heart tensed up, Why is HE here? He shouldn't be here. He doesn't deserve to be here. Right away, I could feel the anger and bitterness seeping in. In the moment, I acknowledged it to Jesus, reminding myself my ex husband is just as beloved by the Father as I am.

The night went on. 

My mom and I were each prayer over. The prophecy's spoken over me were accurate and very true to some things in my life. God was present. He showed up in His kindness and love.

Over the next few days in prayer, I kept asking Jesus, Why now? Why did I have to run into him now during Lent, right after a breakup with a good man? Why did this happen now?

The answer I heard in my heart?

Because there are still some things that need to die inside of you.

I was frustrated, even a little angry by that response. And to be honest, it caught me off guard. Over the last few years, I have had a lot things die. I have grown through it all and done a lot healing work. 

So hesitantly, I leaned in closer. Deep breath.
Okay Jesus, what are these things that still need to die inside of me?

The Lord is slowly and gently revealing what needs to be dealt with:
  • a deeper forgiveness of my former husband so the next time I see him I could actually approach him or speak to him in kindness, forgive and bless him. That my heart would not react in bitterness or resentment.
  • grieving and giving to Jesus the expectations of how I thought my life would look by this point in life.
  • Acknowledging that I do not trust the Lord very well, especially with the desires of my heart. Specifically how do I just give him those trusting in a bigger, deeper plan I cannot understand.
Slowly, He is speaking. I need to continue to be still and ask the Lord what He has to say about each of those things.

It is hard. 
And messy.
And a little overwhelming at times.

But I keep praying Jesus help me and asking the Lord for His perspective on what is coming up inside of me.

I am not sure exactly what will come about for me at Easter or what the next six months or years hold for my life.

But maybe I am finally beginning to realize my life is not my own, I cannot see the future. I don't have control over every single area or situation in my life.

I am fairly certain I will need the reminders again, but I wholeheartedly want to use this time, this season to work through these things in my life the Lord doesn't want me dragging around.

I am pressing in close, reminding myself the whole of life is full of both deaths and resurrections.

Growth will come.
New life will come. 
It will come for me.
It will come for you too.

My life is not my own.

And even if the story looks radically different than I ever imagined, I know He has a plan for me.

If you are looking for a way to pray and celebrate the Easter season, Blessed is She has just released Risen: 50 Ways to Live Easter. It is a simple book to be used each day of the Easter season. It has a short Scripture, reflection question, and a simple action item to help you live and celebrate Easter.

You can order it here.
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