What does it take to know He’s near?

There are things in this life that can seem like unnecessarily burdens.

Sickness.  Pain.  Loss.  Hard days at work.  Difficult conversations with those we love.  A seemingly unquenchable longing.

What if I told you that God wanted to reach you?  But the way that He wanted to reach you was through those things that you thought were horrible inconveniences in your life?

Laura Story penned this thought beautifully in her song “Blessings.”  Perhaps the phrase that speaks the message the loudest is:

“All the while, You hear each spoken need.  Yet you love us too much to give us lesser things. Because what if Your blessings came through raindrops? What if Your healing came through tears? What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near?  What if trials in this life, are Your mercies in disguise?”

Yet as lyrically beautiful and poignant as this is, it does little to take away the sting of a heavy cross we can pick up and put on our shoulders in union with Christ.  It is easy to talk about burdens, and another to carry them.

It is, in fact, easier, to talk about the burdens of others and watch God work in their life than to turn our gaze inward and admit the assistance that we ourselves need.  Because to us, our life is boring.

Drudgery.  Day in and day out. Always the same.  Void of excitement.  

Steve Furtick, a pastor in North Carolina, said, “The reason that we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”

Have you thought about what your life looks like to others?  Your daily grind is new to them.  Your everyday is their once-in-a-lifetime.  And maybe they are looking at your life and wishing they had what you found by doing the little things.

Of course we can’t say that phrase, “little things,” without connoting the beautiful St. Therese of Lisieux.  She dedicated her life to God through the form of a life in a convent.  After her final vows, she didn’t see any other view than that which was within her four walls.

Look at her life. Some may say boring.  Deprived.  Worthless.  Waste

But God saw dedication.  Total surrender.  Love without thought of self.

And He turned the small action of a woman giving up her life to Him into a series of hardships that has taught the world how to love through the little things.

Your life is a series of choices.  You can choose who, what, where, why and how to love.  You can choose to pick up your cross and walk a hard-yet-worth-it journey with God.  You can choose to never pick up that cross, but rather stare and complain.

But the life rocked with burdens is a life with countless opportunities to draw nearer to the one who we desire to spend eternity with.

“What if my greatest disappointments, or the aching of this life, is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy?” (Laura Story).

We all know the story of the woman at the well in John chapter four.  After her conversation with Christ, she didn’t have to stop getting water to fill her watering pitcher.  We know she had to return to get water to drink again to quench a physical thirst.  Yet the the burning desire for a Savior?  That was quenched in more ways she could imagine.  She knew what it was like to search for something to fill the aching.  She had been married many times, and the man she was with when she met The Lord wasn’t even her husband.

Yet with Christ there was forgiveness and unconditional love.  She would not thirst without a source of relief any longer, because now she knew where the true source of love was.

Pick up your cross.  Come to the source of love and He will help you with your load.

God bless,

Chloe

Advertisements

Jesus Loves You This Much

We all have parts of our lives that we struggle with.  There are so many days when we wake up, look in the mirror and just want to go back to bed. 
I know I do.  I wake up unintentionally channeling my white-as-a-vampire anti-tan in the summer and am surprised I’m even able to see a reflection in the mirror! 
On a more serious note, though, there are days that we all have beaten ourselves black and blue and just asked one heart wrenching question.  “Who could love me?  I am so broken.  I’m damaged goods.” 
I always have imaged people walking around with back packs on our back all through life.  We stuff them full of sin and draw into ourselves the more the weight is added.  Sometimes we weigh it down with insults and weight more than others do.  We can be our worst enemy.

Guess what?  I know who could love you despite your brokenness.  God.  And we’ve heard this message since we could first sing along to bible songs, in the back of our mom’s minivan.  “Jesus loves me this I know….” It’s still true.  That song is still as annoying as it was when we were seven, but the message itself is pretty timeless.  
God loves you.  Amazingly just not despite of your brokenness, but he wants to love you out of your brokenness?
How much does God love you?
<— This much.  Hands splayed open, nailed through the wrists to a rough wooden beam, hoisted up so the entire world could laugh at him.  Beaten to an inch of his life and then forced to walk what should have been a quick eight minute walk down the street but turned into a heart breaking journey.  Tripping in the cracks of the road beaten until he had to get up.  So exhausted that He couldn't even carry the cross the rest of the way up to the place that He would breath his last breathe.
Do you know what he was thinking about when He was up there?  What was running through His mind when the crowd jeered at Him prove His divinity and come down from the cross?
“I can’t come down from the cross. I have to stay up there for (fill-in-your-name-here).  Because sometime in their life, the journey is going to get rough and they are going to look at the journey I went through for them and they’re going to have strength and consolation.  I can’t get down, I just can’t.”
What is our excuse to not give 100% of our love back to God? Romans 5:8 says, “And this But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” While we were still sinners.  He didn’t get on the cross after we said “I’m sorry.”  He died for every sin that had ever been committed and every sin that would ever be committed, knowing that people wouldn’t be sorry.
It’s time to love God back. 
Matt Maher wrote a beautiful song about Christ’s experience on the cross and why He stayed on it….for you.  Listen to this song, the lyrics are just thought-inducingly beautiful. 
It’s time to love God 100% with every aspect of our life.  Because He loved us first – and we’re called to love in return.
Are you ready for that journey?
Chloe M. 

I can’t wait to go to Heaven

I don’t know if anyone has ever told you this, but God has incredible plans for you.

Like beyond your imagination, amazing without compare, make you shake your head in wonder at every move phenomenal plans.

This past weekend I was at a Catholic teen retreat and my eyes were just opened to the incredible love of our Lord and the beauty of His children.

Sometimes people touch your lives and you never get the chance to tell them that.  Sometimes you touch people’s lives unknowingly and you never know what affect you have when Christ works through you.  This weekend I had the chance to tell people that they had changed my spiritual trajectory and people told me that I was able to help them on their journey.

Do you know that Christ can reach down and help people using your hands? That He can hug people using your arms, talk to people using your voice and love people using your heart?  He can, and He will if you just let Him in.

Do you know even the littlest things you do can affect people?  The way you sing, the way you carry yourself, the way you talk to people or interact with them non verbally?  That those little things can make a difference you’ll never see?

A dear friend of mine said something this weekend that has stuck with me. “I haven’t changed the world.  I haven’t cured cancer or won a Nobel prize.  But I have thrown a pebble into the ocean and I’ve made ripples.”

I cannot wait to get to Heaven and get a God’s eye view of how far those ripples went and who they touched.

There was a point in my life not too long ago when I was scared to die.  Deathly afraid, pun intended, to leave behind everyone I knew and go to a place that I knew so little about.

The more I build these incredible friendships and communities, the more I can’t wait to get to Heaven. Friends who I haven’t seen forever? Going to see them for eternity.  People who I run into while I’m rushing around my busy schedule and can’t sit down with them to have a heart-to-heart? Going to be there forever.

The saints who I have prayed to since I could pray?  Going to meet them face to face.  It’s like a pen-pal who you know through their writings but don’t know them face to face and suddenly you get to meet them.  Saint Maria Goretti?  Be right back, fangirling.  Getting to hug Saint Cecilia? Induce heart melting.

Guys, it’s going to be beautiful.

Seven Quick Takes Friday

1.
Mystery of the Universe #1: Why is it that guys’ cologne can smell good for hours on end, but I put on perfume and literally it’s gone after three seconds.
2.
This article about what things to consider before marriage is phenomenal – I love the references back to the Hebrew words concerning love.
 
3.
My baptism anniversary was Tuesday and Mom and Dad gave me a great book.  “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp.  Her writing is so beautiful, it’s like reading a poem.  The message of the books is just as beautiful.  So far I’m on chapter three and I’ve already cried and laughed.  Very much worth the read.
 
4. 
Summer is winding down, just in time for school to start.
The countdown begins today – I have 18 days before I start the
last semester of sophomore year. 
Guys, I’m almost halfway done with my undergrad.
Cue the confetti drop and wheel out the eighteen foot banana split.
 
5.
Next week I’m headed out of town to help on a
Teens Encounter Christ weekend.  It’s my fourth
time with this retreat, and I actually have been asked
to give a talk on the Trinity.  I’ll post the talk after
that weekend.  Prayers that I don’t fall all
over myself and completely mess up 🙂
 
6. 
I’ve also been reading Dannah Gresh’s book
Get Lost. Wow, this is a book that has every message
that I’ve needed to hear.  Favorite quote so far:
“I’m certain that a part of you desperately wants to get lost in God’s love. 
At least some small piece of us always seems to be aware that we are wired
to seek God’s heart and let Him touch our own.  But it’s so difficult. 
After all, the love of a guy is so stinkin’ tangible.  You can see a guy.
Smell a guy.  Touch a guy.  Text a guy. Get gifts from a guy.
And they are everywhere! There are more than 139 million men
in the Untied States alone.  No wonder we get distracted from seeking God’s love!”
Needless to say, this book gets my recommendation.
 
7.
If you have extra time this weekend,
this website has podcasts from Father Mike Schmitz.
He works at the Newman Center for University of Minnesota Duluth.
You may have heard him on one of the Lighthouse CDs
in the kiosks in the back of your church. 
Phenomenal, solid Catholic talks – check them out.
 
God bless and have a great weekend!
Chloe M.