In today’s First Reading, the Israelites are complaining to Moses. Again.
Oh, those ungrateful Israelites. Shame on them!
Almighty God sent incredible plagues to thwart the Egyptians and split the Red Sea in two. He provided a way so His chosen people could leave the chains of slavery behind and enter the Promised Land. And still they grumbled and murmured against Him. I can practically hear them whining now: “We’re tiiiiiiired. We’re huuuuungryyyyy. This is awwwwwful. Are we theeeerrrre yet??” [Sounds like a few (or five) kids I know.]
Their lack of faith was not without consequence; the Lord sent deadly serpents to attack them. When they turned back to God and prayed for relief, He provided a way out. Only those who looked upon the bronze saraph mounted on a pole by Moses survived the serpents’ deadly attacks.
Yes. It’s easy for me to shake my head in disbelief at the immature and clueless Israelites. They grew weary and impatient and frustrated and doubted that God was making a way for them not only to survive, but to thrive.
Yet, if I’m honest with myself, am I any better than the grumbliest of grumblers in the desert?
In the silent stillness before dawn, I slowly opened my eyes, reluctant to survey the aftermath of the previous night’s activities. There were empty junk food wrappers strewn about the small room, as well as myriad red cups offering up their remaining contents to the already-stained carpet. The sickly sweet smells of alcohol, incense, and smoke clung to my hoodie and jeans and clouded my memory. As I slowly sat up, I noticed about ten or eleven other teens—male and female—still sleeping in whichever spot they found themselves when they eventually passed out.
As I finally came to, my thoughts came clearly and rapidly: What am I doing here? Is this all there is to life? Is this what my future holds? Who have I become?
(Side note #2: Those of you who read through this post ’til the end will be rewarded. 🙂
There is good news, though, friends. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the impending holiday season, there is always good news. The good news in my world this year is that I don’t have to scramble for something to help me draw closer to the manger as I await the Christ Child this year. I am so very, very excited to dive into Scripture with the incomparable Elizabeth Foss, who wrote Blessed is She’s amazing Advent Journal.
Not only is this journal beautiful to behold, my friends, but its contents … ahhhhhh! The contents I’ve allowed myself to peek at are like a warm cup of cocoa with your snuggie pulled to your chin sitting in your most comfortable chair on a chilly day with no one bothering you. It’s that good, y’all. Better, even. I can.not. wait to start. In fact, I am giving myself a teeeeensy weeeensy longer sneak peek tonight. Not too much. Just a taste. Because I, for one, want to savor and remember and really live the most important part of this season – that Jesus was born for you. And for me.
This Advent, I want to be overwhelmed by a huge God who came as a tiny Babe and Who knows me intimately*.
Will you join me? Today is THE last day to purchase in the U. S. for your journal to arrive in time for Advent.
So … no more anxiety about Advent, okay? Let’s breathe deeply the present of this time of waiting. Let’s journey together and breathe Him in.
*Be overwhelmed by a huge God Who knows you intimately. -Elizabeth Foss
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through this post to purchase the Blessed is She Advent Journal, a small portion of the proceeds go to my friend and fellow writer/speaker Mary Lenaburg. Thank you!
And now, as promised, here’s even more good news for you who’ve made it this far! Any RCM readers (please be sure to subscribe on the sidebar of my home page!) who click through and purchase the BIS Advent Journal through Mary Lenaburg’s affiliate links in this post (see above) between now and tomorrow, November 22nd at 5 p.m. PST will be entered to win their very own pack of original Blessed is She Jesse Tree Calendar cards! I used my own cards as a daily meditation last year with my family each day of Advent. So good!! Comment away, friends! One randomly selected winner will be announced*** on Wednesday, November 23rd.
***UPDATE 11/23/2016: Congratulations to Sofia B.! She won the Blessed is She Jesse Tree cards. Happy Advent one and all!
Happy Thursday, friends! It’s been an especially busy and fruitful season for ye olde Real Catholic Mom. Not necessarily for this here blog, as you may have noticed; this poor thing tends to be relegated to the sidelines whenever Mom’s dance card is full with family, conference, retreat, conference, retreat, and convention. Woof.
As much as I absolutely love traveling and sharing The Good News with other women and experiencing incredible, Holy Spirit-infused Visitation moments (#myjamforlife), there’s something rather precious and sweet about having nothing (okay, well, almostnothing) on my calendar leading into the holidays except for “normal” Wife-of-one-and-Mom-of-five stuff, which, quite honestly, is plenty for any soul, especially a former (ugh! I cannot tell a lie!) current Martha-holic like me with uniquely challenging and beautiful children like ours. I feel like these blessed blanks on my calendar are God’s way of gently guiding me closer to hearth and home, allowing Him to expertly guide this busy ship to shore for a bit of leave.
My challenge: To honor the blanks and not rush to fill them to overflowing like the recovering human doing that I am.
But y’all must know by now that I wouldn’t be who I am if I didn’t share a bit of what’s coming up, and they are good things, friends – very good things. To that end, here are my personal invitations to you and yours:
Please join me LIVE for my very first online workshop with the wonderful Blessed is She ministry next Wednesday. The workshop, calledLiving Abundantly Through Forgiveness and Healing, streams live at 6 p.m. PST // 9 p.m. EST or can be downloaded after the event closes if the live time doesn’t work with your schedule. My prayer is that you’ll leave the session encouraged and strengthened to completely release any nagging bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness behind so you may close out this glorious Year of Mercy with a renewed sense of healing and wholeness.
Speaking of slowing down and digging deep … Advent is coming. I know, I know. But! As with everything, it is an opportunity to draw closer to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. From the Blessed is She website:
You want to dive deeper into the season of Advent, you desire to lay aside the busy-ness this season can become, and you yearn for a deeper relationship with our Lord. Here is your chance. Here is your time to grow closer to Him, to learn more about Him, and to fall more in love with Him. “Together, let’s prepare our hearts and our very lives for the coming of the Baby.” // Elizabeth Foss, author of By the Manger in the Morning Prayer Journal
***Please note: Clicking through to the BIS website via the above image or the hyperlinked title financially benefits, in a small yet meaningful way, my friend and fellow prayer warrior/speaker/writer/uplifter, Mary Lenaburg. Thank you kindly for your generosity!
Finally, dear friends – would you please pray for me? The Holy Spirit has really been working on my heart these past few months, and even more intensely these past few weeks. I want to be able to be still (neither my best nor my most natural posture) to listen to and, more importantly, cooperate, with His leading.
Until next time, please know of my prayers with and for you.
Have you ever thrown yourself headlong into a taskonly to discover that God is obviously asking you to pursue another route?
Consider today’s Scripture readings. The parable of the Good Samaritanis rife with thought-provoking themes, including the most obvious: every person, regardless of station, season, creed, or country is, in fact, our neighbor, and worthy of love and respect.
Surely I could write about that, yet it wasn’t where God was leading.
Recently, I read fascinating commentary that illuminated today’s parable in a whole new way for me:the Good Samaritan is Christ Himself, and the robbers represent us falling into Satan’s grasp.Ultimately,neither the law (the Levite) nor the prophets (the priest) can save us, but only Christ Himself Who takes us to an inn (the Church) to seek healing.
I wanted to write about that, and, more specifically, how, even if we were to diligently study our faith until the moment we draw our last breath, it would be virtually impossible to unearth and savor every drop of its goodness because there is just so. very. much.
But that’s not what God wanted me to ponder today, either.He’s a mysterious One, that Holy Spirit!
As it turns out, God wanted me to write about my tendency to look to others’ approval and acceptance for my sense of self-worth. He wanted me to reflect on St. Paul’s words in today’s First Reading:
“Am I now currying favor with human beings or God?
Or am I seeking to please people?
If I were still trying to please people,
I would not be a slave of Christ.”
So, do I place primacy of importance on pleasing God with my words and actions? Sometmes.
All too often, I still choose to consider what others will think of me or my husband or our family if I or we say or do this or that or the other. I’m telling you – it isn’t easy to be a recovering people-pleaser! Maybe you can relate.
Sometimes I choose the path of least resistance over the path of righteousness. I go with the flow rather than speaking the truth in love. I hold back or carelessly barrel ahead because doing so, at least on the face of it, makes things a bit easier for the time being. But as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI famously said, “We are not called to comfort – we are called to greatness.”
Here’s praying that, with God’s help, we can follow His call with complete surrender, caring quite a bit less about what others think as we’re walking with Him.