Grieving Pieces

Last month I shared the loss of my friend Carol who passed away after battling cancer, the death of her husband and her zest for life. I think the latter is what is the most sad. We’ve had another loss in our family; the kids’ mom, my husband’s first wife. She also was tired of the pain and being a burden on her kids (a mother is never a burden).

Grieving is so difficult no matter what stage you are in. My mother died in 1978, she was 53 years old and I was 14. It’s been 43 years since I’ve seen her. The hope that she is with Jesus soothes my broken heart.

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Matthew 5:12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! for a tremendous reward awaits you up in heaven.

1 Peter 1:4 And God has reserved for his children the priceless gift of eternal life; it is kept in heaven for you…

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Yesterday, an acquaintance shared the story of an 103 year old woman who; in excellent health asked in her daily prayer: “Jesus, did you forget about me?” She was heaven-bound a few months later. Jesus never forgets us, but it’s all in His time, not ours.

May you be blessed while grieving, may your heart heal with the balm of God’s love. Peace.

Growth Pieces

As we walk in faith, growth builds our spiritual character.

I remember as a young child, attending Sunday school, how fun it was singing “Jesus Loves Me,” and learning about Noah. Or making macaroni necklaces at camp. As I was confirmed into my Lutheran church, there was a lot of scripture memorization and being able to ask the Pastor serious life questions. I doubt any of us did, maybe out of embarrassment or just the times (1975). For most of us in our confirmation class, it was a rite of passage. An obligation. I don’t recall it changing my life in any way. Three years later my mother died. This shock to my system, faith, and reality began a 25 year journey of anger towards God. I occasionally attended church, but my heart wasn’t in it. Any religion or spirituality became non-existent.

God never gave up on me. He met me where I was. God’s grace saved me.

I’ve had a lot of stops and starts on this journey. But each day I know who I am (a child of God), I know that my steps are blessedly marked and that I have an eternal home.

Keep growing, changing, believing, seeing, letting go, forgiving (yourself), and trust in the will of God, He will never leave you alone. And remember, He is a life changer, second chance bringer and breaker of chains.

May you be blessed this week!

Pieces of Discontent

We don’t one day, just decide we aren’t happy/satisfied/content with our life. It usually is a slow process of disappointment, sadness, guilt, or a myriad of emotions. But the thing we have to remember (beat my head against the wall), is that our God doesn’t want us living by emotions. He wants us to trust Him 150% for every single in our life. He desires that we are content, free of worthlessness, and substantially filled with His grace.

When hard times come, and they will; and they have, it is then we must lean heavy on our faith, the strength of Christ, the commitment to walking blindly (this is grace). And oftentimes, these stumbling blocks are to draw us closer to Him. He only ever wants to be in our lives; it is us; the stubborn human beings who say “I can do it, God,” or “I can’t wait for your timing, I need to get this resolved now.” (And watch, that never ends well)!

And the biggest misquoted statement of our generation: “Tough times never last, but tough people do.” What a lie the enemy has served up. Only the strong survive? If that were true we wouldn’t have a need for Christ in our life. He is the mighty strength in our life; count on that during every moment in your life. May you be blessed by His love and spirit.

Lent Pieces

Lent is an incredibly powerful time of year. We read daily scripture or stories leading up to the arrest, judgment, crucifixion, resurrection, 40 days Jesus lived on earth and the final ascension. It’s important as believers that we know WHY we are saved, the sacrifice that was made for our freedom from sin, forgiveness and the promise of an eternal home.

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The road to the cross was heartbreaking for all who had walked with and followed Jesus’ ministry. From his family and disciples, to those who had been miraculously healed, shared in a meal of fish and loaves that fed 5,000 people, water turned into wine.

Jesus was loved and held. His mother wept and grieved. Some denied His existence. Others ran from guilt. And in the end, He took the nails for us. By His stripes we are healed. He arose from the dead. He walked for 40 days in human form. And then, in a cloud of glory Jesus returned to Heaven to sit at the throne with His Heavenly Father.

What greater love has ever sacrificed?

Empty Tomb

Pieces of Sunday

Some churches have opened with specific rules, smaller groups, masks.  I have still not felt comfortable to make this journey.  Instead my Sundays looks a lot different.  I do not “honor the Sabbath,” I do chores and grocery shop and pull some weeds in the garden.  I intentionally find time in the Word, with Mother Mary, Jesus in podcasts and prayer.  I cling to my rosary beads with a new passion.  As a new-two year Catholic, I find the pandemic to be incredibly hard, relating to my faith.  I miss the social groups, in-person bible study (not a fan of Zoom/video chats), working in the physical church, praying Adoration on Tuesday, checking out books in the library.  It’s a new normal.  I am not adapting well!

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There will always be prayer that needs to be done, and that can be accomplished anywhere.  I am hopeful for the future, that our entire world can heal from this virus and can find the space and comfort in which to worship.  Me included.

1 Corinthians 14:26
What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.

Pieces of Emptiness

My trip to Scotland and Ireland was wonderful, but it’s always good to be home.  Summer is winding down fast here in Western Wisconsin, our maple tree is half orange and dropping leaves, right on schedule; usually the third week in September the trees start to change color.

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In this post I want to write about the emptiness we all feel at various times in our life.  For me, it generally stems from a loss or is a season of grieving.  My mother died when I had just turned 14, it was already a tumultuous time; with hormones raging, a new school to attend and the fact that my home life was changing drastically.

Here I am, 40+ years later and I still deeply miss my mother.  It may very well be the definitive change of seasons, the earth is getting ready for her greatest time; hibernation with renewal fast on her heels.

I tend to go deeper into my faith during these times, I wonder if you do too; or do you crawl deeper into your bed, a warm comforter or dog to soothe your heart?

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Psalm 10:14
But you do see; you take note of misery and sorrow; you take the matter in hand. To you the helpless can entrust their cause; you are the defender of orphans.

 

 

Pieces of the World

I’ve traveled to Germany, Amsterdam, Canada, Mexico and a few Caribbean islands.  I was born and raised in the United States and at 54 this might seem like a small list.  I am not a world traveler by any means, but I am……becoming one!  We leave in a few days for Ireland and Scotland.

Many well-wishers/have traveled these places suggest visiting the many cathedrals and small churches along the way.  I am looking forward to this because I want to see how other people worship. Catholicism was brought to Ireland in the 5th Century by missionaries, one of the most famous being Saint Patrick.

I am traveling with an incredibly open heart.  I want to see Jesus in a new way; in the centuries-old buildings, the faces of the faithful.

What unusual places have you discovered Jesus?  Would love to read your comments!

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St Brigid of Kildare

Complicated Pieces

Do you have someone in your life; with whom it feels very complicated?  Perhaps a son-in-law, manager, neighbor?  It’s hard isn’t it, to be mindful of gentleness when around these people?  I like to think that it’s a reflection on our own self, how we treat this person.  If we are begrudging, then that is a character flaw, it is also NOT the way Jesus expects us to live.

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Turning the other cheek or being extra nice (fake) is an ineffective path to choose, because Jesus wants us to be like Him.  Compassionate, forgiving, peaceful and kind.  It’s a test of our faith isn’t it, to love someone that is similar to a sour lemon!

Ephesians 4:32 [And] be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.

Leviticus 19:18
Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your own people. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.
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Pieces, scraps of paper

The original book (which this blog is based on), “The Pieces” is from journals, scraps of paper, various writing I have done inspired by my faith and what God has taught me. Here are a few unpublished revelations.

“The Pieces,” my story, Your words. Inspiration  & truth.   Let’s save the world with You!

There was a time during my chemo journey that I anticipated only three treatments.  I was very disappointed to learn there would be a total of six.  God reminded me that He is the great Protector and Healer, that I am never alone.  (I felt very lonely during this time). 

The tumor, surgery, recovery, chemotherapy, healing from incisions, chemo brain, infections, neuropathy, the list goes on, I thought I would possibly die from one of these.  But here I am; still.  My Savior never left, encouraging me with the words of kind people, doctors, cards & visits.

Jesus, thank you for being present.  Forgive my anger and frustration  The enemy is hard at work, trying to get me back.  But he doesn’t know how coated in the armor of God I am, that my soul is filled with light, joy and grace.  Genesis 3:1-8 I too, hid from God while the pieces of evil were coming together.  It is not MY battle to win, it is Yours.  You are already there.  I know this lesson, but have chosen not to see.  Choosing to skip church or several mornings of devotions, gives the devil an inch.  Keep me close Lord, remind me what being lax does to the human spirit.

I am covered by the Armor of God:

  1. Belt of truth
  2. Helmet of salvation
  3. Towering shield of faith
  4. Mighty sword of the spirit
  5. The breastplate of righteousness

I feel peace in my spirit.  Each day is a gift.  So much came from cancer, the times I felt lonely, Jesus drew closer. 

 

 

Pieces of Communion

The Catholic church honors communion as a very sacred act.  It is Jesus you are meeting.

The bread; his body and the wine;  his blood.  It is experiencing Jesus in the highest form.  He is inviting you to encounter Him.  Wow!!!  Powerful!!!

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While the Catholic faith refers to communion as the Eucharist, it is shared by the faiths of many.  Coming forward to receive Jesus in His most Holy form.

As a confirmed Lutheran, former Unitarian Universalist and Episcopalian, I see the breaking of bread as a communal custom, not always religious, but to share together as community.

As a very new Catholic convert, I am deeply blessed by the Eucharist.  I have never felt as close to the human person, called Jesus, that walked the earth for 33 years as I have when holding out  my hands and receiving the wafer.

Have your experiences with communion changed during the years of your life?  Do you find it more or less inspiring?  Have you been moved by the experiences of this closeness?  Has the experience become extraordinary?  I encourage you to comment on this post, I’d be interested to read your thoughts.

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