Perfection Pedestal

Inspiration has finally returned to write. Type.

I learned a major lesson during 2017. It was hard to see and a little shocking. I learned that I had been obsessed with perfection. I was going to be the person who made the perfect decisions, live life perfectly (even if only to the outside world that others saw), pray right, be wise, be a know-it-all at work, rise to the top and be all-around perfect.

Then I failed. Or at least, I thought I failed. In my opinion, I failed big in multiple ways. I couldn’t carry all of the weight of things at work, I couldn’t pray my way to a cured mental state, I couldn’t have the perfect relationship.

There, at this pivotal moment, is where the light bulb jolted on over my head and heart. The “perfection pedestal” that I just fallen off of…was of my own creation. God had not had these lofty expectations of perfection for me and outside of that, who else’s expectations could matter? Were other people surprised by my need for help at work? Sure. Were other people shocked when I shared that I’d be starting anxiety medication? Absolutely. Were some people taken back by my new relationship with a divorced/non-Catholic/Jamaican? Ya man. Even I was shocked by all of the ways in which life fell together in surprising ways in the last year.

Through all of it, it came back to the tried and true lesson that it always comes down to. God asking that simple question, time and time again, “Daughter, do you trust me?”

If I’m being honest, my answer in 2017 had twisted to “no, I trust myself to get it all right for you”. And I heard him loud and clear, “I do not expect perfection, I simply ask that you trust me. Trust where I have you on the path right now, trust where it will lead you in the future.” Maybe life is really just continuing to learn this same lesson of trust, over and over, deeper and deeper, until we trust enough to let go and fall into His arms when we enter Heaven. I won’t dare say that I have perfect trust in Him now that 2017 is over, but I  hope I can keep myself off the pedestal and in the land of reality. A reality which is much on the ground where He has planted me.

Medication, my relationship, and my new co-worker have been live savers in so many ways and if I never got my butt off that “perfection pedestal”, I could have missed out on living a much fuller life.


It is no mistake.

Some use the word coincidence or happenstance. Some use the word God-incidence. Some use the phrase ‘you can’t make this stuff up’. All different ways to explain or describe seemingly random moments that occur in our daily lives.

Over and over, I’ve been hearing God whisper in my ear, “it is no mistake”. When I tell you I am 0% surprised by this way of phrasing it, I truly mean it. They are the very words I read 14 years ago as part of a prophecy received by a woman who would become known as a founding sister of my college household. In that context, the line goes “…it is no mistake that you are together…”. Recently, there was a need among our sisters and women who have not seen each other in over 10 years jumped into action. I was reminded immediately that God told the women forming this group that it was no mistake they were together. It was no mistake in 1992, it was no mistake in 2003 when I joined, and it was no mistake in 2017 that we were still “together” in some way.

Almost daily, since that recent event with my household sisters, I’ve had some type of encounter or experience in which I have that realization: it is no mistake. One moment in particular, was the day I randomly got a Facebook message from a friend inviting me to a concert at the last minute. I had no plans, so I agreed to meet her. In the car prior to the concert, I was writing in my journal. I wrote to God how I wanted to do more with my life, more than just donate money to good causes. I wanted to connect. While plans for a mission to Haiti were already in the works, that would be a short week of my time and then back to normal life. In the middle of the concert, there was the all too familiar “talk” and “video” explaining why you need to give to one charity or another that is now the mainstay of most Christian shows.

A man came out to talk about child sponsorship. He spoke about working with this organization and seeing first hand the work they do. I always stayed away from organizations that I hadn’t researched myself, but wasn’t this what I just asked God for not even an hour before? A way to connect that was lasting? A way to give that was more than a donation every month? I could communicate with a sponsored child and their family, I could share my resources and possibly even go on a mission and meet that family. I could change that child’s life…I could change my life. It was no mistake. I cried at the thought of my prayer being answered so rapidly. I smiled as I scribbled down my information on a little card and read the sweet little bit of information of this beautiful little boy. It is no mistake that I attended that concert. It is no mistake that I was handed that card with Ando’s picture on it. It is no mistake that my heart was open. It is no mistake that he and I are together on this journey. God does not make mistakes. He hears the cry of his people.

Choosing to see things in this way has helped me to see everything through God’s hands. Even when looking to the future, of things unknown, I can rest in the idea that even though things may not go perfectly or be as I expected them to be, I will likely still hear the sweet, soft whisper…it is no mistake.


A river of Mercy?

This past Friday evening, through the prompting of the Holy Spirit, I ended up attending a We Are Messengers concert in Fairfield with my ACTS retreat sister Emily. While I waited in the car for her to arrive, I realized I had no idea who this band was. I opened up my Apple Music app and looked them up. It turned out I knew a couple of their songs. Interestingly enough, the most transforming moment for me out of the entire night, was a song I heard for the first time.

I had gotten into a comfortable position as they started to play this song, barefoot, feet up, arms hugging my knees. In seconds, I felt like I was surrounded by my closest friends, singing my all time favorite song, that had always had a deep meaning to my heart. It was quite strange to think that way because I had not ever heard this song before. The song is called The River.

All the while, I knew there was something about this song, but I couldn’t identify just what. The more I thought about and sung along to it all weekend long, it came to me. An image of the cross, cracked in the center, and blood and water flowing down, into a river. A river of both blood and water. Very similar to the image of Divine Mercy. The chorus of the song then made even more sense than before:

I belong, yeah, I belong, yeah, I belong to the river

While journaling before Palm Sunday Mass yesterday, my mind couldn’t stop thinking about this river image. I felt like sharing the important points from my reflection, so here they are:

  • The river is both water and blood, this is important as they each have their own role:
    • Blood: to redeem and save
    • Water: to wash clean and heal.
  • We belong in that river, to remain in that river. In essence, we belong in God’s mercy.
  • If we stray from the river, we will loose connection to His mercy.
  • If we want to move away or venture off, we must dig deep and prepare to not be cut off from His mercy wherever we might go.

I recommend you listen to this song, especially as we prepare to enter into the season of Easter. The season of redemption and mercy is upon us, let us prepare to rejoice and be glad in it.


Not my home

A month ago, I had the chance to return to Franciscan University. Those of you who went there might be jealous of a trip that would include a Festival of Praise, Lord’s Day with your household, and reuniting with sisters you hadn’t seen in 6-12 years.

As much as I loved the people and praise parts of the trip, I once again faced the extreme discomfort that once caused me to only spend one brief year on that campus. I never fully understood why I hated being on that campus, that ‘city on a hill’ that mostly only atheists could hate. What kept me from peace at such a holy place?

I always thought it was simply that at the time I was there as a student, being a student was not my vocation as others so proudly claimed. That couldn’t truly be the answer though, could it? Not when I felt that same way as a visitor.

As I sat at a young adult holy hour a week after I got home, God blessed me with an answer. “That, too, is not your home.” I am restless there, I am restless here, I am restless, as St. Augustine says, until my heart rests in You, my God.

I don’t mean to sound like I’m some holier than thou person who desires Heaven any more than the next person, but I think being on that campus reminds me that not even a place where so many people are fully participating in our Catholic faith, it is still so far from the full glory that awaits us in our true home. I feel it most strongly there, that gut wrenching distance still left to go to attain Heaven.

Lord, give us the grace to be patient to see you and be fully at rest. Help us to rejoice for those that get to join you, even if we are not ready to be without them. Amen.



I want, I want, I want

Anyone else relate to that mantra? If you are married and have kids, I am sure you hear it thousands of times each day from your children or spouse. As a long time single lady, I hear it most from myself. I hear it from colleagues and other family members too. Though I can’t help but realize how much I spend claiming ‘I want…’ or even ‘I don’t want…’ about who I want to be or don’t want to feel.

Recent events have led me to a healing thought. Most of my ‘wants’ and ‘don’t wants’ seem to revolve around outside influences. Time wasted desiring to be like other people or passing judgement about what I didn’t want to endure.

How had I lost focus on the true source? The Source who inspired my life into existence and wants to grant every desire of my very heart! I had taken my eyes off of Him and was certainly beginning to drown under the weight of the crushing waves.

As I pondered all of this further, I was reminded that if I refocused on the true Source, then my wants could dissipate. The Lord is my Shepard, I shall not want. I need only to be still, keep my eyes on Him, and I have all I could ever need to do exactly what He has called me to do in this life.

No one else can be our source. We can’t be anyone else’s source. We are called to help each other on this journey, but never called to take the place of the one true Source. While I believe we are called to lay down our lives for others, love them sacrificially, what we can do for others will never be able to take the place of a God who sent His only son to die for our salvation. We are made in His image, sure. Adopted children of God, sure. Yet, still, we are not replacements for God.

No matter how strongly we may want to be that source for others, eventually, our wells run dry. God, our true source, has a love and mercy that never runs out. Accepting this is amazingly freeing.


Joy and happiness

Last week, I was driving over to my mom’s house when the song “Dear Younger Me” came on the radio. I often over analyze music in the car and this time was no exception. I began thinking how I try to live in a way where I don’t view my past with any regrets, but if I had a choice, maybe younger me could teach current me a thing or two instead of the other way around.

My younger self was happy all of the time. Giddy, jumping up and down, excited with a zeal for life. How I wish my younger self could tell me how I was so happy all the time. Eventually though, something happened that really upset me and I realized I didn’t want to be happy about it. Everyone around me had come to expect that ‘happy girl’ though, so it was pretty difficult to make them see me not happy. I specifically remember telling myself, “it’s okay not to be happy 100% of the time.” So, I began letting other emotions show. Now, at 32, many more things have happened in my life than I can even list here, but I know that I simply want to be happy all the time again. Why did I ever give that up?

As I thought about all of these things, I found myself understanding this song, “Dear Younger Me” more and more. Regrets or not, lessons learned throughout life sure do make hindsight seem 20/20. While I have learned a lot, and wish I could tell my younger self about things I know now, I don’t think I would tell her to have remained happy all the time. What would I advise that young, strong minded, no longer happy-all-the-time teen? I would tell her the difference between emotions and the lasting experience of a foundation built in Christ.

While I definitely had my heart founded in Christ back then in certain ways, a lot of wisdom is catching up to me in these older years. I would tell her that she was right, it was okay not to be happy all the time. I would also tell her that our emotions, however fleeting, do not define us. Christ gives us the grace of lasting joy, lasting peace, and lasting perfect love. Those things can keep going all the time as long as their source is in God. I can feel sad while I have joy, anger when I have peace, and even annoyed when I have love. It sounds conflicting, but as human beings we will always experience complex emotions, none of which will last forever. God always provides us with a constant flow of His grace though, as long as we keep the door open to Him to be our source.

The Task of Holiness

A week and a half ago, I went to a young adult event. It was my favorite day of the year, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.I wasn’t feeling well and almost didn’t go, but I knew I’d have the chance to get to confession and I was overdue. I sat in the back of the Church and after the talk was over, I went to confession.

Every confession I have at St. Mary’s in New Haven is better than the first. What struck me on this day, was one line delivered after my penance and before absolution:

Remember, the task of your holiness is ultimately the Lord’s.

Wait, what? I thought I needed to strive for holiness, change my life and make myself holy? Although it seems like those are the questions that should have filled my mind, all I could think was, “what a relief!”. Holiness is what God wants of me, sure. He also wants to be in control. I always struggled with the idea that when I fell into sin, failed to overcome temptation, or even forgot to pray that I had somehow failed God. Hearing those words confirmed that I need to let go. I need to let go and allow God the room to set up shop in my heart, to create the holiness I desire.

I got back to my pew and took out my journal and ended up writing this prayer that I have continued to pray every day since:

Holy Spirit, increase within me all that is good and from the Father. Burn all that detracts from His task of holiness in the refining fire of love. Amen.

There are so many opportunities for holiness, so much room in our hearts for greatness. If only we handed over control and allowed our Father in Heaven to work that in our lives, He would make it happen.