Intimacy with the Father

    Can I be real with y’all? I mean I’m always real with y’all, but I just want to show you something raw. I love writing these blogs, don’t get me wrong. But sometimes I just have so much on my heart and it starts to burn, or I try to touch on a subject that unexpectedly opens a wound I did not know I had and I’ll sit in prayer for hours over the course of weeks thinking of how to put into words what the Lord is putting on my heart, only to have a blank paper or something written up that I decide to never publish. It’s a humbling reminder of the intimate relationship I am called to have with the Father. He makes it so clear to my heart that He loves me, and the things He gives me in prayer are for me. My heart is like a little garden that He tends, and I love to trim a few roses for y’all, but the entire garden is not mine to give. Now, sometimes I am able to share parts of my prayer with y’all which is great, and other times not. It’s not that these things are too sensitive or private, but rather I have realized that the Father sometimes leaves me clueless as to what I should write because He knows that my human heart is fragile. If I gave everything between Him and me away that wouldn’t be love. That would be use. That would be like an unchaste love, where everything given is shared for pleasure. I don’t write blogs for pleasure, nor does the Father speak to me just so I can write blogs for His pleasure. 

    I can’t imagine the overwhelming identity crisis I would have if the Father did not constantly remind my heart of this truth. If I were to root my identity in walking across America, writing blogs, or writing books, even if it was all for Him, my heart would be so empty and broken. My garden would be a bare patch of dirt. I would be incapable of coming to the Father when I need His mercy, and I would not be able to look at my past self and find her worthy of the Father’s love. I say this, yet sometimes I really struggle with it. I struggle to see how the Father loves me as I am, and I think we all do and will continue to. That’s why I know I’m just as desperate and broken as the worst sinner. I need God. All the time, good moments and bad, I need Him. I need His love and to be constantly reminded that His love is for me. He does not love me for your sake, He loves me for my own sake. And the same goes for you. But our hearts struggle with a love that pure; our hearts just can’t comprehend the depth and magnitude of a love so great.

    Thankfully we don’t have to explain it, we just have to receive it. We need only to be still and let God be God. Like the thief crucified next to Christ who recognized Him as the Messiah, we need to let Jesus gaze upon our face. We need to give Him permission to remember who we are. So often we want the bad parts of us to be forgotten, or certain parts of us to disappear, but God desires our entirety, because He loves us. He really truly loves us and that sounds so cliché, but the reality is we forget that. And when we forget that, we forget who we are. It’s just like the scene in The Lion King, where Mufassa appears to Simba and says, “My son, you have forgotten me.” And Simba denies it, but Mufassa says, “You have forgotten who you are and so have forgotten me.” Because Simba has forgotten his sonship, he has left behind his inheritance. And why did he do all that? Because he feels that the wrong he has done deemed him no longer worthy to be king, no longer worthy to be loved. 

    We have this same wound. We can do all the good we want, live life like we have no worries, but the Father knows. The Father notices that you’ve withdrawn yourself. Now it’s time we let love draw us home. Sorry, Nala is not gonna come for you this time, but a love much more deep and pure. Sometimes a fear of not being able to explain ourselves or have an excuse holds us back from that and that’s why I want to close with one story to paint a better image.

Before I even started writing this blog Jesus asked me what moment in your life painted a clear picture of who a good father is? And I quickly knew that exact moment. I was probably about 4 years old. My Dad was kicked back in his recliner, and I laid pressed against his chest. I was in a funk, couldn’t tell you why. I wasn’t sleeping, but I might as well could have been. I didn’t join my dad in watching TV, I just laid there. I remember feeling safe in his arms. I remember over the course of an hour laying there as the neighbor boy came and knocked three different times asking if I would come out and play. I refused and my dad would gently tell him “Maybe later Dallas, Mikayla just doesn’t want to play right now. I did not have a rhyme or reason to just lay there, I just knew I was upset, but being held is all that I remember and that it felt good. My dad held me not because I deserved it, but because he loved me. He didn’t ask me a million questions or complain that his arm was going numb or that he was getting hot. No, he just held me and loved me just as I was. He vouched for me to the neighbor boy so that I didn’t have to explain the hurt I didn’t have words for. The fact that I can’t even remember why I was in such a funk tells me that most of the reason I continued to sit there with my dad is because I just wanted to be loved; to just be still and receive a love so pure and innocent. It’s a scene I often return to in prayer because it’s a moment of my life that spoke so much truth into my heart. My hope is that you have a similar moment that you can pray with, a moment where you felt loved and protected. Because it’s moments like these that remind us who we are. We are sons and daughters of the one true King, and we are loved more than we could ever know.

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Link above will take you to my book

Inside Out

In the midst of any society whose idols are pleasure, comfort, and independence, there lies a great danger. A danger in the fact that people start to close their hearts and become selfish. In a society like this, people are incapable of authentic joy because they become incapable of having any kind of relationship.

God made us for relationship. A relationship with Him and others. His greatest commandment is to love Him with all your heart, mind and soul. And His second commands is to love one another as He has loved us. This becomes difficult in a society that is hyper fixated on pleasure, comfort, and independence. A society like this is comparable to a game of Hungry Hungry Hippo. People grasp and grasp at what they think will satisfy them. But their stomach for pleasure is like a bottomless pit. They pride themselves in taking their fill and not having to rely on others. They console themselves with the comforts of this world. The numbers of views, likes, swipes and follows tells them they’ll never be alone, but in reality they’ve never been so lonely. 

Instead of crying out, they lather themselves in pleasure. Smothering every square inch of their body and soul. They lather themselves in layers so thick that they can’t feel how naked they are. 

How does one set himself apart from this? Where can one find freedom from the idols they serve? 

They must encounter the one true King. And one must continue to encounter Him again and again. One must clear their table of all idols and come to the feast. They must come to the supper of the lamb.

For alas they can have their fill in one bite. For the bread that He breaks is true food and His wine true drink. For this is His flesh and blood, His body and soul, which He has given up for you, an undeserving recipient. He lays down His life for you to show you the true authentic love you were made for. He turns you from your inwardness by entering into you. He unfolds the coils of your heart. He enters into the darkest places and illuminates our hearts with an abundance of radiant blessings. He takes all that has been turned inward outward. He teaches the selfish how to be selfless. With Him, all that is done can be undone. For the King of all Kings is making all things new. 

Ugh Why Did I Do That?

PC: Hannah Ousley

This Friday my students and I got to talking, and at one point I said something about how I like working with high school kids and how I really liked working at this school. Instantly the entire class was repulsed. “Why us?” 

“Wouldn’t you rather work with little kids?”

“You have a biology degree, and you use it to be with us?”

I replied “Yes I genuinely love you guys, and I like being your teacher”

Another kid replies “But we ain’t good kids”

Others added on saying “Yeah we fight, we don’t do our work, and we ain’t smart”

Then I told them that I saw their goodness, and yeah you all are not perfect, but that does not change the fact that I still want what’s best for you and for you to succeed. 

As I reflected on this it was another one of those moments where my students have taught me about the immense love of the Father. I look at these students, some who refuse to do their work, and the rest  have to fight tooth and nail to convince them to do their assignment. Yet I love them. I love them a lot. I find myself tearing up over the things that they have going on in their lives, excited to see them again, and sad to have to leave them at the end of the semester. Even the ones who have basically told me to screw off, I still find myself fighting for their good.

Does Christ  not do the same for me? No matter how bad I am, He looks at me and sees what is good. Even when I hurt him and betray him, He still wants me. He still loves me. Yet just like those kids I find myself saying, but why me? Especially in those moments where I let pride tell me I’m past falling into the same sins. I find myself believing the lies of a toxic conversion culture that says “You found Jesus, you’re a leader, you’re not allowed to make those mistakes anymore”

And I know I’m not the only one who falls for this. I’m not the only one who struggles to be patient with myself. I’m not the only one striving, but expecting perfection. I’m not the only one who battles in their head with the thoughts of well if I just did this or wasn’t so this then I wouldn’t do that. The problem with this mindset is it focuses on you being the solution and not Christ. It builds up this toxic attitude that I have to carry my cross on my own, I have to do everything on my own. Jesus is to busy, or would be too burdened to hear that I have fallen again. 

This my friends is the voice of pride. The voice that sounds like it’s building you up, when really it’s tearing you down. And it leaves you feeling stupid and inadequate. Like you’re not enough, that you are not worth loving. Yet somehow it let’s us believe that we are so close to Christ, so close that we would literally follow him unto death. When in reality it pushes us away from Christ. Our pride prevents us from even giving Him even a fragment of our cross. He can hold and cherish every other part of us, but not our cross.

It reminds me of St. Peter. He loved Jesus, and Jesus loved Him. Peter was given the keys to heaven, and he is considered the first pope. He lead men back to Christ, and now he is a Saint in heaven where his love is united to our Lord’s forever. Yet let me remind you that Peter biggest fall happened after his conversion. After he left his livelihood behind, after he saw Christ transfigured before him, and over and over said “Truly you are the Messiah.” The fall happened after, and not once, but three times. And Jesus even knew He was going to do it. He told Peter that before the cock crows you will deny me three times. Imagine Jesus looking at you right now, and saying hey I know you love me, but you will deny me three times. Not just once, but three times. In your heart you think no I won’t. I’m strong and I love you. But yet just like Peter who stood there warming himself over the fire while Christ took a beating, we deny him. We jump into these small pools of self pleasure and we deny Him. As wrong as it is to deny Christ, it’s worse to continue to deny Him by not accepting his love and mercy. When Peter denied Jesus, Jesus continued His journey to calvary. He didn’t quit because one of His best friends denied Him. No he fought for him and died for him, along with each and everyone of us. Why?

Because even though, we think we are bad, and don’t do the work we should. He still loves us and that will never change. Forgive yourself and turn to Him with arms open wide.

(If this is something you really struggle with I strongly recommend mediating on John 21:7-25) 

Outweighed

Fun fact about me is I never weigh myself. Yes I get weighed at the doctors office, but it’s in kg and I just don’t pay attention to what it says anyways. Why am I telling you this? Because you my friend are more than just numbers on a scale. I quit weighing myself because I got tired of feeling confident only to be insulted by the numbers. I did the same thing with pant sizes, I stopped comparing myself to the sizes I could fit into in high school, and chose to embrace the pants that fit. Or when I’m running for fun I stopped measuring the distance and time. I did this because I wanted to be free of depending upon a number to be happy.

Now maybe the size of your jeans has never mattered to you, nor the numbers on the scale, or how fast you could run but I’m sure there’s a number you are obsessed with. There’s some number that you are constantly measuring and comparing yourself to. Maybe it’s the money in your bank account, the amount of likes she got on her post, the followers, the views, the overwhelming odds, the grades. Or maybe it’s a number you didn’t even notice you were tracking, a number that is not exact, but you can make a rough estimate. Like the number of times you’ve been hurt by someone, how many times you’ve fallen into the same sin, or the number of times you’ve been left behind. There  is a number in your life that you let speak a little too loudly. A number that you have let identify you. A number that you let label you as unlovable, stupid, fat, ugly, unwanted, annoying. 

My friends you were made for so much more than that. You were made in the image of likeness of God. And you can not put a number on a creation that is made in the image of likeness of God. You can’t put a number on a soul that the Lord Himself died for. So I want you to take that number to prayer. And say in the name of Jesus this number does not define me. This number is no longer going to weigh me down, wager in on my decisions, and get in the way of being the Saint  I am called to be. Because there’s is no number out there that is not outweighed by the love and mercy of God.

Whether it’s the number on the scale or the number of times you’ve made the same mistake, turn away and look to Him. Sinning repeatedly or stuffing your face with doughnuts are not good, but we do not need to let that number prevent us from fully trusting in Christ and receiving what He has in store. His heart aches at just the thought of his beloved children refusing to run towards Heaven because they have let a number label them.

He says “Don’t you trust me? You were made for so much more than this. Did you really think I wouldn’t notice you slip out the back? You are more than just a number to me”

Are you going to let a number stop you from being numbered among the Saints in Heaven. The Lord has promised you joy not only in the next life, but also in this life, even amongst the suffering and pain.Joy is to be found, and there’s no time like the present to seek it. Let go of the numbers and let yourself be outweighed by His overabundant love and mercy. Because you my friend are worth it.

P.S. Thanks for reading first off. Secondly sorry it’s kind of brief, but I have some bolder blogs in the making plus a book. So cats out of the bag I am working on book number two! Any guesses as to what it’s about?

If you haven’t checked out my first book check out the link below

What about rape?

Photo by Hassan OUAJBIR on Pexels.com

Rape is such a taboo subject unless it comes to arguing about abortion. Rape is an intrinsic evil that is not justifiable in any case. It is an invasive act of violence that leaves lasting scars. Most victims never come forward about it, even in an era that seems to empower both male and female victims to come forward. 

Now in cases where a child is conceived, many women seek an abortion. I still believe that in any circumstance abortion is wrong, but I understand why women in that situation would choose that option. It rids her of ever having to face talking about that moment she was raped, that moment she reasonably would love to be able to forget. It allows her to escape the risk of having to be shamed, not listened to, or not believed. That to me does not sound like women empowerment. That sounds to me like she is hurt. And to take a woman who has been through a traumatic act of violence, and then make her go through another one does not seem helpful to me at all. I believe that abortion in cases of rape puts the focus on the unborn child rather than the mother. It makes pregnancy the only problem in this situation, it blankets over the wounds of the woman who wished she did not have to go through either of these situations. 

If our society truly loved women, then any victim would be confident that she could walk into a hospital and get the actual help she needed. By confident, I do not mean happy and acting like she is okay. By confident, I mean that she knows she will get help, just like someone with a broken leg is confident they are in the right place when they enter a healthcare facility. We can not take away their pain, but proper ethical care standards can give them confidence and hope. 

Now what does that look like? Contrary to what oppositionist would have you believe, the Catholic church states that any victim of rape has the right to defend her body from conception. She has the right to take medication to prevent ovulation or to sperm capacitation, or fertilization. However the church does not allow for the destruction or interference of an already fertilized ovum. Note this is only allowed in instances of sexual assault/rape. 

The focus of the patient’s care cannot be preventing pregnancy. Any healthcare professional would say to start with the most crucial wounds, but few think of the mental wounds. Remarkably in accord with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (no. 36), “the care for the rape victim has four aspects: First, she must receive spiritual and psychological support and counseling to help her deal with the trauma of the attack. Such support and counseling will probably continue for some time after the immediate period.” Notice how the first thing is to embrace and care for the woman and her well being. That, to me, sounds a lot more empowering. Yet many health care facilities and abortion clinics immediately want to focus on giving you a morning-after pill and sending you on your way. Good medical help will also work with local authority to collect evidence in order to prosecute the rapist. This is phase three in treating a rape victim according to Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (no. 36). (to read the phases in more detail, follow this link: https://www.catholiceducation.org/en/culture/catholic-contributions/ethical-treatment-after-rape.html). Abortion facilities don’t provide that, nor can they considering that you have to be pretty far past conception to be getting an abortion. The evidence needed is gone.

If we want a society to stand up for victims of rape, then we need to get rid of the blanket of abortion. Weeds don’t go away unless we pull them up by their roots. Abortion is not the problem here, rape is. It’s not her fault. But when the treatment focuses solely on tampering with the nature of her body, it certainly makes it seem like it is. The focus should be on her mental trauma and healing, along with helping her defend her body before conception occurs. It should be that easy to get help, but when we have people who say, “well then everyone is just going to claim they were raped” we put barriers in the way of these victims. When every woman starts to cry rape, we can talk about it. Right now, that does not seem to be the case. Right now, we need to focus on empowering these women instead of letting the privileged get away with it. Until we start listening to women instead of telling them to man up, women will never walk in with the confidence that their story is believable. Enough is enough.

Rape is wrong. And until our society is dedicated to persecuting these criminals no matter who they are and how much money they have, women don’t stand a chance. Our society offers abortion as a way out, keeping the voices of so many victims silent. We care too much about not ruining one’s reputation, and way too little about ruining someone’s life. Abortion, pornagraphy, sex trafficking, “sex sells”, and everything hypersexual about our culture blankets rape. “Well she asked for it wearing that,” “Well she is a sex worker,” “If it was rape why did she not get help before seeking abortion” and all those other statements are what victims are having to hear, and they shouldn’t have to. It does not matter who she is or what she was wearing, it’s still rape. But if we keep buying into the porn then will never unveil the truth. When we live in a society where it is easier to convict someone of murder than rape, there an issue. Especially when dealing with rape we have a living victim who can tell us in most cases exactly who it was. Pro-woman means believing her cry. It means no more porn because she is not an object. She is not an it. Her reproductive parts are not the problem, they are a gift. Child molesters, pimps, those who blackmail women for sex, porn addicts, and anyone who feeds into the sex sells agenda- they are the problem!! Her body – her choice, right? But when your job, money, and livelihood are on the line, that doesn’t seem like a choice to me. That still sounds to me just like rape. So please tell me again how you care so much about rape victims? Women who have already been through enough trauma, how is abortion their best option? Seems to me they never had a choice. She did not want to be raped, she did not want to conceive. So please tell me what her choices were? Please tell me how you have fought for women’s rights? A woman should never have to submit her body to get a promotion, pay the bills, that’s coercion. If you want equal pay, stop investing in sex, and start investing in her. Because she is worth a whole lot more than pleasure. She is a human with dignity. She is the epiphany of creation and should be treated as such. People can put words in my mouth all they want, but I will not stop fighting for the dignity of all lives. Born and unborn. Male and female.