My Brother’s Keeper

11 years ago as of the 17th, I would have first held my little brother in my arms for the first time. It was my 3rd sibling I had welcomed into the world, but my first brother, and I was much older so it was very memorable. I remember standing at the end of the hall waiting for them to bring him out of the OR. Finally, my dad came down the hall beaming with joy with the sweetest most precious baby I’d ever laid eyes on. My dad looked at me and said here hold him, and looking down at the tile floor and back at him I was terrified, like no way can you just trust a 10-year-old girl to hold something so fragile. But I held him, and instantly fell in love. Only moments ago he was in my mother’s womb, and now he was lying in my arms and from that day forth I was my brother’s keeper. I realized not only did my earthy father trust me to hold him and protect him, but so did my heavenly father.

But today the scariest thing is not the hard tile floor beneath him, it’s what lies beyond my control. My brother has outgrown my arms, but he has not outgrown my heart, and I still desire the very best for him, but I cannot protect him from this world. It breaks my heart to think he’s now at the average age of when a boy views pornography for the first time. 

Pornography is a sick thing that sucks the life out of so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ. The statistics are scary……

(conquerseries.com)

Our overly sexualized culture is breaking apart families and tearing apart what it means to be human. As Pope John Paul II says, it’s not that porn shows too much, it’s that it shows far too little. This world tells us that our bodies are the only thing we have to offer, but that is so far from the truth. We are to be loved body and soul, and we are so much more than the desires of our flesh. Pornography objectifies human beings, it takes someone made in the image and likeness of God and completely destroys it. Yet we think since it happens behind closed doors that it does not affect us, but that is such a lie. Just look at the standard women have for how they need to dress and act to feel loved, look at how commercials sell everything with sex, and how there’s such negativity wrapped around sex that it’s seen as something scandalous rather than something true, good, and beautiful. I could go on and on about why porn is evil, and how much it destroys our humanity, but I think we know that. I think most of us have seen with our own two eyes the effect porn has on us. But what we need to know is there is hope. We are not called to be slaves to despair, but rather children of God.

First, start praying that we can overcome our shame and our pride, and with humble hearts return to the Father. Let’s stop pretending we don’t see it. Let us be our brother’s keeper, let’s let the whole world know they are not alone. We are forgiven, and we have nothing left to boast, but the cross of our savior. Let us speak about our actions. Ladies, let’s call men higher, call them to the Lord, with our modesty we speak truth about the goodness and sacredness of the body. Temptation will always come knock and it will knock hard. The devil is prowling, but we are NOT alone. Together we will hold on to what we were made for, and strive to give Christ like love every single day. We will frequent the sacrament (especially confession and the Eucharist). We will cling to the rosary, and scourge the devil through our trust in the Blessed Mother’s intercession. No matter how many times we fall and mess up, we will keep on fighting.

“For God did not call us to impurity, but to Holiness”

1 Thessalonians 4:7

Are you going to answer that call?

If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for your sibling, for your future spouse, and for your future children. Do it for Christ who lives in them.

So to all my Brother’s in Christ (in particular my little hero back home),

I’m praying for you always. If you fall I hope you get right back and up and remember whose son you are. You belong to the one true King. And with every lady you see I hope you remember she is a beloved daughter of God, she’s a princess, treat her as such. I hope you remember you are never alone and I hope you remember you can always find Christ in the church, talk to your priest, find an accountability partner. Pray for the porn industry, and for the conversion of souls and remember this…

“”If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea”

Matthew 18:6

Basically Jesus wants to kick the devil’s butt, so don’t get in the way of that or you’ll go down with him. Keep up the good fight and remember God loves you recklessly. There’s a lot of doubt in my heart right now that this is even going to strike a single person’s heart, but I am going to go against that doubt and trust that Jesus has something in store. The devil is probably telling you no to give up and not even bother fighting this fight. I know he’s telling me that right now, but I also know I don’t belong to him I belong to God. And when I think about my brother and when I first held him in my arms, I remember this fight is worth fighting, because I am called to be my brother’s keeper, and so are you. I will not let the purity of my brothers and sisters be handed over to Satan when they were made for a Love so much greater. A love so great that in order to receive it we must completely empty ourselves of our worldly desires, and come to Him with arms wide open. He must increase, I must decrease.

Thank you so much for reading, and God bless!

Also would love your feedback, comments, and questions.

Coming to Know His Voice

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me”

John 10:27

We are not just anyone’s herd, we are His, and He KNOWs us, and we follow Him. Beautiful. It’s kind of ironic to write about knowing the shepherd’s voice when I just came out of the driest prayer in my life and I have to admit I was kind of childish about it. I would sit in Holy hour waiting, just waiting for Him to speak to me, begging for Him to just say something. As I sat there hoping that these few weeks of driness would come to an end I realized what a grace it is to even be able to recognize that the Lord is silent. Reflecting back on high school I remembered how I would go days without praying, I could’ve cared less whether He was speaking to me or not. I had my mind on other things, and unless something was wrong I was not going to speak with Him.  I cannot imagine how badly He wished for me to speak to Him, just to look at Him for one minute. If my weak and small heart aches to hear His voice, how much more does His heartache for us? 

So here’s a little message to all those hearts aching for Christ, and to all those who do not even know what their heart is desiring. Trust this. He has not abandoned you. I repeat He has not abandoned you. He has sent Himself down upon you, through the Holy Spirit, to bring light into your darkness. And He is looking at you. Not your problems, not your success, nor your failures, just you, just as you are. And He knows you far more than you will ever know yourself, far more. And He loves you and He is speaking to you in ways you have not even thought of. It’s important to also remember that every divine part of the Trinity is a being, not just an idea or some dogma. Therefore prayer is always a two-way street, a conversation, and exchange of love. Prayer doesn’t even have to be words, it can be the simple acknowledgment of one another’s presence. Like one of those great friendships where you don’t have to say a word, but you both can put away your thoughts and distractions and just be in their presence.

To pray is to have a relationship with God. Through prayer, we come to know His voice and recognize Him as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Through prayer, we are invited into a deeper intimacy unlike any other, and we come to know ourselves more through the eyes of our creator. A good way to start to recognize how God speaks to us in our everyday lives is to read scripture more. It makes me sad to see so many people just use the Bible to memorize some verses and then slander people with it, or condemn others for how they live. I firmly believe that the bible is the living word of God, and therefore it should never be used to condemn someone or be twisted into someone’s own convenient interpretation. We should read it and put ourselves into the Gospel, allowing Christ to speak to us, to guide us, to allow us to know His heart’s intentions. We should read it and ponder on it in our hearts, and not just read the easy ones, but also the verses that are a little harder to swallow, the ones that speak that gentle whisper of “Come and follow me”. Find those verses that allow you to hear God calling you to Himself. To hear that call for unity, peace, perseverance, and deep trust. Learn from scripture how the church ought to act in one accord, or how to pray, or His promises, or His miracles and reckless love for us.

Scott Hahn is a theologian I really admire. Through his love of scripture, he was able to recognize God’s voice and had a total conversion of heart when he recognized that scripture came to life in the celebration of the mass. It takes this kind of openness to be able to recognize His voice and where He is calling you. So often in life, we worry about the decisions we have to make, our vocations, where we should go to school, the purpose of our trials, and all these crazy things that make our minds just race. If only we could find rest in the spirit, and go forth just trusting. I keep thinking back to my first communion and how we sang “Yes Lord, I will come and follow you, follow you wherever you go.” I remember singing that and being overjoyed to finally receive Jesus in the eucharist. My young mind did not question it, my heart was set on Him, and at 7 years old that girl most certainly would have followed Christ wherever He went. I begin to ask myself what changed? Certainly, Christ has not changed. I think what changed for me and most of us can relate to this, is probably the fact that as I’ve grown older I’ve made a lot of mistakes and the worldly view of love has gotten in the way of divine love. I stopped trusting myself. I stopped trusting that my body was good, I stopped trusting that God loved me, and therefore I stopped believing I was His. So even though God was speaking to me, and calling me to Himself, I was too ashamed to answer, and over time I just tuned Him out. But thank God for the loving Father, who will leave the 99 to find the one. My God never stopped chasing me. Even after getting out of a very sexually abusive relationship and continuing to struggle with self lust, and giving up on faith, He came to me in dreams, in songs at mass, through others, until I finally had to make the choice to surrender. Till I finally had to walk back in that confessional and repent all the ways that I knew I had hurt my Lord and savior. Then for penance, that priest had me go into the chapel where the blessed sacrament was exposed and let Jesus tell me How beautiful and loved I am. It wrecked me, and I just cried a lot, to be honest. Then from that day forward, there was a lot of hurt, but so much healing. I was able to let the Lord put the broken parts of my life back together, and look back even to my moments of dark sin and see Him standing there looking at me with arms wide open, ready to take me out of that darkness. I was able to recognize His voice. I was able to hear His call for a life of mission, to love others with that same reckless love, His call to write you this blog just to give a glimpse of how much He loves you. Today I pray that whoever is reading this will recognize that you are His beloved and He delights in you. I pray that He heals any brokenness in your heart and gives you light and peace. I pray that we all hear His voice, and follow Him, surrendering everything, and diving into a love so great you could never ask for anything more.

Too Busy to Care

300 years from now what will our descendants think? They will have so much information on us, it’s truly endless. But when they look back at what remains will they be able to explain what they find. Will it actually make sense? When they find more black babies were aborted than born each year in America, while we meanwhile claimed to be the generation that fights for equality. What will they conclude? Will they wonder why we argued over the best way to protect our soldiers while we completely ignored that there are more of them dying out on the home front from suicide than on the battlefield itself? What will they conclude from a society that clearly wants liberty and justice for all, yet is so divided on what that looks like? What will they say about those who screamed women’s rights, but only for the women who want to be exactly like men? Will they be able to piece together what led to the American dream to becoming a bunch of broken homes? Will they look at our posts and see our smiling faces and think we had it all? Will they wonder why billionaires died of drug overdoses? 

Who will be the heroes of our time? Who will be the brave who stood up for what’s right? I hope to God our descendants are not like the media of today who overlook who the true heroes of this generation are. Maybe it’s because they stand with God, or because they actually stand for what this country was founded on…. But the heroes of this era are hundreds of thousands of people who march for the respect and dignity of ALL human life, and the millions of others who stand behind them. There I said it. And to all of you out there fighting the fight, I love you. I know it’s hard to be hated, but I promise Heaven is worth it.

I’m not done though…..

Every story seems to focus on the villains and the heroes, but I’d like to take a moment to talk about the bystanders. The ones who were too busy to choose what side they were on so the world chose for them. The ones who walked right over the hopeless every single day, without an ounce of themselves to give. And what’s their overwhelmingly, disgusting excuse? “I’m too busy” 

Busy doing what?

They’re all in a rush to get nowhere, make another dollar, get another adrenaline rush, get another follow, another like, or earn some shiny gold medal. And you do all this for what? So you can go home and have sex with a screen instead of your spouse, so you can brag about your daughter on Facebook while she sits unknown to you in the other room crying because she feels like she’s never enough, so you can go on another vacation and scroll through your phones, or maybe cry alone in the night because you’ve come to realize that the rush of this world does nothing, but take. Then when it all fails you scream, “why, God? Why?” 

Then He looks upon with mercy and says, “where have you been? Don’t you know that I love you?”

To which one might look back and realize “I guess I was lost. I was too busy to notice the little graces, the good morning texts, the friendly coworker, the sunset in the traffic jams, the blue jay in my window, to notice how beautiful my family is. I was too busy to blame the good things on you, yet when my world is shaken I blame it all on you without hesitation. Who am I? Who have I become?”

Or for most people they won’t even bother to acknowledge God, they will open the door to blame Him and then swing it right back in His face. They will keep on being busy and pretending they are okay.

Each and every day God wishes to bestow so much grace into our hearts and to do good works through us, but we have forgotten. We have forgotten that we have a free will, a choice. And that choice has to be made every single day. To chose Him. To claim He is the way, the truth, and the life. Yet so many of us say “I’m busy”, I’ll take care of that when I have more time….. God gave you that time and what do you have to show for it. And I hate to burst your bubble, but nobody is too busy. Your life is full, yes, but busy is a choice. We all have 24 hours in a day and you choose how to use them. Your life is just go, go, go and it emptied you of everything except that last little piece of pride that says, “I don’t need God, I got this.” But don’t forget this. The Devil prowls like a roaring lion looking for souls to devour (1 peter 5:8). And we are called to resist him steadfast in faith. So start praying. And pray hard. Pray for the humility it takes to say Lord I need you. 

Yeah, there are millions of future saints out there, but God still wants you. He sees you. And unlike the world, He doesn’t love you for your looks, or your abilities, or to use you, or only when it’s convenient, or when you’re happy. No, He loves every square inch of you, body and soul. 

I know there’s some of you out there right now who are thinking, “well I would pray, but I never feel anything, or I never get anything out of it.” If you say that let me kindly point out that you are saying The Bible is a lie, and you are also missing the point. Let me show you. I am sure many of you have heard of Mother Theresa. The cute Holy lady that people remember because she was such a God-loving soul. Would you look at that woman and think she had any trouble praying? Well she did, she’s called the patron saint of darkness for a reason. She suffered from desolation, and for over 50 years felt no spiritual consolation or anything in prayer. Yet she committed herself to Christ. In those 50 years, she prayed for hours every day, and still served others and showed them the reckless love of God. Nobody else has ever recorded in their life such a long period of dryness in prayer. So if she can pray from the pit of darkness for years, you can pray too. Your life may be crazy and hectic, but what are you here for? What would you do differently if you knew your life ended tomorrow? I hate to tell you this, but even busy people at some point in time die. “Busy” people one day have to meet their maker and what’s their excuse then. “Sorry, God I was too busy”?

 So I leave you with this, start reading the bible every night, pray, keep his commandments and live out moral authority every single day. And KEEP the sabbath day holy folks, and stop putting false God’s like money and porn before Him. Wake up America, stop letting the devil take the innocent. Quit being hypocrites, quit saying tomorrow. Be His hands and be His feet. Be that someone who’s not to busy to tell someone “I am here for you.” If we continue to build up a culture of death, abortion will continue, sex trafficking will continue, child abuse will continue, anything violent and cruel will continue because guess what? When we stop caring for the human dignity of a single soul, we stop caring for any human soul, and when we stop seeing dignity in each other, we stop seeing the God who lives in them. We no longer will see the God who loved us so much that He died an agonizing death or the cross. We will run out of hope, faith, and love, and I don’t know about you, but that’s not a world I want to live in. The most important moments and right now and your death, do something because this world does not wait. You can fight for the culture of life or you can drown yourself in the culture of death, it’s your choice. God bless, and do not let your heart forget He loves you.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch to wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned.”

John 15:5-6

Called to be Human

This week has allowed me to experience every emotion possible. I had an amazing bible study, had a wild bare handing (evangelizing) experience, received backlash for supporting the dignity of life, started a love-hate relationship with physics, and had some very difficult conversations, and lost something that was very true, good, and beautiful.

This lead me to realize there’s one emotion that I do not like to give to Jesus, and that is my mourning heart. Mourning in the world’s eyes can seem selfish, especially if you are carrying this expectation that good Christian is always joyful. I believed this lie. This lie that even though I was at a loss and I was upset, that I needed to get over myself and move on. I tried to reach out to my spiritual director in hopes of her having some whizzed up answer on how to get over myself, only to have an automated email reply saying that she would be on retreat till the end of the month and therefore unavailable. It was then that I realized what I was holding back on. 

As I lay there in my room, with tears in my eyes, cried out “Jesus what do you want from me?” Then in an instant, I heard “Mourn with me”. We find ourselves wanting to pretend we are okay, but we are not. We human, and called to act in accordance to that. And I repeat that WE are HUMAN, NOT God. When we lose something true, good, and beautiful, it’s supposed to hurt. We are supposed to mourn a little. We need to remember we are called to live as both flesh and soul, and if we think our feeling and emotions are selfish then we have forgotten that our bodies are good. In prayer, I felt very called to just meditate on the sorrow of Mary. Thinking of Christ’s cold, broken lifeless body being laid in her arms, and hearing her voice pierced to the very depths of my soul. Then I thought had Mary sat there and said here I am Lord, next big fiat let’s go. Would she really be faithful, or would she be selfish? I think the answer is clear. Had Mary not shed a single tear, it would have been selfish, it would have been a shame. To not acknowledge your own heartache before the Lord who knows all, is selfish. You are lying to Him, you are lying to yourself, and you are not glorifying Him in that at all. 

So remember this. When Jesus heard that Lazarus was dead, He wept. Even though he knew Lazarus would rise He still wept. So in those sad moments, Jesus weeps with you. And when Jesus saw hardness in people’s hearts, what did he do? He grieved. So when we refuse to mourn the loss of what is true, good, and beautiful, or grieve for the hardness of people’s hearts, we stop acting out of compassion. We stop recognizing the parts of our hearts or the world where Christ has been shut out. We go numb, we stop caring about the loss of unborn children, we stop caring about those who are at rock bottom, those affected by terrorism, even those who don’t know Jesus. If you are not willing to acknowledge your brokenness, how do you expect to realize you need saved. In this world we will experience brokenness, we will see brokenness in others, but remember God’s heart has been broken a billion times….. and why? Because His heart breaks to save yours. God loves you.

“To pray is not to evade reality and the responsibilities it brings, but rather to fully assume them, trusting in the faithful and inexhaustible love of God”

Pope Benedict XVI

About me

Hello loves! My name is Mikayla Olson. I’m from Iowa and currently attending Northwest Missouri State studying Biology education. This blog has my weekly reflections on what it means to be a beloved child of God, what it means to have dignity, not because of who we are, but because of who He is. Praying for you all. Peace, love, and joy be with you!

Loved into existence

Nobody has ever earned the right to exist. It’s impossible, for to earn anything one must exist. So prior to you existing, you had no dignity, no worth, nothing. Life itself and everything we are and ever will be is a gift. Loved into existence, conceived and bore form your mother’s womb, you have been chosen. That itself is a beautiful thing. Yet so often we forget that. The gift of our existence, and the joy of being called His beloved slips our minds because we become to “busy” existing. We forget who we are and what we were made for, and therefore we have forgotten our Father.

Fortunately for us God not only gives life, but he loves us enough to give us grace and mercy. Therefore we are able to return to Him and His arms will be wide open ready for a sweet embrace. Then what… did God make us just so we could fall and come running to Him…. Certainly not. No He made us for so much more than that, but to simply put it we were made for relationship with Him, and with others, so that all may know Him and all can be one with Him in His Kingdom.

This all either sounds super basic or super far fetched depending on where you are at in life. Either way though, think about this. An orchestra is not an orchestra without all of the instruments, and then even with all the instruments the volume does not increase unless the number of them increases. The orchestra led by their conductor can play the sweetest of songs, and the more they play the better they get. Then let’s say we take out the cello, and the violins, and slowly they fade to nothing, but a conductor. How sad it would be to no longer hear something so beautiful. That’s the church without you, one less instrument conducted, one less decibel reached, and one less person who’s to far away to hear of the song of the Lord’s glory and salvation. Each one of us is loved and chosen to spread the good news, that there is a place where all of our sorrows end, that there is hope, that you are loved.

I was recently in New York, and I’ll admit it I love people watching. So naturally I loved Times Square, even though it was a vastly different scene then a mid-western girl like me was used to. Being catholic I was also a huge fan of the statue of the priest. Besides my point though. My point is this. As I stood amidst the most populated city in the U.S, my mind began to wonder and think about how many of these people feel unseen, unloved, and unknown among all the millions of other people. How many of these people actually know their worth? How many of them know their loved? How many of them know what they deserve? Oh how I wish I could tell every single soul how much God loves them, and how he thirsts for them. Everyday around the world people rush to make another dollar, make another amazon purchase, fall in love, break up, take their first breath or maybe their last, yet how many of them turn to God in the stillness and the silence. When they do not know how to lift up their hearts to him, do they just crumble or become numb? Do they even know who they are?

Now I’m just one person, but I hope till the day I die I can live a life that glorifies Him and tells everyone I love that my redeemer lives. My hope and prayer is that we can all do that, because nobody earned their existence, but by love alone they do exist and therefore just as much as you and I they deserve to be loved. Now I will end with this. There was a prayer on the last column at ground zero in NY, from a priest by the name of Father Mychal who died on 9/11 giving people their last rites. The prayer read as follows: “Lord, Take me where you want me to go. Let me meet who you want me to meet. Tell me what you want me to say, and Keep me out of your way!” This prayer really touched me because it speaks the truth. If we want people to know their loved by God we need to be willing to be lead, and be willing to let go of ourselves completely. God loved you into existence, and He is calling you. Will you go?

God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.

St. Augustine