judging

Expert Judge.

In church today I was surrounded by families with young children and babies. I was entranced as always by the adorable babies, but also struck by the differences in parenting and the children. To my right was a gorgeous toddler in a mini suit, being cuddled and played with. He had a grin on his face all through church. On my left, was a family with energetic children, climbing all over the pews. The mother was clearly struggling and unhappy. To my shock she grabbed one of the toddlers hard on the arm, dragged him to sit on the pew, and hissed “Shut up!” in his face.

Sure, I felt indignant and was stunned that any mother could treat their child in such a menacing way, but I began to wonder, why had she reacted in that way? What had happened, to put her in such a negative place?

I received a prayer request recently for someone who was sinning as a result of putting herself in an obviously tempting position. I was taken aback by my reluctance to pray for her…to me, it seemed that she didn’t need prayer, she just needed to say no. Prayer wouldn’t change her situation, only her own decision to do the simple thing and take herself out of the tempting position would.

I talked this through with a wise friend, who pointed out:

The surface issue is never the issue.

And that was completely right. Maybe praying for her surface issue was ‘useless’ but I could still pray for her, for the deeper issues. For whatever she was lacking, or had been through, or had caused her to get into the situation in the first place.
Before we judge, let’s consider what might be going on to make them do or say that thing. We are so quick to condemn, but do we ever offer to help?

We are all expert judges, but amateur  at loving.

God bless,

praisethroughthestorm +

“Jesus Loves You” – and what?

I was driving yesterday and ended up following a car. This number plate caught my attention – above the letters and numbers it said “Jesus loves you.”

Jesus Loves You numberplate

The phrase is so familiar to me that I barely registered it. When I did, I took this photo and intended on sending it to some friends of mine with the caption “We should do this on our cars!” Then I wondered, what was the point? How effective was it really, as an evangilization tool? What does that sentence tell you – “Jesus loves you” – and what? That someone called Jesus…has affection for you? I feel like this sentence is so incomplete.

In our world, what is the definition of love? Here is the dictionary definition:

Love – noun

1. A profoundly tender, passionate affection for the other person.
2. A feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child or friend.
3. Sexual passion or desire.

So. Which is it?

“Jesus has a profoundly tender, passionate affection for you.”
“Jesus has a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection for you, as for a parent, child or friend.”
“Jesus desires you.”

I believe it is all of those things. Jesus has a rich, tender love for us. He loves us as a parent to a child, the love of a Father. And he desires us – not in a sexual sense, but in the way we crave the touch of a loved one. The way we long to find something precious we have misplaced. The way we thirst for water when we are dehydrated.
And yet still, his love for us is more than this.

JESUS LOVES YOU ETERNALLY

“The Lord appeared to him from far away.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”
~ Jeremiah 31:3

JESUS LOVES YOU INSEPARABLY

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rules, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creating, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
~ Romans 8:38

JESUS LOVES YOU SACRIFICIALLY

“For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though for a good person one would dare to die – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
~ Romans 5:7-8

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
~ John 15:13

I think if I had a message on my number plate though, I would put:

“Jesus loves you unconditionally”

There is nothing I can do to make him love me any more, or any less. Nothing I can do to earn his love, or deserve it. Whether I want it or not it is there, steady and strong, an unchanging, undeniable truth to fall back upon and lift me up.

Dictionary definition of Unconditional Love:

Unconditional Love -
Affection without limits or conditions; complete love.

And so we have,

“Jesus loves you without limits or conditions; completely.”
Yes. This sounds like my God, and a God others would be interested in knowing.

God Bless,

praisethroughthestorm +

Look of Love

On a beautiful spring day a Holy bishop named Bishop Nonnus was standing outside of his church with his parishioners. Mass had been celebrated and Christ was present in the souls of all those who had just received Him in the Eucharist.

As the congregation was all gathered out the front of the church having a good old chin wag, a breathtakingly beautiful woman came gliding past. Time slowed down. Hearts skipped a beat. Lungs lost their air. She was gorgeous. Her name was Pelagia. As quickly as hearts stopped, heads all turned – away from her. All knew she was a dancer and a prostitute. All heads apart from the holy bishop.

Was he a perv? Was he lusting after her?

No.
He saw how truly beautiful she was, he saw her how God created her to be seen. She caught his gaze. She felt like she had just been knocked over. Pelagia knew men well, too well. But she had never meet a man like this priest. His gaze was so pure, it penetrated her hardened view of what life was. She saw hope in his eyes. She saw love. She saw Jesus.

She had no idea what to do, so she ran.

The very next day she found herself sneaking into the back pew during Bishop Nonnus’ sermon. He was preaching on the end times, repentance.

After the Mass Pelagia approached Bishop Nonnus and asked that he would baptize her.
Not long after this great conversion she left town wearing sack cloth and headed to Mt Olivette in Jerusalem and became a hermit living in a cave. She practiced many penances and other spiritual exercises which helped her to grow in holiness and receive spiritual gifts. She was known as the beardless monk.

Now she is now known as St Pelagia.

350px-Saint_pelagia

Men, as you walk down the street, drive in your car, drink at the pub, sit in mass, always, always, always be in control of what your eyes are looking at, what your mind is thinking, and what your heart is desiring.

Jesus will help you.

 

St Nonnus, please pray for us!

Bless the Lord my soul

Respect Yourself and Raise Your Eyes!

keep-calm-and-love-jesus-168

There comes a time in a person’s life when they’re not sure if they’re okay,

They seem to be attracted to bad behaviour and like to be led astray.

One thing I’ve learnt about teen girls these days is that they put their hearts on the line,

They’ll do anything to feel they are loved, even be used for someone else’s good time.

They’ll tell themselves, “Hey, it’s no big deal, I didn’t really like him either.”

While thoughts of embarrassment, shame and regret aren’t making her life any easier.

If I had some advice for young boys these days it would be show us how good you can be,

Show the world your love for God and make sure the girls can see.

Girls need to know that there are boys out there who will respect them to no end,

Boys who know how to love and listen, share, pray and defend.

And to girls, respect yourselves, don’t settle for any less than the one who will wait to marry you,

Stay focussed on God and open with your family in EVERYTHING you do.

I learnt over time that the hole in my heart created by media and peers,

Couldn’t be filled by temporary highs that just left me in a puddle of tears.

So I raised my standards and lifted my eyes to my first and one true love,

I received Grace and Joy, Comfort and Warmth that can only come from above.

This is my last post everyone! I hope you have enjoyed reading what I have written as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

God bless you all!!

Weep No More

The Importance of Love and Truth

Recently in my life I have come to understand the importance of sharing love outwardly and speaking the truth no matter what.

Where I work, as I have have told you before in my past blogs, I am responsible for the well-being of many young souls. I was recently watching a group of boys whom I care for play a game of basketball. I was just sitting at the end of the court chatting to a friend, half watching the game. I happened to look over at the time where one of these boys took a three point shot and it was nothin’ but net!
What happened next was interesting. The boy who took the successful shot instantly turned around to see my reaction, as if to say “Did you see that?! What did you think? Are you proud of me?” And I suddenly realised how truly important my reaction was to him. I slowly nodded at him with a smile, clapped my hands and semi-yelled “Great shot!” I hadn’t realised until that moment, of which there are many everyday that pass me by, the importance to outwardly show love and care to those around us, especially those who are seeking our acceptance and attention. Love comes in many different forms, sometimes even acknowledging a good shot, watching your child when they yell “Mum and Dad! Watch me! Watch me!” and acknowledging them with a look or smile that says ‘I love you’ can have a life-changing effect.
So that is what I want to say about love.

images

Now truth.
Not too many days earlier than the basketball game I was talking to these souls which live with me about abortion; what it is, what it does and why it’s an important issue to discuss. Now, I get many questions thrown at me after I speak about it and often looks which seem to say “You shouldn’t be speaking about this, it’s inappropriate”, and these can sometimes get me down or make me ask myself “Maybe I shouldn’t talk about abortion, it’s too much of a sensitive issue, etc, etc.”
But one day – after having heard how I feel about the issue of abortion, the Church’s teaching on it, and the concern I have with it – a young soul came to see me seeking advice regarding a friend of theirs that was going to have an abortion. This threw me back and took my by surprise. We prayed for this young mother and her unborn child, and we continue to pray as we are unaware of how things turned out… but then I thought about how if I had not spoken about abortion to them, these prayers that we offered up for this situation would have never been. We must speak the truth because we never know what He is doing, we never know what He has planned, and we never know what He wants done.

ls-speak-the-truth-of-life-bulletin-insertNever underestimate the importance of showing love and telling the truth in your day to day situations.

Show love.

Speak truth.

…HE will do the rest.

 

God bless,
Lamb Among Wolves

The School of Love

love xI work in an environment where I am responsible for a lot of young souls.The role that I have consists of supervising these young souls in almost every daily activity that they do; study, leisure, sport, socialising, spiritual development and a range of other areas.

It is a lifestyle that can, and has been in the past, easily abused. It is not an easy task as it requires a lot of energy, commitment and patience yet it is by far the most rewarding, satisfying and enriching occupation that I have ever been blessed with in my life thus far.

What am I getting at? I want to talk about God…therefore I want to talk about love. (1 John 4:16)

This lifestyle that the Good Lord has planted me into requires me to love. I now understand that God is training me in his school of love by giving me opportunities daily to love these souls by which I am surrounded.

Today the word ‘love’ is thrown around like a two year olds play toy and its authentic meaning is too often forgotten or abandoned. Love is not complex…it is simple. To love is to serve. (Galatians 5:13)

Whether it be greeting the tenth or eleventh soul that knocks on my door with a smile so they can simply tell me about their day at school, scrubbing the carpet at 1am to get the vomit out after an accident due to a sore tummy, or sitting up until the early hours of the morning just talking about nothing at the bedside of a soul that is terribly homesick so they can fall to sleep, the Lord is testing me and teaching me in His school of love.

I do not write this for any gratification or sympathy and in fact I would be rather upset if that were the case. I simply share this with you to show you how God has worked in my life and all glory is His and His alone. There have been times when I have failed and received a bad grade in the school of love, as I have not been there for a soul, have become impatient and grumpy after my own studies and even occasionally spent too much time looking for opportunities to do good that I have let them pass me by in other areas of my life. And I know then that my motive was not love because ‘love never fails.’ (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

To love is to serve. Jesus loved, Jesus served, Jesus died for you…and ‘no one can have greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.’ (John 15:13)

Take a step back in your life right now…do you love God? Do you love your brother? If the answer to the former question is yes but the answer to the latter is no…then you are a liar. Why?

Because “Anyone who says ‘I love God’ and hates his brother is a liar, since whoever does not love the brother whom he can see cannot love God whom he has not seen.” (1 John 4:20)

Recognise those little things throughout your day where God is teaching you a lesson in His school of love.

God bless,

Lamb among wolves

Father and Daughter

father-n-daughterMy three year old daughter asked, “Who will I get married to?”

To which I replied, “A man who you love and who loves you very much. Someone who will take great care of you and stay by you through good and bad times.”

To which she replied, “Oh, I’ll marry Daddy!”

Now, she has said some sweet stuff in her time but this was up there with the sweetest! And it got me thinking…

Girls often do end up with someone similar to their fathers because, naturally, this is usually someone they love and someone who they know loves them for who they are…usually.

But often girls get to an age when they branch out from their parents, particularly their fathers, and become so obsessed with finding someone who will love them like their fathers did that they will settle for anyone and do anything when they can’t find them. This is when girls need some intervention. They need to be reminded that their one true Father in Heaven is the only one who give them the perfect love that they are searching for and anyone who wants to be a part of her life along the way should be nothing but loving, kind and 100% committed. Anyone else should be avoided. At this stage in a person’s life is where Blessed John Paul II’s Theology of the Body for Teens should be introduced aswell.

Let’s pray for the young people of today. That they may live their lives for Christ and know that he created each and every one for great things. And also my daughter, that if it is God’s plan for her to marry then may she find a man worthy of her.

God bless you

Weep No More