purpose

The Potter’s Hands

As I look on my life, I see the way the potter’s hands have shaped and molded me to be who I am today. I see the gentle way those hands guide me to form me. I see the times when the hands put slight pressure on me and times when they relaxed to let me breathe out. But more than that, I see the times that I, like the clay, fell apart in those hands, in the middle of them trying to turn me into a masterpiece. And each time I can point to my life or myself falling apart, those hands picked up all the pieces of clay and used them to reshape and mold me anew, to make a new masterpiece with the same clay that seconds before was in pieces on the ground.

Oh how loved we are that in the moments when life is dark, in the times when everything has seemingly fallen apart, those potter’s hands know that I was created from the beginning to be a masterpiece. Those hands know that they selected the exact amount and right type of clay for me to be what they envisioned me to be. The potter knows that by picking up the same clay, and reforming it, the most incredible masterpiece is still possible.

How beautiful it is to see that all the parts of me from the beginning will in the end become this masterpiece. How amazing to know that the clay I thought was broken just needed new life, a new form. How incredible to know that the same situation that made me crumble would also become the situation that would transform me.

Three years ago was one of those times when the clay fell apart. The clay of my life became dry and crumbled to pieces in the potter’s hands. I see now that the potters hands calmly gathered all the scattered pieces of clay and formed them into a ball. Then they put the ball on the potter’s wheel and began to guide and shape my life, using all the pieces that fell apart before, but having reworked them and rejoined them in a new way so that this time they would stick. With calm patience, those potter’s hands continued to work, bringing new life to the dried clay that had previously been there. They added water like the waters of baptism to strengthen me and make me new. As the hands continued to shape me into something new, they continually met me where I was.

May we all be potter’s hands to each other. In times when someone’s life has become dry or fallen into pieces, may we, like the potter, meet them where they are. Without trying to change the clay material that makes them who they are, may we help them gather all of who why are, put all the pieces of themselves into a ball and place it on the potter’s wheel and leave it to the potter to reconstruct new possibility of life in them. For through the potter’s hands, portals of hope are formed and new life is given. We don’t need to become something other than who were were originally created to be, we need only to place all of ourselves on the wheel and let the potter’s beautiful hands work to turn us into the masterpiece he envisioned us to be.

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The Eye of Betrayal

Betrayal – possibly one of the most difficult feelings to experience. We all know the feeling and hope it isn’t the ones closest to us that make us feel betrayed as those can cut the deepest. It’s a loss of trust, an unfulfillment of expectations, a deep pain. Sometimes it can feel inescapable. Trying to figure out how to respond is always the challenge. Betrayal brings with it feelings of sadness and anger, which, if left to simmer, can lead to resentment, fear, and hate. Betrayal is a storm that can consume us, but in the eye of the storm we can find peace, reclaim dignity, and respond with love.
  
When the storms of betrayal come, God calls us to simply be still. Our only job, our only mission, and our only desire should be to be still and let Him love us.  Let Him envelop us in His perfect love. Let him hold us in His arms, rest with Him, and let His love fill every part of our being to make us whole again. Let the love He pours out heal us. Do nothing else until He has filled you with His love. All we should do is find Him in the eye of the storm of betrayal.
  

Hold me Lord. I am on a boat, surrounded by the storm. The waves are crashing in and the winds are blowing the boat out of control. I cannot stop it. It overcomes me and I am lost in this spinning darkness with no escape. I cry out, begging for it to stop but the storm offers no relief. I am in pain, the pain of a deep betrayal that tears me apart from the inside out.
  
Then I see you lying in the boat – sleeping. Sleeping as though we are not at risk of death. I wonder how can you sleep through the painful winds that tear at me and the waves that consume me? How can you be at peace when there is so much sadness, anger, and pain? Let me be in your calm presence in this storm. Let me rest in your arms and be held in your peace. The storm outside this boat is set to destroy me but you are here with me. Let me rest in you. And you say to me
  
Don’t you know how precious you are? Don’t you know that I am always with you? Don’t you know that I am all you need? That when the storms in your life feel like waves crashing in and winds are blowing around you, I am the eye of the storm. I am the calm. I am the peace. I will sustain you. Don’t you know how much I love you? Come rest with me. Trust in me. Surrender the pain and the storm to me. Surrender the pain so I can heal you. I will protect you through this storm and see you to safety, back to the calm waters. Let your soul be still and do not worry.
  
Let the storm do as it wills. Let the waves crash and the winds blow. Let the storm tear the boat apart. Know that you cannot control the storm; you cannot control all situations, and you cannot control those in your life. Know that though the pain you feel may bring the storms of betrayal, I will be there, right in the middle of it, to give you rest.
  
I love you and you are mine. Let me love you in your pain. Let me make you whole. Let me heal you. Let your healing and your peace in me permeate the storm. Let my healing allow you to forgive and to extend my mercy. Rest and find comfort in my love and once you are filled with my healing, peace, and love let it overflow from your soul. For it is through extending my love and mercy that the stormy waters will calm and the winds will die down.
  
Graciously respond to the one who hurt you with peace and love. Do not give in to the temptation to fight the storm. Surrender the pain and unite it to the cross. I know the pain of betrayal. I know the temptation to respond with anger. I know the desire to dwell on the situation. I was betrayed by my friend and put to death because of that betrayal. I was tempted too. I know how hard it is to feel betrayed by one that you love. I was called to let love and mercy flow.
  
Respond with graciousness, love, mercy, and peace to bring healing from the storm. Look to me resting in the boat in the middle of the storm and unite with me so you may also be the peace in the storm of betrayal. You cannot control the storm. You cannot control the betrayal. You cannot control others. So pour out love for another as a gift.  By responding in love you extend the eye of the storm and you calm the angry waters. Each time you respond with love and mercy, let the calm in the eye of the storm of betrayal extend further. Let that person freely choose how to respond to your gift.They may refuse it or push you away. They may accept it. Do not be discouraged if your love is not received because either way I will fill you so that you can always know that I am enough. I am all you need. Find your peace, joy, fulfillment, and purpose in me and continue to fill yourself with it so that you can extend it further.
  
After resting with Him who is the eye of the storm, I have found my peace because I have found my worth and dignity in Him who loves me above all else. His love fills  me, makes me whole, and reminds me who I am. No matter the storm, no matter the pain, no matter the betrayal, His healing love is always enough. His love prompts me to stand up to face the storm that surrounds me, lifting up my arms to the heavens saying “Lord I surrender this all to you. Take care of everything.” I face the pain I feel, look at the person who I feel betrayed by and simply say “I love you. I love you in and through all things. I forgive you. I am praying for you.”
  

“…stay in the boat in which our Lord has placed you, and let the storm come. You will not perish. It appears to you that Jesus is sleeping, but let it be so. Don’t you know that if He sleeps, His heart vigilantly watches over you?” – St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Hope

I love this time of year. For a brief few weeks we allow ourselves to be children again – to have a sense of awe, wonder, and hope. For most of the year big hopes are so easily shot down as “false hope,” as if there could ever be such a thing. We get so busy that we don’t give ourselves the time to hope. We get bogged down by the difficult situations we experience and begin to buy in to lie that too much hope can be bad. We listen to voices of others who tell us our hopes are too big or too unrealistic. Those voices that tell us that we shouldn’t hope for the things that we do because they will never come true. However, this is the time of year we indulge ourselves. We let our dreams and hopes run wild. We allow ourselves to see beauty and good in the world, dream big, and hope for the future.

Why when we become adults do we censor our own hopes and dreams?  Children have such a beautiful outlook on life because it is not censored. They speak their minds and dream as if there is no limit. They dream as we all should. They hope. Sometime along life’s journey we begin to feel like our hopes and dreams don’t come true – as if they are false. We have hope but when it doesn’t come true in our perceived acceptable timing, we lose our faith, belief, and wonder. We forget that the circumstances in life don’t happen because of our desired timing. We allow other people in our lives determine what kind of hopes we should have. When others question our hopes, we begin to question them ourselves.

How could a hope ever be false? Hope is just a personal desire for something that has not yet come to be. It is a dream for the future. It can never be false and it can never fail. It is a want that comes from deep within the soul. Even when the desired outcome from a hope does not come true, the hope itself is not false. The end result may not come to be as it was hoped for or expected, but that hope that was clung to was real and true; it kept the soul alive.

It drives me crazy when I hear people talk of “false hope” or worse yet when I hear that someone was told that we don’t want to give a such “false hope.” How dare we tell others not to have or give “false hope.” How dare we try to squash the beauty of hope that is so innate in every human soul?

We need hope. Without it no change would ever come in our lives or in our world. It is hope that allows us to see a different future, a better future. It is hope that gives us the motivation we need to work and try to make that dream come true. It is hope that drives passion and goodwill. It is hope that keeps the soul alive and well. It is hope that gives peace.

Part of the Christmas miracle and the beauty of the new year is that during this time we  hope. We start with with Christmas which reminds us to have wonder in our lives and move quickly into the new year and set resolutions, goals, hopes for the future. The childlike hope that we experience this time of year replenishes our souls.

My hope for all of us this new year is that we do not allow anyone or anything to take away our hope or diminish it in any way. My hope is that we would all find the courage and childlike spirit to hope again so that regardless of what the world may say, our hope will shine bright and inspire others.

Happy or holy marriage

Nobody was created just to have a happy marriage.  Men and women were created to win the happiness of heaven
Fr. Donald Miller

How often do we look to our marriage, to our spouse, to make us happy? How often do we feel like our marriage has failed if we are not happy in that moment? When those moments come it brings up the question – what is the purpose of marriage?

I have heard so many people tell me that if their marriage isn’t making them happy then maybe it wasn’t meant to be and they should search for happiness elsewhere and find someone else who makes them feel happy. 

If marriage is to be the thing to make me happy it is destined for frustrations. No person, no thing, can make us happy all the time. That is a crazy expectation to put on your spouse and one that no person could ever live up to or achieve. At the altar the promise is “for better or for worse” recognizing that there will be hard times and trials in every marriage. So if we know that all marriages won’t bring happiness all the time, what is their purpose? 

The purpose is your path to holiness and heaven where you will be eternally happy. It is to help your spouse grow in holiness and be in heaven with God some day. It is standing by your spouse through the triumphs but also through the trials. It is praying for your spouse and gently encouraging and supporting them in their faith. 

If we look at marriage in this way and with this purpose, it can never fail. We are never done in our faith journey. There are always opportunities to pray for your spouse and to support them in growing closer to God. When marriage is viewed as your path to holiness for you and your spouse, it may be tried and it can never fail, never be broken, and there is no reason to try to find your path to salvation in someone else because your journey with your spouse to holiness never ends. 

What an honor to be called as married persons to not only grow closer in individual holiness but also to play a huge role in the holiness and salvation of your spouse.