Holding onto Hope in the New Year
+JMJ+ For many reasons, 2019 was a very difficult year for my family and me. Upon waking this morning in this new year, I honestly felt a little surprised (and very grateful) that I've made it to today. Will 2020 bring us good change, joy, and peace? We don't know. The fact is, a lot of things are out of our hands and out of our control. All we can do is strive to live the best life we can by endeavoring to follow God's plan for us. All we can do is trust in Him and do our best to fulfill our daily duties with love and joy. And, yes, that means asking God for the strength to carry our crosses with love and joy. I know, I know - it's not easy! I don't always understand the way God works, but I do know that I belong to Him and He is leading the way. In this new year, I encourage you to give yourself to Jesus. Surrender yourself completely to His love, grace, and mercy. This earthly life is not perfect - far from it. Undoubtedly, we will all have crosses to bear (some old and some new). Life doesn't always seem "fair" does it? Suffering doesn't make sense to us. All I can say is that we all suffer. Every person since the beginning of time has suffered in some way, shape, or form. Even Jesus, the Savior of the world, suffered. His Mother, Mary, suffered. God never promised a perfect earthly life that would be free from pain or hardships. The question then becomes not, "why do we suffer?" but, rather, "what can we do with it?" when suffering comes our way. In this, we do have a choice. We have the choice to bear our sufferings patiently and with joy (this doesn't mean we are "happy" about it per se) or to face them with anger and bitterness. We have the choice to try to be our own savior or to put our burdens into the hands of Jesus our Savior. We have the choice to allow God to use our suffering for good or we can allow ourselves to become so full of resentment that our pain completely overcomes us. Whatever pain and suffering, criticisms, anxieties, or hardships come your way, resolve to hand them over to Christ. Yes, we are only human and, yes, we are still likely to worry about things, but the really wonderful news is that we have someone to bring our burdens to. There is someone who is willing to help us carry out crosses day in and day out. We have but to ask and to trust in Him. My family attended Mass yesterday evening in celebration of the Solemnity of the Blessed Mother yesterday and, in his homily, our pastor quoted one of my favorite quotes from St. Mother Teresa. "Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin." What inspiring and wise words and what a wonderful way to look at, not only the new year, but each and every day! If we are constantly looking backwards or forwards, we are bound to miss out on some good things. We are bound to miss out on recognizing God's glimmers of grace - little signs of His love and grace meant just for us - and we are bound to be living in a world of fear and anxiety. It's so important to "seize the day" and to not allow the past or future to hinder us on our journeys. Of course, we are going to look back and ahead from time to time but we are missing out on life itself if we are allowing ourselves to live in the past or too much into the future. We can't change the past and we can't predict the future. We have only NOW. We have to make the best of it! If we can learn to concentrate on the present (believe me, I struggle with this), we can live more freely and in greater peace. Living in the present allows us to focus more on creating the stepping stones necessary for facing whatever the future brings. I was given the privilege of sitting down with Catholic TV's Bishop Robert Reed yesterday morning to discuss my mission and upcoming book (Glimmers of Grace: Finding Peace and Healing After Sexual Abuse) being released in August of 2020. The title of the This is the Day episode is "Glimmers of Hope" and this is how I personally want to live out this new year - with hope. Don't get me wrong, I'm struggling big-time. I just said to my husband last night, "I'm scared of what 2020 will bring." I'm working on that fear! I'm praying for the strength to get out of the fear and live more in faith. I want to live my life with hope because, the truth is, we have only been given this one earthly life and each day is precious. We need to accept the gift of each day and each moment given to us, and live our lives with God at the center of everything. Even if we don't know where we are going or what God is calling us to do, we can choose to trust and allow Him to work in us and through us. Rest easy knowing that God has got it all worked out!
There is no place better to be than at the feet of Christ. He is the first person we should run to whether good or bad comes our way. He is the first person we should ask for help and the first person we should praise. Whatever your vocation, whether you are a wife, husband, mother, father, priest, nun, or someone called to the single life, strive to live this new year with your faith at the center of all you do. Strive for holiness, faithfulness, and courage. Strive to keep your eyes open to the glimmers of God's grace and never lose hope, and pray for the courage to share that hope with others. May 2020 be a year of joy, peace, and healing for you. God bless you all! es us the graces to live in accordance with His will for us.
There is no place better to be than at the feet of Christ. He is the first person we should strive to run to whether good or bad comes our way. He is the first person we should ask for help and the first person we should praise. Whatever your vocation - whether you are a wife, husband, mother, father, priest, nun, or someone called to the single life - strive to live this new year with your faith at the center of all you do. Strive for holiness, faithfulness, and courage. Strive to keep your eyes open to the glimmers of God's grace and never lose hope, and pray for the courage to share that hope with others. May 2020 be a year of joy, peace, and healing for you. God bless you all!
Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? In the wilderness I make a way, in the wasteland, rivers.
**Here is the link to yesterday's episode of This is the Day with Bishop Robert Reed. My segment is about 10 minutes in.