Thursday, 30 October 2014

Not Alone Series: Discernment Challenges

We all agree that discernment is challenging. Figuring out what the Lord is calling you to do with your life can be frustrating and exhausting. But, then add on lack of family support, cultural pressures, and your personal expectations... ugh. And, this isn't just in relation to vocational discernment, but general life discernment, too! How do you keep going? What helps you to push through? How can we encourage one another? What indicators have you experienced that lets you know you're going down the right path?

Most High, glorious God,

Enlighten the darkness of my heart,

And give me right faith,

Certain hope,

And perfect charity,

Wisdom and understanding,

Lord, that I may carry out

Your holy and true command. Amen.

I have been saying that prayer of discernment everyday for almost a year. I've had that prayer for a couple years but I've never given it much thought or anything but earlier this year it just stood out to me and I felt called to start praying it and I did.

Not all decisions happen that quickly. There are many times I would pray for or about something and I feel like God is saying yes but I hesitate. I ask Him if He is 100% sure this is right, maybe one more sign, a clearer one this time.

At some point in time after I've prayed and discerned and talked it over with whomever I trust to guide me in the right direction I have to make a decision, a choice. I need to trust that God has given me the "right faith" I have been asking for. I need to let go of the doubt and the fear, I need to trust.

Many times the choice will be the right one. Everything will work out and I'll see a clearer picture of where and why God is leading me.

Sometimes I'll make the wrong decision but that's okay. "In anguish he prayed more earnestly" Luke 22:44. That verse really caught me last week, many times when things go wrong I take the time to go over in fine detail what was and where I made my mistake.

What does Jesus do? He prayers more earnestly. So I'm trying to let that be my guide. If I make the wrong decision I can't just stop or give up. I need to pray more intently and earnestly. Pray for my next step. Discern my way out, around or through my current situation.

Discernment is a lifetime. How do you handle it?

Do you struggle with discernment? Leave a comment below and don't forget to check out what everyone else has to say. Visit Morgan for the link-up.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Not Alone Series: Sex

Our culture is obsessed with sex. With anyone! At anytime! If you want to, just do it! But, the Church teaches that sex was created for the context of marriage. Why do you choose to abstain? Why aren't you going around having sex with just anyone? How would you encourage others to do the same? How do you remain strong when everything in our culture is encouraging you to abandon your convictions?

In the beginning I wasn't having sex because I had no interest and now I'm not having sex because I know better.

During my teenage years I didn't date. I may have wanted a boyfriend at some point but I had no interest in sex. The girls I hung out with were the "good" girls, some had boyfriends the rest of us didn't but we were all not having sex. We didn't go around thinking sex was some dirty thing but we knew and agreed that sex was not right for us at that stage of our lives. One of my friends was a pastor's daughter so she probably had some theology or at least biblical understanding about why she was waiting the rest of us were just waiting.

Sex wasn't something we discussed in our circles. We knew other kids who were having it, most didn't try to keep it a secret. It was something they were proud of. I hadn't even kissed a boy before I graduated so sex wasn't something on my to do list. Plus even some of the "bad" girls were virgins and proud of it. There was no pull to have sex to fit in so I graduated an 18 year old virgin and was okay with that.

Now I know better.

In the early years I didn't care to have sex, everyone around me wasn't having sex and my closest friends were committed to their virginity. My decision wasn't based on my Faith or God.

Now I know why I shouldn't be having sex. I know that my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. I know that I am made for love. I know that true love waits.

God wants only the best for me and that is not having sex with every guy I feel attracted to. That would be insanity. Sex is the total giving of self, my mind, my heart, my soul, my fertility, body and every single hangup I have with it. Having sex outside of marriage doesn't allow for that total giving of self you instinctively hold something back to protect yourself or because that is not the person you want to give those things to. So you withhold your heart because you don't really love this person you're just having fun. You withhold your fertility because you can't get pregnant for this guy. Your mind and your soul because you're not sure you can trust this guy with your deepest thoughts and feelings.

I have a new group of friends who are committed to not having sex until marriage. Many are virgins, some have had sex before but have re-committed to waiting until marriage, I draw encouragement from them and I hope I also encourage them. Our conversations resolve around the premise that if you aren't married you aren't having sex therefore if we talk about the hot date you had over the weekend no one will be asking if you have or when you plan to sleep with him.

How about YOU? Why do you choose to not have sex? How do you stay strong to your commitment? Leave a comment below and check out Jen for the link-up to see what everyone else is saying.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Not Alone Series: Rosary and Single Life

October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary, so we wanted to honor Mary and reflect on her help during this time of singleness. How have you called on her intercession before? What is your relationship with our Blessed Mother like? If you don't know much about Mary or the Rosary, is there something keeping you from getting to know her?

I pray the Rosary everyday, I have for the last five years.

Before that Mary has always been an integral part of my life even when I wasn't paying attention. My mother shares Mary's birthday, September 8. I was baptised at a Marian church, the Cathedral of the Immaculate conception. Attended the school for that church and made my First Communion there. Confirmed at a different Marian church the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima. My great-grandmother Mary had a strong devotion to Mary and both of them lead me back to Jesus and my Faith.

I was going to church but not really there and a challenge to pray one decade of the Rosary quickly lead to praying a full mystery daily. What I love is that Mary does not point to herself but to her Beloved Son. In her Magnificat she proclaims "My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour". At the wedding feast at Cana she tells us "do whatever He tells you", nothing after that.

Mary is not spoken a lot of in the bible so I have been reading up on her as much as I can.

Just a few of the books I have

It's a journey, I seek her intercession but I also seek to emulate her. Her courage, her Faith, her steadfastness. Seriously if someone told me a sword would pierce my heart also I would be tears and searching for that contract to verify the fine print cause I don't think I signed up for the pain. Our Blessed Mother took the pain and sorrow right along with the Joy and Glory of being the mother of God.

I can just imagine her speaking to  Jesus on my behalf saying to Him similarly to when she said "They have no wine", "she has no husband", "she needs a new car" "that problem is too overwhelming". She doesn't whine or complain but simply states each request and trusts Him to do the what is best.

What is your relationship with Mary? Don't have one, why?

Visit Jen for the link-up and see what everyone else has to say.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Not Alone Series: Make-up

What are your thoughts on wearing make-up? Do you see a tension between a pressure from society and a God-given desire to be and make life beautiful? Is your use of makeup compatible with the idea that God sees you as naturally beautiful?

I don't wear make-up, at least not on a daily basis. I was a tom-boy growing up and not really into the girly stuff in my early teens. Also when I was about 8, a teacher told us a story about a woman who wore entirely too much make-up. I think a girl or two were already into it or something and she was trying to teach us a lesson on natural beauty and loving ourselves.

I've always been kind of self-conscious about how I look. Make-up made me look different to how I've always seen myself and I just wasn't comfortable with it. I may not see myself as beautiful but I was comfortable with my I looked and just being me.

I do wear make-up occasionally if I going somewhere really dressy like a wedding but I'm no expert so I just do some basic stuff. I really like my eyes and I had a friend a couple times do all that fancy colour matching and mixing stuff to highlight it but I can't really do that on my own. Make-up I believe is only to highlight and accentuate not make you beautiful. Your beauty is already there.

Sometimes I use tinted moisturiser and coloured lipgloss. I think make-up is great for a little confidence boost but it should never be so heavy that no-one can see the real you.

What are your thoughts on make-up? Do you wear a little, a lot or none at all?

Check out what everyone else had to say, visit Morgan for the link-up.