My word for the year is "renew." There are so many ways that word applies to my life from my job as a librarian, to my marriage and family, to my life as a Christian. For about the past 2 years I have been through some stuff. I have to confess that in the beginning of the trials I relied on the Lord and felt faith and confidence that I was in God's hands and everything would work out according to God's best plan for my life.
But, as time wore on and things got worse I began to think that maybe God was telling me something and I wasn't listening. Maybe my life was off track. Maybe I was supposed to make some changes because my life had become a mess. I spent a lot of time worried and crying and generally upset. All of that great Christian faith, hope and trust I had relied on all of my life didn't seem consoling to me when faced with the challenges that I was faced with. I was worn out.
I go for spiritual direction once a month. My director didn't see my life as off track. She saw challenges and she encouraged me that God was calling me to growth. Grow closer to Christ by uniting my sufferings with His on the Cross. And she prayed for me and with me. We discussed various options I might have, but she never told me what to do. We discussed that fact that even in the hard times God was expressing His infinite love for me. And I went to Reconciliation, even though sometimes I didn't want to because I didn't know what to say. But, I always found grace and mercy there in the Confessional.
Things in my life have gotten a lot better in the past weeks, maybe the past couple of months, and I am starting to feel better. I am starting to regain that confidence I had that God is with me and things will only go according to His plan for my life. I am taking on a formation role again with an upcoming women's retreat at my parish. But, I can't say that things are the same as they were two years ago before all of this started. I have grown. I have learned things about myself and others. I have much greater empathy than I ever could have before with people who are experiencing things that they have no control over.
With this new year I recognize the need to renew, to make new my faith, my trust, my hope in God. I need to renew with a new a deeper understanding of suffering and God's sacrifice and love for me and for all of us. I don't want back what I had, I want a new and deeper faith. Faith is a mystery because we can always go deeper into the mystery. As I renew my journey in faith, I will hope in Him.
Lamentations 3:22-24 "The favors of the Lord are not exhausted, his mercies are not spent. The are renewed each morning, so great is his faithfulness. My portion is the Lord, says my soul; therefore will I hope in him."
Contributed by Mary at Hope Echoes