|Courtney holding her “special” rosary.|
Recently I wrote a post about the phenomenal book “Choosing to SEE” by Mary Beth Chapman in which she reveals her personal journey with Christ both before and after she lost her five-year-old daughter Maria in a terrible accident. Over and over again I was moved throughout the book to really question how I choose to SEE God’s plan and provision in my daily life.
The one quote that has stayed with me these past few weeks is:
“I have found that even during those times when the path is darkest, He leaves little bits of evidence all along the way – bread crumbs of grace – that can give me what I need to take the next step. But if I can only choose to SEE.”
Bread crumbs of grace…
Last week our parish had the great honor of hosting Father Larry Richard from Erie, PA for our four day mission. Each evening my family and I would gather in the sanctuary and listen with great anticipation to this phenomenal preacher. Each night built on the one before.
First we discussed prayer as that important conversation with God. “Bible before breakfast and before bed” Fr Larry advised. B & B baby! Best advice I have heard in a long time.
The second night was all about family. I will write a separate post on this one because it was so profound.
Today I wanted to share with you what God placed on my heart the third night about the Passion of the Lord and His redeeming love for us. There were so many bread crumbs of grace I lost count.
Father started the evening by going through the events of the Passion. The abandonment Jesus felt in the Garden when even His closest friends slept instead of praying with Him in His hour of need. He asked us to think if we ever feel as abandoned as Jesus did?
My heart skipped a beat. Oh yes,I thought. There are so many times I feel like I am standing alone in the middle of nowhere and for miles there isn’t a soul to be found, no one to encourage me or hold me up. I am the only one who is experiencing these things. This is all I can SEE at that moment. Isolation, loneliness, persecution. No one else could possibly understand what’s happening in my heart at that moment, right?
Wrong…Jesus felt all of that and more. He felt alone and desperate. He begged God to take this suffering and agony away from Him. Yet in the end He submitted himself to God’s authority, offered up His suffering to His Father and said “Not my will but yours be done.”
My bread crumb of grace…Do I do that? In those darkest moments do I submit to my Lord and my King every feeling of loneliness and isolation? Do I offer up every single fear as a gift given in good faith and trust that God will not abandon me in my hour of need?
I must choose to SEE His authority over me and trust in His plan. He gives me everything I need in the Eucharist and the Holy Scriptures to know how He loves me. Even in the knowing it’s easier said than done believe me.
As Father continued describing everything Jesus went through he stopped at one point and spent a significant amount of time talking about the scourging. He said each and every time we sin that’s what we are doing. We are whipping Our Lord and denigrating Him. If that wasn’t compelling enough, Father continued speaking about how difficult things were physically and emotionally for Our Lord.
You could hear a pin drop in that church. It was powerful. Finally Father arrived at the part of the Passion where Jesus us hanging on the cross. He was describing how difficult it was for Jesus to breathe and how He would gasp and struggle as He hung there in pure agony for ME.
I grasped my husbands hand as tears began to fall. All I saw before me was my beautiful daughter every time she has a seizure. She struggles and gasps for each and every breath struggling against the seizure that racks her body one wave after another.
My bread crumb of grace…the complete understanding that at that moment my daughters cross is My Lords cross. She embraces HIM completely and totally living her own Calvary right before my eyes. She honors God and His plan for her each time a seizure comes. She lives her own Passion. Jesus is present in those moments. Nothing else matter but taking that one breath.
I was stunned with that vision, Stunned! What followed made me weep.
Father continued the story describing Mary the Mother of God and how she never left her boys side the entire time. She was there when He took his first breath, she would be there for His last. After He had given His all for me and my sin, He was removed from the cross and placed in His mothers arms. She held Him and rocked Him. Mary kissed Him and talked to Him telling Him how much she loved Him and how proud she was of Him. I saw it all right in front of me.
When my Courtney is having a seizure, I am right there with her. I do not leave her side. I rock her, I hold her, I tell her how much I love her. I pray, calling out to God the Father to make it stop. I beg to have this cup pass from us. In the end, I let her go placing her in the arms of the Father. I ask Jesus to be gentle with my girl with whatever He needs to do at that moment. His will, not mine.
I see His Mother stoking His hair that horrible day kissing her boy;
“Shhhh, it’s OK. Momma’s here. I am right here. Your not alone. No reason to be scared. Momma’s right here. I love you my sweet girl. I love you so much.”
The images were so vivid for me. They slammed into my heart the fact that at that moment as I hold my daughter as she embraces her cross. Our Blessed Lady holds me and says “Shhhh, it’s OK. Momma’s here. I am right here. Your not alone. No reason to be scared. Momma’s right here. I love you my sweet girl. I love you so much.”
That’s not a bread crumb of grace…that’s the whole loaf BUT only if I choose to SEE it that way.
Only if I stay open to the grace and mercy that God has for me and my daughter in that moment. Only if I choose to see His healing hands upon her, his mother’s loving arms around her. Only if I chose to see the honor He has given me to walk with this child through this world. Only if I lay her at the foot of the cross and give her back to My Savior who trusted me with her.
He gave His life for me. For you. He only had ONE life to give and He chose to SEE me&you and honor me&you with his dying breath. He chose to give that ONE life for me&you.
What more can I ask of Him?
He gave it ALL.
So as I change the diapers of my eighteen year old,survive another night of seizures and no sleep, make another batch of formula for her G-tube, sew another bib or pair of pants to fit over that diaper, I give my life for His child.
As I serve my parish by volunteering, answering the different needs of my community or tithe from my principle not my excess, I give my life for His church.
As I cook, clean and keep my home for my husband, pray for and listen to my friends worries and needs and face each day no matter what comes my way, I give my life for those I love.
ONLY if I choose to SEE it that way. Other wise these things are drudgery and at times plain misery.
My bread crumb of grace…I have only one life to give away.
In doing so, one day at a time, one act at a time, I honor the most precious gift that Jesus ever gave me.
His Redeeming Love.
I choose to SEE it that way. Do you SEE those bread crumbs of grace in your daily life?
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