As 2017 came to a close I was drawn to pray for a teacher who was up against the board of education at her school. Her having prayed for her students was the reason behind the meeting and the possibility of losing her job was amiss. As I read of the circumstances she was within I began to feel her pain. I too, had been a teacher who prayed for the children in my classroom. I knew it was not legal to do so but did it anyway knowing all of the while I was risking my career. I was blessed in that the district I worked in did not complain when I had a small picture of Jesus near my desk nor did they call me out when I walked the hallways blessing each room prior to the commencement of each school year. I kept my praying low key. I never initiated it aloud. I would pray in silence and often leave the lunch room to avoid the gossip and be where I could find solace. I find that now I am home more and unable to work I am drawn to prayer more and more each day. As I watch things on television and see the news etc. I hear so much negativity in all areas. One part of what we all witness is the violence in our schools. I never dreamt when I became a teacher that we would have secured entranceways and hear of shootings in the buildings. But even more so than that I never dreamt I would have to experience the negativity of life in the buildings. I did, teachers are human and it happens, Yet, in addition I was so blessed to work with teachers who were people of faith. In fact for a while we even had a morning prayer group once a week in a classroom prior to the commencement of our day. We prayed for one another. We lifted up those in need. But, more than that we were the light of God in our building. We brought his light and his love into that building and loved all children no matter their walk of life. For they, are born in his image and all perfect in his eyes.
As we enter a new year I had made a commitment to God to begin a new prayer group on Facebook to pray for our schools. God Bless our Schools will be a venue through which we can lift up our concerns and pray for those in our schools. Why the schools? Because they encase the future of our nation. Those young people are the ones who will one day be the adults that lead our nation. I dedicate myself to posting scripture on the site and ask that you join us in our endeavor. Pray daily, or as often as you can. Light a candle or sing praises to God. The more light we cast into the world the better it will be. Today, I pledge as a part of 2018 I will pray daily for our schools. Feel free to join me. God is looking for those who will serve him. It might just be you.
via Daily Prompt: Confess
Confession, to me it is much more than what it is to anyone who is a non-Catholic. As one of the Catholic faith it is about meeting with a representative of Jesus – the priest – to cleanse ones soul. As a priest, or man of the cloth, our father listens to us as a representative of Jesus to intercede and allow us to tell God all of our sins. I have to say that when I first came back to the Catholic faith from having been in the Protestant realm I thought that I really could just talk to God on my own. I had the mindset of many in that GOd hears our prayers when we talk to him and so I did not need to go to a confessional. Yet, when I went back to the confessional after many years of having been away I noted that there was a feeling unlike when I just talked to God. I was in the presence of a man of God who listened and then blessed me and absolved my sins. So often as a Protestant I confess and re-confessed my sins hoping that they were resolved. Yet, here I knew for a fact that God had heard them. I also knew what to do for my penance whether it be saying a prayer or doing an act of contrition. I know that this post is different than the others I tend to write, but it is my faith that has sustained me in times of the accident etc. I rely on God for so many things. I confess to you that I am not one to tell anyone what faith is for them. Yet, I know that confession is an element of the Catholic faith that I believe in. It is for me. Is it for you?
This is a picture that I took of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. This shot is primarily focused on the men’s side of the prayer area. There are head coverings available to borrow in this area. The women pray in the area to the right. Both have areas where you wash your hands as you enter. Inside you may pray near the wall and place prayer requests onto small pieces of paper that you have folded up. It is amazing to see the amount of prayers placed here in this sacred spot. HUGZ2all God bless
via Daily Prompt: Immerse
Immersion has more than one definition. One definition is to involve oneself deeply in a particular activity or interest. Another is to dip or submerge in a liquid. Odd how in faith we may have done both.
Baptism is an example of immersion in some faiths. I have been lucky enough to have been submerged by a man of God at the River Jordan as others witnessed my cleansing. That was something that took but a few minutes yet meant so much to my walk of faith. But, I dare say, that was the easy part of immersion in my walk with faith. The other definition, the one that involves going deeply into an interest is much harder.
Immersion, that daily walk with my faith is something I do okay at some days and not so well on other days. The ability to walk with Christ daily seems to be a challenge as there are other things that seem to get in the way. Our modern world offers up so many things that entertain us and keep us busy. Television and radio are two of them. Having heard sermon after sermon on how we spend more time with both of these things than with God I began to realize that I had what some may call false Gods in my life. So, I began to change how I viewed media. I began to seek ways to shift from the cultural influences on both to the spiritual ones. I now watch and listen to Christian channels more than I ever had. I have even discovered a Jewish channel and have found programs out of Israel that show places I had visited while there as well as new locations. I am now able to immerse myself in things of faith daily. It is not a perfect answer but it is a start.
Immersing myself into a prayerful life is another area wherein I have found small ways to make a difference in my daily walk. I now pray while in the car, while I sew, or when I walk out to get the mail. I have found that my mind is becoming better at flipping into prayer in my mind than it had before. Immersing myself in prayer helps me to obtain the goal of praying unceasingly. I may never master this, but I am making an effort and am seeing progress. I know God sees it as well.
Immersion has more than one definition and if you attempt to follow it faithfully it has more than one challenge in your life. Look for the little things that you can change in order to walk with him more closely. Immerse yourself in his word and listen when he speaks to you. He will help you. HUGZ. God bless.
via Daily Prompt: Nervous
Nervous, so nervous. I had just overheard the doctor telling my family that I should be getting better by now. I had been on an IV diet for a week with no food or water and yet the pain remained. I began to think about so many things and my nerves were about shot. I could not get out of bed to take care of things that I felt I needed to do. I did not even have a cell phone to call those I loved to talk to them. All I could think of was how I wanted to be there to one day meet my sons’ loved ones and my possible grandchildren. I wanted to live!
Then an odd thing happened. I was asleep and soon realized that I was floating above my body. I could actually see my form laying on the bed below me. Next, I realized that I had no pain! There was no pain at all! I began trying different things. I thought maybe I could fly out of the room and down the hall to see other things. I had been in that room for a long time. I tried but in that moment I went elsewhere. I was back in the house I lived in as a small child. I could smell what was cooking in the kitchen, I could hear my mother’s voice and see my brother next to me watching the television. It was as if I had time traveled back in time to that location and then was whisked to another place and time with my brother. Each new place was experienced by all of my senses. Yet, I had no pain and I did not feel ill at all. Those episodes lasted for a while until I was taken to a place where there was a valley with a lake. There were large hills behind it. Here I was met by something like a receiving line of people who had passed away. They were mostly people from my husband’s side of the family. One had on overalls and had a tool in his hand. He had loved to work on cars in his lifetime. Another one had a cow near him. He had been a farmer and had one cow he kept as a pet until it died of old age. I looked at them and they seemed to see me but we never approached one another.
It was then that I moved into the next part of the experience. I felt a love so pure that I cannot even tell you how it felt. The only thing ever close to it in this life was when I held my newborn sons and looked into their eyes for the first time ever. That pure love is one I will never forget. This was followed by a brief conversation about if I wanted to stay. I relayed to the one I was speaking with that I wanted to stay with my family. I didn’t feel it was my time yet. My husband had just lost his father and now I was so ill and possibly dying myself. How would he deal with all of that? Finally, I felt as I was going back.
In a flash I was back in my room hovering over my body. Then, I fell back into the form on my bed and the pain, the anguish of my illness returned. I lay there trying to figure out what had just transpired as a nurse walked into the room.
Here I am now years later and I look back on that time in my life from time to time. I want you to know that I have seen that valley since then. I was at the funeral of my husband’s uncle in Southern Ohio and when we pulled into the cemetery I looked to the right and saw the hills and the valley. I about leaped out of the car right then and there. I listened to the prayers but all the while I was reading the names on the tombstones in the area. After the ceremony I talked to my spouse and he took me around the cemetery and walked with me to view the valley. This cemetery had so many from his heritage buried there. I had never seen that valley before that day, but it is forever engraved in my mind’s eye.
I am no longer nervous about dying. I know now that I will be in a place filled with a love so pure that I look forward to it. I want to be there one day with my family and loved ones. I want to see that valley and run into the arms of the grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, and best friends and most of all our children lost in this life. Back then, I was so nervous about dying. But now I am so blessed as those nerves have been washed away and I am calm. Calm and blessed, what more could I ask for?
HUGZ2all God bless!
via Daily Prompt: Ruminate
Think on this. Meditate on it. Devour it. Dissect it. Ruminate on each word and then you shall see the true meaning of the Lord’s Prayer revealed to you.
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer was the response to the question posed to Jesus as to how shall we pray? If you travel to Jerusalem and go up onto the Mount of Olives you can visit the gardens where this took place. You can also see this simple prayer translated into all of the languages of the world. We took pictures of many of them and were amazed to think of all of the people who pray these words in their own tongue. (The one above is in Creole, one of the languages spoken in Haiti) This simple prayer is one prayed by the masses but how often is it prayed in rote? How often is it prayed without even thinking about the meaning of the words or why Jesus asked us to pray in this manner?
Today and in days to come I ask you to look once again at this prayer Jesus asked us to pray. I am not here to tell you what it means but just as one asking you to visit it again and to look at what it teaches you today. God gave you these words for a reason. Ruminate on what that reason is. You will be enlightened.
God bless you. HUGZ2all