Lifestyle Change: Convent vs. COVID-19

So, it’s been almost a week since I’ve been working from home and only leaving to do necessary things like get some more groceries or take a walk outside. This COVID-19 situation is really cramping my style, that’s for sure. I’ve been reflecting on this experience and couldn’t help but remember how it felt to adjust to living in the convent. Right now, all of us are adjusting to a new way of living. We have to act differently, make different choices, listen to our government officials the best we can. A lot of our decisions don’t get to be our own and they aren’t what we would prefer. I can’t help but compare this adjustment to the adjustment I made to convent living.

Entering the convent means letting go of how you used to live your life and taking on the way of life of the community you enter, which is typically very different from the one you grew up with or would choose on your own. It requires a lot of surrender and obedience. I think the more important factor though is it requires dependence on the Lord, that He will give you the strength to get through whatever transition you are in.

While I was adjusting to convent life, I started to press into Jesus. When I was uncomfortable or upset with a way I had to live, like not being able to see my family frequently or not being able to eat the food I wanted to, I would run to Jesus and talk to Him about it. When I was bored because I was spending a lot of time cleaning and not talking to people, I would talk to Jesus and find Him there in the stairwell as I swept.

The only way I got through the transition to the convent was because I leaned into Jesus. I didn’t run from my struggles or sufferings, I pressed into them and brought them to Jesus. I didn’t avoid Him because I felt like it was His fault (although sometimes I did feel that way) I just told Him that. I left the conversation always open with the Lord, regardless of my feelings and let Him meet me there.

I think we can all learn something from my experience transitioning to the convent, to a way of life I was unfamiliar with and didn’t always like. I know I have something to learn. We can get through this transition into living with social distancing and possible quarantine by leaning into the Lord. The Lord knows this is difficult for us all and He doesn’t ask us not to feel that, He just wants to be invited into that feeling. I want to encourage you to let the Lord into your heart as you deal with this COVID-19 lifestyle change.

I’m going to practice becoming more aware of the present moment and look to find Jesus there. As I sit at my counter for the 100th time to check my work email today or have the same conversation with my roommate about when schools will be back in session, I’m going to look for Jesus, because He is there.

Know of my prayers!


Embracing Littleness

This time of year in ministry is always busy and overwhelming and challenging. All of the programs I run are beginning, I’m organizing all of my teams, and preparing all of the supplies that we need. Last year around this time, I wrote about being afraid of not having done enough – I was concerned about my weaknesses effecting my ministries.

This year I’ve been feeling similarly, but it has also looked a little different, as I know I’ve grown in the past year. The last few weeks, I’ve been feeling pretty discouraged and out of place. I started at a new parish this past July and so I’m still adjusting in a lot of ways to a new workplace. However, ministry is not new to me. I’m starting my 6th year working in some type of ministry. But no matter how much experience I have, I still feel inadequate at this time of year.

I’ve been reflecting a lot on why these feelings resurface every year at the beginning of programming. I think that a huge part of the why is because our ministries are a huge threat to the devil and his plans. What I am doing is very important to growing the Kingdom of God and the evil one does not want it to be successful. So he comes at me with as many attacks as he can, especially hitting at my weak points. I’ve come to recognize that one of my weakest points is accepting my identity in Christ, knowing that I am worthy, loved, seen, known, and qualified to do my job because of the Lord working in and through me.

As I’ve been praying and reflecting, I’ve been focusing a lot on letting the Lord remind me who I am in His eyes. He has been reminding me that I am loved and that He created me just as I am for a purpose, even with my weaknesses. I think it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking everything needs to be perfect and I need to have everything figured out in order for my ministry to be fruitful. But I think that the Lord uses our weaknesses more than anything else to bring His ministry about.

If I thought I had everything figured out on my own, I would cease to rely on the Lord. I would rely solely on my own strength and in the end I would fail to do what the Lord has asked because I would be making my ministry about me instead of Him. By being aware of my weaknesses and admitting that I don’t have it all together, I know that I have to rely on the Lord.  It is only through my weaknesses that the Lord is able to bring about exactly what He desires for me and for those I minister to and with.

What a gift to realize I don’t have to have everything figured out. The Lord can use me in my littleness to bring about great victories for His kingdom, if I just continue to rely on Him. That means waking up every day and making time to be with Him in prayer and not just for a set amount of time in the morning, but continuing to go to Him throughout the day so that He can fill in the gaps between what I am able to do and what He is able to do through me.

While these realizations don’t fully take away the doubt and struggle, they do help remind me to run to the Lord as often as I can and encourage me to keep moving forward regardless of my doubt. My plan this year is to continue to embrace my littleness and rest on the heart of the Father, trusting that He will take care of it all.

Keep Moving Forward

I’ve been thinking a lot of this post I wrote a week after my grandma passed away. My grandpa, her husband, just passed last week and we just finished up the visitation and funeral yesterday. It’s such a strange transition from the obvious mourning period to the learning how to mourn while trying to do every day things.

This time around I went to work in between my grandpa passing and the visitation and funeral so I had time to do my regular routine before now, but it still feels really weird to go back to how things were before. It feels wrong. And yet, what else is there to do? We have to keep going. We have to keep moving forward with our lives, even if it makes us sad that our loved one can’t move forward with us in the same way they did before.

I know that my grandpa hasn’t stopped living, not really, he is just living differently now. He has entered eternal life and that is a beautiful thing. But this time of separation between us and him, and my grandma, it feels heavy. This separation feels wrong – because God didn’t intend things to be this way in the beginning. This isn’t how things were supposed to be. We still have hope because of the promise of Heaven, but this in between time where some of us are on Earth and some of us are in Heaven isn’t supposed to feel okay. We were supposed to live with God eternally without any separation until the Fall of Adam and Eve. With Jesus’ sacrifice we are able to enter eternal life once more but until Jesus comes again we have this gap.

It’s hard to adjust back to living normally because this isn’t normal, for any of us. But here we are having to go back, having to continue on. I have been comforted by the fact that I know my grandpa is at peace. I have hope that I will see him, and my grandma, again in Heaven. I even experience peace because through prayer and especially at Mass I know that I am able to be close to them even now, but it still won’t be the same. I’m especially grateful for my faith in times like this because it gives me hope when everything feels wrong. God is faithful. He is with us even in difficult times when it all is a mess. He is with us and He mourns with us but He also reminds us that this isn’t forever.  There is a brighter future for all of us, when we will all live in eternal bliss, with no sadness or pain – in Heaven together. I look forward to that day, when things won’t feel as heavy, but until then I am choosing to keep fighting the good fight for what else is there to do?

Love Has Come

I don’t know about you, but Lent was pretty rough for me. I’ve been super stressed and overwhelmed and because I gave up some of my favorite coping mechanisms I had to struggle to find new outlets and ways of dealing with the hard stuff. I wasn’t too successful. I’ve been feeling far from God and deep in some darkness lately. I was afraid that even Easter wouldn’t be enough to bring me out of that place.

Image result for darkness

But then I took some time this morning to pray and was led to take some time of praise and worship. It’s been quite some time since I’ve done this on my own at home to some recorded music but I really felt the Holy Spirit leading me that way in prayer.  So I got out my speaker and put on a few songs and let the Lord work. (see the end of this post for some song recommendations)

We welcome You with praise
We welcome You with praise
Almighty God of love
Be welcomed in this place

This is the thing about Easter, we are not just celebrating Jesus rising from the dead (which is a freaking amazing miracle and a HUGE deal) but when we celebrate His rising from the dead what we are also celebrating is His immense POWER and the FREEDOM that He brings us by this incredible miracle!

The God who was and is to come
The power of the Risen One
The God who brings the dead to life
You’re the God of miracles

Jesus loves you so much that even death couldn’t keep Him from you. So whatever it is that you feel like is keeping you from God, I think He can overcome that too! NOTHING can keep Him from us and He is a miracle worker! He can do ANYTHING!

Image result for jesus risen

I often hear people talking about the time of Jesus as such a glorious time, that it would be amazing to experience Him bringing Lazarus back to life and healing the paralytic. But here is the thing, Jesus is still doing miracles every day, at least He wants to. We just have to believe in His power. He has the power, even now, because of the Holy Spirit living in each one of us, to do miracles. I’ve seen people healed from physical and emotional ailments through prayer over and over. And every Easter Vigil we witness the miracle of people coming back to life from the death of sin when new members are Baptized!

There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me

Easter is a beautiful reminder that literally NOTHING can keep Jesus from us. Not even the grave can keep Him from us. He will break through any barrier, any sickness, and disease, any sin; whatever wall we’ve put up He will break through it because He is the Victor King! Love has come! He is here. Will you let Him conquer whatever the grave in your life is?

I’m praying for you! Please pray for me!

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Jesus is Constant

Holiness = Wholeness

This is the work of becoming a saint, to be made whole. It is a messy work. It can be painful but in the end holiness is about letting the Lord make us whole, one day at a time, sometimes one moment at a time.

He isn’t afraid of our mess. He has been with us every step of the way and all He wants to do is show us His love in each of those broken moments. Only in our weakness, are we able to truly see God’s glory. It shines brightly through the cracks of our lives.

The past fews weeks have been really difficult for me. I’ve been feeling very out of control of my own life. Things have been happening that I could never have predicted. People who I thought would never let me down, did. Relationships that I thought were just beginning and growing changed and the potential I saw was lost. Even things at work have been thrown out of wack. In a lot of ways, it feels like every area of my life is inconsistent and in transition.

It can easily get overwhelming and it has gotten to that point many moments, but the other day I remembered this Truth: Jesus is constant. When everything seems like it’s spinning out of control, the one constant is that Jesus is with me and that He loves me. No matter how alone I feel, that Truth will always stand. I am not alone because my Savior is with me. And Jesus brings good out of every situation in the end, even if it doesn’t feel like He is doing anything right now.

The work of holiness is difficult. It’s messy. Bringing wholeness to something broken takes a lot of time too. It all can get really frustrating. With everything being inconsistent it comes down to two choices for me: to rely and rest in the Lord’s love and faithfulness or wallow in self pity. I’m not gonna tell you I haven’t done a little of the wallowing (or a lot, haha) , but I’m also learning to choose to focus on Jesus. The inconsistency in my friendships is forcing me to bring my struggles and pain to the Lord. This is allowing Him, little by little, to bring wholeness to those areas of my life. It’s slow and most days it doesn’t feel like anything is happening, but the Lord is faithful.

Jesus is reminding me through all of this that ultimately, He is in control, not me. The beauty of that realization is that I can be confident that He will bring good out of everything that is happening. I don’t have to try to fix everything or figure everything out. I can just choose to abide with Him and rest. He will bring wholeness out of all this brokenness that I am experiencing. It might take awhile and He might not take away the pain immediately, but He will use it all to bring me to wholeness and holiness so that I will one day be able to spend eternity with Him in Heaven. And isn’t that the goal, anyway?!

Keep fighting the good fight my friends!

I’m praying for you. Please pray for me!



He Makes Us New

Two years ago today, I was picked up from the convent which I thought would be my home for the rest of my life, by my parents who took me home for good. It was a decision that was challenging but guided by the Holy Spirit every step of the way.

The eight months I spent in the convent will forever mark an important part of my life. I often speak about my life in terms of things that happened before the convent and after the convent. It just makes sense since so much changed in those short eight months.

When I look back, I know that it was exactly where God wanted me. He taught me so much about who I am and who He is. He claimed me as His beloved daughter and taught me to live in the Truth of His love for me. He also stirred in me the desire to truly make His merciful love known in the world.

Those eight months were like an extended retreat that prepared me to truly be His light in the world. They taught me how to hear and discern the Lord’s voice and showed me how active He is in our daily lives. Our Heavenly Father so desires for us to know Him and His love for us. He desires only our good and has incredible plans in store for each of our lives.

I’ve seen the truth of this statement played out in my life over the past two years. It’s been a difficult journey but a worthwhile one, of finding my place in the world after thinking I was called out of it. I don’t know that the journey will every truly end, but I do know that I’ve been renewed once again in just this past month in my hope and trust that the Lord has not forgotten me. He continues to show me that He has beautiful and important plans for me. And every step of the way, the Lord uses the challenges to transform me.

“Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; See, I am doing something new!” Isaiah 43:18-19

When I am weak, and realize my weakness, that is truly when He is able to step in and heal. There has been a lot of discovery of realizing my own weakness but also discovering of the gifts He has given me to love and serve Him. What a gift it continues to be to watch my Heavenly Father heal me and make me new.

While my life may not look like I thought it would three years ago, I wouldn’t trade any of it! God’s plans are much better than our plans and He doesn’t let us go through anything without bringing good out of it. Sometimes I still miss those 30 beautiful women I lived with in the convent and the daily life I lived there, but I know that the Lord is doing so much good in my life and the lives of those around me now that wouldn’t have been possible if I stayed.

Little by Little

This year at the beginning of the year I prayed for the Lord to give me a theme for the year, some word or phrase that would guide me throughout the year. After much praying and pondering the Lord told me my word would be bloom. This has been something that I’ve continued to ponder and pray with throughout this year. It’s been a year of falling into things, of settling, of laying down roots so as to be able to bloom.

Something that has been popping up quite a bit in the last few weeks for me has been the concept of being little. This past week was St. Therese of Lisieux’s feast day, the patron saint of littleness. She is the queen of being little and reminds me constantly what it means to live little. Also this past week my favorite podcast, abiding together, touched on a concept of poco a poco (little by little) and then I watched a video from the CFR’s that went a little deeper into this concept of little by little.

What I realized after much pondering if that this concept of little by little fits perfectly into what the Lord has been doing in my life this past year. The concept of blooming has seemed like one event to me, like something huge was going to happen this year where I would be able to say – hey, I made it, this is the bloom. But I think what blooming is really about is taking things one day at a time. Flowers don’t bloom in a day, they need watered and taken care of each day and then eventually there are some blooms but that also happens over time. Some die and then more come. Blooming is a continual process not a one time event.

I am always looking for that quick fix, the answer to solve all the problems in the world and specifically in my life, but it just doesn’t work that way. What I’m being called to remember is that this journey to Heaven, to holiness, is a step by step, one day at a time, little by little journey. All I can do is take whatever God gives me today and do the best I can with it.

He Feeds Them All

So this week is the beginning of a new year of faith formation programming at the parish where I work. Everything starts this weekend. While I am excited to start my second year, the beginning brings with it a lot of anxiety as well. I find myself constantly wondering if I’ve done everything I need to to make sure that all the programs start on the best foot. I never quite feel like I’ve done enough.

I’ve been lamenting all of this for the last few weeks as the kickoff date has approached. Last week I met with my spiritual director and he told me to pray with the story of the loaves and the fishes, the feeding of the 5,000. As a refresher, in the story, Jesus and the disciples have been traveling and Jesus has been teaching. The crowd has been growing. It’s been awhile and everyone is hungry and needs to eat. The disciples tell Jesus to have everyone go get their own food, but Jesus tells them to feed them themselves. The disciples freak out wondering how they are going to pay to feed all of the people. Jesus just asks them what they have. The disciples come up with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish which Jesus blesses and everyone is fed.

The disciples just gave the little they had and Jesus multiplied it to feed everyone. This has been such an important reminder to me. Jesus isn’t asking me to take care of every little detail all on my own. All He asks is for me to give my very best, which often times feels like nothing, like scraps, and He will do the rest. He knows I am going to forget or miss things, but He is faithful and will take care of the messes that I make.

The Lord reminded me again today that all He asks is for me to be faithful and to give Him my weakness through this passage:

I resolved to know nothing while I was with you
except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling,
and my message and my proclamation
were not with persuasive words of wisdom,
but with a demonstration of spirit and power,
so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom
but on the power of God.

1 Corinthians 2:2-5

Ministry, and for that matter being a disciple, doesn’t have to be as complicated as we make it. It just requires us to step out in faith, trusting that God will use our weakness to show His glory. He isn’t afraid of our weaknesses and failings. He actually loves our weakness and because of it is able to show forth His glory even more powerfully then He would be able to if we were capable of doing it all on our own.

And so with these reminders, I’m going forward this week trusting that while I know I am weak, the Lord will be able to use my weakness to bring amazing results in the hearts of those I minister to and with. I will choose each day to give Him my five loaves and two fish, trusting that He will be able to feed the five thousand with my scraps.


My Dear Friends,

This is the letter I wrote for the bulletin a couple weeks ago. I figured I’d share in case you all were interested. As a reference, the readings for the weekend that I wrote this can be found here.

My Dear Friends,

The psalm this weekend is one that is often chosen for funeral masses. It brings up really comforting images of being taken care of and provided for which we equate with Heaven. It is truly a beautiful psalm that a lot of us are very familiar with and sometimes because of that don’t think about what it really says about the Lord.

As some of you may know, I spent 8 months discerning religious life while living in a convent. For me, this psalm took on a wider meaning when I entered. In the beginning, I struggled a lot with being away from my family and friends. One of the sisters suggested praying with Psalm 23 for them. She said to put my loved ones names’ into the Psalm. For example, I would pray for my sister and say “The LORD is Sara’s shepherd; she shall not want. In verdant pastures he gives Sara repose; beside restful waters he leads her; he refreshes her soul…” I would often do this for my parents or my siblings and even friends sometimes when I was really missing them or wishing I could support them better.

By praying this way, I was constantly reminded that the Lord will take care of me and the people I love. He loves my friends and family even more than I do and knows better what their needs are and how to take care of them. While I was in the convent, it was helpful to be reminded that ultimately my loved ones need Jesus more than they need me and that He doesn’t need me to take care of them. He is completely capable of doing that all on His own.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with trying to take care of everything ourselves but the Lord wants to remind each of us this week that He can and will take care of us and everyone we love. He is the Good Shepherd who gathers all of His sheep together and provides for them. We see this expressed through all of the readings this week.

In the first reading, Jeremiah is speaking for the Lord against people who were leading the Israelites away from God. Even when circumstances are not the best, the Lord brings the situation to a better end. He promises by the end of the reading that He will bring a better leader who will guide the people and bring them security. In the second reading, St. Paul talks about how Christ brings together all those who are far off and that in Jesus we find peace. We are reminded that Jesus truly is our shepherd. When we choose to follow the Good Shepherd, we can trust that things will turn out for the best in the end, even if we are “walking in the dark valley” right now.

In the Gospel, Jesus shows us how much He cares for His people, that while He was tired and exhausted and trying to go to a deserted place with His disciples, He didn’t get annoyed at the crowds who kept following Him or continue to run away. Jesus chose to keep being present and taking care of His people instead of resting. He shows us what it looks like to be the Good Shepherd and never abandon His sheep.

I want to encourage you to spend some time this week reflecting on how the Lord is the Good Shepherd in your life. If you are struggling or someone you love is, pray through Psalm 23 and place your own name or your friend or family member’s name into the prayer and let the Lord comfort you and remind you of His love and providence for you and all those you love. Whatever your week holds, know that the Lord is with you and for you!

Please pray for me as I pray for you!


The Gift of Writing

Last week I was reflecting a lot on the last month, preparing for spiritual direction. I was getting caught up in all of the troubles and struggles of the past month. I was getting stuck on all of these negative attributes of mine and finally came to realization that I had lost sight of myself. I know that the Lord created me as His beautiful beloved daughter with tons of gifts, but I was really struggling to see what those were.

So I asked Jesus to show me who I am, to reveal my gifts to me. As He always does, the Lord delivered. The week previously I had spent several days writing a letter that would be put in the bulletin at the parish where I work. Several of my coworkers made a point to stop into my office during the week to compliment me on it. I didn’t really think much of this, until Saturday, when the Lord got a little more obvious.

I was at a friend of mine’s wedding reception, chilling with some friends who I hadn’t seen in quite some time. I started a conversation with one of them and we were catching up a bit and then she started to talk about how much my blog has meant to her. I never really know what to do in those situations, when someone is very complimentary, but I tried to take in all she was saying and be gracious. As I’ve been reflecting on this conversation and the others I had last week, I’ve realized that the Lord was speaking me to me through all of those different people, and especially through this friend of mine. He was reminding me that He has given me the gift of writing.

It might seem silly to you, my lovely blog readers, to think that I forgot that the this is a gift of mine, but I really had. I’ve severely fallen behind in how often I write these blogs and had kind of let my gift fall to the wayside. It’s so easy to get caught up in life and lose track of the things that I love. While I do love writing, actually committing to a regular schedule is daunting. I rely heavily on inspiration when I write these blogs and when I don’t have anything strike me, I tend to really struggle to write. However, I feel like it is a disservice to the Lord not to use the gift that He has given me, so I want to attempt to write once a week.

I can’t promise I’ll be faithful to this promise, but I will promise to at least try. I know that I’m not perfect and that there are a lot better writers out there, but if the Lord is using me, through my writing, to speak to people, I need to keep writing. I want everything I do to speak of the Lord’s love and this is just one way that I can do that. So, until next week my dear readers, keep fighting the good fight!