When We Need Grace

* I originally had this post on grace and forgiveness stemmed from the aftermath of a (ridiculous) 6 month sentence of a rapist. Through my own experiences of sexual assault and my road to daily strength and trust in the Lord; but this will come at another time. For now I dedicate this to the victims in Orlando and the survivors.

I’ve had a recurring theme the last week – Grace. Every day I’ve had it either whispered through prayer, outwardly spoken with friends/colleagues, or just pop up on social media feeds in beautifully filtered images.

In 2016, I would love to say, “no words,” in a social media post with an image of a rainbow flag. But that just isn’t right and would be a lie. I do have words; there are a lot. There are words of anger, those of fear, then those of love. Yes, love. My words for comfort just aren’t mine, they’re those of the Lord’s. Even when the pain hurts and is unbearable where you can’t breathe – He is there and will comfort.

Just so, your light must shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds
and glorify your heavenly Father.

A few years ago I got into a heated discussion on social media with a woman who went to church with me and even was part of a mommy group I was a member of all over one thing – GLBTQ issues. She even went so far as to question my piety (fantastic!). So here we go again –

My best friend is a gay man. Yes, he knows he’s gay. Before you think I’m going around and parading my gay friend, I’m not. I have scores of gay friends, we all do and don’t deny it if you’re an angry person. But my gay friend is also my best friend and he teamed up with an intern (who *shockhorror* is trans) I worked with in 2008 to scheme and get my now husband and I to stop fighting and go on a date. Because of this scheme, I now have my amazing husband and two wonderful children. My best friend is also a Catholic. He is my brother in Christ. He is someone I read Scripture with. He is someone I joke around with. He is someone I pray with even though he’s half the country away. When people of our catholic (little c intended) church ask why I love my best friend so much it’s because he is who he is and he’s an amazing person. He is who He is, just as I am who I am. We are reminded daily that only Jesus is our judge.

Pope Francis has been an amazing shepherd into the lives of our GLBTQ brothers and sisters. Who am I to judge? We need to do more to open our hearts, souls, homes to people who are different in all aspects of who we are. We must do this in order to grow as a society. We must do this to show that terrorism cannot win and survive in our loving society.

My heart and prayers are with our Muslim Brothers and Sisters as they celebrate Ramadan and know in their heart of hearts that this is not Islam. It’s not, don’t fool yourself if you think this is the face of Islam. This is something that has been bastardized by hate.

Go with Grace. Go with Love. Go with Hope.

And should you have any more questions why I’m an ally 

See ya later cute exercise skirt and random never used items (Chapter 2)

That emoji up there, that’s what I felt as I read the first subtitle of Chapter 2 which summed up as:

You are angry with your family because you can’t learn to get rid of those heels you’ll never squeeze your feet in.

 

Ok KonMari, I see you and where you’re coming at. Yes, I may have thrown a crazy Mommy Dearest tirade every now and then. Yes I’ve gone a little berserk because it seems like I have a never ending pile of mail that I’ll never get to or as I currently sit at my beautiful office in San Antonio, TX I have a file currently on the floor next to a bottle of water that hasn’t been touched in 3 months and a coffee cup that I can’t remember the last time I filled that sucker up. No big deal, right? Well, not if you’re trying to achieve Nirvana of some existential sort, even for 5 minutes. I.Am.A.Hoarder. There. I said it. You can even hashtag that statement. #IAmAHoarder of… of everything. Of makeup that I’ll never use, of clothes I bought because I was pressured into buying it at the magical age of 31. Of mail that I need to throw away from a year ago.

 

You get it, I need help or why else would I have picked up the book? Something else she points out to those of us desperate in need.

 

Before you decide to go gung-ho and go room by room she stops you, dead in your tracks. Absolutely not! There’s a method or it wouldn’t be HER KonMari Method. Don’t go room by room, go category by category. She backs it up even further. What’s your why? Really dig down deep, WHY do you want this uncluttered life? WHY do you want to have this?

 

So what’s your why? Mine is so I can get a step closer to being a more diligent member of society without wondering where my book is or my coffee cup went for the millionth time.

Tidying Up – Chapter 1 – The saga begins

“Does it spark joy?” Four little words packing so much punch that it has revolutionized a way to tidy up. I’m a bit of a self help/personal development junkie. Needless to say, I have a good forty books left untouched in my house that have been piling up because I saw them being highlighted on Instagram or Facebook by some of my favorite people.

 

I set a goal for 2016 that it will be a great year where I read 16 books. How am I doing on that goal? Not even close I hate to admit. I have had Mari Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up hanging out under a stack of parenting and leadership books when I said enough was enough while looking at a pile (mountain) of toys and mailers.

 

The first chapter of the book was way more personal than I ever envisioned an organizing book to be. It almost knocks you to your core when you flip through the pages and see, “The work involved can be broadly divided into two kinds: deciding whether or not to dispose of something and deciding where to put it.” The last few years I’ve been pruning my sphere of influence. I’ve been blessed to realize that we are truly the engineers of our daily schedules and lives; whom and what we choose to put in it is up to us. No one else. This goes for the same as clutter (items). Cluttered house, cluttered mind. You don’t NEED 50 pairs of shoes that are worn out and don’t make you feel like the fierce fashionista that you are just as you don’t NEED that person that wears you down and you dread having to be around.

 

Do you remember that moment you realized you restarted your life? I do. It was in September when my son busted his mouth after mommy was spending her time dealing with someone that she really didn’t want to deal with on the phone. Life hands you clues when you need to slow down. Life hands you clues when the clutter gets to much. God knows what you need, now do you? Kondo goes on to say that we have an urge to distract us to “clean our rooms when dealing with a test (mental or literal and I’m completely paraphrasing here). It occurs because they need to put ‘something else’ in order. Their brain is actually clamoring to study, but when it notices the cluttered space, the focus switches to ‘I need to clean up my room.’”

 

Don’t allow your messy room to equal a messy mind. Take hold of yourselves. She then throws in some real Zen-like stuff, “when your room is clean and uncluttered, you have no choice but to examine your inner state.” Woah. Woah.

 

Stay tuned for next week’s recap of Chapter 2. Until then – tomorrow is your Faith Friday moment. I’m not a Saint… but I can try to be like one.