Browsing Tag

adoration

Uncategorized

How I Got My Prayer Life Back

October 12, 2015

Some of you joined us for this post in which I described the utter obliteration of my prayer life this past year.

Don’t get me wrong – I wanted to have a consistent prayer life but, “The spirit is willing and the flesh is weak.” My chronically sleep deprived body decided to make that it’s rally cry whenever I attempted to pray. Instead of praying, this ole bag o’ bones insisted on daily naps and Netflixing when it stole a few quite moments alone…

Surprised, right?

Due to dropping my time to connect with Jesus each day, I stayed not only physically exhausted but mentally and spiritually as well. The joy faded from my eyes and I felt empty and bored. I lost my sense of purpose and nothing seemed to make sense anymore.

It was time for a change.

Thankfully around the time I was already feeling convicted about reestablishing daily time with God, I met with a wonderful priest for spiritual direction. If you haven’t heard of that before, think of someone listening to you and then asking questions/providing spiritual guidance on how to move forward towards the Lord. Its great.

Well this particular priest is a good friend of mine and while he’s kind and gentle, he can also shoot it straight. I needed the latter and he definitely brought it that day.

We were talking about how some moms simply adopt the vague idea that, “Their day is a prayer.” That they just pray as they go about changing diapers and folding clothes instead of carving out alone time with Jesus since they don’t have time.

He said that notion was, “Bull@*$#!” That everyone, including busy moms, need set apart time for personal prayer each day. Yes, those other ways are prayer too but nothing can substitute that alone time with God.

#spirituldropkick

I agreed wholeheartedly and felt reinvigorated…but also scared. What if I failed at prayer? What if I forgot how to talk with God? What if my attention span is 17 seconds long and I get distracted or worse, bored?

With our conversation behind me and a few practical tips on how to get prayer back into my day, I made plans to change my schedule.

I am happy to say that I am now a few months into my new routine with prayer and it’s been going really well. I don’t share this to toot my own horn. Quite the opposite really, since it only shows how weak I have been this past year. I want to share with you all what’s been helping me in case it might help YOU!

Online Adoration

Everyday during Josie’s first nap of the day, I hunker down in my home office and pull up Jesus via online adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. A couple websites I have used are here and here. Physically seeing Our Lord in this way changes the feel in the room, my attitude, and commands my attention. It’s also cool to see others praying the chapel at the same time. I don’t feel alone in my efforts.

Reading Scripture

After just chatting with Jesus for a few minutes and preparing myself to receive grace, I dive into reading the bible. Sometimes I read through certain books. Other times I have followed along with the daily mass readings, since you cycle through most of the bible every three years doing this. This is usually the bulk of my time with God as I ponder over his words and try to listen to how he’s using them to speak to me in the present moment.

Spiritual Reading

I am currently reading Time For God by Jacques Phillipe and it’s rocking my socks off. Basically anything by this guy is pretty darn awesome. This is the time I’ve got set aside to read from various authors and/or saints.

The Rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet

I usually do the above prayer time altogether. Later on during the day, I would still like to intentionally mull over spiritual truths so I try and pray the rosary or divine mercy chaplet. Typically I pray these while I am walking my two babies – Josie and Wrigley. I use an app on my iphone to keep on track and focused. Yea, it’s the lazy man’s way to pray them but hey, at least it’s happening.

Daily Mass

I’ve been attempting to attend daily Mass once per week in addition to Sunday. When we’ve been traveling, we enlist the help of Masstimes.org. It’s been a challenge since Miss Josie is busier than ever and wants to eat all the pew books and crawl around but the blessings of being at Mass outweigh the difficulties. It also provides me with an extra dose of social interaction as I get to chat with others after mass too.

Intercessory Prayer

Jonathan and I have been trying to incorporate prayer as a couple together each day. It’s becoming part of our bedtime ritual to ask the other how their day went and to pray over the big things that happened – worries, joys, fears, opportunities, etc. This has kept us communicating about the big themes of each day and uniting our marriage together with God in prayer.

And that’s what’s changed in my prayer life over the past 8 weeks or so. It’s brought back so much life to my soul and I can feel the old zest and passion returning. Again, I share these things not to say, “This is the exact way to pray.” I offer it to spark inspiration and encourage you to make prayer more part of your day if it’s not already.

I would love feedback on how any of these resources help or encourage you!

Adoption, Catholicism

God Spoke to Me and I Didn’t Believe Him

January 3, 2015

This story has been more or less kept to myself this past year.

It’s quite humbling, as it reveals my lack of faith or hope in God’s providence and His faithfulness despite my shortcomings. All the more reason I need to share it.

But there is a back story…that started 10 years ago. So come with me down memory lane and we will then find ourselves back at the story I need to tell you today….

January 2005 – FOCUS National Conference in Denver, CO

As a Sophomore in college, I accidentally ended up on the FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) National Conference last minute due to someone else cancelling the night before. I knew two people going and was super nervous I would have a horrible weekend.

I was away from the Catholic faith at the time, since I was exploring with non-denominational ministries in the local area.

Until this conference.

There is way too much detail involved to share why this conference was a game changer in my faith but I am going to highlight the pivotal moment…

The Eucharist.

Don’t ask me how but I never really knew the Catholic Church taught that communion was ACTUALLY Jesus’ body, blood, soul, and divinity contained within bread.

Whoa.

I remember learning that’s what the church taught…then I wandered into this thing called Eucharistic Adoration. I prayed a simple prayer:

Jesus, if it’s REALLY you, I need to know. Like now. Because if it IS you, I have to be Catholic. If it’s NOT you, I need to stand up and yell “HERETICS!” and try to get as many people to leave the room with me as I can.

Ten years later I still can’t tell you what exactly happened in the moments that followed that prayer.

If I had spiritual goggles on, I predict I would have seen Jesus punching me in the stomach since I ended up on the floor. I was unable to handle the rush of His presence that hit me all at once. I was crying uncontrollably (which is so NOT like me, especially in public) and I recall hearing a non-audible voice say “It’s really me.” Then I was filled with the most peace I’ve ever known in my entire life and I knew I had to be Catholic.

How could I go anywhere but where Jesus was in the Eucharist? I couldn’t

That  moment was etched into my soul and I can’t erase it…even a decade later. I came back to the Catholic faith after that conference and haven’t left since.

In fact, FOCUS has had a conference every January since that first one…and I attended every single year. Call me crazy but every time I went to Eucharistic adoration at conference, God would speak to me in a very clear and specific way to provide insight, peace, or whatever I really needed to hear at the time. Sure, I felt like God spoke other times during the year but whatever was said in that January adoration at the FOCUS conferences was special.

It was like an anniversary gift.

January 2014 – FOCUS Student Leadership Summit in Dallas, TX

Another January (nine years later).

Another FOCUS conference.

Another Eucharistic adoration.

I was riding the struggle bus big time.

Infertility was hitting me hard. It was about that time that I did the Infertility Blog Series over at Hallelujah is My Song (Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four). While it felt great to finally go public with our infertility battles, it was tremendously difficult. We were becoming the poster couple for infertility.

Ugh.

Needless to say, my mood was pretty somber and depressed at the FOCUS Student Leadership Summit.

That’s when weird things began to happen.

The day that Eucharistic adoration was going to occur, a couple asked us to have coffee with them. It was mostly work related but then they proceeded to tell us their entire adoption story involving their two kiddos. It was a breath of fresh air and left me with a new bounce in my step.

That afternoon Jonathan and I were really busy so we agreed to meet up for dinner to discuss adoption that evening.

We met for an Italian meal and while we began discussing adoption and if we wanted to go down that path, another family walked in and sat at the table across from us…with their son who came to them via the gift of adoption.

It’s not like there are very many adoptive families in FOCUS. This was all happening because God was up to something and I knew it.

Our dinner conversation went well and we agreed that in 2014 we would get the ball rolling on our adoption journey. We went our separate ways and planned to meet up later that evening.

A few hours later I arrived at adoration. I found my seat and was ready for whatever special grace God wanted to give me this year on our anniversary. Maybe it would be a moment of peace about infertility. Or a sense of conviction that He hadn’t forgotten about us.

Something.

Anything.

I was ready.

And then it came. I inaudibly heard clear as day, “By this time in adoration next year, you will be a mother.”

WHAT?!?!?!

My heart began to pound and I was overcome with emotion. I waffled back and forth – was this just my own mind making it up or was God actually speaking to me?!?!

I cried, hoping against hope that it wasn’t simply my desperation fueling what I heard in prayer.

On one hand, I knew it was God speaking to me. On the other, I was nervous to admit it to anyone…even to Jonathan or any spiritual director. I didn’t want to look like a fool just in case God’s promise to me was a puff of smoke made up by an emotional infertile woman.

I didn’t tell a single soul because I was afraid.

But then everything started happening this summer.

It looked like a stronger and stronger possibility that we would adopt in 2014. Could God’s promise to me have ACTUALLY been real? I decided to tell Jonathan and he could hardly believe I’d kept that secret to myself. And that I had spent the better part of a year stewing over if it was just me or if God actually made a promise to me instead of simply trusting.

January 2015 – FOCUS SEEK Conference in Nashville, TN

Tonight, Saturday January 3, 2015 I plan to hunker down in adoration. It will be my 10 year anniversary with Jesus and I will have Josephine Rose Teixeira in tow.

His promise was real. It wasn’t simply a mind game I played on myself.

I am a mother and I am forever grateful to God for this gift and opportunity.

I will likely spend some time crying before the Lord for the ways I doubted his promise this year. I had such little faith that He could change our situation…but He did it and in a mind blowing way.

Not only did it happen super fast but we fundraised nearly the entire cost.  We’ve had hundreds of cheer leaders along for the ride. I am still processing what the heck happened in the past five months.

It’s literally been a whirlwind of a story only God himself could write. We are blessed to be along for the ride and can’t wait to see how our family grows as the years go by.

Thanks for tagging along as I share this story and GIVE ALL GLORY TO GOD!!!