This is the third in a series of emails that I recently sent out to my support system. You can find the first one, as well as a little intro to this series, here.
Praised be Jesus Christ!
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you’ve all enjoyed day 2 of Thanksgiving leftovers! 🙂 Here’s a quick update on how things are going here on the home front:
My trip was great! Thank you so much for your prayers. It was just the time of rest and strengthening that I needed. I spent time each day praying through my list of fears – letting myself feel the fear, then changing the negative self-fulfilling prophecy into the prophecy of God’s Word: “I sought the Lord and He answered me, delivered me from all my fears.” (Ps. 34:5). As I prayed that verse for each one, I tried to imagine in detail how I would act in each of those situations if I wasn’t afraid. After 5 days, I could feel my fear already starting to shrink. Praise the Lord! The process takes kind of a long time (especially for me – easily distracted!), so I’ve been trying to experiment and see what the best way will be to continue doing some form of this each day here at home.
My dad picked me up at the airport on Wednesday and we had a really nice, authentic conversation – nothing deep or personal, but real. Baby steps!
This Advent, I’m going to prepare for the coming of Christ by making an intentional effort to have (at least) one no-fear conversation with my parents (both of them, either together or separately) each day. In case any of you want to join me in facing the fear-giants in your own lives or want to share this idea with someone else you know, here are my parameters:
1. Content – everything I say has to be a true reflection of who I am, what I really think, how I actually feel. No hiding or pretending. It doesn’t have to be a reflection of anything particularly deep about me, but it has to be the truth. (Thank you Sr. Faustina for giving me this insight!)
2. Tone – This is a hard one in our family!! In order to really face my fears though, I have to work on using an authentic tone of voice – not sarcastic or comedic, unless I’m actually trying to make a joke for a non-fear-induced reason.
3. Reciprocity – In each of my daily conversations, I’m going to try to be mindful of making sure the conversation goes both ways. I want to give my parents a chance to be interested in me (or not) by revealing my true self to them, but I’m also going to be intentional about taking an interest in them, their interests, needs, and wellbeing.
In the midst of all of this, the Lord is reminding me that this is ultimately His work, not mine. I was blessed to hear Fr. Jaques Philippe speak today and one of the things he said that really stuck with me is, “Christian prayer is not a worried kind of prayer. It is the prayer of children, the prayer of surrender.” He talked about how we need never lose our peace because as Christians, we are certain of victory. There is no question as to whether complete transformation and restoration will come or not, no need to fear that perhaps all our effort will turn out to be in vain – it is only a matter of time before every tear is wiped away from our eyes and we will see Him as He is.
As we enter into this holy season of Advent, let us look forward with expectancy to see the birth of Christ in the lowly stables of our own hearts and homes. Please keep me in your prayers during these weeks, and know that I will be keeping you in mine.