Monthly Archives: August 2015

Joan Up!

Joan up meme
Yeah… I came up with a new saying… “Joan up!” It came to me yesterday as we, my fellow Secular Franciscan and I, were headed to St. Anthony’s Monastery in Kennebunk, Maine for Franciscan Day. She had gotten us new T shirts to wear… she is always buying us cool Catholic shirts to wear to events. This time she got us St. Joan of Arc T shirts.

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On the front is St Joan on her horse with her banner and on the back it says: “She who is brave is free.” Coolest shirt EVAH… They are made by the company Rangerup.com (cool site, check it out)… so Ranger up… Joan up… that’s where the idea came from~ the idea that we need to do as she did… no matter what the odds and what is before you, no matter the suffering, know that God is with you, He will give you strength… so be brave, charge right in there and DO IT!

Unfortunately tomorrow is the beginning of a new school year as a special education teacher, (unfortunate because it is still summer! I am not ready to go back!) … I think that I need to start off the year with a prayer and a plan…My goal: to BE more like St. Joan of Arc this year. To be brave and courageous… but to also… BE more Catholic and Secular Franciscan-ish…

On the way home yesterday we were talking about how sometimes the old version of us would come out when people made us angry. My friend was in the Army, so for her the inner soldier would come charging out when she was angry. I used to be a Boston Meter Maid back in the day. Let me tell you, I was one crazy…. I had a foul mouth and a fierce pit bull attitude to go with it. If someone freaked out on me for giving them a ticket I would give it right back to them. I would not back down and I let them have it. I would like to say that she is pretty much gone now, that crazy meter maid… years of Catholicity has smothered her …. but… well, it’s not true…she is still there… angry ole me, simmering, waiting for the opportunity to explode. And yeah… once in a while, when some sandpaper person pisses me off, she rears her ugly head. (It’s not pretty). I know I need to control her. I need to be more Christian, more loving, more peaceful, more kind. Because although St. Joan was a warrior, she was a Catholic first.

stJoan quote
So there is that balance … and I want to have that balance in my life. I want to be that brave woman who stands her ground, is fearless and goes for what she wants … But also I want to be the woman who is obedient to her faith and does God’s will, not her own. The woman who loves, who is kind and who fiercely, passionately, courageously does not let others trample all over her.

I feel in the past I have been the extremes. I am either too kind and I let people walk all over me, or I lose it and freak out on them. I need to find the balance between the two. I need to find my inner St. Joan. Control. I need to control myself.

So, as with all things… Probably best to start off with prayer.

Heavenly Father, please, help me to be the woman I am meant to be. Help me be courageous and go after my dreams and pursue what you have in store for me. Help me to step out in faith, knowing you are with me, assisting me along the way. Help me to take a stand when I feel others are stepping all over me and taking advantage of me. Help me to be firm, yet kind when I do not feel I am being heard or given due respect I deserve. Help me to control my temper and not say things I will regret. And most of all help me to forgive others when they wrong me. Help me Lord, to “Joan Up!” and be the brave Church Militant woman I was made to be. In Jesus’ name I pray.
Amen.

“One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.” St Joan of Arc.

st joan dares

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Filed under Brave, Catholic, Christian, courageous, Faith, prayer, Secular Franciscan, special education, St Joan of Arc

Salvation

salvation

I haven’t blogged in awhile… I meant to post this 2 months ago… but then… *sigh* … life got in the way…  I had written this Salvation “talk” for a retreat …actually it was called The Holy Spirit, the Gift of God Parish Mission of renewal back in June…  it was an awesome retreat.  …  and  for several weeks afterwards people who had been to the retreat/mission came up to me praising my courage and told me I was an inspiration.  I was quite surprised at how many people approached me about my talk. I thought, I have to post it (blog)… but I put it off. Well,  It’s funny, tonight at a Daughter’s of Isabella meeting I was thinking about blogging and thinking about posting my talk…  but feeling lazy and wishy-washy about it …again …. BUT then after the meeting a Daughter came up to me and told me she was at the retreat in June and she said I was an inspiration…. I thought, okay, okay…  I need to post it… so here it is…:

God is good. All the time …. all the time, God is good…

Wow. I never thought I would be here, doing this, saying that. If you told me 12 years ago that I would be a passionate “on fire” Catholic~ I would not have believed you. No way.

Fr. Joe already explained what salvation is in his talk. SALVATION is The forgiveness of sins and restoration of friendship with God, which can be done by God alone. My favorite bible verse about salvation is from Ephesians “For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God; Not of works that no man may glory.”
I am saved and I give all the glory to God!

Since I only have 5 minutes to tell you my “salvation” story I will quickly explain what that means to me and highlight who I was and who I am now.

I like to think of myself as a “Born again” catholic… I am a revert, meaning: I left the faith for a period of time and then came back. I grew up in a good catholic family, but like many others, I left the faith in my late teens. Being religious didn’t interest me and I wanted to do what everyone else was doing. So I and lived a very sinful secular life for over 20 years. You name it… sex, drugs, alcohol … I lived a wild crazy immoral life style… and I was even proud of being a wild woman. I thought I was the coolest chic.

So what happened? By the grace of God I am changed. That is the only way I can explain it. By His grace and because He loves me so much I am a completely new woman. The catalyst that got me here to where I am now was seeing the movie The Passion of the Christ back in 2004. I wept as I drove home from that movie. That intense movie opened a door inside me and a curiosity for my faith was set on fire… I didn’t just go back to my faith; the Holy Spirit ignited a desire inside me! Sure I went back to mass, but I was so incredibly hungry for my faith that I needed to consume as much Catholic stuff as I could.

God worked in me and in my life for over ten years getting me to here, to where I needed to be and helped me become who I am today … through mass, ministries, book clubs, retreats, bible study … I did it all… I had many Holy Spirit moments. I even felt God speak to me and push me into teaching religious ed …. Which terrified me… I had never taught anything in my life! …and now look at me! I am a special education teacher, go figure. If you had told me ten years ago that I would someday be a special education teacher I would not have believed you. That is God working in my life. That is grace! That is His love and mercy. He loved me so much he grabbed me back, set me on fire and gave me a place and purpose.

It has not been easy. Trying to be a good Catholic has been a long difficult journey. At the beginning I had a hard time being the “Jesus freak” that the Holy Spirit was calling me to be. It took me years to be really comfortable in my faith and to talk about it with others, especially non-Catholics. It was really hard to “live the gospel” in my life especially when friends and family were doing and saying things I no longer thought were appropriate. I could not laugh at crass jokes or watch certain movies anymore. I would watch 5 minutes of a rated R comedy and would have to turn it off; horrified, mostly because the old me would have loved it and would have thought it was hilarious. And it was hard to be with old friends and not get caught up in the gossip and swearing. I so easily reverted back to my old self when I was with certain people …. it was disturbing. I actually had to walk away from friendships that were bad for me and that was very difficult. But God was leading me in the right direction, cleaning up my life, and I knew that…. So I just kept following Jesus.

He changed many aspects of my life: I had a drinking problem since I was a teen… now I have been sober for almost 5 years. God literally spoke to me to get me to stop drinking.

I was militantly pro-choice. For over 20 years. Now I am adamantly pro-life and part of an abortion healing ministry called Rachel’s Vineyard.

To get my second marriage right with the church (and God) I had to go through a lengthy annulment process, which took a year. When it was over I remarried my husband in the Catholic Church and then that same year he took RCIA classes and became Catholic too. and is now a Knight (of Columbus).

Getting right with God was hard … but I got the strength from Him to do it. My favorite bible quote is “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” and I pray that often!

This long, hard, crazy journey has been so worth it. And I am still amazed that I have changed so much. Who would have thought wild, crazy me would belong to a religious order: the Secular Franciscans… One of the things I love about St Francis is that he was blown away by what God did in his life too. He also had a conversion. He said, “If God can work through me he can work through anyone” and I feel the same way.

Saint John Paul the Great said it best  “Life with Christ is a wonderful adventure.”

That is what salvation is to me. God taking me, a prodigal daughter, a wretched sinner and completely changing me, bringing me back into His friendship… and making me into who I was meant to be.
God is good….

all the time.

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Filed under born-again, Catholic, Christian, Faith, Jesus Christ, salvation, transformation