Have you ever had a moment where a word or a sentence jumps out at you - as if it separates itself from all the other words, like within an echo, and you just know they are words meant specifically for you? This happened to me two Sundays ago, in Church. Words I had heard a thousand times, somehow sounded brand new. The priest said the words of consecration (Jesus' words at the last supper), "this is My Body, given up for you" and it was as if time stopped. These words were louder than all the other words in the Mass. And I knew they came to me on the almighty breath of the Holy Spirit. But I had no idea why. Why these specific words? What was God trying to tell me?
Oh, I would soon find out. The Lord was giving me a holy "heads up," a pre-game pep talk. They came to me so powerfully because apparently they would need to stick with me for awhile.
After that Sunday, my week started to get a little rough. I can't describe everything that happened, but here's just a couple things that set me off: Something I had been planning got cancelled (this would be the billionth time something of mine got cancelled because it didn't fit my family's schedule.) I didn't have time for a shower - for over two days, not kidding (and when I finally took one it was cold because someone used all the hot water, and my teenagers took my razor and toiletries and makeup...but that's besides the point). Also my little ones woke up waaay too early both days and so that also ruined my quiet/prayer time. My teenagers "borrowed" my headphones so I couldn't even turn on cartoons for the littles and pray quietly with headphones. I had several work snafus and therefore worked late. And my 3 year old needed to talk to me every single time I peed. Every. Time. Without fail. No private peeing.
I know, these are minuscule. They are nothing, really, in the grand scheme of life. But collectively, at the time, they were oh so very very frustrating.
I felt as though I had zero time to myself. ZERO. I felt as though I was the bottom of the barrel in this house. I was a mess - unorganized, unshowered and unable to do anything, ever. The "keeper of the schedule" didn't get a day on the calendar.... or apparently even a minute to sit... unless I was sitting in my office working, smelling my own BO while the kids dump legos everywhere and color on my spreadsheets. Or unless I was sitting behind the wheel of my minivan like a dirty taxi driver, shuffling little rockstars to and from their many activities while they fight over who gets to DJ.
I was a 41 year old adult woman who couldn't pee, shower, wear makeup, or leave the house by herself. I was a joke. A wannabe grownup.
These were the thoughts of injustice that festered in my mind. Naturally, the longer I catered to them and coaxed them, the more they began to emit an odor of bitterness. (And FYI: bitterness and BO is not a flattering blend.)
Anyway, on the third day, those powerful words from Mass came back to me. "This is My Body, given up for you." It was a humbling moment, realizing what a baby I am. Realizing exactly what Jesus did for me, and what I was unable to do for those He gave me.
I'm fairly certain Jesus didn't get a shower along his way to Calvary. Pretty sure, after sweating blood from anxiety, being scourged, and crowned with thorns, he too had BO. But no bitterness. He embraced His Cross. I resented mine.
The truth is, I had been praying for God to help me become a saint... to become more like Him. To increase in holiness. And in Mass that day He told me, loud and clear, what I needed to do to accomplish this. He gave His body - His blood, sweat, tears, work, pain, struggles - for me. Now I needed to give Him mine, through those He gave me.
But I had been looking for big things to do for Him. I forgot that sainthood is earned in the little things... in the baby steps along the road of life. Holiness comes from embracing the cross your given, for love of someone else. It comes from a life lived outward, focused on others. But I was living those few days inward, focused on self... and not surprisingly, going backwards, away from holiness.
If we want to be close to Jesus, we need to walk with Him... along the way of self sacrifice. Which isn't always through big heroic acts. Sometimes sacrifice comes in the form of showers or privacy. Sometimes it's feeling like you're "less" (or the bottom of the barrel) when actually, you're becoming more.
When those words came back to me, I began to speak them out loud in my frustration. When my kids needed something at horribly inopportune times, I said out loud, "This is my body, given up for you." And friends, it's been life changing. Life. Changing.
The Word of God is living... and so this has allowed me to speak life into situations that were previously sucking the life out of me. It's allowed me to rise above situations, and see things from God's point of view instead of my own.
It's allowed me to see how very little it is that I do. But how much it's worth when it's given freely. It's allowed me to see how weak I really am, but how strong I can become with His grace.
I wasn't going to write about this (because it's quite humbling to say the very least) but it's also quite important. Some of you are struggling in certain areas of your life, and you're growing bitter too, like I was. You're frustrated because things aren't going your way. You're mad about the injustice done to you. You don't understand why things aren't changing. It's all culminating and taking over your heart.
But, Friend, listen to the word of God, which He uttered from the depths of love... "This is my body, given up for you." Can you repeat after Him? Can you follow Him?
Can you give Him your body, through those He put in your life? Can you give Him your hands, your feet, your mouth (words), your mind (thoughts), your fatigue, and your frustration? Can you swallow your pride? Can you embrace your cross?
Today is the day to try. Today is the day for life. I'm trying with you... and I am praying for each of you. God bless.