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Go Where You Are Called

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The distance between us is probably a bit more than my heart can take.

But our hearts are forever woven together with the distance we’ve traveled in this life and this summer.

I know this summer was full of overflowing transitions. I felt this truth as we stood on the threshold of North and South Carolina—the state line 4000 feet in the sky. I became acutely aware of liminal spaces—the sacred precipice of what was and what will be—that have been surrounding my life.

Watching the threads of this summer unravel then stitched back together into a magnificent image of beauty, truth, and goodness is far too much for my heart to hold.

But it is a memory, a treasure stitched between us, and will be a permanent fixture in my heart that stands on a threshold of grief and joy.

I could never write a story that unfolds with such detail and beauty; I am merely a pen in the hand of God. Thank you, Mother Teresa, for always whispering these words into my writer heart.

It is a story of the plans God has for them, one written long ago, and is an answer to many prayers.

One kiddo was called to a school after praying and discerning for months, maybe years.

And the other kiddo was called to a school after hearing a nudge (more recently) on their heart. This was theirs to discern, to decide, to create, to build, to master, to put into place. It’s a sacred story of a discerning and prudent heart, a story that is only theirs to share.

And in only a few days, by the grace of God and nothing short of a miracle (I told you I believe in miracles), they landed in the exact same place.

Both are moved and settled in a place they now call home for as long as they are meant to be there.

A place where peace and love abound.

A place where they both will plant seeds and grow.

A place where they are called to serve—a house that serves the Lord.

Go where we are called is what we’ve said this past week. It’s our right to hear a call, change our minds, to go where we find peace. Much like Joshua did. 

We go to a place that serves the Lord and teaches prudence, wisdom, understanding, patience…

It is built on the charisms that speak into our heart—ongoing conversion, human dignity, family, dynamic orthodoxy, evangelization, hospitality, and joy.

We were reminded of these truths as we sat in our last mass together before we parted ways until we see each other again.

The gospel reading and homily offered a clear and strong message:

“For me and my house, We serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 

“To Whom Shall we Go?” (John 6:60-69)

And so We GO WHERE We are called.

It was a whirlwind of a week. 

One we likely won’t soon forget. 

One that has been hard on our hearts.

One that makes us explode with sheer joy, filled with love and settled with peace.

One that can only be explained by God.

God knows His plans for them (my young adults) and for us better than they or we do.

I was reminded by a friend of an Instagram Post I wrote and shared on August 12. She sent me this text of my words…

Reflecting on the words written a week before we loaded our cars, I am struck by the irony of His plan playing out in my words. I wrote about a project Ian completed in kindergarten—it was His to decide how he’d create and complete this project.

I wrote these words before I knew he was discerning some big decisions about taking steps for his future. Decisions he made on his own. Like the wings for the dinosaur project, he was spreading those jagged wings as he decided exactly what his college experience and education should be.

Litany of Life

I am grateful we have learned and modeled to pray, listen, lean in, obey, and trust. 

It has become the Litany for our life.

I am grateful my children have been paying attention to the whispers in their own hearts.

I’ve heard it said many times last week at Franciscan only God knows who and the exact moment when each student is called to be at this school, even if last minute. And I assure you we were not the most last minute of all.

They just have to answer that call.

In a mass during orientation weekend, the celebrant said we (the body of Christ) often believe there is a 6-foot wall of sorts between God and us.

We spend so much of our life trying to find a way to get God’s attention through that thick six-foot wall.

Sometimes we allow doors or windows in that wall to draw ourselves closer to God. 

Sometimes we spend more time closing them rather than opening those doors (our heart).

But the homilist explained—the truth is there isn’t a wall at all. 

He suggested it is more like a thin veil rather than a thick wall between God and us. God is already there pursuing us because He wants to be near us. His greatest desire is for us to grow closer to Him.

Just think, a thin veil between ourselves and God. We just have to slow down, tune in, and pay attention to the promptings He places in our hearts.

He does this so we may feel His presence and know He is near. Then He pulls us closer to Him. We just have to follow the prompting.

Lifting that veil ever so slightly is where we encounter God and allow Him to transform our hearts.

It’s a liminal space.

Liminal space comes from the Latin word “limen” and means threshold. It is a place that separates what was from what is to come.  

It is a place of transition, a new season, a state of waiting, a life before—what was—to what it will be. 

This liminal space is where transformation can occur if we learn to wait and let it form and inform us. At that threshold, the veil is where we can meet God and allow Him to transform us even in, especially in difficult times of waiting and transitions. 

Liminal Space

Our family has been living at a threshold of many things for quite some time. 

We have been living in the sacred space of waiting for how our story will unfold with Jon’s diagnosis. 

Summer was its own liminal space for my young adults who were no longer in high school or online students but students who were discerning the next steps to begin a new college life.

Another transition we are straddling is to experience life without the presence of beloved parents who have left this earthly life. We are often reminded of what was as memories flood our hearts and minds. In the words of St. Francis of Assisi, we are learning to console more than seek to be consoled.  

The thresholds on which we stand require our abundant patience, trust, understanding, and grace. Still, it IS where beautiful transformation and a journey toward our sanctity can begin or continue.

Liminal spaces can be uncomfortable, but they are where we grow, and new perspectives can be gained. 

I think of Joshua when he was gathering and leading a community of people to the Promiseland. He reminded them not to look to the past but to look forward. 

He asks them who do you want to serve and shares with them who he will serve, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”-Joshua 24:15

And the people say, “Amen” to Joshua and remain on the course to follow Jesus. 

Jesus always invites us to follow him. Yet can only follow him if we go where we are called. We can’t stay where we are to follow him. 

We need to go where we are called. We need to decide who we will serve.

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what is possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

-St Francis of Assisi

The Veil, Transformation and the Impossible

I’ve been watching the transformation of the hearts of those I love dearly and was entrusted with raising and have had to let go so they may grow.

Transformation is taking place even as they each have encountered challenging things this year. 

I think the priest is right about a wall versus and a veil. Instead, I would like to believe a veil separates me from God, not an impenetrable wall.

I’ve seen it at work with my own eyes in my life and my children’s lives—especially this summer—atop a mountain, where the sand meets the sea and when moved them to a campus 5 plus hours away.

I’ve written a few times this summer that the veil has been lifted to give me a glimpse into Heaven. God has felt so very close even in our many huge transitions and challenges.

I’m not sure why I have been given this gift to see, but I am grateful to know magnificent beauty exists. 

I want to share more. I am not sure I meant to—perhaps these are things meant to stay between God and me or remain sacred within our family. I guess in time, I will know. 

I am inspired by the way He moves through our lives and even more inspired to watch Him move through the lives of my kids.

We had a few unexpected glimpses of the glory of God. 

Has it been a challenging year? 

Heck yeah. Yet we are transformed.

We have and still are walking through tough things. We will save the details of those unpleasant things for another time.

For now, these words are woven to share the joy and peace of this moment.

Because it is also a glorious time for my kids to embrace.

We are choosing to celebrate the milestones and moves of my college kids.

These past few months have been harder than most this year. But we’ve seen God at work through people we have met, through the way we arrived at this season, and the sacred place we have landed, all through the little inspirations of the Holy Spirit placed in a few hearts.

It has been an absolutely glorious summer. The memories we made are woven in our hearts as we took the necessary time to tie a knot to keep those threads together like a finishing stitch.

We’ve secured that final stitch that will forever hold in place a family tapestry so beautiful it leaves me in awe of God’s goodness and beauty.

Our good and faithful Father has his hand all over this college move. Meanwhile, we’ve been wrapped in a mantle of love and protection as we navigated it.

In His grace, my college kids have a new place to call home for a time such as this. 

Rebuild with God.

Only God knew that it would be where they could lean on one another, encourage each other, especially this year. Especially when we might encounter circumstances in our story that may be bound with heaviness and worry. 

It was all in God’s design before we knew. 

But He knew. 

And if I could explain to you all of the winks from God as it all came together. 

A homily, the timing, the significance of Psalm 127, finding a missing precious piece of wood carved by a friend, the Stations of the Cross gift from a Friar, the list goes on..

All of these things affirming decisions and pointing us back to God.

Things may not always make sense to the world. Only God knows the plans He has for them. But many things add up to affirmations of how they make sense to our family.

So we listen, honor, trust, and obey and go where we are called to do His will.

After a week of settling in, we know it’s right for the kids. They are beginning to build something beautiful. 

Did I mention that Franciscan’s theme for the year is based on Psalm 127:1 “Unless the Lord builds the house, Those who build it labour in vain.”

God is in control of all that we build or rebuild—if we allow Him.

The smile on their faces, the excitement in their voices, the contentment in their hearts, the friendships being cultivated, the loving support surrounding them, the mantle of protection covering them, the winks from God we keep on seeing eases my mind and brings me peace.

Truth, beauty, and goodness are present as my kiddos become instruments of peace as they are called to be salt and light.

The truth is our children are given to us, their parents, their first teachers for only a short time. 

And while it is hard to release them to the world, it is glorious to see the way God works in their lives, in their hearts, and in the way they make choices to live out their faith. 

It is not always perfect by any means. 

We are all a work in progress. 

We are learning to stitch things back together with the frayed threads that have come undone. My stitches may break, but we just grab the needle and thread and start weaving once again.

I am grateful for the privilege (and gift) of a front-row seat for the formative years of my children. I am thankful to watch them become who they are called to be as they set the world on fire.

I will miss their bright lights in our home, but they both leave behind a tiny flicker burning like an eternal candle in my heart—their joy and love is still present throughout our home.

It is incredible to look back on our first day of summer when we took a chance and a road trip west to Ohio. 

We “offered up” many prayers and laid down many miles between our home and Ohio and beyond. We traveled North, South, East, and then West again to end our summer. 

We’ve been to the mountains, to the sea, we’ve been cleansed by ice-cold waterfalls, we still have sand in our shoes, but we’ve lived with joy and love in our hearts. 

And we arrived in Ohio with two cars and six passengers, and loads of dorm stuff.

We moved in two young adults (one very last minute) ready to learn, grow, discover, serve, and become.

They decided at different times for different reasons to go where they were called.

It’s the season of letting go, spreading wings, and landing where you are called.

I am incredibly proud of both of my young adults, who are spreading those wings with faith, trust, hope, and love.

Changing Conditions

After a few days of shifting gears, changing conditions, and making decisions we got on the road. 

Unknowing if all pieces would fall into place.  

We loaded the car with trust, and hope, and a whole lot of prayer.

After hours of driving across the state and state lines, through changing conditions (if that wasn’t a metaphor of last-minute decisions), torrential downpours, a tornado watch, we arrived at our destination with a ton of excitement and sheer exhaustion,

It was a whirlwind and sweltering hot five days of moving into two dorms on two different days, meeting people, navigating the steep hills and many stairs, 4 different hotel rooms, catching up with old and new friends,  

After five days away and a five-hour drive, we returned home with heavy hearts, one less car, and two fewer people, and the awareness that hard things may be on our horizon. The good news was we watched the storm on our back (in our rearview mirror). We kept ourselves ahead of the storm. 

Just as we arrived home, we unloaded our car, and the rain poured out both from the sky and our hearts. Timing is everything.

Keenly aware, this trip was the end of a glorious summer-unlike any other. Yet, it was the beginning of a brand new chapter and a new season of a story being written because my kids both answered with a resounding Yes to go where they were called!

If you have a moment, I humbly ask that you say a prayer for their hearts. They are extra tender being away from home, especially as Jon continues to fight and live with brain cancer

We are grateful for your continued prayers for our family. We continue to pray for you—thank you for climbing aboard this boat and praying with us. I know for sure your prayers sustain us as we navigate this journey.

It may be a trial we must endure, a heavy cross we need to carry, but it will never take the faith, trust, and love from our hearts.

I have a prayer for you today as you stand at the threshold of your own transitions or uncomfortable places as you decide to go where you are called.

May you be open to transformation found in the liminal space.

May you have the courage to go when and where you are called.

May you know what you have to let go of and who you are called to serve.

May you know who you are and whose you are. 

May you always remember you are fiercely loved.

May you know you were created for such a time as this.

May you always know peace and the good.

Pax et Bonum

June 8, 2021

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