How do you arm your day? Do you pray?
Over the years, I have had to alter how I started my day—disciplines matter—to match the season of my life.
Wake, exercise, study in the wee early hours, pray, read Scripture, shower, coffee, let out the dogs, feed the newborn babies before the sun rises, prep lunches or homeschool work for the day….so many changes..
In time, I learned the best way to begin each new day was to become more intentional in a very specific way.
Start in prayer.
Start by giving the day to God.
And giving Him thanks for another day, asking Him to direct my hands, feet, and heart to be more loving, gentle, and patient towards those I serve and encounter each day.
As I have become more intentional with the moments of my life, I know, that I know, that I know, where I need to fix my eyes and focus my heart as I power and plow through my days.
It still takes extraordinary work to stay on the path through the narrow gate while being thrown off track walking busy life with many challenges. Challenges like fighting with the billing office or a medical system this week may require me to visit confession soon.
Just as I love wearing tees with words or messages, I also adore wearing jewelry sacramentals with images like a cross, saints, or a mini miraculous medal or words that remind me of whose I am.
The bracelets in the photo and the full wrap rosary I wear on my left wrist have been gifted or gathered over the last year since the dreaded #braincancer entered our lives. They each have a specific treasured meaning.
But honestly it did not truly occur to me the message these bracelets held until last week.
The simple act of slipping on each bracelet with intention reminds me of how I choose to order my day. Of course, there is more to “putting on” these bracelets.
With each bracelet, I ponder the words and contemplate how the meaning of each will specifically order my day. As I set them on my wrist, I say a prayer of thanks or make a request that matches what each bracelet represents.
For example, the grey beaded Fiat reminds me of my yes to walking a life with Jon as he lives with brain cancer. My Fiat or my yes is to do so with obedience, hope, joy, and love while giving Glory to God.
A glance at the Miraculous Medal is a visual reminder of our salvation through Jesus Christ. The sheer smallness of this mini medal reminds me I am small compared to the greatest and glory of God. This helps me grow in humility.
As I prepped dinner and washed dishes on Sunday, I removed the bracelets. While I did this, I listened to @fathermikeschmitz homily for the 3rd Sunday of Lent and I found myself also once again thinking about the meaning behind each bracelet I wear.
As I chopped, sautéd, and prepped dinner and cleaned up all of the leftovers of the spring break week of follies with the kids, I felt a tug on my heart for all of the things. I was reminded how hard it is each time they leave our house for periods of time.
Life is fleeting and I am constant holding on and letting go.
It is not because I don’t want them to fly—I am thrilled they are flying. I think being separated by time and distance at this moment feels extra tender. Our tightly woven bunch, our little #domesticchurch, face some challenges, a few formidable things, in this journey. Each carries different things in their hearts.
But we do our best to shift our attention to the joy and laughter that has come despite the hard stuff in the last year and a half. Sometimes turning that attention comes by looking at how I am armed and remembering the prayers that carry me.
So much beauty and renewed life can still be born during difficult circumstances.
In the homily, Father Mike said: “In a world where there is so much wrong, there can still be so much light.”
He is right.
THERE IS STILL SO MUCH LIGHT.
There are a great many things wrong in this world. War, disease, divorce, loss of loved ones and children far too soon, poverty, desolation, separation from family and distraction from the truth, the list goes on. Some of those things are happening in my own world and home.
We are all carrying heavy crosses.
Suffering is real
Pain is real.
Uncertainty is real. It can get the best of us if we allow it.
I am thankful we have prayer to guide our days.
Bowing our head to pray, meeting God in his Word is a way to arm us when we see no other to through our days.
We choose not to allow uncertainty to take center stage in this house.
We are living One day at a Time. Perhaps, one moment at a time.
We are giving God our Fiat rather than trying to control outcomes and are choosing His Will as we clasp our hands and focus on Him.
We rely on His Strength that most definitely comes as we are lifted by the constant, unending prayers from those around us.
We carry our cross united with Christ and with the support of the Simons of Cyrene on our path.
We are doing our best to give God the reigns and stay positive and focused on the joy and peace on this journey.
And we pray. Constantly.
Prayer is how we arm our day.
Seeing a community pray for the intentions and good of one individual brings miracles and gifts all on its own.
In a world that is broken, good things can still happen. I have seen SO MUCH GOOD and BEAUTY come from our #livingwithbraincancer story.
I have seen incredible grace and light come from our story of restoring and healing from a stroke.
I say it often, Jon has THE most incredible attitude. No doubt it comes to him (and our family) by the grace of God and all of the prayers.
He continues to make us laugh nonstop. He has every reason to not be joyful. He is choosing to be full of life.
In the homily Fr. Mike also said, “words have the power to reveal what is in our hearts.”
Clearly, Jon has joy, love, and light in his heart.
The words around here are that we will keep going, find joy, stay positive, and pray for God’s Will to be filled with grace, healing, and hope.
I often pray that the words you read here offer some hope, light, love, and a soft place to land when the world is spinning out of control and fighting for its soul or if your world has you carrying a heavy cross.
We can choose how we arm our days and the words on our hearts (or our wrists).
We know when God came to the end of Himself, He still gave us a gift and the promise of a future free of sin and death—eternity.
Jesus also gave us His Mother when He said, “Woman behold you son, Behold your Mother.”
The best gifts can be given in the worst circumstances. Sophia and I spoke a little about this in our recent Hear and Now podcast Episode 104 on Hearing God’s Voice.
In giving us His Mother, He also gave us a gift in the rosary—another way we can bring our prayers to her Son, Jesus. But that gift has to be used. We must pray the rosary. As a convert to the Catholic church in the last 26 years, I am learning more about the devotion to Our Lady, our Mother. She has shown up for me in many ways though over the years. Here is a story on Stella Maris, Mary of the Sea.
In sharing these words with you, I ask you for your prayers as we prepare for Jon’s MRI tomorrow. “MRI/scan days always add a little extra something,” a quote from Sophia during our recent podcast. Jon agrees. a little extra something he says with a laugh.
The last MRI in January showed no tumor progression. This was much-needed positive news. In Jon’s case, it means any present tumor was stable/not growing. He is tolerating his current treatment exceptionally well.
So while much of our focus these last 6 months has been on regaining function from the stroke, we must continue to monitor and keep the brain cancer under control.
Once again as Fr. Mike says: “In a world where there is so much wrong, there can still be so much light.”
Prayer Warriors, this prayer request is for you.
Please pray for an MRI results to show NO TUMOR PROGRESSION that Jon can stay the course or better yet, should it be God’s Will that He gives us the miracle of all miracles to be completely healed of all signs of cancer.
Would you help us arm our day with a choir of voices by praying with us? Perhaps you can pray a whole rosary, a decade, three Hail Marys, an Our Father, or a prayer of your own? You can join me and pray with our favorite Many Hail Marys Rosary community on Instagram at 7:45 est live or catch their recordings.
We would be so grateful.
We continue to be in awe of how God continues to show up for us on this journey.
Please send me a note and tell me how we can pray for you. I will be offering up the day for the intentions I have been trusted to hold in my heart this week.
Full of Grace
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb,
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen.