5 Scripture Verses that Helped Changed My Life
Most of my life I have struggled with anxiety and insecurity. There were days, if I could get myself out of bed, I would not leave my home afraid of what evil or injury may befell me. Honestly, there are still days my Germaphobia paralyzes me at the entrance of a building afraid to touch the door handle or hinders me from even shaking people's hands. When fear is not wrestling with me insecurity is. Unsure of my abilities and fear of failing has left many a dream incomplete or unfulfilled.
Discovering the Word of God has been this empowering gift! While I continue to battle my fears and phobias, the Scriptures have given me strength that nothing else was able to. I can stand on the Word of God to battle those demons that threaten to steal my joy and derail the plans God has for me. Listening to Jesus in the Gospels teaches me how to trust in Him, have hope and discover that I am loved beyond measure. Those battles that have lost in the past are now squished beneath the weight of the truth the Scriptures speak to my heart.
“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11
How often I look at the current circumstances of my life and wonder – does God REALLY have a plan for my good in this mess? As I struggle to wiggle out from the burdens and anxieties of this world, it is very hard to believe in the promise found here in Jeremiah. Then I remember the hope of my future is not for this world but for one in Heaven. We will not be abandoned. God is with us and He has promised us eventually it will all work out – that is our hope. If that promise is not enough to ignite a spark of trust, maybe the next line from Jeremiah 29 will, "Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord."
“Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:6-7
There is no beating around in this verse – St. Paul is clear what will bring us peace. He throws around words like ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. However, in my state of worry I usually mix them up, having anxiety about EVERYTHING and not bringing ANYTHING to prayer. So much can steal our peace – illness, finances, teenagers – even the innocuous words of a friend. Bring it to Jesus. Maybe the answers will not be exactly what you expected or hoped but you can be assured it will always result in a peace that is beyond understanding.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6
How do I stray from my path? So often detoured – tempted and distracted along the way. In all things and with all my heart – I will praise and thank the Lord. I will trust in His way! How often he has shown himself trustworthy though I deserve no such proof.
“Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you.” ~1 Peter 5:7
Peter was a fisherman. When Peter went fishing, he would cast a large net over the side of the boat and wait. When he speaks these words of comfort to us, casting is meant as an image of giving it all to God and letting him take care of whatever is bringing you woe. I am a fisherman too but I bring a rod and reel. I cast and reel back in, again and again. This is how I approach trusting God. I cast the care, worry or trouble to God then either out of guilt (should I really be bothering the Creator of the Universe with my problems) or impatience (waiting is not my favorite) I reel it back to myself. May I learn to trust in the amazing way St. Peter instructs; cast the anxiety (such as finances, my health or family) and then be ever confident in God’s care of me.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life?” ~ Matthew 6:25-27
Worrying certainly does not extend a life; stress can actually have the opposite effect. Worrying never solved a problem nor has it brought peace. Anxiety paralyzes. The lesson here – realizing that God knows what you need well before you have even thought it. While we may go without things we want, God promises we’ll always have what we need.
All scripture taken from Revised Standard Version on Biblegateway.com.
Copyright 2017, Allison Gingras
The Mystical Catholic Faith
I was born into a Catholic family but not necessarily into the Catholic faith. My family attended Mass on Christmas and Easter and while our religious education classes were in session, yet I have no memory of discussing with my family what it meant to be Catholic. We prayed together ONLY during thunderstorms. I was so unaware of what was in Bible that I was in my 30s before realizing the readings at all the Masses were indeed Scripture!
In 2005, my life completely changed when I was invited to a bible study at a friend's home. There I started to read and learn about the beauty of studying Scripture, and developing a relationship with Christ. Then came a moment when I was faced with making an important decision of faith - stay Catholic or follow my very best friends into the Evangelical Church. Although, I loved them and even loved the music, services and fellowship of their church, it was not enough to call me away from the Catholic Church.
What followed was years of prayer, study and discovery of the faith I grow up with but until I embraced it for myself finally grow into! Every day I discover something new about the Catholic faith making this month's Catholic Women Blogger Network's Blog Hop topic: Why I Love my Catholic Faith, one of my favorite blog shares this year!
Here are just 5 of the many reasons I LOVE my Catholic Faith:
My Very Own Saint Posse
Let me introduce you to my Saint Posse - from top left to right:
FaceTime with Jesus
My road to sitting with Jesus in Adoration began nearly 10 years ago. Quite, some might say it was serendipitous but after these many hours in His presence, I would say this has the Holy Spirit's finger prints all over it!!
My husband and I, along with our kids, had just made the transition to this new Church. It was actually where we met and were eventually married, but we'd not worshiped there since our wedding. We had moved out of town, and spend many years at my childhood Church until circumstances arouse that made it clear it was time to find a new place to call our Spiritual Home.
I was going through a very difficult time spiritually, emotionally and mentally - and in hopes of accelerating the healing, I began attending daily Mass as often as I could. One morning, as I was leaving, a woman I knew very well from the Church was sitting chatting with a friend on the little stone wall right outside the lower church's doorway. She looked up to greet me, with a warmth that I rarely encountered anywhere else in my life. After initial niceties, and we catching up on her daughters, she asked me if I had signed up for weekly adoration yet. I felt a little embarrassed as I didn't know much about Eucharist Adoration, and definitely had no desire to spend an entire hour sitting by myself in the musty chapel.
What happened next, though I would not realize for many years, was about to change my life forever. ... Read More
Doodads that Remind Me to Pray and that I am Never Alone
Each Doodad has a story to tell. These remind me of the many blessings God has bestowed and serve as a reminder to pray and remember that I am never alone. In this world and in the one still veiled from my eyes exist a plethora of blessings and grace to sustain me on this journey. One of my favorite aspects of the Catholic faith are what we call Sacramentals. These are not lucky charms or magical tokens but beautiful, sometimes quirky, outward signs of the grace available to us from God though prayer, Sacrament and Scripture.
Let me explain some found in my office/studio "shrine":
Outward Signs of God's Ever Present Grace
Ah the Sacraments! Baptism, Reconciliation, Confirmation, Matrimony, Holy Orders, Anointing of the Sick, and most importantly, the Eucharist. Outward signs of God's grace. Probably the less understood aspect of my Catholic faith until my 'reversion' in 2006 (well into my 30s)!
Grace, the undeserved, yet freely given gift of God's Holy Spirit within us abounds in the reception and participation of the Sacraments. Even though we receive only once - Baptism, Confirmation (and for some Matrimony and/or Holy Orders) - continue to pour out grace into our lives. It was not until I was faced with a crisis of faith and investigated why the Sacraments existed in the Catholic Church did I learn what an incredible GIFT they truly are!
Holy Vacation Destinations
Holy Places to Visit - the list is extensive here are a few to get you started:
Another Reason I LOVE My Catholic Faith
"The thoughts for each day, though short, contain profound material for reflection, meditation, and prayer. It is that combination of depth and brevity that makes Courtois' "notebooks" stand out from other daily spiritual readings: readers will find that minds, hearts, and souls are all fully engaged in the reflections, but also that they can easily be read at the beginning of a busy day or in the evening when there is more time and leisure for thought. The daily reflections are written as though spoken in God's own voice, communicating directly with the reader. While these thoughts are enormously helpful for the ongoing formation of priests, they are also accessible to all the faithful, and will draw anyone who reads them into a more intimate relationship with Our Lord."
"For more than four-hundred years, Introduction to the Devout Life by Doctor of the Church St. Francis de Sales has been regarded as the essential guide to holiness and loving God. This spiritual classic takes on new life in Lift Up Your Heart, where Rev. John Burns has interpreted ten meditations for the modern reader and distilled them into a ten-day mini-retreat that can easily be completed in the midst of a busy life. This practical book goes right to the heart of helping you kick the habit of floating along on your spiritual journey to start actively pursuing holiness and devotion to God. During the course of the retreat, you’ll learn the basics of forming a daily prayer routine, including how to offer yourself to God, meditate on his love, and maintain peace in the face of suffering and clarity in the midst of temptation."
"The widely read author and philosopher Peter Kreeft presents a unique book about the important beliefs that Catholics and Protestants share in common. Inspired by Christ's prayer for unity in the Gospel of John and Saint John Paul II's encyclical Ut Unum Sint, Kreeft demonstrates that Christian reunification is possible. While he acknowledges that there are still significant differences between Catholics and Protestants, he emphasizes that they agree on the single most important issue: justification. The style of this book is modeled on Pascal, Solomon, and Jesus: short answers and single points to ponder rather than long strings of argument. The writing is direct, simple, and confrontational, but vertically rather than horizontally by "directing arrows not against each other (Protestant or Catholic) but against our own hearts and minds and wills."
"In Taste and See, Ginny Kubitz Moyer beautifully counters this common misunderstanding. Using personal stories, anecdotes, and Scripture, she demonstrates how the five senses are a powerful, biblically based means for us to encounter God, not only as we practice our faith but also as we participate in the “messy splendor” of daily life. Each sense is allotted five chapters, each of which highlights a different experience of that sense. Every chapter concludes with Ignatian Examen-inspired prayer steps that encourage us to recognize and reflect upon God’s presence and goodness in the physical world. From roses to the rosary, from candle smoke to Communion wine, Taste and See helps readers truly find God in all things—from the mundane to the sublime."
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras