The Trust Cycle
Today's Worth Revisiting post comes from ah-ha moment from 2013:
This weekend was a blessed yet incredibly busy one. It was not in the Christmas preparations I've been caught up in but came joyfully in the work of sharing the Good News with others. On Saturday, I had the great privilege of leading a women's retreat on Seeking to Trust God. Not an easy feat for anyone -- to trust an unseen Deity, let's face it most of us find it hard enough to trust those in our lives we can see.
How Trust is Built
Trust is often built through a series of needs being met by the other, from a history of seeing them in a role of trustworthiness, and from getting to know the other intimately (this does not mean physically but to grow to know each other's heart). That is the same for our growing to Trust in God. It is not instantaneous because He is God - though all things are possible through His Grace. If that was His Will, it certainly could be. For most of us, we are allowed this growing in trust through the gift of our free will. We therefore can choose to seek to know, love, and eventually trust the God of the universe. How amazing that God would allow us this gift of discovery, this gift of hope, and ultimately this gift of great Love!
Godcidence and a Good Book
Saturday night when I opened up Chapter 7 (of When Faith Feels Fragile), I actually LOL'd.. aka laughed out loud -- the theme of that day's reading: Trust. There are truly no coincidence in faith (or life for that matter) only what I call - Godcidence! As I read the words on page 28, "We may fear that to trust God is to risk losing our identity," it was perfectly aligned with the message the Holy Spirit had put on my heart to share with the woman during the retreat.
To trust God completely, we have to surrender ourselves and be open to the idea that although we may not see it in our current circumstances, God ALWAYS has our best interest at heart. What God wants for us, more than we even want it ourselves, is to be with Him for all eternity in heaven!! And in case I wasn't yet convinced that God had guided our retreat, I saw then these words from R. Scott Hurd, "This is known as 'surrender'. Doing it won't wipe out our identity. It will just wipe our out selfishness"
In giving up who I thought I was suppose to be, or what I think may be best, and allowing instead God to hold the reins - is an incredible blessing. As the Seeking Faith Retreats always conclude with a study of scripture to send us forth, (so participants may remember these are God's teachings and God's words and never mine), I will end my blog the same way. The Scriptures overflow with teachings on trust - and each gives us encouragement and guidance as we try to live out our life of faith.
3 Favorite Scriptures on Trusting God
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
Delight yourself in the Lord;
Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. ~ John 14:1-3
As he passed by the Sea of Galilee,
Simon and his brother Andrew “left their nets and followed [Jesus].” They did not hesitate to leave their former way of life to be a disciple of Jesus. Remarkably choosing to do so although they knew very little of what this new life would bring.
Mark’s account of the brothers’ calling by Jesus, offers few details on what else (if anything), may have been said by Jesus to inspire these men leave all that they knew in order to embark on a life of netting souls instead of fish. Something in them was moved and — despite so many reasons not to go —they still dropped everything and followed.
The Call To Leave Behind My Nets
Nearly 10 years ago, my heart felt a similar call. An encounter with Jesus in bible study, fellowship with other Christian woman and a more purposeful participation in the Sacraments; inspired me leave behind a less than part-time commitment to practicing the Catholic faith to embrace a full-time life of Catholic ministry.
In order for my to embark on this new journey, many “nets” needed to be left behind. The hardest came in the form of the snare of gossip. At the time, I loved gossip. It empowered me, delighted me, and gave my life purpose. It was how I determined my popularity among the other women in my town as well as how I (ironically) measured their respect. It was based on the amount and content of the gossip that was shared with me. As for my end of the deal – people found my gossip delivery hysterical, or at least that is how I judged it.
How Will You Be Measured
I'll never forget how I felt as I read a passage in Luke's Gospel revealing to me that I would be measured against the same stick which I measured others. Ouch! The resistance that flooded my being as the Holy Spirit convicted me that it was time to leave this behavior behind, came from this false understanding of my own self-worth.
I truly feared I would have nothing to talk about, nothing to share with people, and no one would be interested in including me in their social life. Truthfully, it was nearly a deal-breaker for me in my then burgeoning faith life.
Jesus’ promise to Simon and Andrew, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men,” would be very similar to the one He offered me. Although it was very difficult and came with lots of sacrifices and struggles, I was able to finally leave behind the gossip habit. Much to my amazement I did find other things to speak out and found many people interested in my new topic - Jesus and my continual discoveries of the richness and beauty of the Catholic faith!
I used my freed-up conversation time to share the Good News. I began Reconciled To You ministries in 2009, and embarked on a life of using my words to bring people closer to Christ. My fears of not having anything to say or that I would lose my ability to make people laugh without talking about others and the funny things they did was completely unfounded. It is amazing to me what glorious and miraculous things happen when you offer back to God the gifts He first gave you. My life was now filled with funny, engaging and grand stories that had an element missing before passion and purpose!
A Call for All
It is important to note that this call was not just for Simon Peter or Andrew, nor specific to me or anyone called to formal spiritual ministry. Jesus calls each of us to this incredible service of the Church – of putting aside our nets and become fishers of men.
What “net” is Jesus asking you to leave behind in order to follow Him?
Lord Jesus, I do believe this is the time of fulfillment, even though at times I struggle to repent and believe. I desire to embrace the call to leave behind any nets that entangle me. When I do, when I boldly step out in faith, I know I will be blessed in ways yet to be imagined. Thank you, Lord, for the invitation to follow you. Please help me, by your grace, to do whatever I must to respond yes!
Copyright 2014 Allison Gingras
What Began My 2005 Reversion
The book How To Handle Worry by Marshall J. Cook, definitely played a significant role in transforming my life back in 2008(ish) ... but it wasn't the first book that did so, and it seemed disjointed to start there - when really the journey began in February, 2006, with this book. The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. Who would have ever thought I would become a bible believing, heart on FIRE Catholic because of an encounter I had with the Word of God taught to me in an amazing book by a Protestant Minister!!
However, truth be told, that is EXACTLY how it all began ... and today as I completed my Rosary prayer walk about my yard (oh by the way the neighbors are noticing and questioning, not that I blame them), the Holy Spirit inspired me to share those mind-blowing, life changing Scripture verses with you.
For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. Colossians 1:16 (NASB)
Scripture Awakened EVERYTHING
These words came into my life just as I was hitting my self-absorbed stride. Mom of 2, small business owner, Early Childhood speaker and adjunct professor, volunteer of the year - I had it going on, or so I thought. All this 'success' wasn't helping me avoid frequent bouts of depression, anxiety and insecurity ... and then I read these words from St. Paul and something clicked. It wasn't my first encounter with the bible but it was my certainly my most profound. Suddenly, as I read this first chapter of Purpose Driven Life, the scriptures spoke to me and took on new life. It wasn't just words I heard in Church (which at that point I hadn't completely connected as scripture), but words that could teach me, guide me, and yes, even change me.
No one had ever really challenged me to believe in God as a current part of my life. Until this moment, He had been the one I believed created me, but thought our next real encounter would be when I died (though I was pretty convinced it would only be a pass through meeting on my way to a little warmer climate). I was afraid of God - and yet arrogantly detached from the idea of God at the same time. It was a mixture of He has more important things to worry about and I don't want to bug Him until I REALLY need something. While, there had been cycles of feeling closer to connecting with God and holy things, those moments would quickly fade and I would fall back into the comfort of my non-committed life.
Then came Rick Warren ... and a friend who thought this would be a wonderful Christmas gift, and then considered it an even better idea to come together each week and read it as group. I truly had no idea what was to come as I answered yes and the beautiful dominoes of my spiritual life began to fall ... Read More
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2017
Revamping one of my all-time favorite posts ...
In Matthew’s Gospel with concern to prayer, Jesus says, “Pray then like this,” then follows up with the glorious words of The Lord’s Prayer, also known as the Our Father. Oblivious for most of my life of the origins of this prayer, I often resisted reverting to it while in prayer. Ironically, spending my time in my conversations with Jesus asking him to teach me how to pray better, how to grow closer to Him, and how to be more faithful to His teachings.
Had I opened the Scriptures or maybe even paid a little more attention during the readings at Mass, perhaps I would have discovered this connection much sooner. The quote from St. Jerome, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ!” was quite fitting of my situation.
The Lord’s Prayer was not the only prayer to which I held a deep aversion... READ MORE
Learn more about Carolyn Astfalk:
Carolyn Astfalk lives in Hershey, Pennsylvania where the scent on the morning breeze carries either chocolate or manure depending on wind direction and atmospheric conditions.
A Pittsburgh native, Carolyn carries her Yinzer card with pride, having interned at Pittsburgh’s iconic TV and radio stations KDKA and WDVE. She is a graduate of Duquesne University, where she majored in Latin and Broadcast Journalism.
A cradle Catholic, Carolyn was raised mainly at church basement rummage sales and other parish-sponsored events. She worked her way up to “pup girl” at weekly Bingo and even served as a parish organist for several years. Having reached the apex of parish ministry, she moved to the state capital to advance her churchy career.
Carolyn served as communications director and registered lobbyist for the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference for a decade, advocating for religious liberty; prolife, pro-family issues, Catholic education, and healthcare, among others.
Since then, she has been a stay-at-home mom to her four children. Most days she can be found changing diapers, wiping up spills, folding laundry, and tapping furiously on her laptop.
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2017
Ad/hd as an Asset
My Ad/hd went diagnosed throughout my childhood and young adulthood. Unfortunately, that resulted in some major self-esteem issues and prolonged (and I truly believe unnecessary) suffering with co-existing conditions such as anxiety and depression.
The realization that I was blessed [and after many years of learning and living with Ad/hd I can call it a blessing] with Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder came in my early thirties when I was a young mother and an Early Childhood educator. My oldest was showing signs of attention deficit (along with some behavior struggles) so I began researching to learn more about these possible signs and symptoms. I started with the book, Driven to Distraction by Ed Hallowell, in audio version on cassette from the library.
Clue number one this research and discovery was not going to be just about my son should have been my reliance on audio books to stay focused and complete a book. Reading has always been one of my biggest challenges.
I will never forget having to pull over and rewind the cassette to re-listen to Dr. Hallowell list the 15 possible symptoms of Ad/hd. I took out a scrap piece of paper from my purse and counted up, not my son's symptoms, but mine! At that time, I could identify presently displaying or having displayed 13 of the 15! I was shocked. Believe it or not, it had never even crossed my mind that I had Ad/hd. That is the day I became an expert, literally*
[*I spent years teaching child care providers, teachers and parents how to work with children with Ad/hd. I also offered workshops for managing ad/hd for adults].
The Anxiety Connection
One of the most interesting aspects of Ad/hd that I discovered during my research was it rarely stands alone, there is almost always another co-existing (also called co-morbid) condition. In my case, the predominant co-morbid condition is anxiety. I am a world champion Worry-Wart . I have also had to wrestle with bouts of depression as well.
While the depression has gratefully ceased, the anxiety continues. In fact, I believe with the onset of menopause, it has become an ever present aspect of my life. The grace has come in my ability now to recognize and release it, through scripture mantras and prayer. Acknowledging what I am feeling, asking the Lord for his strength to accept whatever circumstance has triggered the anxiety, and then remembering to breathe have transformed how (and how long) the panic attacks effect me. I am also very aware that eliminating my beloved caffeine would be beneficial. Did I ever mentioned I can be stubborn to a fault!
One of my favorite Scripture verses to repeat during an anxiety/panic attack is, "Daughter, your faith has made you well," based on this powerful experience of the healing of the Hemorrhaging Woman when she touched the tassel of Jesus' cloak:
Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My garments?” 31 And His disciples said to Him, “You see the crowd pressing in on You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’” And He looked around to see the woman who had done this. But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction.” ~ Mark 5: 30-34
Anxiety in Real Life - My Honest Disclosure