This blog was started one liturgical year ago, at the onset of the Lenten season. It has become, for myself and for others, something beautiful for God. It is incredible to think that my random thoughts have been used of God as a source of strength, inspiration, and even conversion for those who have happened to stumble upon them. In the past year, I have met wonderful people and have forged beautiful friendships. I have been blessed to be able to pray for those who have written in privately. You have shared with me your joys and your deep sorrows. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your lives!
You, too, have had a great impact upon my soul. When I have faced my greatest struggles, at the precise moment in which I have needed His grace the most, God has always inspired one of you to reach out to me with a kind comment or with a similar struggle. I still consider my greatest miracle in this regard to be the night I went to sleep an Atheist-- although I made one final plea to God for an unequivocal miracle if He truly did exist-- and woke up the next morning to a post from a former Atheist who had decided to come back to the Church as a result of reading this blog. Praise God!
One year ago, I was a wife with many ideas concerning traditional marriage, and although I possessed a heart that truly desired to live these things out, there were still many roadblocks present. I am not saying that all of these things have been completely removed, but I have grown, and God willing, I will continue to grow in grace. My Husband says that I have become sweeter and more gentle, more meek, and certainly more humble. He looked at me today with much love and said, "You have embraced obedience and submission with every fibre of your being." I know the great weaknesses that still lay within me. Yet, instead of puffing up my pride, his beautiful words have profoundly humbled me. They have inspired me, too. I have found that when someone believes in you, their faith encourages you to live up to their high regard. I praise God for my wonderful Husband who guides me, shapes me, and corrects me with His unfailing love, that I might become the soul that God desires me to be.
With all of that said, it is time to forge ahead, into the unknown...
Since this blog began with Lenten promises, it is only fair to continue this tradition. If someone were to ask me, off the cuff, what I planned to give up for Lent, my immediate answer would probably be rather cheeky. For years, I have responded that I was planning to "give up giving up (sugar-free) chocolate for Lent." ;-) The truth is, though, God has succeeded in taking away many of the things that I once loved. Although this has been tough at times, I am glad. It has helped to curb my passions and it has allowed me to offer up these crosses for the souls of others. I did, briefly, think of the possibility of giving up coffee. However, I love my Husband too much to make him suffer as a result of *that* Lenten promise. :-)
This leads me to a more serious question. Why do we give up superficial things? Any sacrifice is indeed a sacrifice, and that is good, and right, and beautiful, but what is truly the hardest thing for us to offer up? Ought not that-- whatever it is-- be the very thing we sacrifice? I do not know what your answer to that question might be. My answer, however, is this: myself.
A friend shared that she had watched "The Passion of the Christ" for Valentine's Day. Although, at first thought, it may seem to be a rather morbid choice in films on a day typically associated with happy-go-lucky affection and romantic sentiments, it was actually perfect, because Christ's sacrifice for us is the greatest love story of all time. Her example helped me to put words to something that has been in my heart for a long time. Yesterday was the first time, in fact, that I even dared to share it with my Husband.
I desire to be a victim of love. It is difficult to articulate the depths of this yearning to unite myself so completely to our Blessed Lord in His sufferings, or to put into words exactly what that means. Simply put, though, my desire is for souls. I wish to abandon myself to God wholly, truly, and without reserve, and to be allowed to take on the sufferings of others. My prayer would be for these souls to experience beautiful consolations and conversion, and I the dry desert. I want to love with everything that I am, until it hurts. Until I have emptied of myself, and even then, to continue loving. Until I am reduced to nothing. Until Christ within me is everything. I hope His light, love, and life might pour forth from my very being and that His face may be the one others see. This is the greatest desire of my heart, what I hope to be my ultimate purpose in life. This is my Lenten promise.
Please forgive my broken, imperfect words. Please know that I am not saying all of this here in order to sound like a wonderful person. It is taking everything not to delete the words I have just written. I am just a single soul, a small soul, who desires to be God's vessel of love. Please, Lord God, accept this sacrifice of myself and purify it. Make me hidden. I just want to be a victim of Your love. Amen.
Please be sure to let me know how I can be praying for your needs, specifically.
My Husband and I wish you all a truly blessed and Holy Lent!