Monthly Archives: April 2015

The Fire inside

I could feel the warmth of God filling my soul and an overwhelming reassurance that God was so proud for Katie to receive His body. This moment occurred on a recent Sunday as I pushed Katie in her wheelchair to receive Holy Communion. The feeling was surreal and truly difficult to put into words. As we went back to our seats the feeling became even stronger, I could see it in the eyes of my friends and people I don’t even know. After mass a dear friend came up to me and said she was so moved as she watched Katie receive communion, she felt it too, the presence of the Holy Spirit.

I haven’t always been so open with sharing Katie. When she was younger I truly just didn’t know how to handle public outings, pushing her wheelchair to the altar wasn’t something I would have even considered. At that point in my life the constant stares cut right through me and I just didn’t know how to handle that pain. But today the Holy Spirit gives me courage.

I remember the day I first received that strength. When Katie was 8 years old she started preparing for her First Holy Communion sacrament in Sunday School. This is when children learn about the true meaning of Jesus’s body being present in the Eucharist, after 9 months of preparation they receive His body for the first (3) It was a very special day, but it was the first times we pushed Katie to the altar in front of our entire church. It seems so silly now after doing it a million times, but then I wasn’t where I am now. At that moment I had to get passed some real fears, I had to stop worrying about what other people thought. I did and that day the Holy Spirit paid me a very special visit, giving me the courage and strength I needed to start sharing Katie more with others.

“When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.” Acts 2:1-4

After Jesus’ crucifixion the disciples were hiding in the upper room fearing for their lives until The Holy Spirit came upon them. They needed this gift of courage to go out and spread Gods word to the world. We also receive the Holy Spirit at Baptism for the same exact reason. It stays with us forever, but I sometimes forget. Before this moment I was like the disciples hiding Katie in the upper room fearing what would happen when we went out. But God was ready for me to image1 (8)start spreading His name through her life and as He always does, at just the right moment, He gave me what I needed.

I know it is no coincidence that these moments of beauty and strength have occurred during communion because Jesus is present and when we consume His body amazing things happen.

“Amen, Amen I say to you unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.” John 6:53-54

I have to admit as a cradle Catholic I didn’t always see the Eucharist with the clarity that I do today. It is not something that is easy to understand. I remember learning in my own First Communion preparation class that in the middle of mass when the priest holds the large round piece of bread up over his head and repeats the words that Jesus spoke at The Last Supper, that at that moment God transformed that bread into Jesus’ body. But it wasn’t until I truly became mature in my faith that I understood this magnificent gift that God offers me every day of the year.

“For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him” John 6:56

Many of Jesus’ followers left when they heard these words because it was just not something they could conceive in their minds. Some things are black and white and easy to understand. But the deeper truths that God wants us to see are not as easily believed. That is why God gives image3 (6)us faith, somethings I just have to trust.

The source of that trust comes from precious moments where I feel the Holy Spirit in a very tangible way, like this recent Sunday and the one on Katie’s First Communion. I hate to think of the times I missed the Holy Spirit earlier in life before I was paying attention. I believe God touches us all the time in ways like these, we just have to be present in the moment to recognize that it is God.  I feel so incredibly blessed to have those moments where I feel God wrapping his loving arms around us and confirming that we are on His path.

The Old Me

Andy and I celebrated 13 years of marriage this week. IMG_7819 I was so excited to sit down with the kids to watch the VHS wedding video that hadn’t been played in years. But what I felt at the end was completely opposite of what I expected. I thought I would look back to that day and feel envious of the carefree, young person I once was, the young lady with my whole life lying ahead. But I wasn’t, instead I felt grateful for the battle wounds that have me in the here and now.

As I watched my friends and family speak beautiful words from their hearts and the sweet things Andy and I said to each on camera, I felt warm inside remembering such a special day. But as I watched myself I saw right through the old me. I couldn’t help but cringe a bit when my memory flashed back to where my mind was as I sat on the altar. I remember being way more worried about how I looked in my beautiful wedding dress and who was sitting in the pews in front of me, than the fact that an actual sacrament was taking place. IMG_7820 (1) I regret that I don’t even remember what the priest said to us that day. Don’t get me wrong, the day was perfect and the love between Andy and I was so very special. But I wish I fully understood then, that we were making a covenant with God and how very important that was.

After thinking about all of this for a little while I realized it is okay, and that life is about accepting each stage in life and learning from it. So if I could go back to that day I would do it the same because it was who I was at the time and that played a role in who I am today. God has a special way of loving us even when we don’t show Him the love and attention He deserves.

Andy and I joked this week saying, if our lives had flashed before our eyes the minute we first met, we probably both would have run far away from each other. But thankfully that is not how God works. We don’t get to see what the future holds because God saves each obstacle until we are ready, all the while preparing us.

I have a perfect example of this in my life. Before Katie was born God led me from a career in TV journalism to a public relations position at United Cerebral Palsy. When Andy and I got engaged my contract was ending so we decided it was best for me to move closer to him since we had been dating long distance. I considered a career change at that time and almost interviewed for a position that was available at UCP, but I ultimately decided to take another TV job instead. After only a few months I realized that it was indeed time for a change and by God’s planning that same position at UCP was still open, I interviewed and changed careers. I remember thinking this job was just meant for me, little did I know how that would play out in my life.

I had never been so exposed to the world of special needs. At this job I learned all about the different therapies we provided children with special needs. I wrote press releases, did interviews and helped plan fundraising events for these new precious people in my life. But I never even thought for one second that I would soon be one of them. When Katie was born I was exactly where I needed to be thanks to God putting me where He did.

So if God has prepared me and equipped me why have my last few blog posts been focused on how I am struggling so much? Haven’t I made it yet? With all we have been through shouldn’t I be sitting on easy street popping my troubles away like tennis balls with my very experienced racket? I wish it were that easy, but we never truly finish struggling until the day we die.

IMG_6489Katie’s impairments are truly my biggest struggle in life, but at the same time they are my greatest gifts from God. I get to experience a relationship with God that the “young wedding dress me” may have never found. Katie’s life has been my pathway to a richer and deeper existence. The “today me” still struggles, but I handle it differently. I have not mastered it, but with God as my guide my GPS is set in the right direction.