I grew up in the Catholic Church with strong examples of faith in my family. I remember my grandparents praying, volunteering in church, and sharing their faith with my cousins and me. My great uncle was a Catholic Brother and my great aunt was a Nun, both exhibiting dedication to our Lord in their lives. My parents were disciplined in taking us to church weekly and bringing us up with a faith-filled life.
I distinctly remember my Mom attending a weekly Bible Study and deepening her faith when I was in Middle/High School. Watching my mom grow in her faith during this period of time is where I think the strongest influence in my personal faith journey begins. Witnessing her grow in her faith as she encountered struggles and triumphs in life has encouraged me to stay close to my Father in Heaven. Watching her serve joyfully as she cared for her parents and aunts at the end of their lives made a big impression on me. I admire that servant’s heart so much and saw firsthand the impact those acts of kindness made by giving hope and joy to others. Seeing her and her siblings come together and care for and help one another during those periods of time showed me what it means to serve one another in love as God intended. Those examples of love and family are a big part of what has shaped me into who I am and what I value most in my heart.
As long as I can remember, I’ve always been a helper and wanted to bring joy to those around me. I love helping others, almost to a fault sometimes, when I lose balance in life. He wants us to love one another and share His word, His truth, and His hope to everyone. He wants us to be true disciples of His love so I think that is why I enjoy spreading happiness so much. I saw how much the acts of service my mom did for my grandparents and great aunts meant to them. The appreciation and joy our kindness can bring to others is a true gift. A gift that needs to be given now more than ever. I heard this verse spoken long ago in a speech and it rings in my head very often, now a lifelong goal of mine. I pray I reach the gates of Heaven and hear God speak these words to me:
Matthew 25:23 (NIV) Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been good and faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!
I strive to be that good and faithful servant. I want to share in His joy. It seems like being faithful to our Lord would generally be an easy thing to do, right? Well, I find when everything is going well in life, it is easy enough to follow His Word and Commandments and generally be a good Christian. But man, it’s so complicated! Life is complicated. And life can sometimes just stink. It’s in those moments of temptation, or being in the lion’s den, that keeping faith and remaining a good disciple can be harder. Temptations are greater. Remembering His joy and peace sometimes feels impossible. Trusting in His plan and His timing has been one of the hardest struggles for me. Remembering to be content and find peace in the midst of unknowns is an ongoing challenge. I have good days and bad days. Days where I am full of joy and thankfulness and days where I feel defeated. It is in these darkest days that I find God’s truth lighting my way. His words giving me strength to pick myself back up again. They help me to continue His desire for me to share love with one another and lift others up in joy. I find that joy for myself as I give it to others. So, I’m honored to share my thoughts, my struggles, my reminders with you, as we all journey through these hills and valleys of life. I hope that something we share may help you in finding your way to those gates of Heaven and experiencing the moment when He says, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”