Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Prayer: A Phone Call to God

So, I'd like to tell you about something funny I did.  But first I have to explain a couple things.  I watch a show called Supernatural.  There is an actor on the show named Misha Collins; maybe you've heard of him or about him, maybe not.  Well, he’s a little outside the box (and by a little, I mean a lot.)  Seriously, just google “meanwhile, Misha.  Here two pictures that might explain a couple things:

He actually tweeted his phone number!  Well, as you can imagine, all his fans went crazy sending him texts and calling.  Just for laughs (and curious as to what his voicemail was) my friend decided to call the number and she listened to his voicemail and told me to call the number so I could hear his voicemail.  Now, one thing about me, I am really shy.  Even talking to people (or the idea of possibly talking to someone on the phone) freaks me out.  So I didn't want to do it at first because I was afraid he’d answer.  haha crazy, right?  Well, eventually she convinced me to call the next morning.  My reasoning was that calling at 8am here is around 6am where he is, so I figured he wouldn't answer.

So that morning, I calmed myself down enough to dial the number and a computer voice says “state your name at the tone and we will try and connect you.”  At that very second I freaked out and hit end call…  haha yes, I hung up at the possibility of talking to Misha Collins…  Well, my friend convinced me to call back (and not hang up) and I got to hear his voicemail which did not ask me my name.  The funny thing is that the second time I called, I wanted him to answer.  I know I'm weird.


Now, I do have a reason for talking about this on a religious blog.  

I feel like we are sometimes like that with God.  We dial in (pray), figuring we’ll just go to voicemail (that He doesn't hear our prayer), and when we hear (or feel) a response we freak out and hang up (tune Him out.)  Prayer can be many things to different people.  Sometimes we don’t feel anything when we pray, kind of like going straight to voicemail.  Sometimes we hear, or feel, God responding to our prayer, like the few people Misha actually answered.  Some of us who pray because we feel we have to, or we aren't completely open to the idea of God, freak out when we feel His presence, like how I freaked out at the thought of Misha answering my call.  I can go on and on about different reactions and feelings in prayer, but the point here is that it is ok.  Unlike my example of calling Misha, God doesn’t have a voicemail.  God hears our prayers, He even knows our deepest desires that we can't even put into words.

I want to encourage you to pray knowing that God is waiting to answer your call.  Sometimes He is that friend who is quiet and listens while we talk about our problems.  Sometimes He is quiet while we learn from a mistake; God doesn't knock us on our rear and shout “I told you so!”  He waits and lets us decide our path.  There are rare occasions where God speaks to us, when He speaks make sure you pay attention.  But most of the time He leaves us subtle hints.  Like I’ve said before, God doesn't send us a billboard that says exactly what He wants us to do.  No, He tosses toothpicks at us and after a while we are able to step back and say “Oh, that’s what He was doing!”

Try to keep that in mind next time you are frustrated with praying.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  Amen

God Bless! :)  Thank you for reading!

Friday, July 18, 2014

God's Strength and Wisdom

Last month my youth group went on a mission trip.  Normally we go somewhere out of state like the Carolinas, Texas, Michigan, etc.  This year we stayed in our own state AND our own backyard.  We went to mass Sunday morning and our priest gave us a blessing then we drove 15 minutes to the grade school that we would call home for the week.  It was great!  We were “away” from home, yet still in our hometown!

This year was physically more demanding than my past mission trips.  Most sites only have one crew of 6 people working on their project.  This year I was on a double crew with 12 people and the last two days they sent in a third crew yet, even with 19 people working on our house (including our resident), we were not able to finish in time.  But I will come back to that.

Here is the before picture.  And note that this is only a small portion of the house, it is much bigger than it looks.
First let me explain what we were doing.  This house was huge!  It had wood siding which had been painted, but it was not meant to be painted and they didn't use the correct type of the wood had rotted and all the paint was chipping off.  Our job was to scrape the paint off, caulk what needed caulked (which was all the edging and a bunch of holes in the wood), prime the whole house and garage, and put two layers of paint on the house and garage.  We spent all of days 1 & 2 scraping and Taylor and our resident, Greg, caulked.  Day 3: I continued to scrape while the others caulked and primed.

Day 3:  We had somehow missed a whole section of the house that needed scraping and I picked the short straw.  By the end of day 1 we were all tired of scraping, by the end of day 2 we all hated scraping, on day 3 when I ended up with a scraper in my hand again I passionately hated scraping.  And it didn't help that I was the only one still scraping.  I was sore, sunburnt, grouchy, and complaining to myself.  At one point I climbed off my little step stool to take a little break and I literally thought “God, I can't do this anymore.  I'm too tired and sore.  I don't have the strength.”  But I knew I still had to do it because no one else was going I got back on my step stool thinking “Lord, give me the strength” and He did.  The minute I got back on my step it was as if I had been regenerated.  I wasn't sore or as tired as I had been and I was able to finish the strip that I had been working on.  It was incredible and I know that it was only by the grace of God.  I asked Him to give me strength and He did!

Day 4: I finished scraping then we all primed and caulked and some started on the paint.  Day 5: we finished priming and caulking, we painted one full layer of paint on the house and scraped, primed, and tried to paint the garage...but mother nature decided to wash the paint off the garage…

Here is one portion of the house getting the finishing touches
Here is the front after it was finished
...and here is the garage after it rained...
 It was disappointing to watch the rain wash our fresh paint off the garage. We had gone as fast as we could, prayed as hard as we could, tried our best to finish the garage too, but in the end it rained and washed the paint away…  At first I was upset, of course I wanted to finish, but then again, I'm sure God had his reasoning.  They had already figured that we wouldn't finish (which, for the record, we got farther than expected) and there was a team ready to go in to finish for us.  Maybe our house wasn't finished because God was going to use someone who was going in afterward.  It’s sad we didn't finish, but I hope that God was able to move in someone’s heart because of it.

Always look at the bright side, even when it doesn't seem like there is a bright side to something.

God bless!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

From Recruit to Sailor

My summer started off running and hasn't stopped yet!  At the very beginning of June my parents, my brother's girlfriend Kayla, and I all went up to Great Lakes, Illinois to see my brother, Patrick, graduate from boot camp.  After not being able to see him for two months, you can imagine that we were all pretty excited!  We drove 6 hours the day before and got up bright and early the day of his graduation.  The ceremony was very cool, but also very long.  If I remember correctly, there were about 5 divisions graduating and about 88 people in each division.  So there were a bunch of sailors, all wearing the same thing, who all looked the same!  Needless to say, it was very difficult to try and find one sailor among 440ish other sailors. Here is a picture to attempt to show you just how many sailors there were:

And that's not even all of them!!!

After graduation was over, we only got to see Patrick for a short while because there was still paperwork that needed to be filled out before he could spend time with us.  So we twiddled our thumbs and spent a whole bunch of money on t-shirts, bumper stickers, sweatshirts, mugs, etc that said things like "Navy Mom," "Navy Dad," "Navy Girlfriend," "Navy Sister," "Proud Family of a Sailor," "United States Navy," and so on.  And then when we finally got to see Patrick again that day we got to take pictures, get milk shakes, and talk.  His flight plans had been changed, so we also got to see him the next day.  

We were able to spend a lot more time with him than we had expected, but he ended up staying at Great Lakes after we left because of medical stuff.  They did a blood test which showed he had low iron levels, so Patrick had to take iron pills and vitamin C for a month before he was allowed to fly out to South Carolina.  Well, when they tested his blood again they told him he was healthy enough to fly!  He is now safely in South Carolina and once orientation is over he will begin A school and then he will start nuclear school!

It's been a very long journey, but Patrick is now well on his way!  Praise the Lord for being his strength and his guide and thank you to everyone who has been praying for him!

God bless and thank you for reading!