I am so grateful that Christianity is a religion for the weak. Sometimes I find I want God to take away the struggle so that I can shine for Him, so that I can be happy and energetic and feel like doing good things for others. That’s just my pride I know. But I find that what really attaches me to God is learning how to be with Him in the middle of a miracle. I prefer to be on the other side of a miracle looking back on the marvels God has done for me and testifying about that to others. But it’s here in the middle of the miracle in the midst of a slow deliverance that I am finding God’s faithful love, His merciful love. The kind of love that only God has- the kind that truly loves misery and weakness and struggle and imperfections and everything that repulses the world. The gentle, patient God who invites me to trust through the pain, persevere in faith and to remember that life has its seasons of joys and sorrows but that God is always God.
So writing on this blog is admittedly long overdue and part of that is due to the weird place I am in life. Lately I’ve been full of fear which is unlike me. And part of it is because in my soul I’m an introverted person who prefers to remain in the background but as an adult I find myself given more authority and bigger challenges which are really a blessing but which leave me wondering how to walk the littler way.
I think I often get caught up in the grand things I want to do for God. So caught up in fact that I forget that the goal of my faith is not to grow out of my need for God but to deepen it with loving trust. To surrender even more, to become even smaller and need Him even more than I have in the past. Sometimes I think that God loves me profoundly not because I am worthy but because I am so needy, so utterly helpless on my own. And He just can’t resist doing great things for me.
Such love and strength and power fill up every wound, every struggle even when I don’t feel it, even when it’s hard to be grateful and hard to believe. But when I get to heaven I hope I can say with the Blessed Mother that even in the sufferings even in the trials I’m blessed because I have the love that is everlasting living deep within my soul.
So I had an awkward moment today, not that that’s especially rare for me. After dinner I finished helping my grandma with something and she commented, “you’re very nice.” Her smile was so genuinely sincere that I felt awkward because I’m really not.
I know that sounds bad like I’m fishing for a compliment or have low self esteem but in truth I’m really not a nice person. I had a moment a few years ago that was a profound turning point for me where I saw who I was without God’s grace. And it was ugly. It came at the end of a series of lows both personally and professionally that had taxed me to my absolute limit and that’s what I saw before my eyes that day: limits. I saw a proud young woman who had rejected God thinking she would do things her way and didn’t need the suffering He was giving. And at the end of that ill-fated rebellion came the realization that every gift I had ever been given came directly from God and on my own I had nothing. All the accomplishments I had attributed to my various talents, even the personal things I liked about myself like being kind and having a sense of humor, were beautiful gifts that came as a result of the love that had flowed so freely from God to me and I felt the absence of it, the absence of that union with God the life of love and grace I had been living without realizing it, down to the absolute depths of my soul.
I was tempted to complete despair in my misery and wretchedness and the pride that had been so blind to it, but I was blessed by two wonderful things that saved me by completely turning it around. The first was a consecration to the Blessed Mother who gently guided me like a mother back into life. The second was the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the wellspring of merciful love I found within it which made that life worth living.
I’ve heard it said, regrettably I forget by whom, that “mercy is where love meets misery.” I’ve experienced that to be true and never before had I known a love so selfless and so completely forgiving, but what astounded me the most was how completely unchangeable it was. Jesus loved me as much at my best as He did when I was at my worst and I understood for the first time a little more of what real love was.
So now as you can judge for yourself I’m really not very nice. I’m genuinely nothing at all. But God loves me. And from that love I have life, the abundant life God promised in Scripture. And that life is what my grandma noticed when she told me that “I’m very nice.” I am very nice because God’s grace is stronger than my many many weaknesses and has been so transformative that I feel like a living miracle. I am very nice because the faithful love of God gives me great joy which circumstances cannot take away. I am very nice because the fountain of mercy from the pierced side of Christ on His cross has saved me and I look forward to eternal life in Heaven. I am nice not because of anything I am on my own but because God’s love is so perfect that it’s making me into His image which is not just “nice”, it’s perfect holiness which is an immersion in the perfect Love of the Trinity.
As a result of all this, what I am not good at anymore is accepting compliments because I always feel like the compliment belongs to God and to the love which He reveals by turning sinners into saints.