The weekly Glimpses of God are opportunities to recognize, with greater clarity,the presence of God in the various places, people, events, situations and circumstances of your daily life. I offer them to you as an opportunity to reflect on howmuch God, as you understand Him, is a part of your life,how He chooses to use you and how you have chosen Him.They are glimpses because we can miss them if we are not paying attention. But if we open our heart to His love, if we open our ears to hear His gentle voice, if we open our eyes to see His light, if we open our hands to feel His hand in ours, and if we are open to share these gifts with others, then we too are being a Glimpse of God to those in our family, church, community,neighborhood, society and world.
Due to the fact that I am in the hospital and expect to be until Monday, I don't have a Glimpse written for this week. Please review my previous glimpses for reflection. They are under compilation of glimpses from 2019, 2018, 2017.
I look forward to sharing my Glimpse of God with you next week. Easter week.
Glimpse of God for the week of April 7, 2019
This is another challenge by my friend Sister MTC. The challenge is on the words:” It is what it is” as to: Crying, Learning, Listening, Praying, Seeing, Traveling, and Walking.
If you look at my Glimpse of God from March 17, on my website on the page titled: The Culmination of Glimpses from 2019, you will see how I first developed my understanding of the words ”it is what it is” and how I applied them to important aspects of our daily life: Faith, Life, Death, Aging, Suffering, Family and Sin. As I think of these words and what they could mean, how they are interpreted and understood, I realized that there are so many circumstances, situations and uses of words that we do not fully appreciate or understand if we were to really think about them.
I believe that the words that Sister MT challenged me with two weeks ago and today, are words that when we say them, do we really know what we are saying, do we really think about their importance and meaning and do we recognize how God is present in their action in our life?
I have often said, a Glimpse of God is not limited to what one can see, but also what one hears, touches, smells, speaks, senses and understands as God chooses to reveal Himself.
The saying “it is what it is” is something that I always say, especially when I realize that I have no control over a specific situation or circumstances, and I don’t want to get caught up in what I cannot change. BUT now as I reflect on the words that I use so very often, I find myself realizing that in my desire to dismiss and not get caught up in any drama or frustration, I am diminishing the” it” and taking my God and His goodness and graces for granted. Once again, as we begin a new week of our Lenten journey, I pose the questions for daily reflection; What are the “its” of your life, and how do you pray with them? Is the “it is what it is”: Crying, Learning, Listening, Praying, Seeing, Walking, or Traveling?
SUNDAY Crying “Crying is what Crying is”
What is crying? It is when we react to something: it could be a joyful moment like the birth of a child, a graduation, an engagement or a wedding, or it could be a sad moment like the death of a loved one, being told of a terminal illness, a broken relationship or divorce or the estrangement of a family member. Crying is seen as a natural response in most cases, yet for some it is seen as a sign of weakness but I believe that it is a sign of strength. Jesus wept.
When we say “it is what it is” in regards to crying, are we diminishing the event that causes us to cry or the persons involved? At a joyful moment, like the birth of a child, when we cry, do we just chalk it up to” it’s a baby being born and that is what you’re supposed to do? “or do we take into consideration that this new life that is entering the world was conceived in love and nurtured in love for the past nine months, and now has decided to enter the world to be embraced, raised and nurtured in more love, not only of the parents, but by the grandparents, siblings, distant relatives, friends, colleagues and community members, all those that will encounter that child for the rest of his or her life? The birth of a child is a moment where tears are shed not only as the moment of grace that God has shared by bringing this child into the world, but how He has chosen those who will love, raise, teach and guide that child into adulthood and throughout his or her life. The child leaves the warmth of the womb and enters the warm embrace of those who surround him or her. The tears come when we see how two people created in love such an innocent and beautiful child out of love for each other.
For today, if you find yourself crying for whatever reason, think of the situation and seek to see God’s presence and call to a deeper realization of what is bringing tears to your eyes. If you don’t find your self crying for any reason, think of a moment that has brought tears to your eyes and seek to come to a deeper realization and impact that that moment had on you and how it caused you to react the way that you did.
MONDAY – Learning – “Learning is what Learning is”
What is learning all about and when we say “learning is what learning is”, do we really understand these words? When we learn, if our minds, hearts and spirits are open, we are given the opportunity to gain knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. Learning is education, but not only do we learn in the classroom, but more importantly we learn from life lessons; those shared at home by our parents, immediate and extended family members, in our churches, through the example of those that we look up to, from the society in which we live, from the street, from the news and more importantly we can learn from our own mistakes, weaknesses and sin if we are open to God’s grace and how He wishes to teach us.
The question is are we willing and open to learning? Are our minds, hearts and spirits open to learning more about God, our self and others? Learning for some ends after school, for others it is seen as a gift to be embrace each day. We can learn so much about God, our self and others every moment of each day if we seek to. God is always showing us His way. He created us and wants us to be the best persons that we can be and have the potential to become, He guides us to walk in His path, and gives us the graces that we need to continue to be witnesses and Kingdom builders here on earth. For us to be that we must be open to His Holy Spirit working in our life. As we live each day, do we find our self saying that learning is what learning is, do we appreciate those words as God’s gift to grow, live and love is a spirit of renewal and wisdom, understanding and compassion? As we learn about God, and others. We learn how to be more merciful, compassionate, and caring, we learn how to forgive and be peacemakers, we seek to understand others better and not be judgmental.
Is learning just what it is or is it so much more, so much deeper and more profound? Where has most of your learning occurred? Who do you credit for teaching you? In the positive life lessons, can you thank those who took the time to teach you, either by their example, support, or encouragement? In the negative life lessons, are you able to forgive those who passed on any painful information that hurt you? Both the positive and negative life experiences make you who you are today. You can’t separate yourself or deny the painful, but you can acknowledge it. You can pray and ask God to show you how you are have become the strong person that you are today and seek His grace to continue to be that person even when you are hurting because of negative life learning experiences.
For today, think about what learning has meant to you and how you have or have not appreciated the gift of learning. Ask for the grace to be open to learn more today about yourself, God and others
TUESDAY – Listening – “Listening is what Listening is”
What does it mean to listen to someone and not just hear them? I believe that we can hear anything, like the noises that surround us every day, but do we truly take the time to listen to them? I believe thata hearing requires ears that are open, while listening takes not only ears that are open but more importantly a heart that is open. When we choose to listen to another, we are choosing to be present to them as they open their heart to us.
When we choose just to hear them, we sometimes are so preoccupied with our own stuff, that we really don’t get what they said, understand where they are coming from, and don’t respond as they might want or expect us to.
Noises that surround us everyday can be God’s voices speaking to us in so many and varied ways. The noises that children make, can be sounds of joyful playing or cries of sadness or discouragement, the noises that we hear when our car is in motion are noises that probably need to be attended to, the noises of the birds outside the window, or the dog waiting to be fed, or the noises of your stomach when you haven’t eaten yet, all are gift. We can choose to ignore these noises; those of our family members, automobiles, animals, nature, our own bodies, but if we choose to ignore them, we are choosing to ignore the God who created them and speaks through them. The noises that we hear, if we choose to listen to them, tell us something about our self and the God who created us to enjoy them. Nature and animals, children and our bodies are all of God’s creation and all have a special place in our life so that we can live our life to the fullest.
As parents, you work hard to love, support, care for, and nurture your family. Sometimes when you are exhausted, you tune out the noises that you hear because your energy level is spent and you seek to be at peace and in quiet. Yet, your noises are your gift. Your child is telling you something when he or she is happy and when they are sad, that they want you to be with them to encourage and support them. Your body is telling you that it needs food to keep you going when your stomach growls. Listening is tough, yet when we listen to our God tell us how much He loves us and how we are His beloved we are glad that we listened so that we can grow in relationship with Him. Listening is love in action. When we listen to one who needs comfort or consolation, we choose to be silent as they speak, when we listen to our family members, we are choosing to be present to them not as a source of control, but of compassion and care. When God listens to us, He does so out of complete and selfless love, care and concern for us.
For today, listen to yourself. Where is your heart? What are the troubles and concerns that you keep going around and around with, but don’t express to God or another individual? How critical of yourself are you? Do you think that God is that critical of you? Listen to God as He tells you how much He loves you, how you are His beloved, how pleased He is with you and how much He adores you. Don’t just hear it, but listen with your heart because that is what He is speaking to.
WEDNESDAY – Praying – “Praying is what Praying is”
Praying is what praying is, really? What does praying look like? Do we have to be on our knees in church to pray? What is prayer? We tend to take praying or prayer for granted. We often hear people say that I will pray for you or that you are in my thoughts and prayers. What a great gift. To know that someone is placing my needs ahead of their own when they are in prayerful communication with their God is a very selfless and kind act.
When we pray, it is the lifting of our mind, heart and spirit to the God who created us and eagerly waits to hear from us. Prayer is our response to God, not the other way around. God’s Holy Spirit inspires us, beckons us, calls us to be in relationship with God, and when we are open and honest with our prayer, God is there to listen and respond.
My question is when we are praying to God, are we honest with Him? Are we open or do we come with an agenda or an itemized “to do” list of things that we want God to grant because we think we know our needs and what is best for us? When we are praying to God, do we honor Him as God? Do we honor our self as His creation and therefor come to our creator for what is best for us as He sees it? We can spend time in prayer deceiving our self and being dishonest with God by not sharing what is truly in our heart and on our mind, but that is time not well spent. Although time with God is never wasted, when we can choose to spend such valuable time with our own agenda and miss the message that God wants to tell us, we are losing out on a great two-way conversation.
For today, seek to understand better how God wants to be in relationship with you. Pray to God as His beloved and not as a burden. Listen to the God who is in prayerful communication and relationship with you, and has so much to tell you if you stay and listen. The best part of praying is hearing and listening to God’s response to your prayer.
THURSDAY – Seeing – “Seeing is what Seeing is”
Seeing is what seeing is. What does it take to see? We can see if we have eyes, but if one were blind, can they see? Even those with 20-20 eye sight can be blind. As followers of Christ, we are called to see with more than our eyes, we are called to see with our hearts and minds. With open hearts and minds so that we can see the needs of others and respond with compassion, concern, care, and understanding and not judgement or condemnation. Christ saw to the hearts of those He chose to be His disciples, those he cured, those He forgave, and those who were tossed aside as outcasts and sinners. He saw what was most important and as only God can do. Only God knows our hearts and He knows them better than we know them our self. We cannot always explain why we do things bad or good, but God knows and He gently guides us to make better choices and encourages us when we do.
God sees our hearts and knows that we truly want to follow Him and do the right things, but sin and weakness get the best of us and we give in. God doesn’t give up on us as quickly as we give up on our self. He gently, subtly and lovingly brings us back so that we can see that our hearts were never far from Him, and that we were never out of His sight. He sees us, He loves us, He knows us. We are His.
For today, pray for the gift of spiritual insight so that you can see God more clearly, love Him more dearly and follow Him more nearly day by day.
FRIDAY – Traveling – “Traveling is what Traveling is”
What is traveling? We can consider traveling when we go to another city or state for vacation or retreat. We can consider traveling when we get in a wheel chair and go .
We can consider traveling as it is what it is when we go from one destination to another. But I like to think of traveling as more of a journey and not just going from place to place. Our life here on earth is a special journey, a spiritual journey. As followers of Christ, we live each day as best we can, we strive to be the best people that we can be, and we try to treat others as we want to be treated. When we live each day to the best of our ability, we can only apologize for the sins and mistakes of yesterday, we can pray to make better choices today, and we can’t worry about the tomorrow that hasn’t come yet. Our journey is not one that we make alone but with God and those He places on our footpath. As we walk the journey to our heavenly home, our final destination, we will find that those we encounter are also striving to walk with Him and since God knows that He places them on our journey it may be for few steps, miles, days, years, or a lifetime, but the reality is that we are all traveling together and no one should be thrown off the journey or from traveling because we think that we are better than they are or worse, that they don’t deserve to be on our path. We all walk on holy ground and we all need to respect that. Traveling is what traveling is and when we travel together, the journey is more enjoyable, because it is a journey with like minded and Christ centered individuals; we call them family, friends, community members, church members, neighbors, colleagues, coworkers, the stranger, the outcast, all the beloved children of God.
For today, pray a prayer of gratitude for those who have been on your faith journey with you. Those who have gone before you in faith to the finish line, those who are walking with you today, those who have chosen to get off the path as well as those who have taken short cuts, those who have walked ahead of you, beside you and behind you. All are fellow travelers to the final destination of our eternal heavenly home, may we all arrive there safely.
SATURDAY – Walking – “Walking is what Walking is”
Walking is a gift. When we can place one foot in front of the other and get where we need to go, we feel a great sense of independence and confidence. When our legs, feet are not able to walk and we are restricted to using a walker, cane or wheel chair, there can be a sense of being restricted or confined. There are many people who are not able to walk yet are the most active people you will ever meet. They choose to live life to the best of their ability and potential, and use their friend in the form of a cane, walker or wheel chair to help them.
God created our whole body to glorify Him. He doesn’t look less on us when our body doesn’t cooperate and becomes limited, instead He invites us to see how we can best serve Him in this new normal to not only glorify Him, but lead others to see His presence in and through your limitations. As we age, our bodies tell us things that we don’t always want to hear or listen to. But God tells us that even in those difficult times, He is there to hear us and listen to us as we try to adapt and accept the changes that our bodies are experiencing.
For today, listen to your body and how it speaks to you through your limitations. Listen to God as He tells you that you are never less than the fully human, fully alive person that He created and calls His beloved.
It is we who choose to dwell in non-peace situations because we are afraid or don't feel that we can ever move on from the situation that causes us to worry. Worry destroys peace and is without Christ. Concern includes Christ and it is our concerns that we bring to prayer with Christ.