Tuesday, December 22, 2015

the side of love // beautiful love

When I was 12 years young, I began a journey that would be one of the biggest gifts I would ever receive. I attended a Youth 2000 Retreat a few months after having injured my lower back and was in a bit of a vulnerable place. I was seeking comfort and hope. I was longing for something more.

At the time, my little teenager self was so very devastated about my injury. Thankfully, being active in my youth group, my parents and youth ministers encouraged me to attend this retreat. Thankfully, I said a little yes that would easily become one of my biggest.

Prior to this little injury, one that kept me from playing summer sports (Tennis was my absolute favorite!), I had also lost my beloved grandmother. In fact, I had a beautifully vivid dream the night before she passed. I woke up crying because I knew how much I'd miss her. How much my heart would be torn and how much turmoil my little teenager self would feel! The morning of my dream, after waking with my own tears, I remember walking to the hallway and seeing my mom walk in the door with tears in her own eyes. The kind of tears that had been streaming for awhile. The kind of tears that only a daughter can shed at the loss of her mother.

Amidst these two events, the emotional crazy of  middle school and high school proceeded as they always would.

Onto the retreat, and I can easily say that it was exactly what my heart needed. Falling in Love with the One who shared beautiful love through my grandmother was what I needed. Healing in the gift of Eucharistic Adoration was exactly what my flesh yearned for. Love, healing, and learning to Trust the One who has been with me all along was what I had been seeking all along. That weekend, my journey with Him whom my soul has always longed for, began. It was kind of wonderful. It was kind of beautiful. And, it was all kinds of grace-filled.

That weekend, so long ago, c h a n g e d me.

I went through high school with friends who I still love more than they'll ever know. They helped keep me looking up. Looking to the One who is Love. They helped me during sad times and laughed with me during happy times. We walked together, learning, growing, and living in His Grace and Goodness. Living in His Love through the gift of community and faith.

During college, my journey with Love grew more than I could have ever fathomed. He met me in Mass, He met me in prayer, He met me in every theology and spiritual read I could get my hands on, He met me for 40 days in Eucharistic Adoration during Lent and more...

He always met me, held me through heartache, loved me through friends and community and family, and cared for me in the beautiful treasures of our Faith.

Fast forward to today and not much has changed.

"I wait for the LORD, my soul waits and I hope for his word. 

My soul looks for the Lord more than sentinels for daybreak. 

More than sentinels for daybreak.."  

-Psalm 130: 5-6

Fast forward to today and everything has changed.

See, back when I was 12, the Truth, and Goodness, and Beauty that He is became more real to me than my own beating heart. Grace upon grace held me and kept me. Seeking Him became second nature. It's what I did with the help of Mother Church, family, friends, community, and all the gifts He had shared with me along the way. It's also what I did because my parents blessed me with prayer, Mass, and love throughout my childhood - a pathway I was blessed to be on that lead me to Him in a mysteriously beautiful way.

I learned to wait. I learned to wait on Him, because at the end of each and everyday that's all there was. He was and has always been all there ever was and all there ever would be.

So now, here I am, soon to have my third cesarean. The first which was traumatic but brought the greatest gift of my firstborn and the absolute treasure of being blessed to be called mama, the second which brought my personality-for-days second-born and amazing healing in the experience of a cesarean, and now the third which comes with a beautifully healthy little hiccuping sweet love in my womb and complications that have stunned me into stillness from fear of all the unknowns.

Truly though, He still beckons me.

“Arise, my friend, my beautiful one, and come!" 

-Song of Songs 2:10

We are seven days away from meeting our newest little love. The love I have for this little one is beautiful and good. In the same way that my love for our two sweet boys just pierces me to my core, I am reminded that my love for them is only a hint of how amazing His love is for me. There is much comfort in that. So much comfort.

"There is no moment at which God does not present himself under the guise of some suffering, some consolation or some duty. All that occurs within us, around us and by our means covers and hides his divine action. His action is there, most really and certainly present, but in an invisible manner, the result of which is that we are always being taken by surprise and that we only recognize his operation after it has passed. Could we pierce the veil and were we vigilant and attentive, God would reveal himself continuously to us and we should rejoice in his action in everything that happens to us. At every occurrence we should say: Dominus est. It is the Lord; and in all circumstance we should find a gift from God: we should consider creatures as very feeble instruments in the hands of an almighty worker, and we should recognize without difficulty that nothing is lacking to us and that God's constant care leads him to give us each instant what is suited to us."

- Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Here I am. Again, He calls me into the unknown. I don't know if this little one will be ready to leave the comfort of my womb at 37-weeks. I don't know if this cesarean will proceed as simply and sweetly as my last one that brought so much healing because of my current situation of having placenta previa. I don't know if we'll have a NICU stay, trouble nursing, trouble healing, extra surgeries, need for blood transfusions, and who knows what else. I suppose, all these things are truly unknown even if we were to wait for our little one to be born at 40-weeks, but everything about this leaves me whispering, Jesus, I trust in You, rather than proclaiming it.

And, that's okay.

"Do not look forward in fear to the changes of life; Rather look to them with full hope that as they arise, God, whose very own you are, will lead you safely through all things; And when you cannot stand it, God will carry you in His arms. Do not fear what may happen tomorrow; The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you today and every day. He will either shield you from suffering or will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations."

-St. Francis de Sales

I am arising in my little ways, one day at a time. I am whispering my fiat and my trust in Him, because at the end of the day I love Him and He loves me. He is all there is and all there every will be.

Dominus est.

It was Him when I was 13 years young and in love and it is Him walking along with me down this path to the birth of our newest little gift - another little love that will again change nothing and everything.


  1. Praying that you have an easy delivery! Thank you for the inspiring thoughts. I fell in love with the Lord and the Church during high school, too.

  2. There is so much similar in my story to Him, too. You are such a beautiful woman, Amanda. Praying for the birth of this sweet precious little one to be exactly how He wills. <3


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