Freedom from shame.
Freedom from guilt.
Freedom from past mistakes and sin.
Sounds awesome doesn't it?
You know it's possible, right? You know that God loves you more than your sin and your shame, right? You know that the war has already been won and the gates of hell shall not prevail, right?
You know that Jesus died on the Cross for you and for me, then He rose three days later and opened the gates of heaven for all who know and love him, right?
You see, I ask these questions of you as I ask them of myself every single day.
I spent much of my adult life weighed down in shame and un-forgiveness, of myself and others. I have had to learn how to "let go and let God".
Recently during confession, I was walking through some intense shame and self-loathing I felt for mistakes I had made long ago that I was still carrying around. As Father guided me through this maze of pain, he helped me pray my way through asking God for forgiveness and thereby helping me to forgive those whom had hurt me.
That day, I was struggling with the very idea that God died for ME, this wretched sinner who didn't deserve such an act of love. At one point I was asking my sweet Courtney for forgiveness over my perceived inadequacies of my mothering and caring for her. I desperately needed her to know I had tried my best even if I had failed along the way. I needed her forgiveness.
I closed my eyes for a moment and for the first time since her death I saw my daughter clearly as if she was literally standing right in front of me. She simply put her hands on my cheeks, as I had done to her so often, looked into my eyes with her crystal clear blue ones and told me "I love you Mama. I love you always and forever." Words I had said to her every single day of her life.
I knew that God had sent her to me in that moment so that I would no longer be weighed down by worry or fear. Father shared with me later that in that moment he saw Our Lady leaning down and handing me a rose, to offer her complete understanding and love from one grieving mother to another.
In that moment, I felt a weight lift off of me. I mean I actually felt physically lighter. This was a first for me and it was way uncomfortable. After all, for the first time in a long time I was free. Truly free.
This was not my typical confession experience. I had carried some things for so long I had actually grown afraid of laying them down because I didn't know how it felt to not have them with me all the time.
Crazy right? I was more willing to carry that sin and shame than to lay it down at the Cross and ask forgiveness because I was afraid of how my world would be changed. That's just nuts and yet...I know I am not alone.
God absolved me from my sin that day and many times since. He sent my daughter to me to make sure I really heard Him. He loved me enough to send His son to hang on a Cross, so the I might have life.
This freedom...I want it for you too.
The weekend of August 19-20 I will be in Portland, Oregon to speak at the Catholic Women Rejoice Conference. The theme of the conference this year "Rejoice and be Free". My dear friend Heather Renshaw started this conference five years ago and each year to has grown and so many women have been blessed by it.
This year will be no different.
My sweet friend Hallie Lord will be joining me sharing the keynote duties. She will be speaking about fear and how to move beyond it. Jenna Guizar, the founder and creative director of Blessed is She will be sharing as well along with the indomitable Rebecca Frech and Heather herself. Mass will be said by Bishop Sample. It promises to be an amazing conference and I pray you are able to join us.
What will I be speaking about?
Fortitude and perseverance through all the muck and mire that life throws at you. I will be concentrating on four words...Thy Will Be Done. These are the four words that freed me from bondage and pain and allowed me to love my special needs daughter Courtney for twenty-two years before God called her home. They are the words I cling to now when I am confused and uncertain of where God wants me to go or what He needs me to do.
I know that God has great things in store for this conference and those attending it because everything that could go wrong has. It's the devil trying to distract us from this incredibly important message that ALL women need to hear.
Rejoice and be Free!!
Thy Will Be Done!!
Guess what, this girl will not be shaken, or distracted or thrown aside. I will not give up or give in to discouragement or fear. If you can make it, click here and see what a special deal I worked out for my readers. This special pricing is only good until August 15 so go get those tickets.
Rejoice and be Free!!
Thy Will Be Done!!
Join me in Portland won't you? I'd love to see you there.
PS. If you are a crafter, writer, artist, small business owner or have an etsy shop and you would like to donate a door prize or purchase a business card ad in the program for some extra publicity among your Catholic peeps, PLEASE email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will hook you up. I will also give you a personal shout out at the conference. Share your talents my friends. It's why God gave them to you.
Labels: call to arms, catholic family life, Catholic Women Rejoice Conference, confession, freedom, public speaking, Rejoice and be Free, women of faith