Friday, April 18, 2014

Blog Re-post: "why be afraid of life giving waters???" by Candice Brooks

So my prayer life the past month has been a lot about water. I really couldn't put into words what the Lord was speaking to me about it and I really wanted to write a deep spiritual blog about how the Lord has ROCKED my prayer life with His life-giving water...

I had the extreme blessing of face-timing my best friend Austin a few weeks ago. He is the St. Francis to my St. Clare. We are besties and I hope that we become holy enough to have back to back prayer cards (hahaha). I didn't even tell him about the whole water thing, but just to prove how in tune to the Holy Spirit he is, he tells me: "after seeing you, I want you to watch the water, when it is still and when it is flowing. Watch how it cleanses and refreshes. And furthermore know that a deep symbol of the Holy Spirit is water and you are but a tiny leaf totally lost in His waves - in His embrace wrapping around you, leading you on. Cleanse in the river. It is what pours from the Sacred Heart and in these waves of grace you will find home, and you will know His heart."

Well, another Holy Spirit moment, I come across my BFF's blog and I could not stop laughing (and I may or may not have teared up with joy) because it was EXACTLY what my little heart wanted to say.

So please check out the holy, magnificent, beautiful jungle woman - Candice Brooks' blog!

"I will run, run, run with this heart You've won..."
Blog by Candice Brooks, Missionary with JESUS in The Amazon Jungle of Musahualli, Ecuador.

Why be afraid of life giving waters???

Monday, April 14, 2014

Parables Parables Parables

Sheep are stupid. I am stupid. Therefore, I am a sheep.

A shepherd loves his sheep and takes care of his really good care of his sheep. When a sheep strays from the flock and gets lost - the shepherd finds it, breaks its legs, and carries it on his shoulders until it truly hears and knows the masters voice. Then, when the legs are healed, the sheep for sure knows the voice of the master. Shepherds know that sheep stray when they listen to the wrong thing or the wrong voice, but after the breaking and mending process, the sheep should know the shepherds voice and never stray again.

In the Parable of the Good Shepherd, Jesus was speaking to the tax collectors, the sinners, the prostitutes, the lost and the list could go on and on. He knows that they have been listening to the wrong voices. Another parable Jesus throws out on them is the Prodigal Son (the lost son). I feel like we FOREVER hear this parable in mass, in talks, from priest friends, from the super Catholic old lady in the beauty parlor... and every single time I hear it I do not get it!
So this man has two sons, one sucks and takes all of the money his father gave him and blows it on a life of sin. Then, you have the other son who is great - he stays with his father, he's obedient and he doesn't sin. Okay, great. So the sinful son is running rampart and the Father "caught sight" of the lost son one day. He caught sight of him...which means he had been searching for his son the whole time. With eyes of compassion he ran to his son and embraced him. The son knew he had really messed up this time and hoped he could at least become a servant for his father just to get some food. The son says, "Father, I have sinned against Heaven and against you, I no longer deserve to be called your son." Now I'm thinking, yes, you're right - you don't deserve it - you do deserve to become your fathers slave because you blew it. The other son is great and you stink, it is only logical that the father would at least make you a slave and praise the other son for not leaving. But this is not the Gospel according to Breana. So the story goes on and the father throws a huge party for the son that literally just threw everything away. The father rejoices that his son has been found. Now, the other son sees this and is angry - which I totally get - I'm angry too, I'm on his side! "Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders" and you've never thrown a party for me. But this son who spent ALL of your money for selfish reasons gets a party? Then the father (in all his great wisdom) says, "my son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours." Okay, now I'm feeling a little less on edge because the good son is getting the inheritance he deserves. Then the Father says, "we must celebrate and rejoice because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found."

Oh, so now I get parables.
They are not some annoying Shakespearean thing where Jesus talks in circles not just getting to the point. Though like in Shakespearean poems, you do have to look beneath the surface of it.
For one, Jesus is telling this story to the tax collectors and sinners. Two, it is about God the Father (duh, Breana).
Three, we are all the stupid son.
Four, of course the Father is looking for the lost son just like the Good Shepherd looks for the list sheep.
Five, praise the Lord the Father looks at us with compassion when we go back to him after blowing every good and perfect thing he has given us away on worldly nonsense.
Six, thank God He takes us into his loving embrace.
Seven, good thing he tells the good son why this is all happening and that he already has everything the Father has.

We are restless without the Father, just like the lost son and we feel inadequate because of our shame of blowing our inheritance on sin, but in Jesus' great mercy we are FOUND. Like the lost sheep, the shepherd finds us, breaks us, and carries us. We can rest in the fact that Jesus is tirelessly looking for us. He has a feast prepared for you and he is ready for you to come home. He is MERCIFUL.

Thank you Jesus for your mercy.


Your stupid stupid sheep

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Friday, April 4, 2014

Let Me Serve You

My prayer life has been very to the point lately. I have a problem and Jesus immediately answers that problem. I was really feeling like I lost the "romance" with Jesus. I recognized that I was just going through the motions, but where was the passion and the zeal that I had before? So I told Jesus that He has to romance me. I prayed that He would please love on me through nature, through people, through my team, and through the Philippines. I prayed that I would truly recognize Jesus loving on me. Well, when I had my prayer time that evening I read from Revelations 2:1-7 which said, “…you have lost the love you had at first.” Well, thank you Jesus, I’m glad we are on the same page. So now I know that it wasn’t just me who thought I had “fallen out of love” – Jesus obviously recognized it too and He wants to fix it.

On March 26th we had a birthday party at our house for one of our good friends Revise (Vise for short). Vise turned 25 and this was his first real birthday party…ever. He has such a giving heart and is a beautiful servant and he loves to make cheesy jokes, laugh, and dance.

Vise blowing out his birthday candles!!

I love love love having people over and washing dishes and serving our friends from the Convento, it is so much fun. They take such good care of us, and are very patient in teaching us Visayan and teaching us how to properly wash clothes and cook Filipino foods.
At the birthday party I was running around cleaning and talking and serving and what not and Gogoy (Gogoy is our “Kuya” meaning “big brother”) stopped me and grabbed the plates out of my hands and said, “let me serve you.” I was a little hesitant because they are our guests and I just want them to relax and they are always serving us… but I know I have to let a man be a man. But I am stubborn, so I tried to take it back and he said again, “no, let me serve you.” In the back of my mind I was thinking about how kind this was and how it was totally a Jesus moment and Jesus was trying to love on me, but I didn’t accept the gift well and I went to the kitchen to find something else to do. And again, Gogoy took me out of the kitchen, gave me a plate and served my food. I only had a little bit of food so I finished quickly, then Vise took my plate and said, “let me serve you.”
Kuya Gogoy!!!

Why do I have this willingness to serve, but an unwillingness to be served? I begged the Lord to romance me and when He tries to, I don’t accept it and I try to take control. I guess I feel like I have to prove something or I have to earn the love of the Lord. Just from past wounded-ness I don’t feel worthy to be served, but Jesus is trying to show me my worth through these gentlemen and I almost shut them down! (Please have mercy on me Jesus and help me honor these holy men by allowing them to be men!)
They don’t think I’m incapable of serving, but they want to bless me because they love me. They don’t know my struggles or my day-to-day trials or the wounds I have in my heart, but they just love me for me.

I really feel the Lord romancing me through the incredible friends we have made here, through the precious broken English, through the inspirational texts my team receives in the mornings, through the convento loving on us without conditions and without having to prove anything, through the children who play outside of our house all day every day, through GiGi holding my hand and asking for rice every single day, through the Filipinos calling me beautiful…and white…and chubby…and cute, through Father Joe thanking us at every single mass and event, and through our students hugging us and thanking us for just being here for them.

One last way I want to share that I know the Lord is romancing me...(this was totally a Holy Spirit inspired moment)
Our team plays a lot of cards (a lot of cards) and we sometimes have friends over to play too. We were taking a lot of pictures and our friends would say “wowwww, so beautiful ma'am Alex” or “wowww, so beautiful Rebecca” and so on. Then me (being a debbie downer) said noooo when they told me that I am beautiful. Then out of nowhere, Vise says,
“Of course you are beautiful…all women are beautiful because they are made in the image and likeness of Mama Mary.
…So now do you believe that you are beautiful?”
Woah, so that happened.

Vise and Reymond - our big brothers, well, my big brothers!!!

The Lord is really clear when you ask Him serious questions. He will literally give you all of our hearts desires if they are holy and good and pleasing to Him. I feel so silly for not being open to let the Lord love on me… directly after asking Him to, but I am so thankful that He never gives up on my stubborn heart.

“What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will effect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”