“May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us. ” – St. Thérèse of Lisieux
I have this quote posted on my office cubicle wall and often share with others. I always find comfort in the words: peace, trust and possibilities. One particular line that always stands out to me is “Let this presence settle into your bones.” It encourages me and reminds me that God is always present. Whether in time of joy or sadness, confusion or doubt, God’s love, mercy and kindness shows up through others.
Many years back I experienced a period of deep sadness that was unexplainable and difficult to shake off. I prayed day and night for God to lift what felt like a cloud and pressed forward. During that period, God showed up through a good friend. Margaret connected with me daily simply checking on how I was feeling and offering encouragement. After three weeks, the cloud lifted. I still cannot explain it, but what I learned and will always carry in me is that God never leaves us and often sends angels to walk with us during difficult times. I was never alone.
I pray during this Lenten season that we may allow God’s spirit of love, mercy and kindness “settle in our bones” allowing us to be angels for others.
Today is Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent.
A Time for Everything
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
This is the first day of the Marble Women’s Ministry Lenten Blog, a daily reflection to help you reconnect and recommit to your faith. It is also a time to remember and reflect. Wherever you are on your spiritual journey, there is a place at the table.
Join us on the Lenten journey. If you are not a follower of our blog, please click follow and you will be able to sign-up for the daily email sent at 6am, so that you can start your day spiritually. Feel free to share this special site with your friends and family by emailing the page to them by clicking below.
Marcie Doll, Curator of the Marble Women’s Ministry Blog
Thank you for taking this journey with us for Advent in 2019. We hope you were inspired to take time out of your busy schedule and to reflect on the importance of Advent. So many of the stories shared with us expressed gratitude, even as the world around them brought unwelcome change, struggles, and courageous journeys of discovery. I wanted to share this quote with you today:
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough. And more. It turns denial into acceptance. Chaos to order. Confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast. A house into a home. A stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past. Brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melody Beattie
If you have thoughts to share with us or would like to contribute to our Lenten Blog, please email me at: email@example.com.
Our Upcoming Events from the Marble Women’s Ministry:
Women’s Open House/Coffee Hour January 12th right after church
Spa Day for the Soul February 1st from 9am to 2pm
Women’s Retreat March 6th-8th
With much love and gratitude,
Marcie Doll, Curator of the Marble Women’s Ministry Blog
I am blessed to live on the Hudson River and look out on a beautiful park filled with glorious trees. I watch the seasons come and go, buds form, leaves bloom, colors turn, leaves fall until the barrenness arrives.
It always comes as a surprise, stark and surreal those barren branches. The very same tree that only a few months ago was filled with glory and beauty, was green and alive, is now filled with gaping holes and not a smudge of green to be seen.
In my heart I know this will not be forever. My task right now is to watch and wait. To sit patiently near the window and wait as, bit by bit, day by day, the green comes back again. New buds will form. New life will emerge.
I must be patient and wait for it because what seems right now to be persistent barrenness will not be that way forever.
Today the hope of a newborn child is born into the world. Christ comes to bring green to the barren places. Christ comes to show us the way. Christ comes to sit with us at the window waiting, watching for the new life that is to come. Hope has come. Christ is born to the world.
A blessed Christmas to you all.
Reverend Dr. Elise Brown, Executive Minister, Marble Collegiate Church
The arrival of a notable person, thing or event
Waiting, preparation, coming
A coming into place, view, arrival
One who is awaited
A starting or coming into existence
Forming nouns denoting an action, process, or result
Forming nouns denoting an office or function
Forming nouns denoting a collective
Advent is an Adventure
Of coming into view
Of coming into place
Of something important
Of arrival of a notable person
Of arrival of a notable event
Of coming into existence
That forms a collective.
What’s your definition of the Adventure of Advent?
Shared by Susan Ceeley Phillips
Like many others, I’m doing a lot of traveling this holiday season. At the check-in kiosk, I notice another traveler trying to pare down the contents of her luggage to avoid fees for an extra carry on and overweight luggage. One pile was for the garbage. I noticed a couple of books and an old sweater. My first thought was it’s a shame there are not donation bins at airport check-in counters. My next thought was about the journey of life and the extra baggage that we carry.
What extra baggage am I carrying?
A trunk of unforgiveness?
A weekender of regrets and discontent?
A backpack stuffed with judgment and perfectionism?
There may not be a monetary fee for carrying this extra baggage, but there is most definitely a cost to doing so. A cost to our emotional, mental, spiritual and physical well-being as well as to our relationships with others. I’m praying that God shows me the extra baggage that I carry and helps me to put it down. May we all travel light this Advent season.
I was so excited when I figured out that I could retire this year. Even though I loved my work, the daily grind of commuting over 2 hours to and from Queens every day was becoming too taxing on me. Once I retired, I set out the ambitious goal of co-creating the next chapter of my life with God. I decided that I would spend at least one hour each day, journaling, meditating, and praying to find meaningful activities that nourish my soul. But first, I wanted to have fun. I enjoyed traveling, hiking, Salsa dancing, and walking over 10,000 steps a day. And I forgot about my goal. I forgot that my retirement is a gift from God and that what I do with that gift is my gift to God. I was having too much fun.
God has a gentle way of bringing me back to him. After one of my hikes, I felt pain on my right knee. Interesting, I thought. I ignored it and still went dancing, and running up and down the stairs. Then all of sudden, I could not do any stairs, let alone Salsa dancing. I could not even walk without pain. I got a fancy dx, patellofemoral pain syndrome (pps). I thought I could do some physical therapy and go back to dancing. But no, God had another plan. My knee pain did not go away and forced me to slow down. I realized that whether we’re working or retired, we tend to do too much. We want to fill the gap with activities, socializing, meetings, binge-watching Netflix, or whatever. I need to do less and just be. So that I can hear God. So that I can experience the presence of God. So that I can excitedly wait for the birth of Jesus. So that I can write this blog. So that I can create the time to meditate, to journal, and to pray. So that I can have dates with God. God and I will walk in hand in hand on this Avent trail to create the next chapter of my life. I love you God.