Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Year's Time

Ultimately... consecration is God's doing. 

I surrender, God blesses.
I admit that letting go is hard, God blesses.
I take longer than I want to ease into it or let go or realize that the moment is here, God still blesses. 
And as God consecrates this time, it becomes something that I can't explain, something that I need to live and love- a blessing and a mystery that I cannot control but can simply ease into... recognizing the moment, no matter the time or place, praising God and letting it all be blessed.

from "Consecrating Time", 9/26/12

Let it all be blessed. Those are the words I spoke nearly a year ago as I reflected on what had been my first week in the novitiate.  Today marks my one year anniversary of entrance into the Sisters of Saint Joseph. A year ago, I became "sister"; a year ago, I left everything and started out on this journey of faith. 

Today, a year's time has passed and I can't possibly recount all that has happened in the last 365 days. Rest assured, though, that it all has been blessed. Some moments have been sanctified by tears, others have been christened by laughter, and still others have become embedded deep within me, moments of grace known and not soon forgotten.

Consecration is the work of God, but it is work carried out at our own hands.  God blesses this time but it takes my acknowledgement to see it as blessed. The Divine mingles among the day to day, I need to be aware enough to know what is in my midst.  Sometimes I'm good at this, other times not so much, but God doesn't stop. All is blessed.

If the last year has taught me anything it is this: when you open yourself up to the work of God, there is no telling what will happen, there is no boundary to the ways God will work in your life. A year ago, I opened myself up to the work of the Spirit, I invited God into my life in a new and very intentional way and I have not been disappointed.  Surprised, yes; Disappointed, no.

A year's time has taught me things about myself I never knew. It has given me perspective on what I desire and has taught me what breaks my heart.  This year has allowed me to experience the person and the diety of Jesus Christ in a completely new way.  My love for God has grown ever deeper. The One I called companion and friend is now also lover, creator, sustainer, and so much more.

In the midst of heartbreak, he held me; in the throws of struggle, he brought me peace; in the absurd and the average, he charmed me and enticed my heart.  In this time, I have learned to love God more and in so doing, I've learned to love myself and my dear neighbor all the more too.  I've come to realize that the more deeply and honestly you come to know God, the more deeply and honestly you come to know yourself.  There is no way around that. This is a journey where you must go through.

That journey is on-going and as I look forward to what the next year holds, I hold my breath.  I can't possibly imagine what it will mean for me or what will be revealed.  I trust that the God who has led me thus far will continue to lead me still.  I know that I will be asked to give more in the service of the growth that I am undergoing. Deep down, I know this will not be easy.  God continues the work of blessing, not only, this time but this place and this person (me!) as we continue.  I sense that new space is being carved out within me. That space will be sanctified and, I pray, I can let it be filled with Goodness. 

As with the year that's passed, only time will tell what the future holds. No matter what, though, I know that I am held in that time by the God who is so much more.  I trust. (even though I resist.) I feel. I surrender. I learn. I grow. I am blessed.

I can't ask for much else. The time that has been has been a blessing. A year's time is abundant. 365 days.  8,760 hours. 525, 600 minutes. Yet in it all there is only one focus, one prayer, one Love.  That's what a year's time holds and I have been blessed to be able to hold gently to that- here's to the year to come.

As I continue into this next year of my novitiate, I carry with me the prayer that I began this sacred time with. It holds true for me as much today as the day I first wrote it. I pray it might hold whatever you need it to right now... 

God of my heart, your love has the power to transform. 
Set my heart on fire, let your loving flames consume all that I am and transfigure me from the inside out. 
Quench my thirst for You alone.
Give me the grace to surrender to your work in me, that everything else that occupies me might be taken away and who I am may be set in Christ. 
Ignite your fire deep within me and let it burn in me and through me each new day. 

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