just before take off

This past week has been a whirlwind.

Saturday we had a big meeting of jail volunteers and a young woman that used to do one on ones years ago was there and very supportive.  She even offered, (she stopped due to a move further from the jail), to schedule some to help or to shadow some of the volunteers.  We are still waiting on badges. 

The house got discussed and much more seriously and they looked at me to lead it.   My newfound friend asked to look for properties and she found one that night   – 1 mile from the jail, 20 minute drive from my work, near parks  – great neighborhood, 5 bedrooms, 2 baths, half acre yard, 2450 sq ft.  Move in ready.  And in my budget but on the high end, I will need roommates. 

She even came out with another friend of mine Sunday afternoon to view it.  I made a bid Sunday night and today agreed to their counter.

We’ve kicked around a lot of ideas, and I am meeting with a few pastors concerning church projects, but – I don’t want to make any churches liable if we have troubles.  I also have very strong convictions about coming up with the funds ourselves and relying on God, working for what we have too.

Tomorrow I should get biopsy results and have been doing good, taking enough time to rest and showing up for everything that matters most and not everything.  Tonight was my home group which I have been able to go to three weeks in a row now. 

At my job in Boston, I could walk to a large Catholic church on my lunch hour and could go to mass every day if I wanted, and often I did, especially right after Jim died.  Today, armed with an iPad app with Liturgy of the Hours, I so miss that.  Battling this health stuff had actually forced me into longer quiet times with Him and to slow down and  – so long as I take care, I can get fed regularly with spiritual food, even though I can’t make mass, I can connect with Jesus through others and by carving out time with Him alone.  How often I have made the mistake of just making the time but not making it a priority, like giving God leftovers instead of first fruits.  In any case, He’s straightening me out, as always.  He’s so good like that.

Today I felt like Elijah because it was raining when I woke, which I love, but I asked for it to be clear by the time I got off work so I could go for a bike ride.  It was like a summer day when I stepped out of the lab at 5:30 and it stayed beautiful by the time I was home and ate dinner.  By 6:45 I was on the bike and rode to the house I might buy and back in time to make the meeting at 8.  Then it began to rain.

Sometimes I feel like this girl waiting to take off, but really, I am already flying. 

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Father God, please grant that  – if this house is Your will, it happens.  You are already surrounding me with blessings and support.  Thank you.  Give my body strength each day to step out and do needs to be done.  Thank You that beyond that, you give me deep peace and joy and such amazing people to work with and be with.  Knit us closer in Your love and help me to be who You want and that those around me are free to be who You made them to be as well.  In Your Son’s name I ask all these things.  Amen.

my first Easter in jail

This weekend my health got worse, but I suspect its because the antibiotics they have me didn’t fully kill off whatever bug I had so now it’s back.  It reminded me of what Scipture says in Proverbs about a dog returning to its vomit – when you can’t break a sin area.  It seems disease of any kind is like that – spiritual or physical. 

In any case, instead of focusing on all the stuff I had to cancel, I was happy to be with Him and when I got still all this rejection and hurt from my past, from someone not seeing Him, vanished in the light.  A bonus for being sick on Easter was that I got to spend most of the day alone with Jesus. During the “pray as you go” reflection, I sat quiet for longer than normal because I had nowhere to go after it was done playing.  When I listened to how the women recognized Him instantly and fell at his feet, unlike the men, something I’d only had head knowledge about got a little deeper into my heart.  It was like the Lord was telling me, I sent those two women to tell them, but it was Me that has to get them to believe.  You just keep talking about Me.   Just keep being who I made you to be.

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I did get to mass at 5 and then visited my last person. Friday I had seen 3 of the 4.  (Two of the ladies got out, so I am down to 4 now, – 3 in a night seems the best as far as time. Given nothing unusual going on. I could take on two more, but waiting to get better physically.)   

I met a team going in for adoration, and one of the volunteers that has been mentoring me gave me a big beautiful cross, like one he had and some of the volunteers that have been around for awhile.  Then they all prayed for my healing.

Inside, with the one woman I called out, our closing prayer time was incredibly powerful.  Later I wondered if me getting fuelled up outside didn’t pack more punch with me in.

Thursday night my partner seeking out a house with me, (she’ll rent), told me that the Protestant pastor said that that church going into the jail was not going to happen.

It seems then that I have to join more fully with the Catholics.  I was so hopeful that the church would grow through the Protestants too but I was wrong.  I’m a very doubtful person but there is no doubt in my mind God is with me and that serving them is His will for me.  I’ve never been this full of His Spirit and joyful and trusting.  I’m can’t move away from that ministry.  It’s my priority and anything that doesn’t go with that, has to go.  I don’t know who He is going to send in to minister with me but the Catholics are who are in there, so that’s where I’ll stay.

I wrote an email to my Jesuit spiritual director, the RCIA leader, and a jail minister asking for help to get something together in terms of transitional support as well as ministry in the jail.  I’m redrafting my letter to the Dominican sisters that gave me an open invite to live with them.  God, Your move.

closed door, open heart

door

Tonight I found out that our offer on a house that seemed to be perfect for what we envisioned as a transitional home got turned down. I was a little disappointed but am sure that there’s either something better out there, it’s not the right time, it’s not the right thing or some other thing that God is doing.

After a bike ride, and defrosting a little, I went to an AA meeting down the street. I saw one of the ladies I was working with in the jail who now has 4 and a half months clean. I am so proud of her and pray God crosses our paths again. I also heard good stuff about one of the women I did a fifth with.

I’d not been to that meeting since I’ve been doing one on ones, and not only was it great to reconnect, but new friendships are forming and all are interested in this home. I invited a few to the meeting Thursday, – the team is growing before it is formed! It’s a team in the womb.

I have to kind of pinch myself, I can’t believe this is all happening and I can’t get over how happy I am even though I don’t know anything that is going to happen.

It is a great joy to truly want what you have been given. Can I only know this by contrast? Who cares, I got it. This has to be one of the holiest holy weeks I’ve had. Or at least, that I was aware of it anyway. Thank You God for keeping after my heart that so easily fixates and is ungrateful and just plain stupid sometimes. You’ve replaced it with deep love for others regardless of distance, attention to details that used to escape me and now thrill me because they’re hidden in plain sight, and the wisdom to wait on Your perfect timing. 🙂 More soon, Sweetest Savior, more very soon.

moon meditation

The meeting with the prison transitional group went well and in time, we should have a board.  There is a small group of contacts I hope to start contacting soon, a business trip came up the day after the meeting.   

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This picture is from the day before we got to work and goofed off at the Science and Industry Museum. 

Friday new health stuff came up for me – more tests – no information to know anything yet.

The scripture that comes to mind is that tomorrow has enough trouble of its own.  We are all mist anyway, so as long as God gives me breath and stregth, I’m pressing on.

The jail is ripping up asbestos for 6 weeks.  I wasn’t able to get in at all Friday, but I hope to try again later on.  The leader of the group is going to investigate with the chaplains to see about one on ones and give me a call.  The chaplain escorted them in for mass today, but  – since a Friday class didn’t happen, the rest of the services seem to be in limbo.

Spring is unstoppable though.   It’s wonderful to see.  He couldn’t be kept in the grave and all these things He’s planted in my heart, can’t stay buried either.  Or don’t have to.  He’s launched me.   I suppose I’m not clear of the landing.  But I don’t mind. 🙂  I’m in good hands.

 

Many mansions

treehouse

Friday a new volunteer started helping me with the one on ones, but they were understaffed at the jail so I wound up going back Saturday. Still, God is answering some very specific prayers. Loan is preapproved now. A team of women is forming – we meet Thursday. We are meeting with the a prison transitional Advisory board tomorrow. And I met a guy at the ALANO club who runs 2 transitional homes and got the program started from the time the man with the property approached him.

Everyone except the sister that I know that runs these types of places – the person that buys the house is never the one living in it. I have to live in it, even if I didn’t want to I couldn’t afford it. When I pray, I think of the widow’s mites passage. I’ve got lots more than that, but what I love about this, even though I know I’m not ready and that I have a lot to learn still, it’s me that’s all in. (And I’m a widow too (!:)) It’s my livelihood. It’s not my extra that I’m donating to charity.

I fell in love with this amazing house in Chelsea that we can’t buy, it’s too far from all the resources, including the Ann Arbor volunteers. I felt a little torn about it then God spoke very loudly to me in mass via the homile on dying to self, (gently done with a It’s a Wonderful Life analogy though), from the Jesuit novice. Then again and again through others that know the practical details of who I am, what God’s doing, what the need is. But it was a magic house. Built in 1815, cellar doors, secret passageways, attics, a breezway, stonework, decks on the side of the house both floors, and these pine beams in the basement with bark on them. To cheer myself up I looked up images of even cooler houses that that. Thus the blog pic. (Google images for Treehouse by the way is a treat.)

God I know You say in Your word – your promised – heaven awaits us with many mansions. I love what’s here, what’s in front of me, what I can cling to, what seems safe. It’s death to let it go but I choose You and trust You with always having my best in mind for me and for the whole world. Bring many to You and use me to do it. I love You.