Monday, October 12, 2009

Two Things that Always Help Me

A long time ago, my spiritual director suggested that I ask myself a question any time I'm feeling distant from God, or anxious about something, or adrift in any way in my faith. The simple question is:

"What am I doing differently?"

In other words, I stop and assess what was going on, what I was doing, and what shape my prayer life was in when I felt peaceful and close to God. And, what am I doing differently now?

At various times, since becoming a Catholic, the answers have been things like this:

"I'm not reading Scripture and I used to do it every day."
"I haven't been praying the Rosary."
"I stopped praying the Liturgy of the Hours."
"I'm not starting my day with prayer."
"I'm watching too much HGTV."


I can always pinpoint something.  And it always comes back to my prayer life, in some form.  If I'm not communicating with God, how can I be close to Him? How can I trust Someone I never talk to?

Which brings me to the second thing.

Trusting in the following phrase is one of the most important things I can do in my faith life:

"The Lord will provide."

Another long time ago, the same spiritual director was around when I had a miscarriage. I'd had miscarriages before, but this was the first time I was going through it with Anne and Betsy around.  I was falling apart, and although I was trying to hide it from my girls, my poor Anne, at age five, was too smart for her own good. She connected a lot of dots and in no time she was grieving, too, because she's not only smart, she's a very sensitive soul.

I thought I'd reached my breaking point that week when my priest emailed four simple words: "The Lord will provide."

I stared at the screen.

The Lord will provide.

The Lord.

He will provide.

I didn't know how, I didn't know what His provision would look like, and on a rational level I didn't see how anything was going to change any time soon. But, on a deeper level, at the level of my soul and in the core of my being, I knew that my priest was right. The Lord will provide.

I return to those words again and again. They're so simple but they pack a powerful punch. They help me to take a deep breath, step back from whatever stress or difficulty is pulling me away from God, and then remind myself that I am loved with a providential love that is beyond my ability to fathom.

Two things I make myself live by:

Regularly ask, "What am I doing differently?"  Answer that question, and make the necessary adjustments.

Remember, always remember: "The Lord will provide."


Charlotte said...

Excellent observations. Thanks!

My Chocolate Heart said...


Yours is my new favorite blog because of posts like this one. (And your wonderful book.)

Thanks for this one. The simple question, and the simple statement. Both are very applicable in my life today. I need to heed the wisdom of both.

Bless you!

Sarah - Kala said...

Wow. Thank you. I will definitely ask myself that question when I have those times; and, I will always trust He will provide. I often get in my own way to be with God. ;)

Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle said...

Thank you, dear Karen. Wise words, indeed!

Margaret Mary Myers said...

Karen, I have always loved your simple spiritual wisdom and your sharing. The timing today was particularly appropriate, as someone close to me is struggling to keep putting gas in the car and getting a few hours of work to try to pay the rent. Just before I read your post, I said to a teen son, about this person, "I don't know what to DO". But my panic won't help. Yes, I pray and listen, and offer what little help I can, but seems to be all I can do. But I needed that reminder! What we can do is keep remembering that the Lord will provide!

Karen E. said...

Thanks so much to all of you for such kind comments! I'm so glad the ideas were helpful -- it's not my wisdom, but I'm happy to pass it on. :)

Mary Vitamin (Helen) said...

Very encouraging post Karen.

Lenetta @ Nettacow said...

I really enjoyed this - excellent words to live by. I linked to this on my weekly roundup, post is here. I also linked to your St. Teresa quotes, same post. :>)

And, I took "your" St. Teresa Benedicta quote about rest to my Bible study group. They loved it!


Elizabeth Mahlou said...

Very good question -- what am I doing differently. I like it.

As for God providing, yes, indeed, He does. I have been in many, many pickles and dilemmas in my life -- and God has always been reliable in providing. I count on it!