Listen to God's voice at the foot of the crucifix." ~St. Gaspar del Bufaro~

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Blog Update And Changes


Hello dear readers of this blog~

The events of my marriage and family life have grown more complicated than originally thought, written, and expressed here in the last year.  More has transpired in such a way that I feel it best to honor the privacy of our family by not sharing any more details via this public domain.  However, I do have a plan to keep writing!

For those of you who have been praying for us, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I would appreciate any continued prayers for my husband, my sanity, our whole family's healing and God's will be done. Regardless of the outcome, it is my deepest prayer that this tragedy be turned to triumph in some miraculous way.

 This blog has been a haven for sharing my spiritual journey, alongside of raising a family.  I have met so many wonderful friends and families that I hate to leave behind.  I hope my friends here will keep in touch via email and continue to stop by this blog once in a while. Those of you who check in on me once in awhile have been such a blessing!

Ultimately, I feel called to keep writing, as God sees fit,  because it is my belief that we are not alone on this journey of life and faith.  Most importantly in times of trouble, we need each other to be the hands and feet of Jesus...Who better to share (than you and I) that there's always hope, despite the worst struggle?

I'll continue to share my personal sojourn as I strive to stay anchored to the cross, my battle post.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

He Teaches Me


The darkened church embraced me as I sat in silence gazing up at the throne of God. Like a mother's womb, protecting a vulnerable child, I longed to curl up and stay there forever.   Before the dimly lit candles, I gazed up at the Lord of Hosts and wondered how I could keep facing my world of pain, broken promises, betrayal, and rejection.  Much like a little baby who enters the world wailing, I felt the bemoaning in my soul. 

In sorrow, I am weakened to my knees.
The weight of deceit is crushing.
I am not a good sufferer.
I am paralyzed, not knowing how to proceed from here.

Suddenly, a whisper comes from behind...
He shuffles down the aisle, swishing the tile like sandpaper.
His aged body dangles from the weight of his shoulders and nothing moves but his feet.
I glance up to see who has keeps me company in silence.
Recognizing this man from daily Mass and Veteran's Day events, I know that he's a soldier. 
His focus is the altar, Christ present, and Christ on the Cross. 
Those eyes...He teaches me.

As he passes by, I wonder what his story is.
Was he a husband and father?
What about his military service?
Who has he fought for?
Was he courageous?
I know he's alone.
How does he do it at his age?

He maintains a natural smile that upholds his unwavering eyes.
Still focused...He teaches me.

Finally making it to the altar,
he begins a slow descent, lowering his broken body to kneel.  He could have just stood up.  It would have been easier. 
He doesn't take the easy way out. 
There's no one around but me and God. 
Eyes still focused, holding that smile...He teaches me.

I watch as this man suffers.
His body winces in pain but he perseveres with kneeling. 
His heart is steadfast in reaching his goal, offering himself completely, there at the foot of the Cross.
Not an ounce of his suffering body is seen in his eyes, still fixed on the Lord of heavenly hosts...He teaches me.


Suddenly, I'm no longer paralyzed,
I'm inspired for the journey ahead.
Together with my soldier-friend, I gaze up at the same Lord and the same Cross that resurrects us all from our suffering.  
This time, there are two of us smiling through pain.
Faith marches on, there in the silent womb of the church.
From the light of an altar in front of us both,
Hearts open wide, eyes of the soul in focus...
He taught us well.


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Groping for God


Hello God, it's me, Tiffany.
Where are you?
My family has fallen apart and I don't understand.
One day I was a homeschooling Mom who made liturgical food and crafts with my kids and the next day, my whole world crashed down around me. 
I thought I had it all. 
Where has that life gone? 
Oh, how I'd give anything to have it back.
Things haven't been the same since that fateful day...
Our family, our children, our marriage...
Crumpled under the cross.

Holy week came this year and my husband was getting his own apartment. 
I don't know who this man is?
No more Husband, no more Dad in our home.
I saw you carrying your Cross, Lord.  
Every Friday, I watched and listened to your suffering.
I wanted to be just like you but I couldn't.
I just knelt there and poured out my grief upon you because I was too weak to bear it...
Consumed by the cross.


Somehow I got through it...Another Holy Week. 
You were there, Lord.  I know you were. 
Suddenly I see that clearly because
that's where you love us best...on Calvary.
Our Calvary is your Calvary.
Time and time again, you meet us there to show us we can do it.
What holy irony it is that we are closest to you there.
My pain and sorrow is also your pain and sorrow.
You show us that suffering is not the end.
I choose hope.  I choose you, Lord.
Help me to model this for our children...
Huddled near the cross.
Please forgive me for wondering what this is all about
and for missing the old life. 
Like it or not, I'm traveling a new road.
No more homeschooling but still a home built on faith.
Help me to keep you alive in our family, Lord.
Help me to remember that when we are weak, you are made perfect in us.
When we are empty, you have more room to fill us up.
Always and forever...
Family At the Foot of the Cross.

"What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." ~John 1:1-18




Tuesday, September 8, 2015

I'm Turning My Husband Over To Another Woman

The torment has been unbelievable,
the anger unbearable,
as I have attempted to navigate the road of hurt that has occurred in my marriage.

The lies that the prince of darkness whispers in our ears had penetrated my husband's heart and now I was buying in too.

As my screams echoed in the kitchen, it was a miracle that I could still hear a small, soft, voice cry out inside of me...What are you doing? Who is it that you are battling here?
It was a good question that begged emergency attention and prayer.
Who was it that I was really battling?
How could I have missed the real enemy? 
Maybe because he doesn't actually have horns or wear a little red suit...
Maybe because Satan disguises himself as a helpful voice to fill ourselves with more of ourselves...
Yes. It was he, the epitome of prIde, vice, and death that continued to relentlessly seek our marriage, just like he does with many others. 
Now, more than ever, it wasn't time to throw in the towel...It was time to call for backup.
It was time to turn my husband over to another woman.

Who better to oppose the real enemy in our marriage but the woman who is at enmity with the devil (Gen. 3:15) by bearing the Savior, Jesus Christ, God Himself, in her womb? 

She crushes the serpent through Christ's birth and by opposing the devil with her humility, virtue, and life.   What better woman to call on than the Mother of God, Mary, most holy.
It became clear that I needed to battle the true enemy with my prayers and not with my pride.  This mess is way too much for me to even consider trying to figure out or control.  I desperately needed help.
 
This woman...She's got this.
She's our mother. 
At the foot of the Cross, Christ entrusted Mary to all of us. (John 19:27)
Her soul magnifies the Lord. (Luke 1:46)

I place my husband into Mary's arms with perfect confidence.

I pray...
Every day, I must pray for my husband:

That he sees Mary's beauty as the perfect model for womanhood and not desire to view false images that come up empty.
That he feels the warm embrace of a woman who carried God in her arms and never feel lonely again.
That he may know the mercy of the woman who suffered her Son's murder and followed him to the cross, hence know freedom from shame.
That he accept this woman as his queen and sureness to heaven and be home.
That he breathe in her Immaculate heart full of love that gives freely and return real love to others.
That he never look away from her gorgeous gaze that reflects purity and grace and see what a real woman should be.
And most importantly...I pray that he chase after her to know her Son, Jesus, more perfectly.  Jesus, who came to give us life and hope that is beyond the Cross.
She knows that He knows.
She leads us to Him, the way, the truth, the life.

I'm turning my husband over to another woman because in doing this I am also turning over myself.
I'm done fighting the wrong enemy and strengthening my resolve to battle the real one.
We have help in this battle and we are never alone.
Regardless of what happens in my marriage or in this life, I want to be on the right team...lest I forget who wins!
+++If you can spare a prayer, please continue to keep Rod and I (and our family) in your prayers+++


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Gimping By Grace Through the Gauntlet

 
St. Mary's Parish Shrine~ One of my favorite places on earth.
 
  Greetings of Easter peace to anyone who might pass this way!
It's been a long and arduous Lenten trek over in my corner of the world so I thought I'd share some reflections.  I also want to thank any of you kind souls who have been praying for my marriage and family.  We have felt the impact and know they have helped in far more ways than we can imagine!
 
As I move forward from here in the season of Easter, I truly believe that we are not meant to keep hardships to ourselves.  As I read and think about the apostles after the shock and awe of Calvary, I see that they first wanted to hide.  It reminds me that we can all relate to this as we inevitably go through our own difficult things in life.  Sometimes we feel like curling up in a ball, hoping all of our sorrow will go away... but it never works like that.  God calls us to come out.  Just like Christ drew out his disciples from their darkness to tell people what happened, He also calls us to share how He works in our own lives and give reason for hope.  I would like to do that...Share hope.  I hope in doing so, it might help someone else find light in their struggle and know we are never alone.
 The Pacific Ocean~ My favorite places to find peace
 
Before arriving at "hope", it seems we have to think about what choices we have to live out our free will in difficult circumstances.  Suddenly, we find there aren't a whole lot of choices in times of crisis.
I recently read this anonymous quote: "When something bad happens you have 3 choices:
One, you can let it define you.
Two, you can let it destroy you.
Three, you can let it strengthen you."
 
Ultimately as Christians, we know that we are called to pick up our crosses and follow Him.  For in this real person of Jesus, we find exactly what we need to make that third choice of allowing our trials to strengthen us. 
The only problem is actually doing it!
Not an easy thing, I know.
 
When we are actually call to live what we believe, we look at that bloody face on the Cross with a new lens...
This Holy Week, I found myself in this very position.  There I was, gimping by His grace...
That free gift
of Himself
was all I had to hold on to...
Sacrificial love saves us from ourselves,
it saves us from destruction,
giving strength through the pain,
flowing freely from His wounds.
 
Our Parish Altar~ The comfort of home
 
There He was, there He is, being the example for all to see, believers or not. 
He was not a victim but a hero.
Which one will we be?
He lives the Resurrection so that we might believe, we might hope, we might have light outside ourselves, we might (someday) be with Him forever.
 
And then comes the inevitable question... 
How can we possibly follow this example of absolute love and forgiveness when betrayal and other human sufferings hurt so much?
It seems all fine and dandy for Jesus because He was God, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, and God is supposed to do that. 
The real question, is what does this look like in real life for real humans? 
Easter Vigil at St. Mary's~ Hope is alive
 
I've had plenty of time to ponder these real questions (and more) as they have wracked my brain and heart these last 5 months...
When my world came crashing down.
 Never would I have believed this would happen to us.
How does one actually survive betrayal in a marriage, anyway?
How should I respond to my spouse who has been dishonest?
What on earth am I supposed to do when my spouse isn't sure he wants to stay in our marriage after 16 years and 5 children?
How can I gimp through the gauntlet?
The honest answer is that there is no easy answer.
The answer is hard but it's worth seeking.
It's not about me but it's about the surrender of me.
When there are very few choices, the real path to survival is an honest face plant at the foot of the Cross, literally and figuratively.
The will of God is the only answer. 
 
When we do this in real life, let Jesus take the helm, real God happens.  
Submersing myself in the word of God every day, gave me  exact answers I needed for that very moment. 
Gimping by grace began,
Gimping through the gauntlet continues...
My lifelines and favorite prayer resources
 
My favorite resources, coupled with the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist gave me strength, along with the prayers and a lifeline of beautiful friends and family who truly kept me (and my family) afloat. 
In real life, the body of Christ embraced me in their loving arms.
In real life, the crosshairs of mercy stared back at me...
Miracles happened.
Mercy does that...It leads to miracles.
The Blessed Sacrament~ Heaven on Earth
 
As I write this, our marriage is being reconciled.  I do believe it's a miracle and I'm rejoicing in the midst of our gimping, even though I'm terrible at gimping.
  It's not easy to gimp, even by His grace.
 Prayers are still needed because I'm having a hard time.
I know my husband is having a hard time, too.
It's tremendously painful for both of us to pick up the pieces and move in a new direction.
Real life isn't so easy but there is plenty of hope to hold on to, this I know.
In the meantime, I've learned a few good things to share:)
Me learning a new sport~ A new passion!
It's good to stare at mercy through the crosshairs...It's a mirror to your soul. 
It's good to take a hard look at what you believe in because then you have to live what you really believe. "Sweet" Divine Mercy had new meaning this year:)
Krispy Treat~ 2015Our Divine Mercy Rice
 
It's good to have family and friends who've got your back when you're down.  They are the real hands of God, whether they know it or not.  We should never hesitate to reach out.
 
It's good to give to others in the midst of your own pain so that you discover it's balm for your wounds.
American Heritage Girls
Holy Week Service Project
Food Bags for the Homeless
It's good to turn to the great Mother of God who knows our suffering and is the best company at the foot of the Cross.  She is the sun that shines for her Son.
St. Mary's Parish Fatima Shrine~ Early morning sunrise
 
It's good to give thanks for the beauty in the natural world that is heightened in time of trial to remind us that we are part of something bigger than ourselves.
The beautiful tree on my parent's deck!
 
It's good to have faith that God has it all under control because His grace is what keeps us gimping up, up, up, the mountain, instead of giving up. 
  
Arduous hike at Pinnacles National Park~Perfect kick-off to Holy Week! (Photo Credit to my friend, Kim)
 
Through all of this, I also pray that you might receive the grace you need to gimp through your own gauntlet, knowing that God's plan is always better than our own!  
Through my gimping, I trust that He knows what He's doing. 
Thank you for continued love and prayers.
   
 Family Photo~Easter Vigil~2015
 {Broken but not destroyed}
 
"Let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith.  For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.  Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners, in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart.  In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of losing blood." ~Hebrews 12:1b-4

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