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

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


  1. You are not alone! Marriages are under attack. The Evil One wants our families.
    I give thanks for you sharing your story in humility and charity. I pray that you continue to cooperate with His grace as you seek to restore what has been broken. May you continue to run the race and give glory to Him.

    Continued prayers.


  2. You are always so inspiring and amazing. I am grateful for you in so many ways, dear friend. Prayers, love, and hugs continue your way.

  3. Holding you in prayer. Your grace and is a reflection of Our are truly a faithful and loving soul.
    "Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always." - Psalm 105:4

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  5. Praying for you and your family!

  6. I have said this before (more than once), I know, but you are a gifted writer, Tiffany! I am thankful for your friendship and prayers, and I hope you know that I continue to hold you, your marriage, and your precious children in my prayers. The family picture is lovely... although, I know your oldest son was missed (says a mama with a couple of children who have also "flown the nest"!) <3

  7. Tiffany,

    I am always amazed and inspired by your words and great faith and always find encouragement through your trials and triumphs! Thank you for sharing your heart in the most loving and charitable way. I am so happy that you have great support with close family and friends through your life's journey and that you are finding God's peace and strength with your unceasing faith! We pray for marriages (mine and others) each day and will remember your beautiful family in our prayers!

  8. I will continue to pray for you! I know I have said this before, but you always inspire me. You may know of this organization already, but I thought I'd share. I have a dear friend, a homeschool mom of 5 children, who just could not say enough about what it did for their marriage.

  9. Wow - what a struggle you and your family are going through. It is so refreshing to hear about a couple working through betrayal instead of calling it quits. Be assured of God's great love for you both. He will give you what you need to make it through!

    Also, I am starting an AHG troop at our parish this year...any words of wisdom for me? I really didn't want to do this - rather wanted someone else to do it and just sign up my girls - but felt called to it. Please e-mail me whenever you get the chance - no rush!

    God Bless!

  10. You need not ask, but can know that you and yours are always in my prayers.

  11. Tiffany, I am sorry to hear of your latest cross. Certainly I will pray for you. Per usual, despite your cross, you offer up such beautiful words of hope and love. And, of course, such beautiful pictures! They make me want to visit and feel the sunshine. :)

  12. Much prayer and fasting being offered up for you, your family, your marriage and all marriages!!!! Thank you for humbling yourself to share your story. There are so many out there gimping along with you but too fearful to share it. You give courage to all! Praise God for your devotion and His gift of divine mercy!!

  13. Tiffany - I am so sorry to read about your sufferings. Lena is right... the attacks on family are increasing and you are not alone. But this is where God's Mercy shines and I see it in your words and life. You are witnessing to that Mercy even through your pain. It is a gift to all of us. I don't read blogs that often anymore because I don't have as much time as I used to... but I thank God for the treasure that your words are every time I come back. Come Holy Spirit!

  14. It's over 3 months later and I'm FINALLY getting back here to thank EACH of you for your prayers and loving comments...They have meant the world to me. I will be back soon with an update! God bless you ladies and hold you close! Thank you so much, again. +++


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