Do you love me more than these?

"Now look at your hands. They are full of other things. Jesus is standing in front of you with His heart in His hand, offering it to you. But in order to take His heart, you have to drop all of the other things in your hand.

So again, I’ll ask you.

Jesus is looking at you, saying 

'Do you love me more than these?'

Respond to Him now. ‘Yes Lord, you know that I love You.’”

This was part of a talk that I went to at a vocations conference in Illinois. I wasn’t there because of my vocation, really, I was there because Justin was doing three sessions. I spent most of my time at the booth we had set up, which was, consequently, set up right across from the booth of the vocations director of Rockford, Fr. Keith. Who gave the above talk. It is interesting how God works. We, along with the guy from Lighthouse Catholic Media, became kind of booth buddies. Which made me interested enough to go to Fr. Keith’s talk. It was the only talk I wandered into all weekend. 

It was the only one I needed to hear.

All I knew while I was sitting there, listening to Fr. Keith talk about Peter, was that my hands were (maybe still are) very full. And I am Peter. Looking at the ground as Christ offers forgiveness over and over and asks “Do you love me?”

"Yes, Lord." I reply, still looking at the ground. "You know that I love you."

I had been (have been) struggling with my relationship with God at that point (and recently). I just felt like I was disconnected from Him.

And yet, there He was. The whole time. Hands out, offering His heart to me, asking “Do you love me more than these?”

I went to the chapel to pray later that night. It was dark and I was the only one there, so I sat down on the floor and just stared at the tabernacle.

"Do you love me more than these?" kept coming into my head, over and over and over.

And finally, I had to admit it. “No, Lord. You know that I do not love you more than all of these things that I am letting distract myself from you. But now I am committing to love You more than these. I love you more than these.”

And then I was free. I admitted where I was and I dropped all the things in my hand and took His heart. 

26 Days on the Road.

I realize that I haven’t posted in a long while. I have an excuse for that:

(My excuse is Jesus)

We were on the bus for 26 out of 31 days in March. It was the shortest month of my life, really. We went to Ohio, Illinois, St. Louis, Wisconsin, Michigan, and New York.

Michigan is a post for another time, really. It definitely needs a whole post of its own.

But the two tours were crazy. A learning experience and an entering into and the most exhausting days. I guess I will start with tour one. It was from March 1-March 12, and we went to Ohio, Wisconsin, St. Louis, Illinois, and New York City.

We had cheese curds in Wisconsin and someone took us to a seafood place where most of the plates cost $20+ in St. Louis. We spent three days at a vocations conference in Illinois where the only talk I went to was 20 minutes long by this priest who sufficiently racked me in those 20 minutes. We spoke to a classroom of seminarians at St. Joseph’s Seminary in New York. 

But really, the most impressive thing we did on that tour was tell our stories to rooms of kids and parents and seminarians. We preached our message to these people and gave everything and hopefully, brought some people to Christ.

I was struggling on the first tour. But I started doing something that should seem so obvious but really it’s hard because you are so caught up in doing your job that sometimes you forget. I started to pray during the events. Because I really started to not be able to get through them. I was burned out, so tired.

So I said, Jesus. I can’t do it. You do it.

And He did it. Just like he always does.

The second tour was from March 15-29 to New York, Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio.

The second tour was less hard. It helped to Justin’s family along on the tour just because adorable children are always a welcome distraction. We had about 3 days to chill, but the others days were all two event days and by the end of it I was wiped out.

These past two tours, I gave a lot away. I think that is why I was so exhausted. I gave a lot away, but not nearly as much as I gained.

We spoke to probably over 5,000 kids in March. That’s a lot of kids. Jesus is doing the impossible. Over and over again. He always does.

At the end of every event, Justin asks the kids to give their lives to Christ while they are praying. And they do. You can see it. They do it and it is incredible.

Jesus is real.

Last Day on the Road Looks Like…

I’ve been on the road since February 28 basically. We had a four day break in between.
The last day looks like spit up on my sweatshirt, no shower, wearing the only clean shirt I have, wearing moccasins to events, and sleeping 10 hours and still feeling tired. These two tours have really been amazing. But I think it’s time for me to get a chance to breathe.
Jesus loves me.

Being On-Board The Mission

I’ll be very honest with you.

Since the beginning of coming here to Hard as Nails, I’ve struggled with being here. It’s hard to be away from my family and friends, yes, but more than that, I found it hard that God had chosen me to do something so not “me”. If you know me, I am definitely not loud, emotional, or excited. I tend to like quiet and calming things. 

Not that I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I signed up, but I didn’t know everything I was getting into. And I just felt like I didn’t fit. I was giving everything I had, but I still felt like it wasn’t enough.

After being here for a little bit, they figured out what my gifts were (photography, design, art related things) and started to place me into those things. And I started to feel more like I fit.

But I still was a little uneasy. I was struggling with my own things and then witnessing all the things on the road probably added to that stress and left me in a mess of not really feeling like I knew what I was doing here. It was just SO hard.

But it clicked after something our Episcopal Moderator, Bishop Caggiano, said while we were with him in Conneticut on our first trip back for the year. He told a story of a priest that had Mother Teresa for a spiritual director (right?!). The priest asked Blessed Mother Teresa for advice on how to grow in holiness. She took his hand and ran her finger along each of his fingers and said “You. Did. It. For. Me.” As in, Matthew 25:40 where Jesus says “ ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’”

These kids, even if they don’t look like it, are the least of these. They are the people who Christ is telling us “If you do this for them, you do it for me”. These kids that we minister to are struggling and they need our help. 

And if Christ was asking me to do something, who was I to deny Him? I’m all about saying yes to God. That is kinda my thing. I’ve always said “I told God to lead me and I just keep saying yes.”

So, that’s when I go on board the mission. Oh, look at me. I’m all fired up ;) But for real. This mission is important. These kids are important. We have to get them to the source of all life, Christ! And that is what we are setting out to do. 

So, yeah. You could say I’m on board the mission.