In The Hot Seat

I’m living the life of one of those 60-year-old “ladies who lunch.”

Seriously. All I need is a red hat, and false teeth and I’ll be ripe for initiation into bridge club. Or bunko.

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Juuuust kidding.

But it’s true though. In addition to the speech therapy and one-on-one work, one of the things my mom is doing to help her recovery from her stroke is to have lunch/coffee with a different girlfriend every day. Get her conversing in new situations with different people.

And guess who gets to accompany her on all said coffee dates….

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Haha. I actually don’t mind at all.

I will say this though…I’m gathering enough intel to pen an exposé on the housewives of suburban Ohio after all this.

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Haha….in another life.

But I’m also accompanying my mom to all her bible studies and book clubs.

Like I said…I’m turning in to a Red Hat Society inductee.


But at one of the small groups, everyone was talking about the decline of “oomph” in the church. Attendance is down, enthusiasm is redlining. And all these “empty nester” moms are all lamenting about how their millennial sons and daughters are no longer practicing their faith anymore.

And before I know it, the conversation has turned to me, and I’m getting thrown question after question after question because I’m a millennial who **GASP** believes in God and **DOUBLE GASP** goes to church every Sunday.

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And let me interject here – none of these women knew about this blog.

But these moms all wanted to know the secret. How did I survive college and live in NYC and not lose my faith? How did I keep God in my life?

And I’m not gonna lie – I was so uncomfortable being in the center of that conversation, like I was some amaaaaazing model-Christian that is some sort of saint in the making.

No ma’am. I mean, I can swear like a sailor and think some pretty terrible and judgmental things. #WorkInProgress

But to be honest, I have never really thought about that question, cut and dry like that before. I mean, walking away from God has just never been something that has crossed my mind. Or been an option. How have I kept God in my life? Well…

After really considering the question for a minute, the answer was as clear as day.

And I don’t really know how to relate this, so I’ll just tell you exactly what I said to these women.

I’ll leave out the part where I start out by saying, “Well, actually I have really incredible parents…” and the whole room bursts out laughing at the fact that I just inadvertently and accidentally basically just told this mother that the reason her kids don’t believe in God anymore is because they don’t have great parents….

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Yeah. Bone head move. Not my intention.

But I said,

“You know, I’ve actually had a lot of pretty life altering things happen to me in my short time around the sun so far.”

Looking around the room, I saw the faces of many of the “church ladies” who back during my anorexia, would give such judgmental looks and would offer their prayers in a way that felt more like a cast of judgment than sincerity. But I digress.

“As many of you probably remember, I battled a severe case of anorexia when I was in high school. Followed by an 11 month stint of bed rest from my Ulcerative Colitis back in 2012, I’ve had some pretty humbling and horrific things to deal with. And I learned from a very early age, that I can’t do this on my own. When you are at rock bottom, you learn very quickly that God is all you have and there’s no other option – you have to depend on Him. Fully. Why is God in my life? Because I wouldn’t be able to survive without Him.”

There were no further questions after that.

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I’m not some scholar on millennial church attendance. Nor am I some God-send Jesus whisperer to the masses. Heck no. All I have is my experience.

And what I’ve learned is that in order for God to have a real presence in your life, He has to change you. And for me, I had to go through some pretty deep shit in order to for that to happen. In order to abandon the pride and the vanity that was beginning to control my life, even in high school.

God is in my life because He’s saved it, not once, but twice. And I don’t have to be a brainiac to understand the importance of having Him by my side.

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At the end of the day, everyone is on their own journey. No parent is going to be able to make the decision for their kid, or vice versa.

I don’t know. Maybe that’s why I have this blog. To be in contact with such incredible people who all generously share their journeys so that I can learn and listen and grow. Because if truth be told, my faith still needs a lot a work.

So maybe this is me sitting across the table at a small group meeting asking you that question?

How do you keep God in your life? 

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363 thoughts on “In The Hot Seat

  1. Just heading out the door to a bee keeping class..but promise to get back to you on this one! I have several thoughts rumbling around in this brain. Glad your mom has a daughter like you to love on her. DM

  2. I think like any relationship, it takes time, effort and dedication. I don’t get up some morning and think,” I guess I will act as if I don’t have a husband.” That would be a lie. Similarly, I don’t wake up and think, “I think I will forget about God.” It isn’t possible for me. So we(God and me, my husband and me) talk, sit together, share a meal and think about each other. They are both real in my life and unforgettable!

    1. Hi Elizabeth, thank you so much for this. That’s such great advice — spending time together, no matter the relationship, is vital for it to thrive. I’m definitely taking that terrific insight to heart 🙂 Hope you have a great night. hugs xox

    2. Agree Elizabeth, well said and thanks to my parents who took me to church and prayed and studied the Bible this relationship has been building my whole life

  3. The ENTIRE time I was reading this I was vigorously nodding and quietly (because the toddler is asleep on me) saying, “Yes!” You learn real quick when life gets real that you are not the boss, you do need help, and if you are in charge you will screw it up. At least I did! I had to depend on God because the only other option was to deny him, and unfortunately I even did that briefly. Thank you so much for this, I always get excited when I see you’ve published something. 🙂

    1. Hi Rebecca! Aw, thank you so much! i’m glad this struck a chord with you and that you could relate! That’s so true – He is the one to depend on. I definitely don’t want to think about where my life would be without him! And gosh, what a kind thing to say:) I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying my blog! my heart is all warm now 🙂 hehehe hugs to you xo!

      1. <3 <3 <3 He definitely is! Haha (hugs) 😀 I hope things are going well for you and your mom! I'm still praying on her recovery.

  4. This really speaks to all us because we have all hit “rock bottom” at some point or another in our walk with God. But, we serve a God who is graciously extending out a hand to lift us up and gently lead us by the hand as we continue this journey we call life.

    It’s amazing that you have this opportunity, that could have gone 10 times worse, and God is using it to create a closer bond between you and your Mom.

    It blesses me to read that your Mom is getting stronger daily as the healing balm of Gilead is covering her from head to toe!

    God Bless,
    ~Mel

    1. Thanks so much Mel! You’re so right, rock bottom looks different for different people, but the hand up and way out is always the same. Yeah, I’m really cherishing this time. God is good. thanks for the encouragement ! hugs xox

  5. I pray every evening to keep God in my life. Also, high five girl because I cuss like a sailor and am severely judgmental. XD I didn’t know of this Red Hat Society until you brought it up but it sounds lit 😉

    1. hahah thanks! Yeah, I’ve gotta find one of those hats! preferably one with lots of feathers and/or sequins 🙂 hehe thanks for sharing that 🙂 have a great night and weekend! hugs girlie xox

  6. You are a most amazing young lady. Not to be pushy but I do have this one pretty amazing son…..just saying!😏
    How do I keep God in my life? He has accompanied me through some pretty awful stuff. We are pretty committed to each other now. How’s your mom progressing?

    1. Aw, Patricia, you are so kind to say that. Thank you! That’s awesome that God has seen you through. It definitely solidifies the bond 🙂 She’s doing amazing! Every day is better than the one before. She’s talking with greater ease and having more in-depth conversations. Her memory is going to take the most work. But she’s a fighter and every day she rises to the challenge to regain her memory. And about your son….tell him I’m available 😉 hahah So glad you stopped by! big hugs xox

  7. You are both a wonderful daughter to your mom for being so willing to take care of her and do these things (and be the millennial test case!), but also I think you must have wonderful parents. And I’m serious about that. Even though it may have been embarrassing comment, or perhaps insensitive to say, the truth is, your parents DO play a big role in it. At least in your formative years.

    To answer your question, I keep God in my life because I have to as a pastor (Haha!). No, seriously, I haven’t had to deal with the life-threatening issues you’ve had to deal with, but Jesus has met me powerfully in some very deep and personal ways. The more I know Him, the more I love Him! And the more I receive His unconditional love, the more I have that kind of love for others. I think if people of any age can fall in love with Jesus, and stay in that tender place, you won’t have any trouble keeping them in the faith. 🙂

    1. Hi Mel! Thanks so much for this. Yeah, you’re right about that. my parents are so incredible. Truly. I feel so blessed to have them in my life and to have had their wisdom and guidance growing up (and still today!) Amen to that – His love is unconditional! thanks for sharing that 🙂 big hugs xox

  8. I am so proud of you and the inspiration you are to so many people. Put me at the top of the list! God, in my limited understanding, often works behind the scences, as it sometimes feel we are alone. Many people would just mail a check to a care providing agency, and send mom a card now and then or even find time in their amazingly busy days to call on special days. I cared for my Mom in her elder years….there were a few days when I thought I should be the patient! You can’t know immediately how your actions and words are perceived but not only that how your journey is relayed. You have a gift for writing….not sure if this could be the beginning of a book for you….you know, the kind you never imagined writing? You are a wonderful blessing for your family and you are honoring God in the most beautiful way possible – in service. Thank you for sharing your walk of faith!

    1. Oh gosh, Rick, what a kind thing to say. Thank you! That’s true – He’s a behind-the-scenes guy. What a gift you gave your mom. And thank you for that encouragement about the book. Maybe one day 🙂 Thanks again for being such a constant source of positivity and kindness in my life! big hugs xox

  9. But while searching for the video, including watching the Wayne’s World take on the above scene, this came back to mind (I might have shared it before):
    The divine Teacher bears with the erring through all their perversity. His love does not grow cold; His efforts to win them do not cease. With outstretched arms He waits to welcome again and again the erring, the rebellious, and even the apostate. His heart is touched with the helplessness of the little child subject to rough usage. The cry of human suffering never reaches His ear in vain. Though all are precious in His sight, the rough, sullen, stubborn dispositions draw most heavily upon His sympathy and love; for He traces from cause to effect. The one who is most easily tempted, and is most inclined to err, is the special object of his solicitude. (Care) – {CSW 178.2}

    In 1998, God woke me up, he leads me, and as I look at, talk to, listen to, and follow, I have found him to be the God described in the above quote. I could tell you about reading the Bible to get to know God personally, about prayer, about sharing him with others, doing ministry, sermons, sitting with the newly born and the slowly dying. But how do I keep God in my life? The truth is is I don’t – by his love and grace, gentleness and compassion, he keeps me in his.

    1. Oh my gosh, I am getting choked up reading that. it’s so true. He keeps us safe in His arms. And even when we fight it, He loves us all the more. His grace is truly amazing. How awesome is that. thanks so much for sharing that, Brad. 🙂

  10. And since I’m blowing up your comment section, can I also add that once again, I thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your story and his testimony. You matter, it matters, you’re changing lives.

  11. That’s really a great question! I keep God in my daily life by doing exactly what Matthew 6:33 commands me to do. Keep God first and everything else will follow. I practice by faith, dedication and of course my love for Him, to speak with Him 1st in the morning hour and 2nd by praying throughout my day. I exercise my faith by believing that God hears my prayers and He is faithful to answer my prayers. I see the manifestation of my request 80% of the time. He always amazes me, and this is why I purpose to stay in His presences.

    1. Keep God first and everything else will follow. that’s such great wisdom. Gosh, you have such a beautiful relationship with God! that’s so awesome. 🙂 i appreciate you sharing that. big hugs to you xox

      1. If you purpose in your heart you too can develop the same. He loved us enough to suffer and die for us, so why can’t we choose to live for Him? Setting aside alone time and reading your Bible is spending time meditating on God’s word. If you haven’t seen the movie “The Passion of the Christ”, you should. It affected me as no other movie in my entire life has. I live to serve God every day. P.S. Thanks for the love and the support that you show on my blog!

      2. Amen to that – His love was self sacrificial. He poured it out. So we should be willing to at least give our time. And yessss, my family watches that movie every Easter. I can’t get through it without crying. It’s really life changing to see His gift visually. wow. thanks again, Jeanie. big hugs xox

  12. Honestly, like Peter said when the Lord asked the twelve if they also wanted to leave (near the end of John 6), for me it comes down to: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life!”

    Great stuff. Oh, enjoy this time to reap wisdom from the older generation! We have some in our small group who are my parents’ ages and one who is 95. Such precious, priceless wisdom and experience… our culture has it all wrong when we look down on the elderly!

    1. Oh wow, HM, that is such a powerful verse. And so true. To whom could we go!? haha, it’s true though, every coffee date I go on with my mom and one of her friends, I always walk away with a little nugget of wisdom. Thanks for this beautiful reflection! hugs xx

    2. I so agree! I love talking to my grandma. She has so much wisdom and experience. The older generation aren’t wise because they’re perfect, their wise because they’ve lived. We can save ourselves a lot of grief if we can glean as much as we can from their life experiences.

  13. I think, like any relationship, keeping God front and center, calls for effort and intentionality. God is there, whether I am or not. By His nature, He is present. But that doesn’t mean I am in His presence proximity wise, although I am positionally firmly in God’s grasp. To experience God’s presence I have to go where He is or connect via the means He has provided (prayer, worship, Bible, communion, fellowship w/believers). If I see God at work somewhere, then I can go there and connect to Him that way. Peace. Keep up the great blogging.

    1. thanks so much for such great advice: being intentional. I really should work to adopt that into my life. Because you’re right – He’s gotta be front and center, and in this world, that takes work! hugs xox

  14. Like you, it took God saving my like several times for me to come to the answer.
    (How do you keep God in your life? ) I simply owe my existence to Him! There comes time when each of us has to decide for one’s self whet we be belive in for me it’s been a lifelong journey with many rescues by God and His Son Jesus to convince the sinner that only are the real but I am loved! So maybe it was when I was in jail for DUI’s or when I had an unwanted divorce, maybe it was when the former drunk was invited to the Whitehouse or it could have been the mutiple strokes that I survived, along with heart failure when dying on the table then returning to live a wonderful life that proved it for me . I am just glad He cares so much for people like us to offer us Salvation and many chances in life.
    Pastor David

    1. Amen to that! I owe my existence to Him too! Wow, it sounds like God has seen you through quite a journey. Thanks so much for sharing part of your story, Pastor David. God is good. And so are you! big hugs xox

  15. Toughie. Struggle.

    At my best, in my own strength, I would be a poster child for the double minded man in James. Meanwhile, Satan sifts me like wheat.

    Only by constant intentional willful surrender, can I keep God first. In His rightful place.

    Set down my stuff, take up my cross. Let Jesus have His way in my life. Totally worth it…

    Continued prayers for your Mom and for you.

    1. What a thoughtful and beautiful reflection. thank you for sharing that. you’re right – we often have to take up our crosses and remember what Jesus did for us. thanks for the encouragement and prayers. hugs to you xox

  16. You would totally rock that red and purple ensemble! 😆

    But seriously! That was a great response, especially “Why is God in my life? Because I wouldn’t be able to survive without Him.” It is just so true.

    May God bless you and your family. 🙂

    1. haha, I do like a good feathered hat! haha thank you so much for your kind words. Yep, I don’t want to think of where I’d be without Him! thanks for your kind words. hugs xox

      1. Most people in this century feel ashamed of admitting their love of God to people. It makes them feel they’re outdated or something. I’m 21, still God’s best fan, I go to church every Sunday, I try my best to be holy even though sometimes it’s difficult. My friends end up laughing that I’m over-doing my faith. Thanks for this article. I’m inspired

      2. That’s so true — we’ve got to change that stereotype. Loving God isn’t uncool…but awesome! 🙂 Keep at it! That’s so awesome. And I bet deep down, your friends admire that you’re living for something greater than yourself 🙂 (not that your friends are only living for themselves, that’s not what I mean, but that they see you living with a profound purpose) if that makes sense….Who knows the seeds you’re planting just by living your faith 🙂 hugs xox

  17. I love this blog! You are so real and genuine. Sometimes that is a rare find. And a breath of fresh air. I can echo your thoughts and sentiments to a T. I too have found that it’s either God or die from my bondage, because I can’t save me from myself. And bondage comes in all sorts of ways. “Amen! Pass the mashed potatoes.” 🙂 Thanks for your honesty. It’s refreshing.

  18. Such a good post. I feel the same about not losing my faith when I came into my 20s and saw many of my friends do just that. It was just never an option. And I have great parents. Keep posting 👍

  19. I Keep God in my life because He kept me in His. I wake up every morning thinking of all the blessing He rains down on me. Believe me, I have a lot of making up to do on that end because I use to wake up cursing anything that had to do with living. I was so ungrateful.

    So, I wake up and after teeth brushing and face washing, I read my Bible. I talk to Him constantly (picture the cartoons of all the chatty sidekick characters, never shutting up, that’s me lol)

    I try to work Him into ever conversation I have, not that I preach but if someone tells me something good happened, “God sure did bless you on that one.” Sharing something good that’s happen to me, “Thank God for: insert here whatever He did for me that I am telling them about” What you doing today, “God willing: insert what I’ll be doing for the day” There’s always a way to work Him in 🙂

    God Bless 🙂

    1. That is such a powerful perspective. It’s true – I know it’s cliche and in a song, but His grace really does fall down like rain 🙂 Thanks for the greta advice! Will definitely try to implement some of that in my day! hugs xox

      1. lol…not sure if it’s powerful but it’s the least I can do. He could have popped my little stubborn hardhead off a many a time but He loved me instead 🙂

  20. I wish I could say it is by my amazing persistence and strength…the truth is, He hangs on to me when I am weak. I wish I could say it is because I am so amazingly gifted…the truth is, most of the time all I bring to the table is my brokenness and need…but somehow, in His boundless love, He holds onto me……..that and I talk to Him…alot…I think I wear Him out…smile.

    1. Thanks so much for this, Tom. Amen to that – boundless love indeed. I can really relate. I feel like that’s what I bring to the table too, but thankfully when we are weak He is strong:) so glad you stopped by tonight. Hugs and love xox

      1. By the way…my mom is in a Red Hat group thingy…I just about fell over the first time I saw her getting ready to meet with the “girls”in her “uniform”. Wow…I wasn’t sure if I was proud of that fact that she didn’t care she was wearing a red hat and purple getup (you go momma bear) or if I should be worried. She loves her ladies so I keep the jokes to myself and my dad.

  21. Well said. I hit that wall when I was twenty. I had to choose to survive. I also couldn’t do it without Jesus. I grew up with God in my life. I really don’t know or want to know what it is like to live without him there. I’m glad you choose to live. I’m glad you chose God. I’m glad you choose to share.
    In answer to your question, talking to him daily (prayer). That is what I found I needed to connect with him and needed to continue to live every day. God Bless!

    1. Gosh, Milly. Thank you so much. I am seriously so touched by your words. You’re right – there is power in prayer. And amen to that – im glad for those things too. Thanks for the encouragement. Hugs and love xox

  22. A spiritual routine…… daily bible reading, praying without ceasing, meditating and fitting him into everything around me……that aside I have Christian and non Christian friends who never fail to engage me in conversations about God.

    Like you, I know my difficult days had everything to do with him prying from my fingers that which I held too tightly……

  23. Great post! I think for me… it comes down to being purposeful. If I regularly spend time listening to God, then trying to live without Him is like trying to live without a spouse our a parent… or a friend. Time spent I guess.

  24. I trust you will accept this in the spirit of kindness with which it is being written. I follow your blog but admit to not reading it as much as I’d like. Today I’m catching up a bit so this involves a number of posts, or at least common themes of which you enjoy writing. It’s interesting to me that I agree with much of what you say, empathize with many of your feelings, and have a mental picture of someone I “know” as I read your thoughts, words, actions, wins and losses.

    Except. When it comes to your faith. I’m not on some quest to understand it as I accept it as being you, just like many of my friends whom I also feel “miss” the boat. I’m no hater either.

    Like you I grew up Catholic, attending Sunday church and C-school for 11 years before college (oh, and midnight mass). My parents and sisters Catholic, and of course both Italian immigrant (in their 20’s) grandparents who attended church to light candles almost every day of (her) 96 years. Viva La Popa! I shouted as we used to toast a shot of Bourbon 2-3 times a day.

    But, here’s the thing; as a voracious reader and lover of all things (non) revisionist history, I’ve spent years studying what actually happened from 2500 years ago to present day… or at least what seems to have happened… without the aid of FAITH. As for religion itself, I’m all for it for many people. Most religions do more good than harm if left out of the politicians or rulers hands (and, uh Priests). Most truly religious folks are smart enough to be tolerant of others as well…

    The Jesus story is a fabulous work of art, literature, and psychology even if it clearly isn’t true, or partly true; or as I believe…. even if it’s pure fiction. It has and does serve much of humanity well and provides a solid moral framework for many to abide.

    The Vatican? Not so much. No, not enough to fill a teaspoon.

    The typology of the Old Testament works a bit of good archetypal magic as well, and some characters come to life in the New Testament again. Perhaps surreputiously, I do think GOD got a nice makeover in the NEW Gospel, but I’m highly suspicious of why.

    At any rate, you would make a great Buddhist, Hindu, Zoroastrian, Gnostic, Druid, yadayadayada. Jesus, I promise you won’t mind. Thus, why I write this rambling missive. To say GOOD FOR YOU, be who you want and don’t apologize as long as you stay the same, but please… don’t let cognitive dissonance or confirmation bias scare you out of knowing the truth. Especially after Mom goes… mostdiggity

  25. There’s no oomph in many churches, because the Word is not preached in its entirety. And it isn’t preached in context with the rest of the world’s history.

    I know because my youngest daughter told God to stick it. Her decision had a lot to do with university classes that taught evolution and other things designed to kill faith. Plus, there’s some bitterness over something deep down. I have yet to crack that nut.

    Already Gone by Ken Ham and Britt Beemer does a great job of documenting how churches and Sunday Schools teach bible stories. There are cartoons of Noah’s ark and other biblical events. We teach them in the same manner we tell fairy tales. They don’t hold up well against scientists in lab coats with beakers and Bunsen burners.

    Every Sunday it’s the same thing; the gospels and familiar stories are repeated and dissected ad nauseum.

    You know I sometimes write about some fairly off-the-wall stuff. However, it’s all stuff that has a bearing on the entire arc of the biblical narrative. Right now I’m reading a book called Babylon Rising by Dr. David Jeremiah, which does a great job of penetrating the prophecies in Daniel. He’s someone who has studied enough ancient history and scripture to be able to put things together.

    Already Gone also makes the point that people want to hear God’s Word preached fearlessly undiluted. That stretches from holding fast to hard truths to what I described above. Pastors who water it down to avoid offending people and keep membership are driving people away.

    Sometimes God will use suffering to strengthen, teach, or call us back home, it’s true. Your suffering was your gift. It tightened your walk with Him. You can also help point the way. I just find it a shame that the education of church members is so incomplete!

    Well, that’s me on my soapbox for tonight. I’ve probably kept you past your current bedtime. Go soak your dentures and slip your wrinkly self under the sheets! Always a joy, Caralyn!

    1. Hey Jeff! Soak my dentures and slip my wrinkly self under the sheets…I literally laughed out loud at that!! That, I think, is the funniest thing you’ve said! Such powerful stuff here, Jeff. You’re right — suffering is definitely a tool and has absolutely been my gift. It may not have been the most fun to go through, but the lessons gained from it were invaluable. Sounds like a pretty awesome book. I’ll look for in the “book on tape” version. It’s true, I think people have a real hunger for His Word — it’s literally the truth straight from The Source. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and wisdom tonight Jeff. Sorry the Patreon was a little late…it should be up now. Also…know that I will be praying for your daughter. 🙂 big hugs to you and julie! xo

      1. Glad I could give you a laugh! Thank you for your prayers too! Don’t worry about Patreon. I’ll listen tomorrow. Listening always gives a slightly different understanding. At least I might come up with another old age joke… Hugs, prayers, & blessings!

  26. I talk to God like he’s in the room with me when we’re alone (sometimes I feel like I’m talking to Him when I’m with people)..and honestly, half the time I feel like I’m one distracted girl’ constantly wanting attention and pushing him away then wanting him back but he never ceases to sing to me.
    https://youtu.be/KTMaFv0Aiz8 (her music has been like a long hug from God since 2013 and certain scripture I read now. I can pair it to one of her songs, like today. It isn’t all the time but when I do I get way too happy inside. I’m finding he’s the one that does the wooing, I just really need to keep my eyes open and my heart willing to receive it without second guessing. It’s the only way I’ll ever get to a place of loving him back a tiny bit of what he loves me without trying to earn it. I need to let him constantly fill me.

    1. Hi Julia! Thank you so much for sharing this. That’s an awesome way to connect with Him! Oh, I can’t wait to listen to that song. I’m huge on music — it is my prayer language for sure. I’m so grateful for you sharing this insight and advice and encouragement! It means the world 🙂 big hugs to you xox

      1. Girl, if you were here, I’d share all my favorite music I’ve heard him in with you. I’m huge into it. Huge. Especially with her music, you’d probably not be able to stop me from singing. You’re welcome! Thank you for sharing your heart and being vulnerable. Helps me know I’m not alone❤️

  27. I asked God into my life at 19 the day i gave birth to my first child. I looked at her and knew I needed God to help me raise her. Best decision I’ve ever made.

    How have I stayed with God? I’m ashamed to say I left him when I was around 45. I was angry at him for the suffering I saw in my family, myself and the world. I just concluded he was cruel.

    I decided to read everyhing I could find on why God allowed suffering. After a few years, I finally understood and returned to Him. I’m not proud of what I did. I wasted a lot of time, but I will say it felt good to be back. I didn’t feel any condemnation from God. I think he knows we all have lots to learn.

    I still find pain hard to deal with, but I run to God with it. He always gives me comfort. Joyce Meyer has helped me the most with living one day at a time and also to quote Scripture when I feel negative in any way.

    1. Hi Belle! Thank you so much for this thoughtful response. I’m so glad you went back. 🙂 Yeah, suffering is difficult to understand. Really difficult. But I’m glad your journey ended up back in His arms 🙂 hugs to you xox

  28. I love all your posts! Thank you for sharing with us. Sending good thoughts and love your way.

    XO

      1. i’ll share my story, when i can sit down to jumble it all up. but yours strikes several chords n my heart! down to earth…honest. simplicity gets to me always. God bless.

  29. Same as you: being blessed with experiences that don’t seem like blessings at all, but that make it clear as day that I cannot survive this live without God. I have no interest in trying and no interest in doing things my way. Well, I’m human, so I do want to do things my way sometimes, but I always know that His way is best, even if I fall short at times.

    Thanks for another good and thought evoking post!

    1. Hi Celestial! Thanks so much for your encouragement and for sharing your thoughts. I so can relate! When I try to do my way, it usually ends in a face plant of sorts haha His way is definitely best. Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful weekend! Hugs and love xox

  30. Okay, I haven’t been all in my faith for a long time and been angry at Jessuse during my angry teen years, but few years ago I started to go to a small church in Interlochen call Community of Christ, that their are a few of them around. I like how they talk about God in this church as not as one Religion but as all churches as God house, no matter what Religion it is.

  31. I didn’t grow up with religion. I am always envious of those that did and have that in their “hip pocket” when they need to lean on it. I do believe in God, just ask anyone that sits next to me on an airplane! Speaking of which, I will be flying to Phoenix next Friday, thus I will be having an open dialogue with God very soon!

    1. That is so true! His grace is overwhelming. the song may be cheesy, but it is so true – His grace falls down like rain. how blessed are we for that 🙂 thanks for stopping by! hugs xx

    1. Thanks so much Margaret! Yeah, I am so grateful for having such a great mom (and dad!). I know not everyone can say that, so I definitely count my blessings. glad you stopped by! hugs xox

  32. What a great title, gee I dared to sit myself on the mercy seat on the Day of Judgement, and in walked God looking very serious. It’s so so important to live life ‘not too seriously’ don’t you think, but being serious though Jesus loves you because of your courage and true faith.

    1. Thank you so much for this thoughtful response. I think you’re right – we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously…afterall, God did give us bellybuttons 🙂 hehe jk jk But your’e so right! thanks for stopping by! hugs xo

  33. Thank you for this wonderful reflection. I am not a millennial nor a regular church goer but as I get back in touch with my life’s worth of writing, I find that the longing for something more powerful than me has guided a lot of my words. This force became its own presence in my life and while I might not call it God, that is perhaps unfair to the faith that it is in fact God. Your own expression of humility and faith will help me come to my own understanding and I look forward to the dialog I will continue to have with myself and God through my own writing.

    1. Oh thank you so much S 🙂 There’s something really healing and powerful about writing. Something about acknowledging your thoughts and giving them the time of day — it sends a positive message to your brain. thanks for stopping by and sharing that 🙂 hugs xox

      1. You are very welcome and thanks for telling us about your journey. I wish you and your mother well along your journey together.

  34. Dear BBB,
    Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. Many thanks for following my writing and sending your little encouragements my way so very regularly. I really do appreciate it. It means a lot and gives me great strength. May God bless you and keep you happy and healthy.
    Lots of love and a big hug!
    S. xxx

  35. What a good reminder 🙂 I keep God in my life by involving Him in everything I do. Prayer and constant thoughts towards the Saviour. Reading the Bible and talking about matters concerning the Church also helps me a lot 😀

  36. To be honest I started reading this and wanted to laugh (siblings are a sleep so I kept it quelled)….for some reason I thought the red hat thing was a local quirk of my own community ladies. Do they run around in the parades for you, too?

    Anyway, as to the question you asked us….I think you answered it well. For me, the harder life is going, the closer I am to God. That’s been a problem in times of good, but it’s easier for me to rely on God when it is physically impossible for me to do what needs to be done in a day. Pride/self-sufficiency is my biggest struggle everyday. It influences my relationships with everyone, not just God. But He is the one big enough to make sure I can’t move forward with that attitude. Inevitably I start thinking that way & something goes terribly wrong. I get so frustrated sometimes because it seems like every time I try to obey Jesus and love Him more I backslide big time. All the same – I’m close to Jesus because He stayed with me when I thought He should just destroy me instead. I’m close to Him because I need Him. I love Him because He showed me how to see beauty in His creation, and taught me how to love others. I laugh with God too – He usually uses humor to soften some minor correction I need. The Lord has done so much for me. How could I not love Him?

    1. Wow, I am so moved by this beautiful reflection. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and thoughts and experiences. All I have to say is AMEN! He has stayed with us and shows us how much He lives us every day. Haha and yes! It’s a national quirk! 🙂 Hugs and love xox

      1. Thank for sharing yours! Someday I hope to have a real conversation with you, where we can properly trade stories, be it here or in heaven. 🙂 And with His love He teaches something new every day. An experience I am so grateful for today.

        Huh. The things I learn. O_O I never thought to research the red hat ladies – never imagined it was national. Shalom!

      2. Aw, that’s so kind of you to say. Yes! That conversation will happen one way or another 🙂 and I look forward to it 🙂 haha yes! The red hats are a nation wide phenomenon! 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  37. I keep God in my life by thanking him every day. I pray a lot – When I first wake, when I’m in the car, when I go to sleep. I’m on the media team at my home church, where I run the computer and projectors for both services, once a month. It’s a good refresher and reminder. It’s also a bit of a social event – I get to see and catch up with church members and friends.

  38. Caralyn–Love your honesty and straightforward writing. I’m one of those 60-ish ladies with 4 kids whom I adore and spend lots of sweet time with– but they’ve all left their faith and are petty much living lives on their own. I just try in support & encourage & listen, pray for them every morning and hope for God’s work in their lives in the days and years ahead… I’m thinking as you said, that they’ll find times when they can’t manage life without him. You post was a big encouragement. thanks.

    1. Hello again friend:) I’m so glad that these words resonated with your heart. I think prayer is the best thing to do. Your kids obviously have an incredible mom as an example:) the journey is long and there are many detours along the way. But the story is never finished:) I’ll definitely keep them in my prayers too:) Hugs and love xox

  39. I, too, would have been exceedingly uncomfortable being called to the carpet to explain the actions of our generation. I think Sherry Wedell (?), in her book, “Forming Intentional Disciples” tackles the numbers and the why’s – or, Matthew Kelly in “Rediscover Catholicism”. 🤔

    Sounds to me like you did a great job, even with your “bone head move”! 😂

    And, I find I struggle to relate to most of our generation simply because I am deeply committed to the Catholic Faith. As it stands, I our young family is one of a handful actively engaged in our parish right now – something I would love to see change, but don’t quite have all the answers on that!

    1. Hi Anni! Hahah a bone head move it was. The room literally was laughing for a good 90 seconds! Ha Yeah, I can absolutely relate. Living out our faith, especially in today’s culture where sundays are for brunch and football, giving an hour or so to go to church seems “outdated” but I hope that you’re encouraged. We need more families like yours being a beautiful example in our communities! Big love to you xox

  40. R.A Torry, a great evangelist, spoke to the idea of drawing people to Christ. It has impacted my parenting approach in this area. He said something (don’t have the exact quote) along the lines that we cannot make someone Christian, and we cannot give the baptism of the spirit, we can only partner with what the Holy Spirit is already doing in them. So basically: we are human God is God, and we ask to be part of what he is doing, not bare the burden of taking it over. It is a difficult question to face though as a mother: how do I make sure my children know the same saving grace and freedom I am privileged to walk in? I am hoping that running hard after Christ until the day I see him face to face will spur them on by example. But I also ultimately entrust them to the care of their perfect Heavenly Father, and try not to mess up what he is already doing.
    It is very encouraging in our current culture to her there are women like you, who just never thought to let go of God. Thanks for sharing:)

    1. Wow what a powerful quote! Amen to that – God is God! It sounds like you have some awesome parenting tactics. I’m taking note for when and (hopefully if!) I am a parent one day:) hugs to you xox

  41. I keep God in my life by, well, sometimes my choosing, sometimes His. The moments when I seek him and abide in his promises are there, sure. But, more often than not, it’s God wiggling himself into my life, at inconvenient times to again prove how steady His love is. And for that, I am so thankful! <3

  42. Thanks for sharing. This has been inspiring. How do I keep God in my life? Truth is, I don’t. He’s just always there. I fall, I rise, I run back to Him. He’s always present.

      1. Yes, absolutely right! Thanks. You’re a blessing and your blog is rewarding. Sending prayers and love to you and your family. God will come through for you guys.

  43. This is a hard question for me to answer, mostly because, like you, I have gone through some pretty incredible and damaging things. And during those times it was so hard to lean on God. Because I felt like he had abandoned me in this hell that was my life during those times. When I did get back into going to church and trying to liven up my faith in God, the church was accepting. I found a home there with the people. But I got comfortable, and after some circumstances in my life were made public, the church actually asked me to leave.. I lost my Godly family. Or so I thought. Throughout that entire experience I have come to realize, God calls the shots. He puts you into situations where you think your world is falling apart so he can be the glue that puts it back together. All of the times when I felt so completely alone in life, I have come to realize that God was there the entire time. Leading me the direction he needed me to go. And so now, instead of feeling abandoned and alone,
    I look to God and say lead me where you need me, in all of my times of trial and discomfort. And he always answers. He never leaves me. That’s how I stay a Christian in this day and age. However, that being said, I don’t always go to church on Sundays. I have a temper and a bad mouth on occasion, and I struggle everyday to live a Godly lifestyle. But I haven’t lost my faith. Struggling now brings me closer to God. Each failing, every day, lets me know that I am not done, and his work in me is not done, and that he will (most likely) give me one more day to try to be who he needs and wants me to be.

    1. Hi Briakay! Thank you so much 🙂 I’m glad this resonated with you. I’m sorry that you felt alone during those times and that your community that was supposed to be centered in Christ turned out to not be the beacon of hope and support they should have been. That breaks my heart. You did not deserve that. But I’m so glad that you’ve come to find God’s unwavering presence in all of this. Sending massive hugs and love. Xox

      1. Thank you! Sending you love and blessings as you deal with and handle the aftermaths of your mother’s stroke! You are such a strong person, and your love for God is inspirationally beautiful, so I know you can do this!

    2. Love this! My experience with corporate church has not been the greatest but I am a part of a local body which I love. I love the confirmation that Jesus gives us through the body which is beyond our local church. There is so much you have said here that I relate to. It is so amazing how God puts something right in front of you.

      1. I agree completely! He has used all of my messed up past experiences to teach me that unconditional love, like his, doesn’t fade like human love. And that’s a cherished knowledge during both good and bad times!

  44. An amazing piece. You’re gifted. It was a pleasure to read because I live with my grandparent who went through the same. How is your mom doing?

    1. Thank you so much! That’s so kind of you to say. Wow, what a gift you’re giving your grandparent. I will definitely keep them in my prayers. She’s doing better every day. We are very hopeful. Thanks for asking 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  45. You never cease to amaze me! So insightful and delightful to read! Not only to you offer us much to think about, you write in such a fun way.

    On a side note, you might want to take advantage of those older women. I have friends decades younger and others, decades younger than I am. We learn so much from each other. God bless.

    1. Thanks so much Mary:) that’s so kind of you to say. What great advice. And it’s true! Every lunch/coffee/study, I walk away with a new little nugget of insight or glimpse of His grace. This really is a precious time and I’m grateful for the opportunity. God is funny how He works in the most mysterious (and creative) of ways 🙂 even through third wheel coffee dates with “the ladies.” thanks so much for your constant positivity and encouragement. I am grateful for you!! 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  46. By just reminding myself daily where my help comes from. I struggle because I forget that I have a father in heaven who knows all and sees all and just wants me to talk to him. We all struggle with that.

  47. I think you made an important point when you described the judgmental looks you once received regarding your experience with Anorexia. This is probably one of the main reasons people don’t connect with God or church, because they don’t feel accepted as they are in the midst of human experience which can be messy and ugly. I have had a similar experience in that I learned to depend upon God when I was in the midst of crisis and had no where else to go. So in that respect I am grateful for what I have been through.

    1. Thanks so much for this thoughtful response. That’s so true – our lives are messy and can be ugly at times. But it’s in those times that we really need God and really need a supportive community. Not one that looks down or judges. So glad this hit home with you. 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  48. Dear Carolyn my friend and blogger. Allow this to be the last comment that I ever make on your WordPress site. The comments I have referring to the said post aren’t going to be flattering to a lot of people. You may become offended and I encourage you not to be but instead of the ones that I gave you here today. It is true of the millennials have declined Church choosing instead to watch Church with the comfort of Netflix and a bowl of popcorn front of them rather than enjoying some good gospel soul for music. One of the many reasons the Millennials of this age in which I despise refuse to go to church is because Millennials of this generation have become a spoiled rotten they have everything they need or think they have everything they need. If there’s one line in the movie God’s Not Dead that was solidified the Millennials it’s this sometimes the devil allows people to live free from trouble because he doesn’t want people to turn to God. Another reason the people refuse to turn to God is because they think they have the greatest life possible right now and they think by sacrificing for God they’re giving up the world when in reality the world in itself is just ashes. Even Moses himself said he refused to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season using to join in the afflictions with his people. Point Blank listen to me please I I love your works and I really enjoy reading the blog but I have a serious problem here I feel as though you have one foot in the world and the other pointed to the Cross I don’t mean to say this to sound mean or anything I’m just confused how can you swear like a sailor in your own words how can you go to the bar until 2 a.m. and then go home home and pray it off. The number one reason the Millennials are slacking and lacking is because they refused to get baptized by the Holy Ghost. Receiving the Holy Ghost is more than just going in pool receiving the holy ghost means getting him by fire just like they did on the day of Pentecost just like Jeremiah did just like the prophet Isaiah. I’m so envious and angry with you because you are the greatest state it has one of the holiest churches in your backyard and yet I have to come from Canada and travel 17 hours just to come to Ohio once a month. I have to sacrifice money and time I deny the flesh everyday I speak only words of edification but yet I weep for people like you in Ohio that had the Church of Philadelphia right in their backyard and they refused to go in and find true salvation the millennials of this age only want the form of godliness the Lord says from such people turn away so I have turned away from reading your blog any further in the future but I tell you this because I love you…. and there’s nothing more in the world that I would like for you serve god with your whole heart mind and being.

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I’m sorry that you disapprove of the way I’m living my life. I am a work in progress and I have never pretended to be anything more or less. I am just honestly and authentically me. And I’m sorry that you feel you cannot continue to read my blog. I want you to know how much I have enjoyed our friendship over these past two years. You have been in my prayers with your situation ever since our paths crossed, and know that you will continue to be 🙂 I have always and will always consider you a friend 🙂 hope you find it in your heart to come back soon! Hugs and love xox

      1. I apologize if I in any way offended you. I am going to be starting a new sagment on my blog post. Journeying With Jesus. The Heartbeat Of God and The Heartbeat of Man. Again I deeply apologize if I in anyway offended you. You are my friend, and in truth I am honored that you consider me a friend. Take care and may the love of Christ always follow you….

  49. I can’t love this any more than I already do… My husband and I are the rare millennials who came to Christ ‘later in life’ (you know, because we’re so old lol) and people at church are always surprised. They have the same laments – that their kids won’t go to church or have fallen off the church bandwagon… Our pastor even asked us once how the church can reach our generation. We talk about it a lot, and I would say it’s because of a lot of things, but we fall away mainly because our generation has been big on self. We’re independent and we do what we want and we can do it all on our own. Until we just plain can’t anymore. It takes a few falls to realize God is the only one that will be there every time without fail.

    And I would agree that hearing the stories of others is such a faith builder. I love to be around people and just hear where they’ve been. Our own story is enough to remind me that everyone’s got something in their past. It’s neat to see where people have been and find strength in that.

    Blessings to you! <3

    1. Hi Britt, thank you so much for this kind response. Haha “later in life” — everything is relative 🙂 haha That’s so much – we’re the generation that created the word, “selfie!” So true – we can’t do it without God. Thanks for sharing part of your story. Sending massive hugs to you xox

  50. A similar situation happened to me once after Eucharistic Adoration. I was exiting the church when an older woman was just staring at me with this expression of disbelief. At first I thought I had something on my face, but when I looked around the church I realized it was because I was the youngest one in attendance. There were no children, or young adults there; mostly older married couples or grandmothers.

    I, too, live in a congested, secular city like NYC and I’ve come to find it to be a real litmus test for faith. You either throw it away, or yearn for it. I’ve known so many “cradle-Catholics” who abandoned their faith for the worldliness that’s just so “in-your-face” in the concrete jungle. They become confused and don’t know what’s real anymore. Why do these things happen? It’s honestly an array of things, both in society and even in the home.

    But the Lord sometimes makes us experience certain things in order to humble us, and draw us closer to Him. I’ve had my own ups and downs in life, too, and I’m thankful for His grace. He’s got a way of turning disasters into something beautiful. Just look at the Cross! A horrible and grotesque death turned into a glorious Resurrection! God makes everything new again, including us.

    The Lord’s got a plan for everything, even with the current state of the Church. If He never gives up calling us, He most definitely isn’t going to quit calling others. We just got to stick with Him and have faith.

    Great post, BBB! God bless!

    1. A litmus test for faith – boy is that the truth! I’m so glad you could relate. You’re right, His grace is powerful and truly amazing. Thanks so much for your encouragement! Big hugs xox

  51. All your posts really inspire me. Thank you for writing! I keep God in my life by spending time with HIm everyday and trying to push myself outside of my comfort zone.

    1. Hi Rebekah! Oh my gosh, thank you. What a kind thing to say. Those are great pieces of advice. I definitely need to work on intentionally spending more time with Him. Hugs and love xox

  52. You are an inspiration! Your life is a blessing to those around you.
    Sometimes when we go through so much in life, we ask the question why? We are all sinners who stumble and fall… without that we wouldn’t need God in our lives. It’s His way to use our lives to be His light into this world. No matter how big or small we think we are. Our experiences and triumphs is what He uses to let the world of His mercy, grace, and unconditional love for us.
    God bless you and thank you that you use your life for others to see His glory.

  53. It was a smoking hot seat!!! Lol!
    Well, with regards to keeping God in my life, I really am clueless about that. All I know is this: God is incredibly great at keeping me in Him. So, it is not really about me keeping Him in my life. It is about Him keeping me in Him. God and I have this eternal love relationship going. Not gonna trade it for anything in the world.

    Awesome awesome post!!

    1. Haha thank you so much! And wow that is so powerful. You’re right- His grace is incredible how He keeps us in the palm of His hand. It is in every sense, amazing. Big hugs to you xox

  54. Love your thoughts here. God is it that is for sure. My physical body keeps letting me down but God is always there. Thanks for sharing! It truly is good to hear a younger person say this. My kids are strong but I love hearing it outside.

  55. I keep God in my life by being alive. He is. He simply is. I don’t keep Him anywhere because He’s everywhere. Once you meet Him you only need to open your eyes to see Him.

    That’s not to say I’m a churchgoer. Church has not been a part of my life for several years. Those two are very different things. Those you suppose are apart from God may be closer than you think.

    1. He is. Gosh, I love that so much. Amen! He’s everywhere. And I agree- I see His presence so often throughout the day, whether it’s in a sunset or a moment of peace or a song that really moves me. Thanks for sharing that powerful insight. Hugs and love xox

  56. I’ve been trying to piece together some kind of response to this; I’ve already written and then deleted a few different tries. It’s been a while since I didn’t have had all the wrong words and maybe it’s because this is a really hot seat for me.

    There’s a slew of things spinning around in my head–the article from FaithIt written by a millenial about millenial decline in churches that popped up on my facebook newsfeed the same day as your article–the young couple my wife and I have begun mentoring who are on the knife-edge of basically excommunication from her family for choosing us over a cult in church clothes–the myriads of millenials clearly uninterested in playing church–my older brother’s slide from truth-seeking, cult-overturning christian to agnostic… and of course they want to know why millenials aren’t interested in church, the last generation is probably terrified there won’t be anyone left to carry their legacy. I know I would be.

    But it’s time for something different–I’ve said this before–so I’ve never viewed the decline in ‘church attendance’ in our generation as a problem to solve. I’m not worried about millenials getting back into church. What I’m worried about is an entire generation being disillusioned by their parents and grand parents being willing to settle for ‘church’ being a ‘place’ you CAN ‘attend’ instead of a growing, changing community with Christ–a REAL PERSON–at its center.

    It’s true, my parents influenced me big time, because they didn’t settle for religion. But I’m not really ‘in’ the church like most people might consider ‘the church’. Sure, I have an awesome community, we get together for dinner once a week, it’s a highlight of a lot of people’s weeks. But organized ‘church culture’? No thanks.

    There’s a book floating around by Wayne Jacobsen called So You Don’t Want to Go To Church Anymore, you should check it out if you get a chance, it totally unravelled what christians call church for me–not that Holy Spirit wasn’t already doing that in my heart already. Honestly I think ‘church’ as we’ve known it is waaaaaaay down the list of what millenials–or anyone, really–need. So this is what I’m teaching my teen group:

    1) Father loves you immutably

    2) The gospel is good NEWS, it’s about what a REAL PERSON already FINISHED.

    And 3) church is us. Church is us together being us, with Jesus in our midst. Church is community, church is hanging out together be that having dinner, playing games, watching movies, camping out by a lake for a week, or just having a quiet conversation over coffee. Church is when we come together to grow and to discover and to start using the gifts Jesus has given us to make our community bigger and stronger and more in love with our Beloved. Can that happen in a church building? Sure. But it doesn’t look very much like what is happening across the continent in church buildings every sunday morning, it doesn’t look like playing church or ‘knowing’ what the preacher talks about in his sermon, it’s about community and relationship and religion just can’t do a spit kadiddle for the hunger millenials have for that kind of truth and authenticitt in community and relationship…. It’s time for ‘the church’ to reimagine Church…

    1. Wow this is so powerful. It makes me want to get up and do something about it! Haha thank you so much for this powerful reflection, Carson. What a gift you are to those teens. I love the three points you teach them. How important is that first one : father loves you immutably. That’s the basis for everything. So much great food for thought here, Carson. I really appreciate you sharing your heart and thoughts! Hope you have a great night. Hugs and love xox

      1. You’re too kind 😀 I’m glad then that I didn’t stop at my first attempt ;D I think one of the biggest things is simply, we haven’t been included enough–religion aside because I know not every church out there is dead and crusty, haha–we haven’t been given much say in the church and the church hasn’t taken a lot of effort to compromise, and I mean why not? It worked for generations, why shouldn’t the model work for millenials too? But millenials are a God-loaded revolution waiting to happen, I can feel it coming if they all just got that ‘aha!’ moment it would start a landslide nobody could stop. And THAT makes me EXCITED! 😀

    2. This is so spot on! I am so thankful for this encouragement. I raised my kids no religion at the core. Jesus all the way. I am astounded to hear you efface here the things I have taught them all these years. God knew I needed to hear this! Such an encouragement as I try to build up my kids in adulthood!

      1. Good! 🙂 Religion has never been a friend of God, one of the biggest mistakes is to make him into a religion instead of a relationship. Keep at the good work (:

  57. I simply start to feel lousy and isolated if I stay away from Mass for too long. It’s like a fish out of water. Sometimes I wish I could “just pray” or “look at a candle” like some of my friends and acquaintances. But for some reason God obviously requires me at Mass… or vice versa I should say. But I don’t push it on others. I really do believe it’s not for everyone. So many different forms of spiritual practice and types of people.

    Btw, I’ve been meaning to mention… but you probably know. The brain can create new pathways around affected areas from stroke. Neuroplasticity. I’m sure your docs have told you all this… 🙂

    1. Hi Michael! A fish out of water — what a great way to put it. Thanks for sharing this. I really appreciate it. a lot of what you said really resonated with me. And yes! That’s what we’re working on with my mom…creating those “detours” around the area 🙂 thanks!! hope you have a great weekend. hugs xox

  58. “When you are at rock bottom, you learn very quickly that God is all you have and there’s no other option – you have to depend on Him”. I know how true that is!!! You are a blessing to many by sharing your pains. You give hope to those who are at that rock bottom time of life. God bless you so much!

  59. Beautiful. I am one of those people who go through life in mainly a cold mathematical sense.This brought me a little burst of joy whilst reading! Thank you. Keep on keeping on, Sister. 🙂

  60. Let me reiterate again in case I haven’t done that properly in the past. I love your writings!
    This had me laughing:
    ” No ma’am. I mean, I can swear like a sailor and think some pretty terrible and judgmental things. #WorkInProgress”
    Happens to the best of us. The are lots of things I still find within me which i abhor.
    The blogging community is really great. It helps us to connect with other people like you said and to learn, listen, grow.
    Keep up the good work. I cannot imagine what it is like in your shoes but in all honesty I believe there is a lot of wisdom we young people impatiently miss because we don’t spend much time with the elderly. And when you do write an exposé on the housewives of suburban Ohio after all this(no kidding), I’ll be here to read it.
    Have a delightful time.

    1. Hi again! haha oh gosh, thank you Debby. I’m so glad that you like my blogs! Yeah, there’s definitely a lot of areas that I’m working on! Isn’t that true! I have learned so much from people generously sharing their stories and advice in the comments section. It is truly such a blessing to me. And amen to that – I have learned so much from these meetings and just being with my mom and her friends. haha Thanks again 🙂 big hugs and have a great weekend! hugs xox

  61. Well, in answer to your loaded question, Caralyn, I would have to say, I don’t. I just do whatever I want whenever I want. Think what I want about what I want and express it accordingly. I was burdened by this “model” thing at one time in my life, “Oh, I want my daughter to marry a son like yours…blah blah blah blah…” to my mother. I’m so glad that’s over. Now they all one-glance me and run away. I’m kinda glad for the freedom. “Exampling” can be such slavery! But that’s my opinion. I’m not trying to change yours. If I were, I would say so outright.

  62. Hey Caralyn. I trust you, along with your Mom and Dad, are doing well.
    I have an entirely new empathy, and heart felt feelings for the three of you. Last Sunday afternoon, Feb. 12, I suddenly had a stroke. No warnings of any kind, with Blood Pressure being in the perfect range every time checked, with the last being two weeks prior at the Dentist.
    Anyway, on Sunday afternoon I was sitting at home, just going to have a piece of home made coffee cake that had cooled enough to eat. As I attempted to lift the plate off the table, I could not hold it, and it fell onto the floor. (What a waste).
    At that time, my speech became all garbled, there was no feeling down my entire right side, and my right arm was uncontrollable, flying up and down.
    Firefighters, and EMS arrived quickly, ER personnel were waiting at the hospital when I arrived. And most importantly, our daughter notified family, church, and friends to start praying.

    A shortened version, … by Monday night, all signs of a stroke were gone. A number of tests followed all week, with nothing showing, Physio Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Nurses all said they had never seen a recovery like this. Two Doctors said it was amazing that full strength, full speech full normalcy returned to my entire being.

    Praise Jesus, for His Healing Touch, as well as all who helped, using skills and knowledge given by God.

    I cannot explain it apart from God’s Grace, just like I cannot explain why your Mom, and a couple of my friends did not get full recovery following strokes.
    But, like I noted previously, I empathize in a greater way what each of you are going through, and now I can / will pray more specifically, fervently, understandingly.
    Seeing what my Wife, Son and Daughter were going through, gave me that perspective from the family view also, so I appreciate the love and care you give to both, in an even greater way.

    God’s Blessings my Friend, be on You, your Mom and Dad.
    Luv, ❤️🌹😘

    George

    1. Oh George! My heart sank when I read this! Oh friend, I am so incredibly sorry to hear that, but praise God that you are okay now! That is such a relief! I will definitely keep you and your family in my prayers during the aftermath of such a scary event. Yeah, my mom is doing better everyday. We are grateful and excited for the healing she’s had thus far and are hopeful for a full recovery, however long that may take 🙂 Gosh, I am just so glad you are okay! I wish i could give you a big hug right now! Hang in there, George. You are amazing. hugs xox

      1. Thank You Caralyn, I appreciate all your prayers, knowing Jesus answers prayer, just not always in our time frame or understanding.
        And I Receive your big hug, and hug you also, you are truly an inspiration.
        I am so glad to hear that your Mom is improving. As we continue in prayer, I believe her speech and memory will return.
        How is your Dad doing during this difficult time for him also?

      2. Thanks George:) I so appreciate your continued prayers. And I’m sending up lots of prayers of thanksgiving for you!! 🙂 my dad is such a rock. He is an incredible person. I learn so much from him everyday:) thanks for asking 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  63. I don’t want to sit here and type a looooong response to this powerful post. Everything in this was amazing however. The timing , the setting , the reminder of your past, and your response. WoW just WoW!

    Thank-You for being evidence of God.

    -JV

      1. I just realized I did not answer the question “How do you keep God in your life?” Well, it all starts with trust. If you read any of my blog most of my life is a result of trusting God. All the opportunities have been a result of trusting him in every step. I have to KEEP him in my life for guidance. I have to KEEP him in my life to sustain me. I have to KEEP him in my life to achieve greatness. All these things just mean so much more and stick around so much longer because of the supernatural power of GOD involved with all of it.

        Yep, that’s how. 🙂

        -JV

      2. Trust. Oh that’s so important. And easier said than done. But you’re right, when we trust Him, He will never let us down. It will definitely be an adventure. But will always be good. Such great advice and perspective. Thanks for sharing that, JV! Hope you’re having a great weekend! Hugs and love xox

  64. Love this so much. Thank you for sharing! I hate that there’s almost a “shame” associated with sharing personal faith, and not worrying about “offending” someone just because I’m an outspoken and practicing Christian. God has loved us even in our worst moments, in our best moments, and in our moments of unfaithfulness when we consistently said “no” to Him and His open arms. I know he wants us to share his love and power to encourage the hearts of His children ready to hear his voice, and to persist for some who aren’t. Thank you for sharing His voice! <3

    1. Thanks Brooke! What a kind thing to say. Thank you 🙂 that’s true! Even when we’re at the bottomest of rock bottoms, He loves us through it. Thanks for the beautiful encouragement. Hugs and love xox

  65. Faith is a stream not a river. Some months its there and others you must crawl literally at times, further up the mountain. Like, most metaphors in life. You get dirty looking for answers.

      1. In 1874, Charles Kingsley had a sermon about the future of the church. Reason must be taught alongside the liturgy. I think, its because reason is the main argument against the church. As civilization modernizes into its own religion it must be countered by thoughtful reasoning.

      2. Just, thinking out loud. Faith in anything is a kind of bias and reason helps to balance, again. It removes the occurrences of fundamentalist thinking because you aren’t excluding yourself or others and you have tools to learn, listen, and teach.

  66. You are wonderful for doing all that you are doing for your mom! She is blest to have you!! Keeping God in your life brings out more and more amazing things about you and all that makes you entirely beautiful in and out!! Hugsssssssssssss!!!

    1. Thanks David! Being open to God’s way – that’s so awesome. Easier said than done. But He will always work everything together for good. Hope you’re having a great weekend! Hugs and love xox

  67. I’m a missionary on the Navajo Nation, and we do a Bible study every night along with worship together as a group. It really helps you to stay closer to God and to learn a lot of new stuff. Great post by the way! I really do enjoy reading your blog’s! Thank you

    1. Thank you so much! That’s so great that you do that every night. Having a supportive and Faith centered community is so important for our walk with God. Rock on:) Hugs and love xox

  68.  “…-I can’t do this on my own. When you are at rock bottom, you learn very quickly that God is all you have and there’s no other option – you have to depend on Him. Fully. Why is God in my life? Because I wouldn’t be able to survive without Him.”

    So damn true tho. ❤❤.

  69. Hello!
    I thought I was just coming by to say “Hi!” and thank you for favoriting my post – but after reading this, I need to also thank you for such an enjoyable and thought provoking read. The honesty is tangible, and the gifs are a great touch.
    It’s rather amazing, isn’t it? How the God of the universe would love us enough to make Himself real in our individual lives, to reach out through all the storms. We start out with plenty of information about faith in our heads, but He doesn’t rest until it’s firmly established in our hearts as well. He doesn’t rest until we know we’re loved.
    Keep going, lotsa blessings. 🙂

  70. Caralyn,

    My family shared your post along with Not So Random Chick’s today in our family time. Her’s talked about legacies and yours talked about the One behind good legacies, so together they were timely reminders and encouragements.

    To me it seems the effort is not so much to keep God, (as that doesn’t seem to take much effort – He’s always so joyously available!) as it is to keep from straying from Him. So I would ask ‘What do you do to keep from straying from Him in your life?’

    Would love to hear people’s answers to that one!

    It might merit a write. You know I’m intentionally ‘lying fallow’ right now, and this would be great stuff for me to reflect on in this season – staying with God and building legacies.

    Love and prayers to your parents from all of us, and many blessings over you.
    Indi

    1. Hi Indi! Oh wow that sounds like such an interesting article. So true-our difficultly lies in not straying from Him. I love that idea – staying with God and building legacies. Thanks again for all your prayers and support. You and your family are a blessing to me! Hope you have a great afternoon! Hugs and love xox

      1. 10:48 at night really. And this is the last comment for me for the day – I’m 18 mins behind bedtime – family’s already in. 🙂 But I certainly hope for a good afternoon tomorrow. Mondays tend to be hectic. Bye for now. I.

  71. Honey if I did not have God in my life I would not be here. I know no other way. Nature is my church. And my camera is a means of capturing God in my images. My heart is God’s. I too have gone through several health crises in which I learned not to lean on man but only God. I still do today. 💖

    1. Hi AmyRose, thanks so much for this thoughtful response. I love finding God in nature too. There’s something about seeing the beautiful sunsets or hearing the birds or seeing the flowers that makes me feel really close to God. I’m so glad you’re doing well and that you know that love personally 🙂 big hugs xox

      1. I want you to know how highly I think of you and and that if I had more time I would read more of what you write. I think you are a phenomenal person and writer. My life is so packed I don’t know how I do what I do as it is. It is such a Gift for me when I can get here. Bless you! <3

  72. Omg, I just love reading your journey. You are such a gift to this world, to your mom, to everyone whom you get to meet. Flares are no fun; I have several autoimmune disorders myself. That you never despaired or turned your back on God is amazing. This will help your mom plow through her residuals more than anything else. I’m so glad I just saw you post that you had this, over on IG. ❤ Lori

    1. Thank you so much Lori. What a kind note of encouragement. It really means a lot. I’m sorry you can personally relate to the AI issues. Hang in there. i’ll definitely keep you in my prayers! And amen to that — God is good! Thanks for stopping by, Lori! hugs xox

  73. Wow you are one amazing lady. In this one post I learned you are a loving daughter, great blogger, tougher than nails, funny as all get out, and can swear like a sailer (A necessary skill in my book)

    We don’t share beliefs in the all mighty, but I will never try to talk you out of yours. Great answer to the ladies, and I believe your parents did an excellent job. And, I firmly believe that if we don’t say something to embarrass ourselves at least occasionally, we are just not having enough fun!

    Clicking the follow button!

    1. What a kind thing to say 🙂 Thank you so much~ haha, yeah a necessary skill for me too 🙂 thanks so much. I agree — can’t take yourself too seriously! 🙂 hugs to you xox

  74. That feels like so much more of a difficult question than people realize. I feel like answering, “I didn’t keep myself faithful to God. He kept Himself in my life. He was faithful to me.” But I wonder if your answer is part of it: God needs to break us before we’ll rely on Him…. or maybe allow us to break. Idk. I guess I feel like the question doesn’t have any good answer. Why did the Jews constantly disobey God in the OT? Wasn’t He the greatest parent ever? Why did Adam and Eve eat the fruit? All you can do is be as faithful as you can be as a parent or friend, and leave the rest to God. I would be heartbroken – truly heartbroken – if my kids grew up and left the faith. But that darn free will….

    1. You know, I think there’s a lot of truth in that…I do think that God needs to break us…I don’t think it’s in a malicious way, but He does want to be wanted and needed. I don’t pretend to know or understand the mysterious ways of the Father, but I do know that what you wrote made a lot of sense. Thanks again for stopping by! big hugs xox

  75. I love reading your blogs. In my opinion you are a special kind of girl. I guess that’s the way God makes all his girls if they will let him. Thanks, dear, for your openness relating to your troubles and your victories. Me – the red had lady! 😀

    1. Thanks so much Oneta:) what a kind thing to say 🙂 God is good and I’m just grateful for the lessons He’s teaching–even if it’s the hard way. yay for red hats! 😍 Hugs and love xox

  76. I almost laughed out loud there. Before I got to the part where you write about having great parents, I already thought of that. It took me a little bit to realize that it means the other parents aren’t great. Hahaha! As much as I feel [and act] young, I’m one of those [older] parents who wonder why kids these days don’t believe in God or do not practice the faith. As some point, I also stopped “being” a Catholic. Experimenting, I guess. I think “great” isn’t the accurate word to use but it has definitely something to do with parents – it’s determination, consistency and strictness (?). My kids are not like I was when I was in my early 20’s. I am not like how my mother was. I’m too lenient and “cool”. So yeah, coupled with how the world is, poor kids are worse off…. sadly. I made that mistake with my almost-21-year old son. Hubby and I am going to make sure our toddler goes to Sunday school/Catechism as soon as she can as we both did. I just hope we’re not too late as we didn’t start with prayers while she was small. The other day, she asked me what it means to pray. I was appalled. Parents’ fault. 🙂
    Don’t get too old too quickly. Learn from the older ladies but don’t forget you’re young and must have fun while being a good child of God.
    Much love to you and your mom. Prayers and hugs, my dear friend.

    1. Thanks for sharing this, Anne. You’re right, I have a lot to learn from these older ladies, and I feel really blessed to be able to be in the position to do so. Thanks for your continued prayers and for reading my posts this afternoon! It sounds like you and your husband are amazing parents and your kids are lucky to have you both as their mom and dad 🙂 hugs to you xox

      1. Great thing about life is we can keep working on getting good or better at whatever we need to do. 😉 And I’m sure you’re building some love, patience and understanding muscles ☺ Always my pleasure to read your posts. You express yourself well and I love how you write and communicate your message. Take care. God bless always. 💖🤗

  77. We love because He first loved us. I don’t think we keep God in our lives, I think He is faithful to remain in them. I guess it’s kind of like a cycle. God shows us His love, we are drawn to Him by that love and as we grow closer to Him, we understand His love more and so it continues… It’s an amazing thing to think that the Creator of the universe bent down to save me. It is a love that I will forever be trying to wrap my head around.

    1. Thanks so much for this thoughtful reflection Sharae. That’s a really great point. So true – I am humbled and filled with gratitude when I remember He died to save me. Thanks for that powerful reminder. Hugs and love xox

  78. Unselfish giving Caralyn, it’s good to see you sharing stories with the ladies…… that young people do go to church, that given enough encouragement and support young people can come back and make a real difference, just like you Caralyn. I encourage you to keep going and keep praying for miracles.<3

    1. amen to that! His peace really is incredible. I keep saying that I know I’m where I’m supposed to be at the moment because He is giving me so much peace! Thanks for reading my articles this afternoon! big hugs to you xox

  79. “At the end of the day, everyone is on their own journey.” Yes indeed – if you set yourself on fire, they will surely come to watch you burn…cept…being on fire for God…does not melt the flesh, but it melts hearts.

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