I went to Mass this morning in a good mood and left in a bad mood.
I usually love going to the 8:30 weekday Mass, there are fewer people, the priest comes down from the raised altar and stands at our level for the gospel reading and homily. The entire service has a feeling of shared intimacy. It's usually the highlight of my week.
As I prayed, all I heard was this negative voice that recited a litany of my failures over the past two years. All the times I had invested time and money into my writing career and all the times I had failed to produce the hoped for result. All the jobs I had applied for and dearly needed and every time been turned down.
Not only was the list uncomfortably long, the voice assured me that I had no hope and the string of failures was bound to continue.
As I sat there asking God to intervene, to give me a word of encouragement, the negative voice just got louder and more persistent.
I was reduced to tears as I kneeled in the pew. I kept asking God, 'why?' Why had so many of my attempts to succeed been turned to ashes? Why had my heart been broken? Why couldn't my hard work show the expected results? Why was I failing so thoroughly?
I was reduced to repeating this line from the Communion,
"Lord...only say the word and my soul shall be healed."
I was miserable and angry by the time I left Mass.
I have been in this desert for two years...I feel like I took a wrong turn and cannot find my way out, no matter what direction I head.
When I go home this afternoon, my mother handed her open Bible to me and told me to read Psalm 34. I've copied the verses below.
I believe that what God is telling me, us, is that even when we don't understand the why or how or when of our redemption, we must continue to praise His Holy Name in midst of our desert.
"Let all who are discouraged take heart. Let us praise the Lord together, and exalt his name."
I believe that when we turn to God and praise His Name even in the midst of our struggles, that very act will strengthen us and renew our energy and focus so that we can continue on.
I don't know when this desert will end. I know God could change it all with one word, in one instant. To me, the waiting feels interminable. But I will continue to look towards Jesus, to praise His Name and remember all He has done before today and continues to do.
Someday, I will be able to look back on this time and see God's hand in all of this. And hopefully I will have reached my higher ground. Until then, I will continue to share my journey with you and hope that it is a help to you in your own way in this world.
God bless you,
Psalm 34: 1-10
I will praise the Lord no matter what happens.
I will constantly speak of his glories and grace.
I will boast of all his kindness to me. Let all who are
discouraged take heart. Let us praise the Lord together,
and exalt his name.
For I cried to him and he answered me! He freed me from all my fears.
Others too were radiant at what he did for them. Theirs was no downcast look of
rejection! This poor man cried to the Lord-and the Lord heard him and
saved him out of his troubles. For the Angel of the Lord guards and
rescues all who reverence him.
Oh put God to the test and see how kind he is! See for yourself the way his
mercies shower down on all who trust in him. If you belong to to the Lord, reverence him;
for everyone who does this has everything he needs. Even strong young lions sometimes go
hungry, but those of us who reverence the Lord will never lack any good thing.