The past week has been nothing short of wonder-filled and awe-inspiring. Running a small fundraiser is a humbling experience, especially when your education is dependent upon it being successful. (Updated: we have completed this fundraiser, thank you so much for all of your timely help!).
At every turn this week, I have been reminded of Philippians 4:19. The peace of God that surpasses all understanding definitely surrounds me this week and I think that is a good sign that I'm on the right path to fulfill His will. Normally an endeavor like this would have me crawling up the walls for so many reasons, not the least of which would be: asking for help, the help involving money, a tight deadline, not knowing if all the effort will work out in the end.... But the Lord has felt near at every turn of this calling to undertake FCP training.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.Have no anxiety at all...?? So if we bloggers are being honest - comboxes on the internet are mostly scary, dark places. Usually, right? Not the kind of place where you imagine conceiving hope too often... yet I put some of the most personal details about my life out onto the internet this past week.... and the combox (and my inbox!) filled up with the love of Christ. There is no way I could have imagined this Lenten journey a few months back when I started this blog. You all have been with me every step of the way, and your support increases daily. My husband and I are filled with amazement. We are deeply grateful, profoundly moved by your generosity and trust in us, and we are committed to doing good with what you have entrusted to us. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you can read more here.
But let's talk a little about how the Lord is near...shall we? Five obvious ways:
First of all, the selflessness of all the contributors. Near and far, known and unknown, you have all deeply humbled us with your generosity. We have been praying for you by name each night together in our prayers. Your intentions have been taken to God in a special way. If we knew any details about your life, we made time to pray for them specifically. If we didn't know any details about your life, we prayed for God to watch over you and your family and to overwhelm you with His love. We prayed a rosary in Irish for all of you. And each night we have prayed an Our Father and a Hail Mary for you.
Second, the support of fellow bloggers and practitioners. You have spread our need to your circles and asked for our need yourselves. You have been our loudest supporters. And you have done all of this so humbly and creatively and sincerely. The effort has been rewarded by the growing tally on the top right, as you can see (and yes, I have included the scholarship amount in that total just for clarity's sake). The number climbs as a result of God's provisions, through your intercession. While I'm working hard to do everything I can to earn your contributions (and to add to the pot myself little by little), your support and prayers mean a lot.
Third, the Lord asked many things of me this week as a result of His provisions for this journey. And answering that call has not been straightforward or easy, per se. I am trying my best to be a good steward of the situations and circumstances that are brought to my doorstep. This week it involved counsel and fellowship with a faithful Catholic who was advised that IVF was licit by FIVE priests. Please pray for C to see the Truth and to keep trusting me (and another person) to dialogue with her on this topic. We are hopeful to lead her to N.aPro treatment for her unexplained infertility, but she is guarded and actively doing IVF and does not understand it is against her faith because of the advice she's been given by clergy. And please pray for the misguided priests who provided such counsel. I know they must have meant well and I'm not a big fan of criticizing clergy...but please pray for their formation on this topic to experience a profound reversion to the Truth.
Fourth, and maybe the most unique of the things I've experienced this week, is that I know how my contributors' Lent is going. We know God asks us to give quietly and without seeking praise. And that's why I'm offering it here anonymously. Quick thanks is important, but printing all of your names on the internet isn't a part of that. You don't have to worry about me divulging your personal contribution or sharing your name here. My husband and I know what each of you have done for us and we are praying for you individually. In a special way, we feel privileged to know that your Lenten alsmgiving this year is going phenomenally well. I know that most of you don't have a picture of what our life looks like in any real sense right now, but just know that I'm using shoe goo and duct tape like bandaids for a leaky air mattress over here in an empty house that needs to sell while I wait for training to begin. We know you are answering God's call in your own life by supporting this training and that has been about the awesomest window into your faith that we've ever had the honor to witness.
Fifth and lastly, this week also involved putting together my second prayer bouquet for the loss of a friend's child. Our own 1st child, Ruadhán Pádraig, conceived in 2013, has a due-date-anniversary fast approaching. He would have turned 1 on St. Patrick's Day. Imagine the complicated feelings of an Irish couple's first child having such a due date... so these particular prayers have involved many tears. And yet the Lord keeps asking more of me. I can't share everything He has laid at my feet just yet, but I keep saying YES to what He is asking of me right now. This journey to fundraising for my FCP training is becoming an epic test of my own ability to communicate and negotiate some of the most difficult parts of Church teaching on infertility treatments. All before I have the training that would help me to do so.....so please keep me in your prayers that I can continue to be a voice of Truth throughout these next few weeks. I get a sense this is foreshadowing for what is ahead!