SALTY AND LIT
Updated: Mar 5, 2020
I’m just getting back from a weekend family reunion. It was filled with everything I love – Jesus, Family, and Ian. Could I ask for more? Family is EVERYTHING!! I am so blessed to have two. From day one, Ian’s family has welcomed me in with open arms and open hearts. I found myself over the weekend referring to ‘our family’ when just talking to Ian about his immediate family. He would smirk at me and reply back, ‘Our family?’ To which I whole heartedly replied with a smile, “yes, OUR family!!” because truly it is how I feel.
My family is the greatest joy and blessing in my life. I treasure the gift with everything in my heart. They are the people I do life with. The ones who know everything about me, quirks and all, and love me regardless. My family lights up my life. This past year I gained a second family. A second group of people I want to do life with. A second group of people I want to know me. A second group of people I truly feel loves me for who I am, accepts me, celebrates the little things with me, and wants all of God’s blessings and joys for me. I am so blessed.
This weekend was filled with SO. MUCH. LOVE. From the minute we arrived we were welcomed with big smiles, warm hugs, and littles fighting for our attention. The weekend continued with a special family mass every morning, countless special conversations, fun activities and games, delicious food and drinks, sunny weather, naps, music (oh the music!!! Some real talent shines through this family!), ice skating, and laughter- the good laughter, the laugh till you cry kind. It was so so so good. It was chaos. So many people all gathered in one cabin means non-stop noise. It was a beautiful chaos though, the kind that you lift up your heart to the Lord and simply smile and say ‘Thank you.’
I reflected on this gift a lot on the drive home. Saying goodbye stinks. Shortly after we left Ian said, ‘ugh, I don’t like this whole leaving thing.’ I agreed. It’s hard. Really hard. Saying goodbye and leaving ones you love is never easy and it hurts. A piece of your heart is missing and you want to put it back together. You want everyone in one place all the time.
I’m trying really hard to be positive. To think positive and to have a more optimistic outlook on life. Change your mind, change your life, right? It was so easy to get caught up in the woe of saying goodbye but when Ian and I prayed our rosary I offered it up in thanksgiving for the great gifts we received through family over the weekend, for strength to carry the burden of being apart from loved ones, for excitement for the next time we will be together, and for courage to be the light. Ian chimed in and said and for strength to be the salt.
The Gospel over the weekend was Matthew 5: 13-16:
Jesus said to his disciples: “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”
This is one of my absolute favorite Gospel passages. I love the imagery of the light. I love the idea of being the light. I have a devotion to the word light.
Light: something that makes vision possible; spiritual illumination.
I have mentioned how my word for the year was WONDER. When I was talking with Ian about words at the end of last year we were talking a lot about peace and the word of the year is never something he has done but I asked him if his word for the year 2020 could be PEACE. He agreed and in the weeks after this conversation, as we were reflecting on 2020, we continuously used the phrase, “I WONDER what PEACE will be waiting for us in 2020.”
One night he tossed a new wrench in the plan for our 2020 words. We talk a lot about finding a vision. Him and I are dreamers. We talk a lot about our dreams and what the Lord has placed on our hearts and how we feel like those things may be possible. On the flip side, we also feel frustrated a lot because we see the dreams, but we don’t see how those dreams are going to pan out. We lack a vision or direction of what the first step is to start pursuing the dreams of our hearts. We have been praying for the Lord to reveal just the next step, the next best yes, so we can start advancing in the direction we feel called.
Ian said, “I feel that Wonder is very much your word and Peace is very much my word but I feel like OUR word for the new year should be CLARITY’ He continued to explain to me that it seemed very appropriate because 20/20 is perfect vision. When you have perfect vision you can see clearly what is in front of you, what is waiting for you to encounter. Super cool. I loved it.
So sorry, I went on a little tangent there because the definition of light is something that makes vision possible. It all ties together and I love when things like that happen. All the more reason for me to love this word. All the more reason to feel that this Gospel in particular was Jesus’s message to me today.
See, I struggle a lot with self-doubt. I have struggled with it since I was little. I was the child that had to be sat right next to the teacher’s desk in the back of the classroom because I got up too many times during the test to ask questions. I was the child that thought someone else’s art project was better than what I would be able to create so I would just draw the same thing as them and copy how they did it. I was afraid of expressing my vision. I was afraid of expressing my creativity and individuality. I was afraid of being wrong, of making a mistake, of not doing something perfectly. I was told several times by my teachers, “You just need to have confidence in yourself.” At the time I would get really mad and think to myself, “I do have confidence in myself.” After years of reflection, I realize I didn’t. I fell into the comparison trap. I see so much good in others yet struggled to see the same in me, therefore, I always felt that I just needed to be more like everyone else. WRONG.
I needed to be me. I am literally the only Michelle that exists on this planet. No one else looks the same, acts the same, talks the same, thinks the same, dreams the same, loves the same, laughs the same, interacts the same, sees the same, prays the same, or hopes the same as I do. The world needs MY unique light. I was placed in the world at this particular time, in this particular place, with particular people, because God has a plan and a purpose for me. It is a purpose only I can fulfill. I can’t ever fill someone else’s purpose so why do I try to be like them? I’m really working on embracing my uniqueness and learning to ask Jesus, “What is it that you have created me, and only me, to do? What is my special light that only I can emit to the world? How can I best live out my purpose?” I don’t want to be a copy. I want to be me. It’s exhausting constantly trying to be different or be more like someone else. I want to be more like me.
Ian showed me this song by Jon Bellion, Stupid Deep:
The first lyric is “What if who I hoped to be, was always me?” Let that question sink in. What if who we all truly hoped to be was simply ourselves. Oh my, how I think the world would change. If we all lived authentic lives, lives filled to the brim of who God truly intended us to be, I think there would be less chaos, less confusion, and less doubt. I think there would be more courage, more confidence, more ingenuity, more creation, and more inspiration. Less about trying to prove our goodness, and more living out the reality of already knowing our innate goodness.
So, over the weekend I had a few thoughts of comparison…I had a few doubting thoughts about this blog. Thoughts like, “Who do you think you are that you could start this blog? Who would be interested in what you have to say? Why would anyone want to read it? Do you really think your little blog could make a difference?”
AHHHHH. Bad thoughts. Thoughts that made me want to give up on this dream that God put on my heart. I shared them with Ian who responded to me by first saying, my blog isn’t for them anyways, it is for God. Then he said how lucky to have something so sacred, so special, so threatening to the devil because of how it will glorify God that he wants to attack it and try to prevent it from happening.
I thought of that a lot as I knew they were not thoughts from God and it helped encourage me so much. Then, out of the blue, without my sister knowing any of the thoughts I had been having, and without me knowing this was the Gospel for the weekend, my sister texted me such a special text.
The Holy Spirit wanted me to share this with you. “God has blessed you with beautiful qualities of mind and soul. Not one has all of the good qualities. God gives to each according to his needs and according to the work he wants them to do. We should not compare but admire and love each other’s gifts.” You have been generously blessed by the Holy Spirit with the gift of words. The many souls that have been entrusted to you are numerous beyond comprehension. Someday, in heaven, you will be so overjoyed to see the fruits of your “yes.” Keep letting the Holy Spirit speak through you as it’s vessel.
She said in the homily she heard at mass father said: if you don’t let your light shine, others will remain in darkness. Jesus entrusts us to save souls. Like salt, we all have flavors or “special gifts” within us. Like meat has internal flavors that can not come out unless you use salt, we too must use our “special gifts” from God in order for flavor to be brought into the world.
She finished by saying, “Don’t be afraid to shine and be who HE created you to be. Because God didn’t make any other Michelle’s, and the world needs YOU."
My sister is so good. I love her so much! I almost cried when I read her texts. The Holy Spirit is so cool because He knew I needed those words so he put them on my sister’s heart to tell me. I Love having such a special soul to walk though this world with. She is helping me grow. She encourages me and inspires me to be better. To grow in virtue and holiness so I can obtain heaven and I just love her so stinking much. Her words were like healing balm to my doubting mind. I felt encouraged and hopeful.
THEN….I received birthday gifts from Ian’s family. His sister’s bought me an abacus rosary. Coolest thing ever! I have never seen one before and absolutely love it. I love it even more because the word that is on the background is BREATHE. The same word in the name of my blog. Breathe. I smiled. I recognized the Holy Spirit confirming me to forge forward with my blog. To breathe, push away the doubt, welcome the encouragement from my sister (and now my other sisters), and forge forward with courage and confidence with God’s call.
I also got a bouquet of sunflowers from Ian’s parents. I love sunflowers. They are pretty much a bundle of sunshine and happiness all bound up into one flower. They are beautiful and the ones they gave me I can keep year-round, which is even better. They reminded me of the light. To be the light. They can now serve as a constant reminder of sunshine, happiness, and light to my heart. Another sign that this was Jesus’s call on my heart and it is how He is asking me to be the light…. so I need to write.
What a weekend. Sorry this post is a little all over the place. I really didn’t know the direction I was going to go with it when I sat down to write, I simply knew I needed to write and trusted that whatever the Lord wanted to come out would.
I don’t know much but I do know...
1. Family is everything. Jesus uses them to speak through to me as He knows they are the people I love and trust most in my life. What a gift my two families are to me.
2. I am me and me is enough. I am good. I have a purpose. I am called to be the light in my unique way. I am called to shine bright by being who God created me to be.
3. You are also called to be the light of the world. You have a unique purpose. You are enough. You make the world a brighter place simply by being in it. You are called to be salty and lit!