|Photo Credit: krosseel from morgueFile.com|
February is known to many as the month of love. There are copious quantities of chocolate-covered strawberries, pink hearts, red roses, jewelry, stuffed animals, balloons, and more chocolate-covered chocolate.
All of those things are certainly lovely, but, is it really only about those things? Nah. Not really. (insert clapping and cheering from the fellas – hee hee!) It’s wonderful to make sure our loved ones know they’re loved on one certain day because oftentimes we take them for granted and don’t tell them nearly enough. However, I’m a huge fan of loving on them all year long.
In addition to loving on our family and friends, Father Bentil shared something very interesting in his homily over the Valentine’s Day weekend. He encouraged us to do something we’ve probably never done before. He invited us to write a letter…to ourselves. Yes…ourselves. He instructed us to address it: “To my dearest Valentine, [insert your own name].” He said that the entire letter had to be positive and needed to address our strengths and things that we’re good at. He mentioned that we couldn’t write anything negative about ourselves or imply anything about our weaknesses. Hmmm...
I thought it was a fascinating idea. We’re all pretty good at negative self-talk, aren’t we? But, what about positive self-talk? Are we just as practiced at that? I’m thinking the overwhelming response to that last question would be, “No.” Sometimes we just feel like we’re a mess of tangled knots and it’s hard to focus on the good stuff.
Pope Francis addressed a crowd at St. Peter’s Square in October of 2013 and shared, “We know one thing: nothing is impossible for God’s mercy! Even the most tangled knots are loosened by His grace. And Mary, whose ‘yes’ opened the door for God to undo the knot of ancient disobedience, is the Mother who patiently and lovingly brings us to God, so that He can untangle the knots of our soul by His fatherly mercy.”
For undoing the knots of our lives, Pope Francis has a prayer to honor Jesus’ precious mother, Mary. Part of the prayer goes like this, “Through your grace, your intercession, and your example, deliver us from evil, our Lady, and untie the knots that prevent us from being united with God, so that we, free from sin and error, may find Him in all things, may have our hearts placed in Him, and may serve Him always in our sisters and brothers. Amen.” Beautiful.
Ironically, my friend, Mary Lea, handed me a prayer card last week as I was formulating this blog post in my mind. God works that way and I love it! Here’s the amazing “Knots Prayer” that she gave me (Author Known to God):
Please untie the knots that are in my mind, my heart, and my life. Remove the ‘have nots’, the ‘can nots’, and the ‘do nots’ that I have in my mind. Erase the ‘will nots’, ‘may nots’, and ‘might nots’ that may find a home in my heart. Release from me the ‘could nots’, ‘would nots’, and ‘should nots’ that obstruct my life. And most of all, Dear God, I ask that you remove from my mind, my heart, and my life all of the ‘am nots’ that I have allowed to hold me back, especially the thought that I am not good enough. Amen.
Oooohh…wow. That prayer was powerful for me. Sometimes our knots include all kinds of “nots” like those mentioned in that prayer. Actually, much of our negative self-talk includes those “nots.” Whether we’d like to admit it or not, we all talk to ourselves. Some of us actually do this out loud and answer ourselves too. But what if, through prayer, we could erase some of those nots? They’d become these uplifting words instead: have, can, do, will, may, might, am.
- I HAVE everything I need.
- I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
- I will DO the will of God each day.
- I WILL give testimony to my belief and trust in Jesus.
- I MAY not be perfect, but God loves me anyway.
- I MIGHT make mistakes daily, but I can still give love and make a difference in someone’s life.
- I AM a beautiful child of God.
In addition to connecting to God in prayer, one of the things that helps to undo the knots in my own life is when I get to witness unselfish acts of love. Last week, I was having lunch with my son. We both were wearing our “Sydney Strong” t-shirts in honor of my 11-year-old goddaughter who is bravely battling cancer. My son’s friend asked us about our cool matching shirts.
I told him that a few weeks back, we had a t-shirt campaign to raise money for her medical bills and treatments at MD
asking any further questions, he reached under the lunch table and pulled a ten
dollar bill out of his wallet. He slid
it over to me and said, “Can you please give this to her for me?” I almost starting bawling, but I held it
together and maintained my composure in the school lunch room…you know…for my
son’s sake. Once my tear factory opens
up, it can be quite the sight. Let’s
just say that I’m not a pretty crier. Anderson
Of course, I thanked this young man over and over for his generosity. He’s eleven and so is my goddaughter. It hit home with him, I think. I was blown away at his unselfish gesture of love for someone he didn’t even know. I asked him to check with his mom first and she said it was okay for him to donate. He wanted to send his donation with a card, so I sent one to school for him to sign.
February is INDEED the month of love…THAT kind of love and I just LOVE that! The month of February also holds a special date for me. I began this little blog called Sips of Sunshine three years ago on Feb. 16, 2012 and I’m so glad I did. Thank you for spending time with me in my little corner of the internet. I’m so blessed that you’re here!