Preparing Our Hearts For Christ – Advent 2020 – First Sunday- Hope


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Advent is a time when we recall the Son of God becoming a man for us, and we prepare ourselves for his second coming in glory.  It is a time for active expectation, desire, prayer, communication, and joy.  

During this time, ask for the light of the Holy Spirit to guide and inspire you.  Pray for a very special grace to know the Lord more intimately in order to love and serve him more.

Follow the Purple Hearts!💜

Preparation

💜Take a few moments and close your eyes, preparing yourself to listen to what God may be saying to you during this prayer. As you sit with your eyes closed, use these or similar words: “Here I am, Lord. Here I am.” Pray for the grace to know the Lord more intimately in order to love and serve him more. When you are ready, open your eyes and focus on the weekly scripture verse.

💜Pray with the weekly scripture

First Sunday of Advent – 1 Corinthians 1:3-9.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I give thanks to my[a] God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind— just as the testimony of[b] Christ has been strengthened among you— so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

💜Review of Prayer

When you complete each period of prayer, ask yourself how it went: 

1. What word of God touched me the most?

 2. What feeling, sentiment, emotion, or effect predominated?

 3. Did I feel some calling, a desire, or an inspiration? 

4. Did I experience some difficulty or resistance? 

💜If possible, write in a journal about the answer that seems most significant. Formulate it in a prayer of petition or thanksgiving. These same questions can be used in the faith-sharing group or in spiritual conversation with another.

💜Concluding Prayer

End this time with an intimate farewell to God, using the words of the Lord’s Prayer.  

💜The Prayer of Loving Attention 

(Also known as Examen of Consciousness)

At the end of the day, give a few minutes of loving attention, making yourself present to the Lord as someone who was graced by him during the day. 1. Thank God for everything that was good for you and for your brothers and sisters. 2. Invoke the power of the Holy Spirit, asking for light to discern how to use your liberty, how to decide wisely. 3. Take note of the situations, circumstances, and events of your day in which you allowed God to act, to be present in your life. 4. Review your actions that were signs of God’s presence and love for others. 5. Ask for forgiveness from Jesus, your faithful friend, for the good you did not do and for not allowing yourself to be led by the Holy Spirit. 6. Entrust yourself and the coming day to the Lord and experience the joy and hope that come from putting all these matters into his hands.

Cited website http://www.ignatianspirituality.com

Bible Gateway

1 Corinthians 1:3-9New Revised Standard Version

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I give thanks to my[a] God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind— just as the testimony of[b] Christ has been strengthened among you— so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Follow Me


2020 has been full of surprises and surrender! I’m learning things about myself, my time management skills and creativity for pandemic boredom.

I’m also learning how to use the opposite side of my body and that is amping up my need for slow controlled movements. Although frustrating, this exercises my virtue of patience.


I had surgery a little over a week ago on my shoulder so I am now only able to use my non-dominant left hand and arm for various tasks. The plan was to return to work next week and continue on the healing journey. Then yesterday happened, I blacked out at the doctors office and had to spend several hours there before being able to come home and salvage what was left of my wedding anniversary.


All of a sudden I find myself in a place of forced respite; the doctor has written me off work for another week. Having a lot of downtime would be awesome, but in this physical state I am limited as to what I can do. I love to journal when I pray and not being able to write with my dominant hand has been somewhat disheartening. Today God invited me to spend some time outside and journal using my left hand and a totally different side of my brain.


In July I attended an overnight retreat on praying through art and received an art prayer journal which I’ve only opened once since then, so today out came the oil based crayons and watercolors.


I began with the page in portrait orientation. While listening to prayerful music and closing my eyes I placed the brush in the center and just started with a gentle swirling motion. Feeling my hand moving upwards, I opened my eyes to extend outward. At first glance what I saw was a snail with googly eyes and I wondered where God could be leading me. Sitting quietly for just another moment I opened my eyes again and turned the page landscape and what I saw then was a unique looking fish! I then worked from the bottom of the sea adding plants and corals then the water. I wanted to put some sort of a light since at this point I knew Jesus was the big fish, and did my best to brighten a yellow spot in the water. As I continued coloring and drawing I did so with a smile knowing that God was bringing out in me one of my favorite scripture passages, Matthew 4:19: “And he said unto them, follow me and I will make you fishers of men”.

Once I realized this, I was a little bummed that I had not left more space behind the large fish for followers. Drawing and painting the little fish proved very difficult with my non-dominant hand some of them look like they can use a little help but then don’t we all!


At this point the yellow brightness was just a blob in the water so I gave it roots and soon it was more plant life. This would be the finishing point and I was excited to have completed it all with my left hand! Even though a 5th grader could do better, I felt accomplished and at ease in my mind.


Looking at the finished product again in portrait mode, I still see that silly looking snail-like creature but now it appears as if the little fish are being held or somewhat shepherded.


When I attended the art workshop I learned some unique things about what colors and lines mean for me. Based on the workshop insights in assigning a color and a brush stroke to an emotion, this painting reveals what I was experiencing during this prayerful moment. The colors of teal, blue, and green represent harmony peace and anticipation. The colors of yellow, orange and black represent hope, sadness and confusion. The purple color represents excitement.


Taking time to reflect on the insights revealed through color and line was amazing and warmed my heart. Jesus is providing harmony; the waters are peaceful and the little bit of green in the coral at the bottom is where the anticipation lies; hope is being revealed in the yellow sea plants that Jesus is swimming towards; confusion lies in the orange of the sea plants at the bottom of the sea; and sadness and frustration are revealed in the black color of the following fish. Then excitement is revealed in the purple branches that are holding up the hope-filled yellow sea plant!


The scripture passage this drawing revealed has always been near and dear to my heart especially when it comes to Spiritual Direction and my answering God’s call. God brought it into my heart today to uplift me and to remind me that He is the one who puts color on my canvas. God knows exactly how I am feeling on this bump in my journey. As long as I trust and follow him with courage, hope and strength in my heart I will be OK.

At this moment for whatever reason , God has asked me to take a step back. This prayerful experience and in this form of journaling has revealed for me that I still have hope in God even amidst the confusion sadness, and my frustration. I know that Jesus is still leading me towards my exciting and hope-filled life!


Thank you for taking the time to read and I hope you get a chuckle at the masterpiece! 😊 Many blessings for a great evening to you all!

Courageous Butterfly

Pressing on While God Does the Shaping


I was feeling ambitious last weekend!  I made homemade pies, well halfway, because I did use canned filling.  I began making a regular old-fashioned pie dough and it went beautifully into my new mini pie pan.  Then I needed to make a gluten free dough due to food allergies.  When you are working with gluten free products for baking, the ingredient which binds the dough together (gluten) is removed and makes the mixture crumbly and difficult to keep together.  I have always struggled with this, but every once in a while I get brave enough to try out a new method.  This recipe called for 1 egg which would act as the binding agent.  So, I decided to let my ambition take over and go for it!

I made both versions of the dough by hand and delighted in feeling the ingredients between my fingers.  I was happy, and peaceful. Even sported my grams apron since pies were one of her favorites to make.  Then it happened…frustration with the gluten free dough.  It was crumbling under the rolling pin.  I added a touch of water and flour for dusting, then began the process again.  I had to re-roll the pie sections over and over because the dough was so fragile and suddenly the fun wanted to go away.

Pressing onward and with several attempts later, the pies were covered and in the oven.  I managed to manipulate the dough just enough that I could get it into the mini pie pan with a few scattered holes.  I took the little sections that broke off and pressed into the pan to cover up them up.  I figured the filling was going to mask any impurities in the dough so I wasn’t too worried.  However, I felt like I needed to get the tops rolled into one fluid piece, because you can’t really hide ugly on the outside of the pie!  In order to accomplish this, I turned on my radio, took a deep breath, and sent a quick nod up to God and Gram in heaven!  Viola! Between the radio and prayer, my body and mind relaxed, frustration eased and I rolled out perfectly smooth pie tops! 

By now you’re wondering where I’m going with this.  Well, as I kept remaking the fragile dough it brought to mind how God had to keep re-making me in my delicate state!  He never gave up, and with His hands He molded and shaped me!  In that, there were periods of struggle and moments of despair sprinkled in between the aha-moments of happy; but look where He has taken me…writing to you about pies!

Enjoy what you make with your hands and when it’s difficult, be happy because God has a lesson in that for you!  Bon appetite!

This post was inspired by Thessalonians 4:11 “and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you.”

How has God shaped and molded you? Share in the comments.

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The Lemon Pies are the gluten free and I appreciated the pun once it was all said and done. You will notice that I made the venting slits too small on the cherry and too large on the lemon, however it did not change the integrity and they were able to keep their shape!