I hope this email finds you well. I suspect that many of you find yourself in a similar situation as me. Summer has come to an abrupt end, and the busy schedule, the activities, the back-to-school preparations and first week jitters are upon us. For those of you detached from the school calendar, pray for the rest of us.
I have a story I want to share for all of you out there who feel far away from the Lord, lost in the desert, in a fog or another, similar mental/spiritual state. This is a story (the first part, at least) about little bread crumbs from Heaven that led me out of that place of desolation and back into awareness of God’s love and grace.
A week ago Eric (our Director of Operations) and I traveled to Illinois to visit our friends at 5 Stones. If you don’t know who they are, you should read their story here. They are a key partner in our success story, and we were really excited to finally meet them in person. It was a rush, and brought me such joy as we walked the floor and saw the excitement in everyone’s faces that were part of this magnificent operation. The day was packed full of introductions, strategy meetings, and lots of laughs. Eric and I left Illinois fulfilled and thoroughly inspired to continue the work of our mission. I am grateful to the entire team at 5 Stones for so graciously hosting us, and giving us a window into the beautiful work they do. I went to bed Monday excited for the week ahead.
Tuesday morning, however, was more like a hangover than a continuation of the amazing day we had 12 hours prior. I was greeted by what felt like a mountain of emails, the demands of my day job and the family hustle preparing for the start of school, and within minutes the joy I had experienced yesterday was gone. Wednesday was no better. I was spiraling fast, with no signs of leveling out. I couldn’t catch my bearings. Thursday night I went to adoration with the hope of finding something in my bible that would rescue me from this fog, but little comforted me. I wrote a prayer to Mary in my journal, and returned home. For 4 days I had worked frantically with little peace, bouncing from one task to the next. The simplest task was a heavy burden, and there seemed to be no grace available to persevere. I was lost.
At some point during the week I remember thinking to myself, “What happened? How did I go from inspired and joy filled on Monday to this?” On Sunday afternoon we prayed our weekly family rosary, and I took a much needed nap. I woke up feeling refreshed. I felt calm. That frantic urge had subsided a bit. We spent the evening together as a family, playing cards, bouncing on the trampoline, and reading a few chapters from a new book series. Sunday night I sat down in the living room with a bourbon and opened my book to read for a bit.
This is where the story gets good. The book I opened is called, “In the School of the Holy Spirit” by Jacques Philippe. As we said our goodbyes Monday, one of the gentleman we visited at 5 Stones gave me this book and insisted I read it. So there I was in my reading chair next to my beautiful wife, soaking in the words of Jacques Philippe about the workings of the Holy Spirit, when the pieces of the puzzle started coming together. Here is the text that hit home:
“...Each act of fidelity to an inspiration is rewarded by more abundant graces, especially by more frequent and stronger inspirations. The soul is drawn steadily on to greater faithfulness to God, a clearer perception of his will, and greater ease in accomplishing it.”
As I read these words, I reflected on the week I’d had, and the little bread crumbs of grace I accepted from God along the way. I say breadcrumbs not because that’s all that was available, but because it’s all I accepted in those moments of desolation. There were at least 5 examples that I could remember of where the Holy Spirit inspired me. Each simple act of fidelity led me out of that desolation and into a clearer perception of God’s love for me and how he was moving in my life. In those moments I was hardly aware of them, but looking back I’m amazed at how God moved me. In the coming weeks, I’ll break open each of these moments in greater detail.
I hope this personal story blesses you. Thank you for listening. If you can relate to my story from this week, know that you are not alone in your struggle. God is with you always. Even when you can't see Him, and event when you aren't looking for Him. Be assured of our prayers for you this week, and please pray for us, too.