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We have seen pockets of spiritual renewal in the midst of the violence and chaos that has been created by the hate, intolerance and racism. Pockets here and there of goodness, compassion and love. But, is it enough? Are occasional pockets of spiritual oneness enough to be called a spiritual awakening? I don’t think so. It’s a start, but we have a long way to go to get to the place where we have a true spiritual awakening in America. It begins with each one of us examining our hearts and making the decision to live a life that glorifies God and letting go of the things that keep us tied to the world. The Church has become an entertainment industry. In our effort to bring people into the Church, we have become more secular and less like Jesus. We think it is okay to take middle school girls to see vampire movies as a youth event. We think it is okay to have viewing parties to watch the Walking Dead in our churches because we want to reach the unchurched. We forget that it is NOT our job to bring people into the church. It IS our job to live as Jesus lived in our daily lives. It IS our job to build relationships with our friends, family and neighbors; relationships built from love and compassion. It IS our job to allow the Holy Spirit to work through us. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to work in the hearts of ALL people. As we reach out in love, the Holy Spirit will bring them into the church. We need to get back to putting Jesus #1 in our lives and leave the rest to God. There are 5 things we can do to bring true spiritual awakening to the United States of America:

  1. Pray: We need to be on our knees on a daily basis praying that God will protect this country. We need to pray that God will place His angels to protect the borders of this country from evil. We need to pray that the plans and plots of the evil one will be revealed, so they can be stopped. We need to pray that God will pour out the Holy Spirit in such abundance that Satan will have no choice but to flee. We need to pray for our Mayors, Governors, Senators, Representatives and even our President. We need to pray for our Pastors, our faith-based leaders, each other and ourselves. We can change things. Satan WILL flee, but we need to pray. Every lasting spiritual awakening starts with the crying out of the Saints in prayer. We need to come together as one and storm the heavens with our prayers. It starts with prayer.
  2. Repent and Transform: As we find ourselves on our knees in prayer, we need to pray that God will reveal the darkness in us that causes the violence and pain and that He will transform our hearts. We need to be willing to repent of our sins and trust that God will bring good out of it. We need to be willing to be transparent with each other and trust that our brothers and sisters in Christ will accept us as we are: sinners redeemed by the blood of Jesus. We are all sinners. We have no right to judge each other. We ALL need to look into the deep recesses of our spirits and repent of the sin that lies there. After we repent, we need to leave the sin behind and transform our lives to glorify God. We need to continue to renew our minds daily through prayer and Bible study. We need to transform our lives so the world will see more of Jesus in how we live our lives then they see of us.
  3. Love: We need to love those around us, even when they seem unlovable. We need to pour out love into our communities instead of hate. We need to open our hearts and eyes to where there is pain and step out in love to be Jesus in a broken world. If we don’t, who will?
  4. Serve: When we start to love the people around us God will reveal areas where we can serve. When we start to serve those in need around us, we build relationships with those who need the healing touch of Jesus and the Holy Spirit will open the doors for us to share our Jesus story. Serving others in love and compassion allows others to see Jesus in us and allows the Holy Spirit to work in their lives. Through our obedience in serving, the Holy Spirit will fill our Churches and revival will come.
  5. Disciple: We need to start discipling new believers. One of the biggest things that is missing in the Church is discipleship. I grew up in the Church. I went to Sunday school. I learned my lessons, but I was never discipled in the Church. There was never anyone that came alongside me to disciple me. No one ever taught me how to be a follower of Jesus. No one taught me how to live this life through the ups and downs. Sunday school is great, but we need to be willing to sacrifice some time to come alongside a new believer for a significant amount of time to disciple them. We need to be willing to teach new believers how to stay connected to the Vine: Jesus. I was finally discipled. I was thirsty for more of Jesus and God sent the Holy Spirit to disciple me. Outside of the Church. I was not finding Jesus in the Church. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Church. I do. That’s why I am so passionate about bringing the Church back to where it needs to be. We need to be more proactive in building discipling relationships and not depend so much on our Sunday schools. We need to be more proactive in turning new believers into mature disciples of Christ.

We can bring spiritual awakening to America. There is hope! God still loves us and we can turn things around. One pocket of spiritual renewal here and another pocket there CAN turn into a National revival and Satan will have no choice but to leave. Never give up hope! With God ALL things ARE possible!

 

 

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Making A Commitment

 

In just over a month, I will make my commitment as an Associate with the Sisters of Providence. I’m not really sure where this journey will take me, but I do know that God has led me down this path and He will reveal His purpose in His time. I started this journey 6 years ago and it has taken me this long to stop fighting Him and trying to make my own path and trust God to put me where He wants me. I have tried to make my own path. I have tried this and that trying to find God’s will for my life, but God brings me back to this magical place, affectionately called, “the Woods” and under the loving care of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin and the Sisters of Providence. God continues to keep me here. This is my home. I know that once I make that commitment, I will find my place and God will be able to use me to bring love, mercy and justice into the world. I have said before that commitments are scary for me. I am afraid that once people get to know me, they will reject me. I need to step out of my fear. I need to allow the love of the Sisters to embrace me and maybe even heal me from my fears and anxieties. It is a safe place. I need to allow myself to be open to the love of these women. WOW! I need to accept that I am worthy of love. I have come a long way in the 6 1/2 years of employment with the Sisters, but I find myself still reserved. I am still not sure that anyone could love me just for who I am, imperfections and all. I am learning. I am growing. I think, maybe this is why God has placed me here, to be able to feel the unconditional love of these women. It is a safe, healing place. I feel like a butterfly emerging from it’s chrysalis. I have been locked up in this self imposed cocoon and I am ready to break free and fly into my God given purpose.

 

I am trembling at the prospect of completely baring my soul and letting these loving women know my heart, but I trust in the Providence that brought me here and I know that I am in a safe place.

Below is my Commitment Statement:

Providence Associate Commitment

I, Patti Burris, as an associate with the Sisters of Providence of Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, commit myself to be faithful to the spirit of the Congregation for one year. Through this relationship, I will strive to the best of my ability to support and further the mission of Providence.

I understand that as a Providence Associate, I am responding to an invitation from God to unite with you, my sisters and associates, to more fully live the vision of Providence in the world. In God’s presence and with God’s grace, I choose to make a commitment that will honor Divine Providence and further God’s loving plans through works of love, mercy and justice in service among God’s people. I choose to this in the following ways:

*Pray daily the Litany of Non-Violence.
*Participate in community celebrations, gatherings, enrichment programs and retreats as feasible.
*Give mutual support to one another, sisters, and associates in times of celebration and grief.
*Meet together with associates and sisters in local areas for prayer, reflection, socially and for peace and justice activities.
*Keep informed of Congregation news and information through communications and publications.
*Live the mission and charism of Providence in my daily life, work and ministry.
*Delve more deeply into the charism and mission of the Sisters of Providence through reading, reflection, prayer, conversation and participation.
*Participate in works, ministries, social justice activities and volunteer service with the Sisters of Providence.
*Pray on a regular basis for Sisters and Associates.

I am embarking on a great journey and I am excited to see what God is up to!

 

Lessons From Our Past

 

Isaiah 43:18
Forget the former things;  do not dwell on the past.

I was part of a Facebook discussion yesterday on the “Rebel flag” and what it represents. Any discussion that includes what has become to be known as the Confederate flag (the “Rebel flag” was not the real Confederate flag. It was only the battle flag of Northern Virginia. There were different variations of the real Confederate flag.) is going to bring with it passionate feelings about hate and racism. My friend is passionate about not supporting a flag that represents hate and racism. My ancestors from my grandmother back lived in Louisiana. My ancestors were cotton plantation owners and yes, slave owners. What is my view on the Rebel flag? It is a symbol of a part of United States history. I will never condone racism, hate, or oppression of any kind. I am passionate about speaking out against injustice. I will not discredit those who view the rebel flag as a symbol of hate because of what their ancestors lived through. I will challenge all of us though to see it for what it is, an inanimate object that has no power other than the power we give it. Recently there has been a trend in tearing down the statues that represent parts of our history as Americans. People have become upset by what these statues represent. We are giving power to non-living objects instead of examining our own hearts to see what part WE are playing in bringing the hate and racism from the past into the present and future. These statues and other symbols that we see as representing negative aspects of our history need to be used to fuel us to work for peace instead of the violence that is erupting instead.

This country was built on the destruction and slaughter of thousands of innocent men, women and children. The Native Americans. We, as Americans, have a history of violence and intolerance. At the same time, I have seen great examples of compassion and love. WE choose what attitudes we will take into the future. If we choose hate and racism then we, at least need to be mature enough to take responsibility for those actions and not blame our actions on a statue or piece of fabric that has no power to make us do anything. My ancestors were slave owners, but that does not define who I am. I am passionate about working to bring justice where injustice lives. I am not my ancestors. I choose not to bring their attitudes into my present and future.

My challenge to you: Forget the past. The lives of our ancestors are gone. They are dead and so are the circumstances they lived through. Learn from what they lived through to make things better for those of us living now. Learn from the past to make things better for our children. Choose to make the future a better one for all of us. Let go of the past and choose to live in peace.

 

Serve One Another

 

John 13:14

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.

Galatians 5:13

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

Matthew 20:28

Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many. 

While Jesus was on earth, He taught us how to serve others. He made water into wine. He fed thousands of people on different occasions. He healed the sick, brought the dead back to life and poured Himself into the lives of His disciples. But, the one example that always stands out to me is how He humbly got down on the floor, took His disciple’s dirty feet and washed them. He washed the dusty, dirty feet of His disciples. Not expecting anything in return, just that they go out and wash one another’s feet.

If Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, could humble Himself and serve the needy and poorest of the poor, then why is it so hard for us to do the same? He did not have to serve anyone. He was and IS God. He did it because He loved those around Him and He loves us today.

Our problem today is that we have to much pride to wash one another’s feet. We think it is beneath us. We are to good to wash someone else’s feet humbly and with love. I’ll admit, I would not be the first in line to wash a stranger’s feet, but in not wanting to step out and serve, what am I saying to my Jesus? In not serving others we miss the opportunity to live out a major part of who Jesus was. He came to serve, not to be served.

Imagine what this world would be like if we all stepped out of our comfort zones to serve others. If we stepped out to serve those that our different than us, those who may make us uncomfortable. What if we looked beyond the color of someone’s skin, or the dirt of the homeless, or the smell of the alcoholic, what if instead of seeing all of these things that make us uncomfortable, we saw Jesus in that person. Remember what Jesus said:

Matthew 25:34-40

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Challenge: My challenge to you is to keep your eyes and heart open to least of these and step out to serve in whatever way you can. Even if you can’t do much, do what you can. It is the love in service that speaks louder than words and will work miracles in restoring a broken soul. If we all stepped out in the love of Jesus and started serving one another this world could change. We could see peace in the chaos. I’ve not given up on that. Go forth and serve!

 

 

 

Path Of Intention

 

I emailed my letter of intent, stating that I want to continue in my journey of becoming a Providence Associate. The picture above is a beautiful path that can be found right outside the door of my workplace. It is the path I often take, at the end of a long day, to get to my car. I never fail to feel the stress of the day wash away as the peace of this magical place fills my heart and revives my soul. Along this path is where I have contemplated my purpose in becoming a Providence Associate. I have named it my Path of Intentions.

What are my intentions? I have thought and prayed about this. I know that my intentions are to grow closer in prayer, ministry and personal relationships to these women that I have grown to love. I don’t know yet how that will play out. I don’t know how God will interweave my life into the fabric that is the history and legacy of a congregation of women who are strong, courageous, intelligent, and filled with faith, love, mercy and justice. I don’t know how God will use me as an Associate. I don’t even know if I am worthy of the role. I do know one thing:

 

This journey must lead me closer to Jesus. Just as this statue of my Savior is found at the end of my Path of Intentions, this journey with the Sisters of Providence must lead me closer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I don’t know where this journey will take me, but I am looking forward to serving the Sisters and others with love, mercy and justice.

 

 

I seek…A Poem

 

I Seek

In the world, I seek…

Peace, but find chaos…

Love, but find hate…

Justice, but find condemnation…

Mercy, but find cruelty…

Compassion, but find judgement…

I seek, but never find…

I am seeking in the wrong place…

Where? Where is the answer to be found?

I am lost…

I am lost…

I turn my eyes to the hills…

Jesus…

In Him, I find…

A peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7)…

A love that never fails ( 1 Corinthians 13:8)…

A justice that upholds the cause of the oppressed (Psalm 146:7)…

Tender mercies from a loving God (Psalm 25:6)…

A compassion that is new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23)…

In Jesus I have no fear…

“In the world you will have tribulation. but take courage; I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33)

 

 

Proverbs 20:22

Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!”
    Wait for the Lord, and he will avenge you.

 

After my divorce, I was filled with anger. I felt like I was being abandoned. My hopes and dreams lay scattered at my feet and I was furious at my then husband for what was happening. I was full of rage and I was determined to pay back the wrong that had been done to me.

I’m sure you’ve been there, single mom. You are Filled with so much anger that it keeps you focused on that wrong that has been done to you. That rage takes your eyes and heart off of what’s important: your kids. It’s easy to get sucked into that hurt and anger. It is normal to feel that revenge will help you feel better. It is normal to want that person that caused you pain to suffer too.

I’m here to tell you, single mom, that revenge will NOT help you feel better. I won’t go into detail about my own childish behavior, but I will tell you that my actions left me feeling guilty about the example I had set for my kids. I regretted behaving that way in front of my kids and I felt like the worst mom in the world.

Did God avenge the wrong done to me? Well, sort of. In my situation, He changed my heart towards my now ex-husband. The more I trusted God and leaned on God, the more I felt my anger melt away. I still get angry at times, but I trust God to take care of the situation for me.

Your saying, “well, my ex-husband beat me, he deserves everything he gets.” That may be true, but your #1 priority has to be your kids. Allow God to work in the situation. He WILL fight for you. If you focus on your children and allow the Holy Spirit to melt that anger in your heart, God will protect you and fight for you. I am NOT saying to not fight for justice in your situation. If you have to take someone to court or get a protective order to protect yourselves and your kids, then absolutely do what you need to do to protect yourself and your children. I am saying to seek justice within the law and not seek revenge based on anger and rage. Our God is a God of justice and He will bring justice in your circumstance. You are a daughter of God, He loves you and He will fight for you.

My challenge to you: Allow the Holy Spirit to heal your spirit and melt the anger in your heart. There will still be times when something happens that makes you angry. If you need to seek justice within the law, then do so. Trust God to bring justice. Your kids need a mom who is at peace and is focused on doing what is best for them. Allow the peace of God to fill your home. Do not allow the anger and chaos of Satan to enter your home. Your kids feel what you feel. Let go of the hate and rage and trust God to work.

If you need prayer or an encouraging word, just drop me a line via my contact form. I am always here to help, my single mom friend!