Groundhog Day – reliving the same challenge again and again

groundhog-day-chris-piascik-flickr-creative-commons
Groundhog Day Chris Piascik, Flickr Creative Commons

I never could sit through “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray. Relive the same day over and over? No thank you. And yet, I can’t get away from my own Groundhog Day – the weakness in my life that haunts me, again and again.

What’s yours?

How many of us have those physical “weak spots” in our bodies that constantly succumb? The sore throat that signals a cold. The leg once broken, now chronically stiff. The back that aches simply by standing in place too long.

Spiritual weak spots

st. nicholas ted, Flickr Creative Commons
st. nicholas ted, Flickr Creative Commons

There are spiritual “weak spots” too, brought back to life again and again by circumstance. Mine is managing money – we always seem to be short. The same financial problems repeat themselves endlessly. Right now we’re going through a season of endless hits – dental bills, medical bills, car repairs. I climb two steps up the slippery slope only to slide back down another ten. It is death by a thousand cuts, wearing me down, making me tired and discouraged. Frankly it’s boring, eating away at any desire to approach God and ask again for the grace to continue in the battle.

St. Nicholas, patron saint of finances, must be sick of hearing from me.

The scars of repetition

It’s not like I don’t know why these things happen. We are poor money managers because making lots of it has never been a priority. We accept that. Decisions were made to favor other aspects of our lives rather than money. But the security of having enough would be nice!

Once upon a time my husband and I were polar opposites – he, the spender; me, the penny-pincher. The last major financial challenge forced us to meet in the middle and come together as partners. Learning to work as a team surely helps and I am grateful for that lesson learned, but it didn’t come without scars. Scars of shame at my own stupidity. Scars of loss when we’ve fallen short of meeting our obligations. Scars from feeling the need to keep our money problems a secret. Those scars make it hard to trust; I am stuck.

Injured Piggy Bank With Crutches Ken Teegardin, Flickr Creative Commons
Injured Piggy Bank With Crutches Ken Teegardin, Flickr Creative Commons

These periodic problems with money only fuel the desire to penny pinch and that’s the deepest wound of them all. I am small-hearted when it comes to giving money because I just don’t trust that God will provide what we need. I can trust the Lord in so many areas of my life but when it comes to finances, the well runs dry.

I am guessing this is why the cycle repeats itself — God still has something to teach me. Along with the lesson of learning to work in tandem with my husband, I have also learned not to ask God for money to “fall from the sky.” Instead I ask for fortitude, wisdom and patience. I’m guessing I also need to ask just as diligently for healing. And I’m learning to ask others to pray for me.

paul writing--featuredAs St. Paul was not freed from his “thorn in the flesh” after petitioning the Lord, I doubt I will be freed from mine of the spirit. But I can take a lesson from this favored saint who accompanies me on my marathon journey to God each day: accept it and rejoice in it. To paraphrase 2 Corinthians 12:10, when I am weak, I am strong. Because I depend on God’s grace, not my own strength, to get through each challenge no matter how often it repeats. God’s strength never fails.

It could be Groundhog Day every day but God’s grace will prevail. He will test me, prune me, yank up the weeds, teach me. And I will grow stronger through him and closer to him.

Originally published in The Catholic Free Press, October 14. 2016
copyright 2016 Susan W. Bailey

 

Save

Save

Click to Tweet & ShareGroundhog Day – reliving the same challenge again and again http://wp.me/p2D9hg-1OQ

em space

 

 

just-cover-225x222

Susan’s latest CD, “Mater Dei” is now available! Purchase here.
Join her at St. Luke the Evangelist in Westborough, MA on Monday, October 17 from 8 to 9 for a Marian concert to benefit Haiti. Free admission, free will offering to be taken up. Songs from “Mater Dei” will be featured.

Many people find coloring to be a wonderful way to relax and experience harmony in their lives. Is that you? Join my Email List to subscribe to this blog and receive your free Harmony coloring book (and more).

River of Grace Audio book with soundtrack music available now on Bandcamp. Listen to the preface of the book, and all the songs.

Susan Bailey, Author, Speaker, Musician on Facebook and Twitter
Read my other blog, Louisa May Alcott is My Passion

 

Save

Save

My special deck of cards means companions for the journey

My morning prayer begins with a deck of cards. Not playing cards but prayer cards with pictures of my favorite saints. I have amassed quite a collection—seventeen to be exact. Each day I begin my walk with God by inviting each saint to walk with me.

cards

In the beginning …

It began thirty years ago with St. Anthony of Padua. He was a must-have saint when it came to our baby boy losing his pacifier. Our son preferred the old-fashioned kind, the kind that was hard to replace. St. Anthony became a good friend in short order, always finding that pacifier (whether it was the old one or a new one at the store).

For many years St. Anthony was the only one. I had trouble figuring out how to talk to God and also make room for other heavenly friends in the conversation. It made the room feel crowded.

Growing the list

Then, a few years ago, an improbable event occurred in my life: I was asked to write a book. Having never done anything like that before and having no formal education in writing, I knew I needed help. And that’s when my list of saintly friends began to grow.

saints2

Teresa, Therese, Bernadette …

Saints Teresa of Avila and Therese of Lisieux were the first to make the list. Both were reluctant writers and both relied heavily on God. I even used some of St. Therese’s own words in River of Grace.

Next I saw “The Song of Bernadette” and became enamored with her. In reading her biography I was intrigued by her ability to be absorbed in thoughts of God even when surrounded by large crowds. I wanted that ability. Now I ask her for it every day.

Paul and Cecilia

I clearly remember the time and place where I first encountered St. Paul—it was in the middle of an emergency (stuck in traffic and desperate for a rest room!). St. Paul the marathon runner came to mind and I asked him to run with me and help me endure the pain. He did. Now I always ask him to run with me.

St. Cecilia is restoring my love of music. There was a time not so long ago when I wanted nothing more to do with music having been a performer for many years. But then, God invited me to join the choir at church and I turned to St. Cecilia. She has been working overtime for me, securing blessings which fill my heart up again with the sounds of music.

saints
Meet my saintly friends: Top row, L to R: St. Teresa of Avila, Venerable Bruno Lanteri Row 2: St. Therese of Lisiuex, St. Francis de Sales, St. Lawrence, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Francis of Assisi Row 3: St. John the Evangelist, St. Paul, The Blessed Mother, St. Martin de Porres, St. Cecilia Row 4: Sts. Monica and Augustine, St. Nicholas, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Bernadette, St. Christopher

Bruno, Nicholas and Francis

Last year I had the pleasure of meeting Venerable Bruno Lanteri, the founder of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Through author Father Timothy Gallagher, I met the man who would do anything to hear a person’s confession. He sought out the discouraged, helping them to rise and begin again.

St. Nicholas has become one of my favorites. While searching for a patron saint of finances, I was delighted to find that the man who inspired Santa Claus was that saint. His wisdom and generosity could inspire me to seek guidance in the handling of money, and healing for a heart made stingy by past financial troubles.

And finally there is Francis of Assisi. I am a crazy cat lady with many friends who love animals. And each day I ask St. Francis to remember them all.

Making room

Each day as I take a few moments to flip through my prayer cards I realize how rich my life is with all my saintly friends, all because I opened my heart and made room for them. Doing that reminds me to the same with my earthly friends, especially those in need.

It will be wonderful traveling through Lent this year with so many helpers.

Meet my seventeen special friends

SAINT PATRON SAINT OF WHY I PRAY TO THIS SAINT

1a-cropped st teresaSt. Teresa of Avila

 

Writers She was a reluctant writer and attributed all to God – helps me keep my perspective. She led me through River of Grace. Doctor of the church
1b-cropped TheresePrayerCard-730St. Therese of Lisieux Writers Also a reluctant writer and master of insight into the sacredness of the everyday. She also led me through River of Grace. Doctor of the church
1c-cropped st francis de salesSt. Francis de Sales writers and journalists, because he made extensive use of broadsheets and books both in spiritual direction and in his efforts to convert the Calvinists of the region His gentle face inspired me
1d-cropped st. lawrenceSt. Lawrence librarians, archivists, cooks, and tanners
(and comedians!)
Inspired by his literal trial by fire, I ask him to put his fire into my writing; as I make use of libraries and archives, I ask for his help
1f-cropped st. thomas aquinasSt. Thomas Aquinas Writers (students) I turn to him for knowledge and understanding as I write – particularly clinging to him because of my Alcott biography
1e-cropped st john the evangelistSt. John the Evangelist Writers St. John was eloquent and mystical in his writing – asking for that in mine.
2a-cropped st. paulSt. Paul missionaries, evangelists, writers, journalists, authors, public workers, rope and saddle makers, and tent makers My marathon runner partner! He runs next to me when I need endurance.
2b-cropped venerable bruno lanteriVenerable Bruno Lanteri The confessor—encouraging the discouraged to make peace with their failing, get up and start again I turn to him whenever I have fallen and feel discouraged. His caring demeanor attracted me.
3a-blessed virgin maryMary, the Mother of God Bringing God’s children home to the sacred heart of Jesus through her own immaculate heart I ask Mary our Mother to bring all of us home to her Son Jesus.
3b-cropped st_martinSt. Martin de Porres Mixed Race, Barbers, Public Health Workers, Innkeepers private intention
3c-cropped st monicaSt. Monica
and St. Augustine
Mothers—praying their children home private intention
4-cropped st. nickSt. Nicholas those in financial need For wisdom in handling our money and for healing of stinginess (after all, he is the model for Santa Claus!)
5-cropped st. anthonySt. Anthony of Padua lost and stolen articles For finding anything, from lost objects to lost thoughts!
6-cropped st. bernadetteSt. Bernadette illness, people ridiculed for their piety, poverty, shepherds, shepherdesses, and Lourdes, France For humility and holy absorption
7-cropped st. ceciliaSt. Cecilia musicians Offering my music through her
8-cropped st. christopherSt. Christopher travelers and of children For help with driving, especially at night
St. Francis of AssisiStFrancis animals and the ecology For all animal lovers, especially my kitten cam friends

00 twitter profile 400x400both books river first-640Join my Email List (special surprises just for you!)
to subscribe to this blog.
Keep up with news and free giveaways regarding Susan’s new books, River of Grace
and Louisa May Alcott: Iluminated by The Message!
Susan Bailey, Author, Speaker, Musician on Facebook and Twitter
Read Susan’s blog, Louisa May Alcott is My Passion

Find Susan’s books here on AmazonPurchase Susan’s CD.