An Unexpected Help Wanted Ad from God

By: Dr. Mary Amore

“Life is God’s novel. Let God write it.” This quotation penned by Isaac Singer, challenges each one of us to be open to the workings of the Spirit in our daily lives. That is not an easy task, for we all think we know what’s best. We plan, we strategize, and we try to control the people and events in our life. But do we really? In reality, none of us have control over what happens today, tomorrow, or next year. We are simply part of God’s larger plan. God calls, and we are free to respond or not. Such is the basis for today’s blog.

It took me eight grueling years to earn my Master’s Degree, and after graduation I was quite content to work full time at my parish as Director of Liturgy and Adult Faith Formation. After all I no longer had to spend my free time writing papers or commuting downtown to class. Life was good. About a year into my post grad enjoyment, I began to feel the tug from God again. This time it came in the form of an inner yearning, a deep seeded desire to continue my theological education. I chose to ignore it because this was not my plan. I was done with school, or so I thought. But God is relentless, and the divine tugging continued, and so I applied for the Doctor of Ministry program at CTU and was accepted. Another long but rewarding road began for me. But since returning to school was not my plan but God’s, I wrestled with what I would do with this new degree. What did God want from me? I finally surmised that God was calling me to teach. I was sure of it.

After my D. Min graduation, I began submitting my resume to local Catholic colleges and universities, and unfortunately, letters of rejection came quickly. I soon realized there were few openings for teaching positions in theology and liturgy at the undergrad level, and those that had these positions, were not leaving them. I was bewildered and frustrated. What should I do? I had no answer. So I waited, and waited. Two years later, God decided to move into action once again.

Saturday mornings at my house are rather routine. Unless I’m working, I clean the house and my husband does his weekly errands. On a particular Saturday morning years ago, we broke from routine. On that day, Joe asked me if I wanted to go out for breakfast. While I was in the middle of cleaning, and I wasn’t really hungry, something made me say yes. So I got dressed to go out.

As we were walking out the door, my husband got a phone call on our house phone, so while I was waiting for him to finish his conversation, I decided to pick up the newspaper that was sitting on the top of the trash pile. It was the Explorer, a weekly publication by the Diocese of Joliet. Still waiting for my husband to finish his call, I opened the newspaper and surprisingly my eyes fell upon the classified ads page, and there I saw God’s invitation to me: Mayslake Ministries was seeking a new Executive Director.

As I read the requirements for this position, I felt the fire of the Spirit consume me, and I knew what I had to do. I immediately went upstairs to my computer and sent my resume by email. Within days, I was called in for a series of personal interviews, and the rest is history.

This month I am celebrating my ninth anniversary as Executive Director of Mayslake Ministries. It is an amazing journey filled with countless candy kisses from God, and I couldn’t be more blessed. I know it was God who nudged me back to school, and I know it was God who led me to Mayslake Ministries. I had a choice in all of this; fortunately I chose to listen to the promptings of the Spirit. God is working in all of our lives. All we have to do is listen and respond. God is definitely writing the novel of my life, and I couldn’t ask for a better author. Let’s wait and see what unfolds in the next chapter!

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A Chance Encounter: A Blessed Friendship

By: Dr. Mary Amore

God is constantly seeking us out, every moment of every day, yet most of the time we are so busy juggling our daily routines, agendas and responsibilities that we fail to see him when he appears before us. Such is the nature of this story.

A few years ago I joined a professional women’s networking organization in the hopes of meeting new people who might be interested in the services and programs that Mayslake Ministries had to offer. While our local group was filled with wonderful women, all of whom I admire, I knew in my heart early on that this weekly gathering was not a good fit for me, for their focus was strictly business, and not ministry. While I felt somewhat out of place, something kept bringing me back each week.

After attending these meeting for three months, a new person surprised our group one day as a guest for lunch. In introducing herself, she explained the reason why she attended our meeting was because there were no openings in her local chapter for her particular field of business expertise. She also said that since she did not live in our local area, she most likely would not be joining our chapter. She graciously thanked us for our hospitality and was glad to meet all of us and to learn more about this networking group.

After the meeting, I introduced myself to this woman, and in the course of our conversation, I found myself inviting her to have lunch with me in the near future. Making good on our promise, we met for lunch two weeks later and found ourselves to be “soul sisters.” We connected on a social level, business level, but most of all a spiritual level.

This chance encounter with Deborah at my networking meeting years ago has proven to be a source of great blessing. Deborah is a champion for our ministry, and a good and trusted personal friend. God sent her into my life on that particular day when I wasn’t looking or expecting anything. Her friendship is indeed a candy kiss from God. If I had not taken the time to talk to this stranger at our meeting, imagine the graces that I would have missed.

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God brings people into our lives when we need them the most. All we have to do is have the eyes to see, and the ears to hear. God comes to us when we least expect him, and in the people, places, and circumstances we might never imagine. He communicates to us through our family members, the cranky co-worker, the stranger on the street. God reaches out to us in joyful and tragic circumstances, on sunny and rainy days. God is constantly seeking us out.

As this New Year unfolds, may you be open to the presence of God in your life, for you will surely not be disappointed. Our good and gracious God has great things in store for you!

A Spiritual Deduction

By: Lauren Nelson

 

I love the TV show, Sherlock. It is a show that challenges me to think and deduce and I find it very entertaining. Recently, upon a rewatch of one of my favorite episodes, I found a spiritual deduction. I was watching The Reichenbach Fall. Sherlock fans reading this are nodding and wiping their eyes because this is a very sad episode. It is the episode in which Sherlock dies, and then we find out he returns from the dead at the very end. Christian readers are now nodding their heads. This sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Just as Sherlock has painfully accepted his fate, to sacrifice his life for his friends, (again, yes, sounding familiar to us) he runs into a friend. A woman who is so meek and underwhelming that she is often overlooked. Sherlock turns to her and tells her “I think I’m going to die tonight.” The agony on his face is painful to watch.

Now most of us would have reactions along the lines of,

“No you aren’t!”

“Don’t be silly!”

Sobbing hysterically.

“I need you!”

Molly, however, doesn’t. She doesn’t do any of these things. She simply looks at him and says, “What do you need?”

Now I have seen this episode a lot and I have never noticed this before but this time those words struck me. “What do you need?” I thought of Jesus, hanging on the cross for my sins. I often look to the cross and beg for things. Healing. Help. Advice. Sometimes I say thank you for something good. As I sat there watching one of my favorite shows I had the urge to get down on my knees and ask Jesus, “What do you need?” I have never asked that before. I’m willing to bet that not many of us do.

In that terrifying moment, for Sherlock, he needed to hear that from Molly. Sherlock needed someone to look at him and ask him what he needed in order to do what he had to do. So now, I need you to do the same. Ask Jesus, “What do YOU need?”

The most important part of this is that we have to be willing to hear the answer! We have to be willing to listen to what Jesus wants from us. What does Jesus want from us? What can we do for Jesus to ease his pain, his burden? What can we do for Jesus to make things easier? How can we be that friend to Jesus in his deepest hour of need?

Happy Birthday for Caregivers

By: Deb Kelsey-Davis — Soul2Soul Family Caregiver Community

Celebrating birthdays with our aging or sick loved ones can be a hotbed of conflicting emotions…and not all that “Happy”. What makes a birthday happy changes with each passing year, for all of us. We recently celebrated Dad’s 91st birthday. Inside, I was a mess…of gratitude he was still here with us, of sorrow in seeing him weaker and less mobile than last year, and of hope that we will have another year with him. How do you resolve those feelings? Do you wonder what they are thinking and feeling? We used that time to talk about the “old days”, tell stories and laugh, and thank Dad for all he’s done and been to us throughout the years. When my head hit the pillow that evening, through my tears I thanked God for our many blessings. The tears were not of sorrow, but of deep thankfulness…and the realization of the joy that does exist in every day…that, for me, is “happy”.

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About the Author:

Deb Kelsey-Davis, RN, MHSA is a clinician, a family caregiver expert, author and speaker who holds a graduate degree in Health Services Administration from the University of St. Francis and a Lay Ministry Certification from the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Called and Gifted Program. Deb also holds a certificate in the Fundamentals of Gerontology from USC Davis. Deb has over 20 years ministry experience. In 2015, Deb launched a faith-based family caregiver ministry at St. Mary of Gostyn parish, which has grown and now includes participants from surrounding parishes. Through prayer, faith, connectedness with others and an active relationship with God, Deb believes that caregivers can find the strength to cope and experience the beauty that comes from caring for another. She’s passionate about addressing the emotional, practical and spiritual needs of family caregivers, meeting them wherever they are on their journey.

 

Candy Kisses from God…

Welcome to Candy Kisses from God: The Lighter Side of Mayslake Ministries.  This blog site was created to show the extraordinary power of God as experienced in the ordinariness of our everyday life.  The Lord takes great delight in making his divine presence known to us, and when we have the grace to taste and see his goodness it is sweet, it is a “Candy Kiss from God.”  We are honored to present to you a collection a divinely inspired blogs written by friends and affiliates of Mayslake Ministries.

Visit our website at www.mayslakeministries.org and LIKE us on Facebook!

Dr Mary Amore

Executive Director