This is the final part of a multi-post series all leading up to this, a not-so-grand, does-this-fit-together-anywhere-outside-of-my-heart-and-head post. If you haven't yet, please read the first three posts: A New Pair of Sneakers, A Podcast + Instagram + an Epiphany About Life, and The Story of a Winter Coat. I'm calling the series "Lessons I'm Learning."
I got some shoes and they changed my life. I listened to a podcast and it changed my life. I participated in an Instagram chat and it changed my life. I bought a coat and... it didn't change my life but I am much more comfortable this winter.
Now when it comes to the coat I was surprised when I realized something. The only reason I had money in my PayPal account to buy a proper winter coat is because I work for Blessed Is She. Through the devotion writing and my affiliate sales I had enough money to buy the on-sale coat and have it shipped to my house. As I thought about that I felt something I hadn't felt in a very long time: empowered.
Now really I have been earning money through my writing and affiliate sales for quite some time. (Thank you so very much.) The money sometimes works as mad money and I use it to buy something from Etsy or a new album through a PledgeMusic. Sometimes the money is transferred to our bank account to pay bills or buy extra groceries or gifts for our gaggle of kids. Often it is used to support fundraisers or make donations to families who are suffering. Because my family has been on the receiving end of so many gifts, donations, and blessings I try to always give alms to others even if it is an embarrassingly meager $5.
Please know that I have been so, so grateful to be able to have this money to spend or give. But even when I was buying a new mug for myself I knew that I was just as much supporting someone as I was getting myself something. Buying the winter coat was the first time I had done something that would only benefit me - just me. All because of a job, and really all because of a fiat*
Now, I don't know if you know the history of Blessed Is She or Catholic Stuff You Should Know but both of them basically begin with people who love Jesus wondering what they were going to do with this call in their hearts. God planted an idea - a something that would bring women together through Scripture and a podcast-thing to evangelize anew as the Pope had asked. The founding members of the CSYSK podcast wanted to take the boatloads of information they were receiving in seminary and share it along with their growing love of God and fraternity. And Jenna Guizar, with her marriage crumbling and a lonely heart, followed Jesus into the unknown to found a ministry rooted in the Eucharist, God's Word, our Blessed Mother, and sisterhood. God proposed something and they all said, "YES!" Or maybe they said, "ummmmm... okay?" but still!
The lessons I have shared with you over this series may all seem disconnected - heck this whole series probably seems like a disconnected mess! But I know I couldn't have gotten to this point where I not only see my worth but I feel it had it not been for the paychecks, or the sneakers, or the podcast, or the Instagram chat. I would not be in this place in my life without that "Yes" others gave to God years ago, which are now bearing fruit in my life and allowing me the opportunity to care for myself, to give alms, to support Catholic art, and more.
It's overwhelming to me - the way that my friend Jenna, the founder of Blessed Is She, has created this thing for the glory of God that allows me to buy myself a coat. Hers is just one example and of course she pales next to the example of Mary whose YES echoes in all of our Yeses to God. Mary's YES emboldened Jenna's and Jenna's emboldened mine and maybe some day my daughters will be emboldened by all the Yeses I have given and those I hope to still give. All for the glory of God, folks.
- I need to stop signing myself up for martyrdoms God is not calling me to
- sacrificing for others is even more beautiful when it comes from a place of joy, instead of a place of putting others before me because I don't think I deserve to be treated well
- we cannot know what God will do with our response to His invitation
- when we are emboldened and empowered we should give thanks to God and step out to do His will for His greater glory.
*Fiat is Latin for "let it be done" - the words Mary answered to God's question, "Will you be the mother of the Messiah?"