Advent 2014 // What is a Miracle?

Hello beautiful HOMWF sisters! We have a couple pieces of great news to share before we start our new ADVENT study together! 

HOMWF is happy to announce & offer our first ever study journal! For this Advent study: Having a "Mary" Christmas in a Martha World, we are gifting our email subscribers with a free, downloadable study journal! Click the banner to subscribe! *If you already receive our emails, you can click this same banner in the email you got this morning to open & print your HOMWF Advent Study Journal!* 

Second - we'd like to introduce our newest writer Josephine Ecle!! She comes to us from the Gorgeous Faithful Woman ministry and is now a full time HOMWF writer! Please help us give her a warm welcome! Today is her writing debut for HOMWF. 

Enjoy the study! We are so excited to share with you & learn with you! Writing and preparing for this study was such a growing, heart expanding time for us, we pray it is the same for you. 

- HOMWF team 

Day 1 of Having a "Mary" Christmas in a Martha World

Philippians 4:19; Psalm 77:14; 1 Kings 17:13-15; Luke 1:38 

In our Catholic faith, we learn of extraordinary miracles incorruptible bodies of saints, appearances of the Blessed Virgin, the birth of Jesus, etc. The Church recognizes miracles as divine events that cannot be explained naturally or scientifically.

St. Augustine says, Miracles are not in contradiction to nature. They are only in contradiction to what we know of nature." 

Is it possible for miracles to exist on a smaller scale, throughout day-to-day life? Without gaining the attention of the world? Without an official blessing from the Church? 

Can WE act upon Gods Word? When I think of miracles, I think of a domino effect. Can WE be that domino in a holy chain that sets off a series of divine events? 

Take the the birth of Jesus the greatest miracle ever. Mary was that one vital domino who said YES. Without her to set off the chain of events, we wouldn't have Christmas! 

Can we, with the Holy Spirit, cause miracles?

Two years ago, we found ourselves in significant financial hardship. It was December, just a few days away from Christmas. We were stationed in San Diego, and had just bought our first house that summer.

It was an older house and needed a lot of serious updates. The roof had shingles missing and leaked when it rained. The wind howled through the windows. The water heater went out constantly. The list goes on. 

In spite of it all, we made do. Lived simply and sacrificed the small luxuries we indulged in just to get by on a single military paycheck. 

God is still good.

One night, I made a quick trip to Target after dinner to pick up some baby shampoo. I had stopped using my debit card, so my husband handed me a $5 bill. Should be enough, right. 

It was just baby shampoo, but it hurt my heart to reach for the cheaper, generic brand that had parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances and dyes. (Yes, Im THAT kind of mom dont judge okay, lol!)

Then a crazy thing happened. I found myself, with a plethora of baby shampoo choices, saying out loud, Okay Lord, whats the deal? Im upset about baby shampoo. Because I cant bathe my spoiled kids in the all-natural stuff? Because we cant afford it? Put my weary heart to rest, Lord! Show me a miracle."

I dont know what made me say that at the time. I don't ever test or challenge God.

Before I continue, Ive never talked about this incident with anyone else (not even my husband) because I really believe it was between God and myself.

So, with my Target brand baby shampoo and a wrinkled $5 bill clutched in my hands, I made my way to the checkout line and stood behind an older lady and her grandson.

The lady had finished paying, and her grandson took out a pouch and started taking out coins to pay for a toy he wanted to buy for himself.

I waited patiently as he counted his money, secretly smiling to myself at how sweet the whole thing was. I thought about how hard his little heart must have worked -- how many chores he had completed -- to save for this precious toy.

After he emptied his pouch, he was $4.19 short. At that moment, I heard in my heart of hearts so clearly Heres your miracle. Without hesitation, I obediently plopped my $5 bill on the counter. 

The next day, came a package from my mother of Christmas gifts for the kids. In it, were clothes, toys, stickers, candy, crayons, and two bottles of the all-natural baby shampoo they use.

While that incident may not merit the attention of 1.2 billion Catholics as a divine event unable to be explained by natural or scientific reasons, I believe with every fiber of my being it was a miracle.

A $4.19 Christmas miracle.

Fast-forward to spring when my husband came home on a seemingly normal day and dropped the dreaded words, We have orders! The military was uprooting us out of San Diego, our home sweet home.

We bought our house the August before for $365,000. Just eight months later, by some wildly divine shifts in an otherwise declining economy, the market had changed dramatically. We were able to list our house for $419,000.

My $4.19 Christmas miracle turned to $419,000. Two weeks on the market, we sold the house for $435,000.

You ready for the best part? Well, the best part didn't happen until present-day. It wasnt until I was stranded in my car a couple months ago because of a torrential downpour that I found myself being led to read Philippians.

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19.

Maybe miracles dont always have to be these extraordinary, phenomenal events. Maybe miracles are the softest whispers of God in the quiet of our hearts, every day trying to talk to us. 

And maybe the miracle is that we listen and take action. To love Him with abandon and act upon whatever He asks of us. To fork over the last $5 bill. To accept Gabriels news and give birth to the Savior to say YES without hesitation.

To be that domino in a holy chain that sets off a series of divine events.

Its my sincere hope and prayer that you will be blessed with your own Christmas miracle this year.

Peace be with you, my gorgeous faithful sister.