Letter of James // Day 16

James 5:19-20

How to do Lectio Devina:

Sisters, this is really your time with the Lord. This will be a challenge but so fruitful. There will also be a short reflection. Give this a chance and see where the Lord takes you.

There are a couple of different ways to do this but there is one way that I will point out. This is a simple way to pray. A great resource here is your prayer journal.

1: Read the whole Scripture: James 5:19-20

2: Reflect on it for a short time (3 min or more) and see if any particular verse stands out to you.

3: Read the verse that stood out to you again.

4: Reflect on it and see if a particular word stands out to you (3 min or more)

5: Reflect on the word and see what the Lord is trying to point out to you.

You can go back and read any verses that you stood out to you and just spend a short time in prayer (silence) and listening to what God wants to point out to you. God will show up. He always does.

Short Reflection

When I was a child, I was happy little girl. I was curious about things and people, and I wasn’t afraid to talk to anyone. I grew up going to mass with the family every Sunday. It was normal to me and I didn’t mind it. Fast forward to 8th grade. This is the first time I ever went on a retreat. It was amazing and I loved it; and it was something I never experienced before. I encountered the love of Christ for the first time.

8th grade was also when I had my first alcoholic drink to myself. It was just siting in the fridge. Something compelled me to take it and drink it with a friend. It was a wine cooler; and though I didn't really drink much of it and since we had lots of family parties and there was usually alcohol, I didn’t think anything of it.

Then when I was in high school, my parents started fighting more and more and eventually got a divorce. This was the first time I was angry at God & questioned my faith. Why did this have to happen to me!? We were happy, and now were going to be a split family. I was devastated. I starting drinking a lot more but I also started getting involved in my faith. There was this internal battle always taking place. Wanting to know more about God and go to Church because there was always something there that I couldn’t just leave. But I would also get drunk on the weekends because I thought I deserved it and I didn’t want to feel the pain and devastation that came from my parents' split up.  I went through the rest of high school like this.

Graduating high school was the first time I stopped and looked at my life and asked myself: Is this really it? Is this all that life is? Partying and getting drunk and hooking up with different guys? If it was, it was going nowhere quick and I didn’t want that. I wanted more. I needed more.

So I heard about this retreat going on for two weeks in Minnesota during the summer called DEP.  I was living in California and I have never been further east than Arizona or Nevada. So I figured if I wanted to find out if there was something more, I was going to give this thing a chance. So I went.

I was so nervous and freaked out at first but every single person I met was so nice. They were all so loving and patient. They taught me so much. They taught me how to pray, how to listen to God’s voice, but most of all, they told me about the mercy of God and how it didn’t matter what I had done because by the sacrament of confession I was already forgiven. All that mattered was what I was going to do from there on out, who I was going to become, and what choices I had to make.

So I went home. I was fired up and so in love with God and I felt so free from my sins & past life. I still went to some parties and struggled to stop drinking, but there was a difference. And that difference was I wanted to change. I wanted a better life so I prayed and prayed that God would help me, and slowly but surely, I stopped hanging out with those friends and I stopped drinking.

This is what started my walk with Christ. I needed this first conversion in order to have many more conversions and continuously let the Lord clean up the parts of my life that I had yet to give him. And slowly but surely, he is making me better everyday. But it first started with those people in Minnesota, willing to talk to and teach a group of teenagers the truth about God, his love, and to help us have an encounter with God & choose him for ourselves. It was their authentic living that changed my life and I am forever grateful.

What is your story? Why do you believe in God? I encourage you to not only think about but to write it down and think about those people who helped bring you to God. I am sure you are forever grateful to them too.

Now you can be that person for someone else. We know it can happen. We have experienced it ourselves with our own faith journey. Those people who showed us God’s love and told us his truth, we needed them. I would be a completely different person if it wasn’t for those people in my life. Let us take as many with us to heaven as we can sisters. Tell your story. It’s a beautiful one. And the best part is, God isn’t finished with us yet.

You are so incredibly Loved!