Monday, September 1, 2014

right words, right time

I have a real love for post it notes. I love all the types and sizes and colors- the giant pad ones that can stick on the wall for leading group discussions all the way down to the teensy pink and orange flag ones sticking out of my hymnal to mark the songs I need to play next. Writing things down helps me remember them better. I keep the visual post-it note cue around, too, just in case, but usually the act of scribbling the words on that bright paper and sticking it someplace is enough to fix the information in my mind.

I've always been a post-it note person when it comes to scripture, too. I remember my mom's old blue bedroom curtains, covering the window where we always stood in the mornings for her to fix our hair, and the faded yellow post-it note she had pinned there with a verse she wanted to remember:

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.  --Ephesians 3:20-21

I followed her example, dutiful Sunday School pupil that I was, and wrote down the verses that I liked as I encountered them, posting the little yellow squares on the back of my bedroom door and around the edge of my mirror. As I grew, special verses seemed to show up at just the right moments, and I kept writing them down. By the time I left for college, I had a vast collection of neon paper squares decorating my car, my windows, my bathroom mirror, my desk and my computer monitor. There were verses I'd found encouraging, verses that comforted me, verses that reminded me of special people who had loved those same words or who had given them to me as exhortations at some point in my journey. I took a lot of them with me to school, and in my shared hall bathroom freshman year, I still posted a verse on the wall every week because I needed to see it there.

Lately, I haven't given as much thought to scripture. I read Bible stories with my children, and I try to go over the Sunday readings before Mass every week. (Mostly, this is because there's a good chance I won't hear them clearly when they are read at church and I'm juggling my children, a picture missal, several board books and a handful of ballpoint pens...sometimes, we're standing for the Gospel reading before I realize I haven't heard the Old Testament or the Epistle at all).

Maybe I am just distracted. Maybe I'm not paying enough attention. Maybe I just don't have as many encounters these days with people who quote Bible verses at me. Whatever the reason, I was surprised last week when the perfect verse showed up at the perfect time. In the middle of a tough day, I parked my three bigger kids at the lunch table and slowly walked with Baby Felix to the mailbox. Inside, I found a card from my cousin and her husband with a little blue baby buggy on the front. The message inside was crafted with the perfect combination of humor and support.

And then there was this:

There in the card, in my cousin's handwriting, the words of St. Paul to the church in Corinth had met me where I was, in my pajama bottoms at the mailbox with a fussy baby and a sinkful of dirty dishes waiting inside for me...the right words at just the right time.

These days, my hands are full, and my brain is busy, and I don't often find the time for in-depth Bible study like I used to enjoy, sitting with parallel texts and my seminary-trained husband and talking for hours about which Greek word was used there and what it could have meant in context. Right now, post-it notes with verses on them are about all I have (and sometimes, they need to show up in my mail box for me to pay attention!). Maybe you can relate to this. A lot of us are busy, but we still want to be able to read scripture and ponder it in our hearts.

That's why I am so excited to be involved with a new project called Blessed Is She.

Blessed Is She gives each of us a chance to reflect more deeply on scripture through short daily devotions written by faithful Catholic Christian women from different walks of life. Each devotion will be based on the day's scriptures in the lectionary. You can follow along on the facebook page, on the web site, or even subscribe via e-mail to have the day's reflection sent directly to your inbox...what could be easier? For those of you who love Instagram, some of our group are posting daily images with the verses there, also. It's kind of like a post-it note, really...only a lot more beautiful and less likely to stick to the bottom of your shoe.

Like this:

You can also follow Blessed Is She on Twitter. There is a Twitter chat scheduled tonight (September 1) at 9pm EST- follow along with the hashtag #blessedisshe.

I'm honored and delighted to be keeping company with this group of women as a writer for this project. I'm also grateful to have this opportunity to encounter the words of scripture and let them take root in my heart as I go about my life. Then, whenever my hands feel especially full, my heart and mind will be full, too- full of the right words at the right time.

I hope you will join us on this journey.