An Unlimited Supply

It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. John 21:11

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A few weekends ago, Jocelyn’s Robotics team manned a table at a local craft fair. It was an opportunity to show off their project and practice presenting it. Apparently, Jocelyn was on fire as she drew total strangers to the table and explained how the sensors on the sports equipment send feedback and warnings to coaches when an athlete gets hit.

For three solid hours, Jocelyn talked and talked. When she got home, she talked some more as she told me about how much fun it was to explain their idea to anyone who walked by.

The complete success had her floating on Cloud Nine. The cloud floated even higher when her coach awarded her with the title of MVP for the day and sent a lengthy email praising her efforts and promotional skills.

In the blink of an eye, however, Jocelyn went from flying high to crashing and burning. Her tank ran out of gas. Like a light switch being flipped, she was flat out exhausted and needed of a nap. There is something to be said about too much of a good thing.

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A Different Pace

But they soon forgot what He had done and did not wait for His counsel. Psalm 106:13

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My friend, Rob, gave up an hour of his time the other night so Mason could interview him for a school project. At dinner the next night, I told my kids that I’d meant to email Rob earlier that day to thank him, but I forgot. Zack’s immediate response was, “Email him? Really? That’s like sending a message by carrier pigeon! You should text him. He’ll see it immediately.”

I get that each mode of communication has a different speed to it. But does everything have to be conveyed at the speed of light? I think it’s that thought process that derails quality prayer.

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Constant Transformation

The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. Hebrews 10:1

Ever since Lent, I have been watching The Chosen with my kids. It’s a high-quality TV series about Jesus as The Chosen One and how people are transformed when they are chosen by Him. Not wanting to compromise the message, or be restricted by Hollywood, it’s creator, Dallas Jenkins, films it independently, relying on funding by anyone and everyone who wants to donate. It’s the largest crowd-funded production ever.

Watching it together has been a wonderful way for me to teach my kids more about our faith. I’m also finding I have to refer to my Study Bible to teach or reteach myself certain things before I can share them with my kids.

I spent some time on Saturday learning more about the Pharisees. Nicodemus is a major player in the episodes we’re on right now. I wanted to be able to talk to my kids more about him and the transformation we’re seeing play out.

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Refusing to Lose

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And this is the will of the One who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what He gave me… John 6:39a

In the true-to-life movie, Breakthrough, fourteen-year-old John Smith falls through the ice on a frozen lake. He’s trapped underwater for over fifteen minutes. Although all seems lost, his adopted mother, Joyce, will not accept that her son is gone.

She prays over his non-breathing body with a deep passion and a fierce faith that won’t quit, no matter who tries to tell her there’s no point. Her love won’t allow her to stop. Her love won’t allow her to lose what God gave her.

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Additional Fruit

Published on CatholicMom.com

“Your fruitfulness comes from me.” Hosea 14:8d

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As things slowly open back up from the pandemic, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want this next chapter of my life to look. I don’t want to jump back into the crazy-busy life I led before. Quarantine, and its slower pace, have taught me a lot. I want to implement those lessons, and be intentional with my time going forward.

One thing that will remain on my list will be quality time spent with my family. We did so many fun activities and games that drew us closer together. I don’t want to lose that. Yet, when I think about all the energy it’s going to take, I wonder: Where did all that energy come from during Quarantine? Dwelling in that question has revealed a lot.

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Exciting News!

I’m excited to announce I just became an Ambassador for Living Faith! It’s an inspiring and uplifting daily devotional with some of my most favorite authors (Sr. Bridget Hasse, Melanie Rigney, Kristen Armstrong, etc.). My even bigger news is I begin contributing to this amazing booklet this fall. I have 20 free booklets to give away. If you’re interested, email me at clairemcgarrywrites@gmail.com and I’ll send one along. If you then want to subscribe, I can get you 25% off the $15 a year subscription rate.

Making the Connection

Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” John 4:53

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I recently did the Kendrick Brothers’ Bible study, The Battle Plan for Prayer. In it, they talk about being very strategic and specific about our prayer requests. They recommend using a Prayer Journal to list and date each prayer, being as detailed as possible in our petitions. Their point is: Our God is a Mighty God who wants us to go big with our requests. At the same time, He also cares deeply about the minutia in our lives.

As important as praying and listing our requests is, reviewing them is just as important. It takes doings so to actually recognize God’s hand at work.

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Broken Promises

Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” John 13:37

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We are in the tween and teen years in my household. It’s no surprise that my kids care more about the outside world and its influences than they do about what I think and require. It’s all part of adolescence, and I’m trying not to take it personally. Yet, I still struggle with broken promises.

When my kids looked me in the eye and made a pledge, I always thought I knew them well enough to gauge whether they meant it, or were just placating me. But lately, even the promises that seem to be made with sincerity are being broken. I’m at my wit’s end. Then I read John 13:37.

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Perfectly Paired

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Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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My fourteen-year-old son, Mason, surprised us all last fall when he announced he wanted to play Rec. soccer. He hadn’t kicked a ball since he was six. I soon learned the idea came from three of his good friends who were all on the same team. Apparently, if they didn’t recruit a few more kids, they wouldn’t have enough players for the season.

Of course, we wanted to support Mason and sign him up. But the protective side of me didn’t want him to feel badly about himself when he went out on the field with kids who’d been playing, year-round, since they were four.

I reached out to the coach to test the waters. Turns out, Mason’s coach was our neighbor a few streets over. In my relief, I shared the whole back-story, and my concern that Mason’s skill level was basically at a baseline of zero. As soon as he responded, I knew God had perfectly paired this coach with Mason.

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Garden-of-Eden Innocence

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“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:5

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At ten years of age, my daughter, Jocelyn, was desperate to be independent. She wanted to go out for a walk, going as far as she pleased, all by herself. She wanted to hop on her bike and pedal through neighborhood after neighborhood, all alone.

I kept telling her it wasn’t safe. It was a vague response, but that was on purpose. I didn’t want to describe, in detail, what could happen if someone snatched her into a van and drove off. She’s still so young. I wanted to preserve her innocence.

Instead, I kept telling her she needed to trust my judgment and believe my rules were about protecting her. She pushed and pushed, nonetheless. Finally, I felt I had no choice. I didn’t get too graphic, but I told her enough for her to wish she’d never learned about the evil out there in the world.

Jocelyn’s not alone in her desire to challenge the limits. It seems humankind has been pushing the boundaries since Adam and Eve.

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