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Love Yourself Like He Does

“Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, Carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care” (Isaiah 40:11).

I sat in my plastic folding chair, head bowed in the darkened school gym, the gentle strum of an acoustic guitar and the hum of the HVAC system swirling in the thick silence of a group of women in prayer.

It felt like a deep exhale after a frantic week.

I leaned back in my chair and tried to quiet my racing thoughts, pulling myself back again and again to the mysterious Presence on the altar before me. It was a beautiful gift to have an hour of quiet praise music, adoration, and a few priests tucked into the corners of the gym to offer the Sacrament of Penance.

It should have felt like a retreat from ordinary life, but instead I found my mind wandering to my piled up laundry. Something I’d seen on Instagram earlier that evening. A disturbing news headline. The mental grocery list I accrue.

It was so frustrating to not feel present to Him. I tried fumbling through a decade of the Rosary. I think I started the same Luminous mystery over three times. Finally I surrendered, figuring that at least I’d been present physically, if not mentally or spiritually.

Just before the priest returned for Benediction, the Lord broke into my busy train of thoughts with a whispered suggestion in a tone so different from my own that I recognized it as unmistakably His:

Be gentle with yourself. I’m glad you’re here. I don’t need anything else from you. 

I don’t speak to myself the way Jesus speaks to me. I’m not gentle, and I’m not very forgiving.

I am learning to practice kindness, but I’m still a demanding task mistress, most of all when it comes to me.

Jesus reminded me that He doesn’t judge us by the same standards we judge ourselves, thank God. His heart remains tender towards us as we work to be faithful, even when our hearts are cluttered with the business of ordinary living. Jesus doesn’t seem to find our humanity an impediment to intimacy with Him—imagine that.

Jesus doesn't seem to find our humanity an impediment to intimacy with Him—imagine that. Click To Tweet

Saint Alphonsus Liguori offered us this prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. Share with a friend, inviting her to Adoration with you.

Jenny Uebbing is a wife, mother to five, and the author of the blog Mama Needs Coffee where she writes about sex, marriage, and the Catholic Church. She’s a freelance writer, a speaker, and an espresso enthusiast. You can find out more about her here

3 Comments

  • Reply
    Kathleen
    December 11, 2018 at 7:23 am

    Wow, Jenny‼️ What a gifted writer you are & you play the guitar too – quite spectacular. I feel like I heard you on Jen Fulwiler’s show & you two were so beautifully faithful and funny‼️ As a mom of 5 kiddos and one almost perfect 3 year old grandson, I so relate to your poignant and humble words. I remember the days when our 5 we’re still at home and the beauty of Advent & Christmas with them – especially when they were all 12 & under‼️ Blessings on your Advent and Christmas season with your family. Savor it‼️

  • Reply
    juicebraun10
    December 11, 2018 at 10:57 am

    Thank you so much for this reflection. It is a perfect image of how my prayer life has been lately and this reminded me that it is perfectly okay. It reminded me that Christ meets me there and so thank you!

  • Reply
    Sheri Curtice-Young
    December 13, 2018 at 8:12 am

    Cleaning my email I deleted most except the captions that caught my eye. Thank you God for these eye-catching words! I’m feeling overwhelmed lately. Praying daily seems to be a thing of the past for me…preparing last minute details for my wedding the end of December, relatives flying in for the holidays and the wedding, preparing my home for guests, elderly parents requiring help preparing their home for guests and the holidays, and running a new business has been overwhelming. I often wonder why?, at 58 years of age, am I staring anew again! Most days it truly bothers me that I’m not doing the above with a joyful heart. Haphazardly I throw a quick prayer out there asking for order and joy in my life forgetting prayers for others who need it more than I do! I don’t remember saying my Rosary when I can get it in! During my weekly visit to Adoration my mind is always wondering and thinking about the non-essentials. BUT…your words, said so very eloquently, have offered me JOY and lots of hope! I worry about what Jesus is thinking of me, OFTEN! I feel a calm and renewal after reading your words. I’m so happy I didn’t delete your email.

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