What is the deal with Mary?

It’s funny that the Mother of Jesus is such a sensitive topic. I mean, if God thought she was good enough to carry the Savior of the world, how could she be controversial?

But, controversial she is.

I think a lot of the problem comes from misunderstanding. Misunderstanding of Mary’s role in our salvation. Misunderstanding of the meaning of devotion. Misunderstanding of actions. Misunderstanding of confusing and sometimes, frankly, misleading language.


Our Lady desires imitation, St. Therese of Liseaux, Amayzing Graces

I’ll start with Mary’s role in our salvation. Throughout the Gospels, Mary has a role in Jesus’ life. Not the least part is her being the person who carried Him in her womb. Can you even imagine the grace involved in that? I can’t even begin to fathom. “Let it be done unto me according to your word” means nothing in our lives compared to what those words meant for Mary.

As a result of the understanding of her role, devotion to her is something that is accepted and encouraged in the Catholic church. Unfortunately,  devotion to Mary is often seen Continue reading

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Music Monday: You Make Me Brave – Amanda Cook


As I wrote my first Bible study, Be Not Afraid: Living with Faith in the Midst of a Fearful World, I knew that there were so many people who needed to hear the words “Be Not Afraid” from their loving God.

However, it’s one thing not to be afraid, and quite another to be brave and courageous. That’s why I love this song. In faith, both of these things are closely connected.

When we can get past our fears, when we can really hear God calling our name, then we will step out. We will go where we are called, not because we have to, but because there is nothing that we would rather do. Not because it’s what we’re supposed to do, but because doing so will bring us even closer to our Lord, and anything less could never be enough.

Feel it. Own it. Live it. Be brave.


I have heard you call my name, I have heard the song of love that you sing.

So, I will let you draw me out beyond the shore into your grace.

As your love, in wave after wave, crashes over me, crashes over me… You make me brave.


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Standing on the starting line

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m the only one who stands on the edge of a cliff and thinks, “No way.” Granted, sometimes the cliff is very high, and sometimes it is only a couple feet down, but more often than I care to admit, I stand on the edge of what I am called to do, wondering what I was thinking when I said, “Yes.”

God is funny that way. He may call us into areas where He has prepared us, but that doesn’t always mean we feel prepared. Or, maybe we are stepping into something that feels right, but goes against what makes sense to the world outside. Either way, when you are called to something, there is a peace that goes beyond any of that trepidation that we feel.


Let your yes mean yes and your no mean no, Matthew 5:37, Amayzing Graces, Karen May

Continue reading

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Coming soon

Facing the Future

Last Sunday, my daughter asked me if she could stay home from the camp she is attending this week. She’s actually been there before, and she absolutely loved it. She came home every day full of stories, laughter, and excitement. What was suddenly so different?

This year, her older sister wasn’t going to be there. She hadn’t ever been to something like this without her, and now this familiar place looked very different, and the future was a bit scary.

Fear of the future is generally a fear of the unknown. Even when we think we know what is going to happen, we really don’t, and it can be very intimidating. In my daughter’s case, camp has turned out to be just as fun this year as last year. In other cases, the future may not turn out to be so bright.


So, how do we get to a place of peace and faith when we are looking at an uncertain future?


Fear of the unknown, be not afraid, Amayzing Graces, Karen May

I have a couple thoughts:

  1. We may not know what the future holds, but we do know that God is there. Remember that.

  2. Look to the past to remind ourselves of how we have made it through before, and how God was present in it.

  3. Keep connected with God through prayer. Most of our ideas about the future aren’t actually the future that God has planned for us.

  4. Take each day at a time. We have no idea the strength or skills we will have in the future. God can provide them when we need. (refer to #3)


What are some things that have helped you? I’d love to hear them.

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Music Monday: Calling All Angels

We are surrounded by angels. Some we can see, some we can only detect by a brush of a wing, and some come to us completely undetected. It’s hard to see them sometimes, when our world doesn’t look quite the way we want it to. Continue reading

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Don’t follow me?

Mark 6:11, Tell them what God has done, Amayzing Graces, Karen MayThere’s an interesting story in the Bible that I just rediscovered.

It’s a pretty well-known story about a man who was possessed by many demons, and is cured when Jesus comes to his town. The demons beg Jesus not to destroy them, so instead, He send them into a herd of swine, who then go mad and drown themselves in the river.

The people of the town are a bit freaked out and tell Jesus and His followers to leave. Of course, the man who was cured would really like to join this man who cured Him, but this is one of the rare cases when Jesus says, “No.”

It’s hard to imagine having such a powerful experience, but any powerful God moment leaves us wanting to stay in it. It leaves us wanting to be as close as we can to our Lord. Instead, we may hear the words that were said to the demoniac:

“Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy He has shown you.” (Mark 6:11)

We can leave our world behind, or we can go back to it, bringing our experience with us. We can keep these moments to ourselves, or we can share them to help others discover those God moments for themselves. It’s not hard. The command isn’t to go and instruct the masses. It is simply to tell our story. God will do the rest.


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Do you know me?

Do you have that friend who has known you forever? Someone who can finish the story you tell about “That time when…,” or someone who knows something

is wrong just by the tone of your voice? They haven’t just known you, they know you. There’s a big difference.


I am fully known, friendship, love, Amayzing Graces, Karen May

When someone knows you that deeply, there is a level of trust and comfort there that allows you to let down all the roles and barriers that stand between you and the world. When they know you that deeply, there is space for joy, knowing that it will be shared and celebrated.



I have a verse I read recently that made me think of this kind of friendship: Continue reading

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Music Monday: So Small

It’s summer, so it’s time for Music Monday again. Time for some new songs and some old songs. Some songs that are overtly Christian, and some that don’t seem to be at first glance.

This song is one of those reminders that we all need every once in a while. We can struggle, we can correct, and we can guide, but if we do it without love, it doesn’t work very well.

Isn’t there a verse about that? Continue reading

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Lost and Found

I was praying today and reflecting on the time when Mary and Joseph lost Jesus. I had to wonder – How much trouble would you be in if you lost the Son of God?

Jesus was twelve, and the parents of most twelve-year-olds would think them old enough to notice when their entire caravan is leaving and leave with them. Although, most parents of twelve-year-olds would also not be surprised when they didn’t have any clue that the crowd they arrived with was gone.

This is what happened to Mary and Joseph: their caravan left Jerusalem, and they assumed Jesus was in the group. After three days of searching, they found Him back in Jerusalem, deep in discussions with the Jewish teachers. Of course, their reaction is the Biblical version of “What were you thinking?!”

As they scold Jesus, He answers them, “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49) He was never lost.

In My Father's House, Jesus, lost and found, Amayzing Graces, Karen May


The thing I love about this story is that it tells us Continue reading

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What’s in a name?


“Jesus does not call Thomas ‘The Doubter,’ in the same way that he does not call Peter ‘The Denier,’ or Andrew ‘The Deserter.’

The devil calls us by our sin. God calls us by our name and gives us the gift of ourselves, our worth in His eyes.” – Father Dennis Strach, CSC

God calls us by our name, Father Dennis Strach, Amayzing Graces, Karen May


What names do you think God has for you? Continue reading

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