We’re Back! And You’re More Than What You Do
Wow, it feels SO good to be back in the newsletter game! I’ve missed you :’)
A lot has changed over here – I left my job, I’m officially a New Yorker, and I’m starting school in two weeks! All of this change is fun and exciting but man, my prayer life has been suffering for it.
There is just so much to DO. Pack, unpack, catch up with friends, take pre-semester subject tests, prepare for job interviews, sleep, find the closest grocery store, figure out how to install an AC in my window… If I wanted to, I could find an activity for every single moment of the day. Being in New York doesn’t help much either – the people hustling down the streets around me and hanging out at the restaurants downstairs until 3 in the morning can make me feel like I’m behind, like I have to hurry up and be more and do more to keep up.
It’s exhausting, and I’m exhausted.
The one thing I keep hearing about New Yorkers is that they’re “gritty.” They get stuff done. As Sinatra sings, “If you can make it there [NYC], you’ll make it anywhere!” That’s a lot of pressure on people who are already trying to survive in the craziest city I’ve ever lived in. In a culture that already idolizes “doing,” this city seems to place it on a higher pedestal. And if I don’t find the separation between what I do and who I am stat, I could get sucked right in.
What I do is good. What I do is a result of embracing the gifts and talents and calling that God has on my life. And while working hard and focusing on goals is a good thing, it will never, ever satisfy my heart. It will never anchor me in my value. There will always be another mountain to climb, another 0 to add to my paycheck, and another accolade to earn. What I do cannot form my identity – because an identity built on what I do is an identity built on shifting sands and changing tides.
Who I am is far more important. I am a daughter, a sister, a friend. I was lovingly knit together in my mothers womb (Psalm 139:13), created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27), and fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13). I am clothed with the armor of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 6), chosen and set apart for good works (Ephesians 2:10), and all of my needs are known and cared for (Matthew 6:25). I am not alone (Isaiah 41:10)
This is a reminder I need right now, and that’s why I’m so excited to be writing this newsletter again! I can’t write about the importance of prayer or the need to separate work from identity without taking a long, hard look at my own life.
Step into this with me. Remember who you are and Whose you are. That truth will anchor you through the toughest storms. I’m praying with you and for you.
What we’re loving lately (on the blog and beyond!)
Be Seen (The Little Way) by Bridget Handy
“It’s my personal opinion and painful observation that most of us seek to quench this aching thirst to be seen in the wrong ways and worst places.” Bridget is back and sharing the most beautiful reflection on identity, purpose, and the walls we build up around ourselves. Take a moment to read and reflect on this piece this week.
A Diagnosis is Not Defeat by Katie Willem
“Getting diagnosed with ADHD was a hard-won victory… I consider the medications I’ve been prescribed as a gift of recognition to the unique nature in which God made me, and how I interact with him and his creation. I’ve lived a life where I swept all of my differences and struggles under a rug, but we were created to live fully and authentically among each other — differences and all.” This gorgeous piece on the impact a diagnosis had on Katie’s life is heartfelt and so important in today’s discourse around faith and mental health.
Our God – the Ultimate Foundation by Sarah Daniels
What does construction and our faith have in common? A lot, according to our resident construction and design queen, Sarah Daniels! Sarah found her passion for building strong and beautiful buildings early in her life, and this calling developed alongside the deepening of her faith. This reflection on how work and faith are so intricately intertwined is a timely reminder for all of us in the workforce!
Relationship Precedes Mission by Renee Reneau
Every year in DC, the GIVEN Forum hosts hundreds of women from all over the country (and world!) to explore their passions, callings, and gifts from God. This year, many members of our community attended, including our writer Renee! Renee shares her experience at the Forum and how the sessions helped her craft her idea around creating a marriage ministry in the DMV area. For all of us “do-ers,” this piece is a beautiful reflection on how our relationship with God must precede all of the things we want to “do” for Him.
Liturgical Living with Gabriela R. A. Doyle
August is the month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a devotion with a rich history and deep significance for the Church. While the Sacred Heart focuses on Jesus’s love for us, the Immaculate Heart focuses on Mary’s love for God, and in turn shows us how to better love Jesus and each other.
Devotion to the Immaculate Heart began with St. John Eudes in the mid-1600s, and then expanded rapidly through Mary’s apparitions at Lourdes and Fatima. As the Immaculate Conception, Mary was conceived without original sin, making her body and soul fully pure, with her heart at the center of this grace. Because she desires to bring us into closer communion with her son, she is offended when we sin against Him. Devotion to Mary’s Immaculate Heart is therefore not only a practice to bring us closer to Mary and to God, but also to atone for our sins.
Over the next few weeks we’ll cover what Mary revealed about her Immaculate Heart to the saints, special ways to practice this devotion, and of course, our #MonthlyMiracle. See you then!
Words of the Week
“If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.”
// St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Intentions for This Week
For all those going back to school this Fall, that they might be filled with joy and peace as they prepare to grow in wisdom and knowledge.
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Jane Kennedy lives in Washington, DC. She is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and works in criminal justice reform. When she’s not working or writing, she’s probably catching up with friends on FaceTime, getting lost in Rock Creek Park, quoting C.S. Lewis, or trying to recreate Salt and Straw ice cream at home.