What are your noble and lofty dreams?
“If you stay united with Christ, each one of you will be able to do great things. This is why, dear friends, you must not be afraid to dream with your eyes open of important projects of good and you must not let yourselves be discouraged by difficulties. Christ has confidence in you and wants you to be able to realize all your most noble and lofty dreams of genuine happiness. Nothing is impossible for those who trust in God and entrust themselves to Him.”
— Pope Benedict XVI (Loreto Prayer Vigil, September 2007)
This past weekend, I found myself standing in a bar in the Upper East Side, laughing with four incredible women I had just met. One of them is entering the church through RCIA (and I get to sponsor her!!), one was a friend of a friend, one I had met at a young adult retreat the weekend prior, and one was along for the ride. If you had transported me into that moment just two weeks ago, I would have been rightly confused. But our God works in surprises, gifts, and (of course…) abundance.
Over the past two weeks, the only word I can use to describe my life is expansive. Since returning to New York, I have physically felt my life, my schedule, my heart, and my soul expand. God continues to put new, delightful, encouraging people on my path. My existing friendships have deepened and been strengthened. My classes and professors are fascinating and compelling. I feel so, so deeply seen, known and loved.
And this experience has reminded me of the bigness of God – how He can do anything, at any time, and how He always works for our greatest good. His providence is abundant and He is present. In my weakness, all I can do is surrender my plans and desires and dreams to Him. And in His goodness, He has responded – gently, lovingly, and so personally.
For a while, I had stopped expecting God to show up in this way. I was pushing through hard things, trying to do everything by myself, totally reliant on my own (quickly depleting) strength. I stopped really trusting and believing that the big dreams and “important projects” I envisioned for my life were really part of God’s plan, that I was being selfish and needed to make myself smaller. But our God is a God of big dreams, great joy, and – most of all – genuine happiness.
If you’re in a season of doubting that God cares about your happiness, please take heart – He wants your joy!! He wants you to dream! He wants the very best for you! All He asks of us is trust.
This is me giving you permission to cast off the cloak of smallness and embrace the great call that God has on your life. Let your life, and your heart, expand in His presence. I’m in your corner, and I’m always praying for you!
What I’m loving right now:
How do you react when your plans go awry? As an avid planner myself, I’ve long struggled to make and hold my plans with “open hands.” But God invites us to trust in Him, and that includes trusting in Him when our plans get #wrecked. The key to this trust? Moving forward, one step at a time. In today’s episode, I share three practical ways I strive to take one step at a time, especially in seasons of uncertainty! Tune in here on iTunes and here on Spotify!
This is such a great podcast episode all about casting aside idols in favor of the goodness and nearness of God – something that is so hard to do and so good to remember! I love these women and this episode was a great reality check for me. Here’s the Spotify link!
Pray the Psalms!
Sometimes it’s really tricky to put our prayers into words, and lately I have absolutely loved praying the Psalms. They all start out with a cry for help, and end with great praise for the confidence we have in our God. Some of my recent favorites are Psalm 139 (I try to pray it every morning) and Psalm 16. Just open up your bible (or google them on your phone) and pray them (out loud to maximize the experience!)
This is a great reflection on the importance of being able to focus on what’s right in front of us in our lives. Written by (my favorite!!) C.S. Lewis, this sermon encourages students to focus on their studies and not be distracted by an ongoing war, because the reality is that there is always an ongoing war for our souls, and we must live alert but also at peace, trusting in God’s protection. Give it a read here!
We’re throwing it back to 2020 and one of the first articles ever shared on our site! This reflection from my dear friend Lauren on turning painful lemons into fruitful lemonade is one of my favorites. I hope you enjoy!
Monthly reminder to call a friend 🙂
Friendship is a gift!! And I was reminded this past weekend of how valuable friendships are, by enjoying a few veryyyy long phone calls with good friends. Call a friend right now or make a note in your calendar to make a call this week!
- For all the members of this community and their intentions!
If you or a loved one need prayers, just reply to this email or reach out and I’ll include them in next week’s newsletter!
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Jane was born in Australia, raised in California, and is overjoyed to now call NYC home. She graduated from UCSB with degrees in Political Science and Communication and spent the past two years working in criminal justice reform. She is currently an MBA student at NYU Stern, focusing on entrepreneurship and strategy.