Matchmaking and a Snowstorm

by | Mar 5, 2024 | Bold in Faith, Bold in Life

“You are sleepless; you want to judge everything, direct everything and see to everything and you surrender to human strength, or worse—to men themselves, trusting in their intervention—this is what hinders my words and my views. Oh, how much I wish from you this surrender, to help you; and how I suffer when I see you so agitated! Satan tries to do exactly this: to agitate you and to remove you from my protection and to throw you into the jaws of human initiative. So, trust only in me, rest in me, surrender to me in everything.”

So states the sixth day of the Surrender Novena, one of my very favorite prayers that you’ve seen referenced again and again in this newsletter. Every time I pray it, something new stands out. This morning, on day six, I was struck (as always) by the line, “Throw you into the jaws of human initiative,” a line that often catches me in the midst of trying to coordinate, strategize, or figure out a situation for myself in my own life. But today it stood out for two big reasons:

First, I finally finished Jane Austen’s Emma on the plane last night. For those who have not read it, the story is about a young woman named Emma who decides to run around and matchmake every other eligible single person in her small English countryside village, excepting herself (of course) because she wishes to never marry. As you can probably deduce from the fact that it’s written by Jane Austen, calamities ensue as Emma attempts to convince her friends to reject proposals, fall in love with unlikely suitors, and inevitably she gets tangled up in her own web.

By the end of the book (spoiler alert), everything works out – in fact, it’s made clear that Emma’s anxious meddling was fruitless, and each couple found love despite her forced involvement. Her antics merely added anguish, drama, heartbreak, and hurt to everyone involved (as well as 500 pages of brilliant wit and gorgeous prose, so I’m not completely complaining here).

Second, yesterday my friends and I were caught in a massive snowstorm that seemed to almost prevent us from leaving Park City after a wonderful weekend of skiing. We decided to leave a bit early to get two of our friends to the airport after their Uber was canceled on them, but this required the finagling of our rental car down a slippery and skinny road to return skis and then return up the hill to get us and all of our luggage.

However, after our friends made it down the first time, they were uncertain they could drive back up. The plan was hatched that the remaining three of us would carry five girls’ worth of suitcases and bags down a skinny and steep staircase to meet them at the bottom.

The three of us trudged outside, dragging heavy bags through the slush to the top of the staircase. As we peered down it, we gathered our courage and muscles to make it work. But just as we were about to begin the descent, a couple of men came out of their house across the street to defrost their suburban. A gentle, “Hey are you guys going down the hill? Do you want to drive us?” led to their generous assent, and soon enough we were bundled with all of our bags in their suburban, being safely delivered at the bottom of the hill to our waiting friends.

What are the lessons here? The jaws of human initiative are as tempting for us as they were for Emma. In times of uncertainty and stress, we want to jump into action and get to fixing. Emma didn’t mean to cause hurt; she was trying to help. Similarly, we were just trying to get our friends to the airport on time. But God, Who has a much higher and much more complete vision of our lives and the world we live in, is always at work. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). He’s always working, and He’s always providing.

The temptation to remove ourselves from God’s hands and use our own smart but limited minds to take care of ourselves and others is so strong (trust me, I struggle with this daily), but what if we had the courage and faith to surrender ourselves and our circumstances completely to the One who knows us and loves us better than we know or love ourselves? When we do that, we experience His abundant providence. I think we would be far more peaceful, far more joyful, and far more available to take the actions He is actually asking us to take.

This is my prayer for this week: Jesus, I surrender myself to You, take care of everything! I invite you to join me.

In Christ,

Jane


What I’m loving lately….

“Hearing the Voice of God” Word on Fire episode

I loved this episode of Bishop Barron’s podcast reflecting on the call of Jonah and what it means to hear God’s voice. I thought it was super powerful and can relate to his reflections on hearing God’s voice in our conscience, and how we can find the greatest peace and joy in our lives by saying “Yes” to what He asks of us!

Jesus Calling

I’ve been traveling a lot recently, and because I don’t have my big stack of books with me for prayer time, I have been Googling the day’s Jesus Calling to start my prayer time. It’s been so good. Here’s today’s reflection if you want to check it out! You can also buy the book (I have one at home, too.)

Say no

This weekend, I was beginning to feel a bit stressed about some commitments that I had made over the past couple of weeks. In prayer one morning, I brought them to God and felt the gentle but firm nudge to remove myself from those commitments. I hate letting people down but I also knew that I wasn’t going to bring my best to those people if I continued. It’s always better to say no at the outset but we also have the freedom to say no in the midst of it. It’s a lesson I’m still trying to learn!

Park City weekend with NYU friends!

This weekend, I met up with six of my friends from business school for a weekend of girl time and skiing in Park City. It was so sweet! I’m so grateful that we pulled it together and made it happen. I’m trying to be more intentional about fostering my friendships, and nothing can do that more effectively than getting caught in a cabin during a snowstorm and power outage… So grateful for these girlies and this time together!

Prayer requests

  • For safe travel
  • For those who are struggling with infertility
  • For a prayerful and committed end to Lent

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Jane Kennedy

Jane Kennedy

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.

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