Finding Beauty In the Struggle

Finding Beauty In the Struggle

"Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light." Albus Dumbledore
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To see a greater purpose when you are trudging through an endless spiral of let downs and failures is never easy, but always attainable. Throughout my twenty years of life I've endured my fair share of rough experiences to last a lifetime. Time after time I have let myself give up and hand my soul over to a greater being that ruled in the dark. What I couldn’t see was that God was using those experiences to shape me. I was blind to the new person I was becoming after I pulled myself up off the ground. Too stuck on my own misery and despair; I forgot to open my eyes to the one above for an outstretched hand. Held up in my own world searching for physical and emotional support; I forgot to open my heart for my spiritual needs. In my times of brokenness I have cut myself off from the Lord though it is only through Him that I shall be fulfilled. "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:33. What I hear in this passage is this: be still, I am with you always, but I need you to search for me and to love me with all your heart as I give you all my life without condition. God hears you. He hears you when you are silently screaming for someone to listen. He hears you when you say "I'm fine" and really mean "I need help". Rely on Him when all hope seems to have faded. Let Him remind you that there is more to come. You are destined for rivers and oceans of the deepest blue. You are destined for a lifetime of happiness and unconditional love from the Father. Trust in the Lord for He is refining your heart each and every time you tell yourself that giving up this time might just be easier.

As I sit here writing this to you I am reminded that the reasons why I was so blind to God in the midst of my struggles was because I was so focused on the material aspects of life. Who was going to comfort me and what were they going to do for me? I longed for things that wouldn’t fill my heart. I wanted that immediate gratification I get when I get likes on an instagram post or when someone compliments my outfit. I tried everything to fill the void in my heart but it only seemed to grow bigger. I repeated this process every day for almost all of my teen years. I longed for physical and never for spiritual. I'm learning that in order to overcome my struggles I must yearn for the Lord. In the friends that I surround myself with, the conversations I have, and how I treat others. When my life isn't focused on what's above I veer off the path that was destined for me and I fly into the ditches when I hit pot holes.

"You will seek me and you will find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13.

Soon I came to realize that striving to meet God in my everyday life was just how I was going to fill the hole in my heart and overcome my misfortunes. I started to become intentional in my prayers. It was no longer about just praying for the sick or asking God to do things for me. I began to ask God to open my heart so that I may see Him in everything I do and in everyone I interact with. I was no longer closing myself off from the Lord but actively searching for Him when I got a little lost or fell away from His embrace. For it is when I am at my most vulnerable and broken that the Lord is there, carrying me through it all. When I feel alone He is always there holding out His hand all I have to do is accept His mercy. This is something that I have always struggled with. I have always had a hard time feeling worthy of God's love. I constantly told myself that His mercy was too good for me and I had sinned too much to receive it. I had turned my back on Him too many times and I no longer felt worthy of His forgiveness. I have had a long journey filled with doubt and guilt. There have been really great days and some very bad days. I now know that in thinking that I wasn't worthy of God's love I was reducing Him. I was telling myself that He wasn't powerful enough or forgiving enough to offer me any mercy. In Colossians 1:16 it is said, "For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions, all things have been created through Him and for Him." If God can create hurricanes that wipe out cities and send angels down to Earth; I can be forgiven. In recognizing this I have been able to love God even more than I thought possible. In Love Does by Bob Goff, he shares a simple but beautiful line that goes something like this, "We are not an afterthought in God's mind, he already has our pictures in his wallet." God's affection and mercy does not have to be earned. He already looks down own us with the biggest of smiles every day. God does not want us to fear Him because we have done wrong. He wants us to run to Him full force asking for the forgiveness that has already been won for us by the cross.

In Ephesians 1:7 it is said, "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace." This is a HUGE reminder that Jesus died on the cross so that we all may have life and free will to make mistakes. Because of this I am slowly starting to live my best life. Laughing as often as I can, going out of my way to talk to a friend, and calling my parents because I'm freaking out over even the littlest of things because to me, that’s life. It's messy and at times way too overwhelming but filled with an overflowing amount of joy. I have found a beauty in my struggles because I know that in the most trying of times that is when God is refining my heart. I know that when I am broken down that I will rise with a fuller heart and be able to spread the love of Christ wherever I go because through Him I am empowered.

Cover Image Credit: RJ Grunewald

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48 Of The Best Catholic Mass Songs

Check out this list of some of my favorites!
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I love to sing.

But, I am very bad at singing. One thing I love about Mass is that I get to sing as loud and as terrible as I want, and that is a beautiful thing. I've compiled a list of what was originally going to be 10 of my favorite songs to sing at Mass, but as you can see, my list quickly became 5 times longer. Enjoy!


1. "All are Welcome"

A great reminder that we are to love our neighbors, no matter how different we are.

2. "All is Well With My Soul"

A refreshing reminder that God forgives our sins, and we are in good hands.

3."Amazing Grace"

A classic, powerful song that shows just how much grace means to us.

4. "Ave Maria"

A beautiful song honoring the Virgin Mary, a role model for all women.

5. "Be Not Afraid"

A reminder that no matter what we're going through, God is with us through it all.

6. "Blest Are They"

A guide on how to live out the Beatitudes.

7. "Canticle of the Sun"

A joyful tribute to God's Creation.

8. "Center of My Life"

A reminder to put God first, a reminder which is always necessary in this materialistic and egocentric world.

9. "Change Our Hearts"

An uplifting song reminding us that God saves even the most disobedient of his people if they give their hearts to Him.

10. "Christ Be Our Light"

A classic song that reminds us even in our darkest of days, Christ will light the path.

11. "City of God"

A song inspiring the building of God's Kingdom- something we should strive to do as Christians.

12. "Come Back to Me"

A song all about repentance and forgiveness- God is waiting for us with open arms every time we fail him.

13. "Companions on the Journey"

A reminder that we are not alone in our journey to spread the Good News, and we can work together to spread His Word.

14. "Eye Has Not Seen"

A reminder of the joy and happiness that awaits us in Heaven.

15. "Fly Like a Bird"

A comforting song reminding us that we will always be in God's care.

16. "For the Beauty of the Earth"

A song that captures the essence of how wondrous Creation is.

17. "Glory and Praise to Our God"

A song full of thanksgiving and praise to God who showers us with blessings every day.

18. "Go Out Go Out"

One of the favorites at my school- essentially a "pump up" song to go spread the Gospel.

19. "Here I am Lord"

A encouraging song, inspiring us to serve the Lord with all the talents we have.

20. "Here I am to Worship"

One of my all time favorite gathering songs that inspire me to give all the glory to God.

21. "How Can I Keep From Singing"

A reminder that God's works are wondrous and He is deserving of all our praise.

22. "How Great Thou Art"

A classic song inspiring us to look around and see God in everything and everyone.

23. "I Am the Bread of Life"

A comforting song telling us that if we live our lives in Christ, we will be reunited with God when death comes.

24. "I Know That My Redeemer Lives"

A song that tells us Jesus is alive, and He has redeemed us by his death.

25. "I Will Choose Christ"

A song inspiring us to recommit ourselves to Christ each and every day.

26. "In Every Age"

A reminder of the timelessness of God- He has always been there, and He will always be there for us.

27. "Jesus Christ Is Risen Today"

An Easter song which joyfully celebrates the Resurrection and the defeat of death.

28. "Lead Me Lord"


A reminder that if we seek God, He will lead us.

29. "Let There Be Peace On Earth"

Always a song that inspires us to act for justice and peace among all people.

30. "Like a Shepherd"

A reminder that God cares for us as his own because we are his own.

31. "Litany of Saints"

A beautiful song, often sang on Easter, in which we ask the Saints to intercede for us.

32. "Lord of All Hopefulness"

A prayer asking God for the strength to get through the day.

33. "Loving and Forgiving"

A reminder that God is always wanting to forgive us of our wrongdoing and heal our pain.

34. "Only a Shadow"

A reminder that we have seen just a glimpse of the love God has for us, and there is much more in store for us.

35. "On Eagle's Wings"

One of the saddest, yet happiest songs of all time- although we die, we will be raised up and be with Him forever.

36. "Our God is Here"

A reminder of the true presence of God in all things.

37. "Prayer of St. Francis"

A beautiful song that makes the prayer feel even more powerful.

38. "Rain Down"

A reminder of the endless love of God.

39. "Roll Away the Stone"

My favorite Easter song of all time. HE IS RISEN!

40. "Shepherd Me O God"

A popular song serving as a reminder to put our wants aside and follow God's will.

41. "Sing to the Mountains"

A song of thanksgiving to God for the abounding gifts he has bestowed on us.

42. "The Summons"

A great song for those who are discerning their calling.

43. "Ubi Caritas"

A song all about the love of Christ.

44. "Unless a Grain of Wheat"

A reminder that without God we have no life.

44. "We Are Called"

A call to service and justice.

45. "We Are Many Parts"

A reminder that although we are many people, we are all part of the Body of Christ, and we all need to work toward peace together.

46. "You Alone"

A reminder of how although we are undeserving, God still loves us and should be praised.

47. "You Are Mine"

God has called us each by name- He knows YOUR name, and you belong to Him.

48. "Your Grace Is Enough"

A necessary reminder that God IS more than enough for us! We don't need to be consumed with this world because we have HIM, and an eternity of happiness awaits.


Singing, although I am terrible at it, has really improved my prayer life. It could do the same for you!

Cover Image Credit: Allie Daniel

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You Ain’t Waiting For God To Bring You Your Dinner, You Get Up And Go Cook It

My words often get jumbled and don't make sense, so I figured writing it would help me come across clearly.

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Dear guy friends of mine,

I want you to know how grateful I am for your friendship. Having close guy friends has helped me better understand men and learn how the male species operates. I've been able to ask you so many questions and you've responded with thoughtfulness, kindness, grace, and honesty. I appreciate your willingness to talk to me.

I want to encourage you in something, and with some of you I have tried, but I think I came across as a little crazy. From what I've been told by married women, guys are very afraid of actual crazy. You want your girl to have some crazy (because all women have at least a little bit of crazy), but you don't want her to be, like, crazy. I get that and respect that.

I want to encourage you to ask girls out. It's scary. You're afraid of rejection. I know this because several of you have told me so. I recently spoke with a guy who's been married for a few years and has a baby daughter. He told me that you guys are scared, you don't want to put your heart on the line and have it crushed. That's a good reason not to pursue girls: you'll remain safe and free from hurt if you don't put your feelings out there.

But here's the other side of it: You'll never find that girl if you never search for her. Now, I know that all things happen in God's timing and as imperfect humans, we can't force things to happen outside of God's timeline. However, Pastor Matt Chandler of The Village Church in Dallas, Texas said this in a sermon several years ago:

"But something's happened in evangelical circles where if you're single you're supposed to not want to be married, but be content in a spot and that's somehow more glorifying than following God's wiring of you to want a mate. And so in the end what happens is that you walk around like a liar. I mean, poor young ladies! Almost all of them have been told, "As soon as you're content, God will send you a man." So you've got hundreds of thousands of women running around acting content! "I'm content, where is he?" You've got other guys going, "You know, I'm just gonna wait for God to bring me the right one." Well, you ain't waiting for God to bring you your dinner, alright? You get up and go cook it."

Pastor Chandler goes on to say that he's not telling the guys to go on the hunt and prowl. No! He's telling guys that they have a role to play in pursuing a woman to marry. Girls have a role to play, too. Girls can't just hang out with their girlfriends in hopes that they'll lock eyes with Prince Charming while in the grocery store or walking their dog in the park. No, girls need to build up the guys in their lives and respect them by letting the guys be guys and giving them opportunities to be gentlemen. That's what I appreciate about you guys, my guy friends. You are such gentlemen and I love that. Don't be afraid to ask out the girl that you think is sweet, cute, pretty, funny, kind, silly, honest, loyal, and the right amount of crazy. You've got this!

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