My Top 4 New Favorite Catholic Women’s Ministries!

I have been falling in love with some incredibly beautiful podcasts, blogs, and videos lately, and since I was introduced to each of these by some dear friends in my life, I want to return the favor by passing them along to you! They have really spoken powerful and beautiful truths to my heart, and there have been so many times in the past few weeks reading or listening to these when my mouth hung open and I knew the Holy Spirit was speaking directly to me! It’s so funny how the Holy Spirit can speak directly into what’s going on deep in my heart, even when I try to hide or distract myself with the busyness of life. These resources have challenged me and brought me peace in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I pray that God will bless you through these as well!

1. “Abiding Together” Podcast— Abiding Together is a gem of a podcast, featuring Michelle Benzinger, Heather Khym, and Sr. Miriam James Heidland, SOLT (from the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity). They have so much fun with each other on the podcast, and they often talk about the gift of laughter, which they share a lot of! Their mission is “to provide a place of connection, rest, and encouragement for those on the journey to live out our passion and purpose in Jesus Christ,” and they talk about really seeing God at work in the various seasons of our spiritual lives. I was introduced to the podcast when preparing to speak for the “Made in His Image” Tea Party hosted in Paynesville last month, since they have a podcast on each of the 4 marks of the Feminine Genius, and I quickly was captivated by the beauty and depth of their discussions. My personal favorite podcasts are the Feminine Genius series (It’s seriously so beautiful it will make you cry!), “Breakthrough vs. Breakdown,” “Creating Community Wherever You Are,” and “Striving vs. Abiding.” You can find these under “Episode Archives” at abidingtogetherpodcast.com!

2. “His Own”—His Own is a band & Women’s Ministry out of Nashville, TN, featuring 3 lovely young ladies who have a beautifully inspiring friendship! I first discovered this band when a friend of mine sent me their song “Making Me New,” which led me to finding my new absolute favorite song, “Little Girl.” Some of my favorite lyrics of their songs are “Your dreams over me are bigger than my own,” and “The King is calling your name; the King is seeking your face… Little girl, get up and live.” So much beauty! I also love their weekly “Makeup-less Mondays” videos on YouTube, where they talk a lot about dating, as well as the feminine heart, authentic friendships, etc. You can find them on YouTube at “His Own Music” or at behisown.com!

3.“Made in His Image”Made in His Image (MIHI) is a ministry geared toward women who have been victims of abuse in any way, to help them in their journey from being victims to survivors, but I really think it speaks to every woman. It was started by a woman named Maura, who uses her own past experiences to speak life into the hearts of those still going through those things. Even though I have not experienced those sorts of wounds personally, her words are so powerful and beautiful that this one needed to make the list! I highly recommend following Made in His Image on Facebook and other social media, because the posts are just so good. Her tagline is “You are beautiful. You are valuable. You are enough.” Who doesn’t need to hear those words more often?

4. “Blessed Is She”—I first discovered “Blessed Is She” through “Abiding Together,” when they interviewed the founder of Blessed Is She (BIS), Jenna Guizar, on the podcast. BIS is a very popular and growing ministry, and my favorite part of what they do is the daily reflection based on the lectionary readings posted on their Facebook page each morning. These reflections are written by a large variety of faithful Catholic women, of all seasons of life, so they’re very applicable and inspiring! There’s a great video on blessedisshe.net under “About,” which explains all of the resources that BIS provides, including “Blessed Conversations” Bible Studies, “Blessed Brunches,” regional groups, the annual BIS Retreat (coming to St. Paul this August!) and so much more! I highly recommend starting with watching that video to get acquainted with the ministry, and you can also follow them on all forms of social media!

Do you have any other favorite resources that speak to your feminine heart as a Catholic woman? I challenge you to spend some time over this last week of Lent allowing the Father to speak truth into your life through one of these podcasts, videos, or blogs. Truth brings freedom, and true freedom leads to the kind of genuine joy that could never come from this world. As the Father has to continually remind me, you are beautiful, you are valuable, and you are enough. Ask for the grace to believe that and trust the Father with the deepest desires of your heart. God love you!

-Nikki

Tricia and Nikki Walz are proud Minnesotans who were born and raised in the heart of St. Cloud with their younger sister Briana. Read more about them on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.

Musicals, comfort zones, and other things that scare you

“Do one thing every day that scares you” -Eleanor Roosevelt

Can you believe Lent is here already?! I can’t believe how much it has snuck up on me. It feels like yesterday we were putting the Christmas decorations up!

I have been spending the last couple days really praying and trying to figure out what I am going to give up and do for Lent. One word that keeps coming to mind is “different.” This Lent I want to be different.

The song “Different” by Micah Tyler explains this perfectly:

“I want to be different, I want to changed, ‘til all of me is gone and all that remains is a fire so bright the whole world can see, that there’s something different, so come and be different in me.

I don’t want to spend my life stuck in a pattern, I don’t want to gain this world but lose what matters.”

Something that I have been trying to do lately and I am going to do throughout Lent is stepping out of my comfort zone to do things that scare me. A perfect example of this occurred just this past weekend: performing in front of over a hundred people each night in our performances of the musical “Guys and Dolls”! I never would have imagined myself in a musical if I am being honest!

St. Peter’s Church put on the show and my sister Nikki and I were asked to be in it. I immediately wanted to come up with an excuse as to why I couldn’t do it, but I felt a nudge to go for it, and was cast as General Cartwright. Even though this opportunity was incredibly out of my comfort zone, it was such a rewarding experience. Not only did I meet some awesome people and gain life-long friendships, but I also realized how capable we are of things we put our mind to. Our comfort zones are just that—comfortable—but comfort can often keep us reaching our true potential. Like St. John Paul II said,

“This world offers you comfort. But you were not made for comfort; you were made for greatness!”

So this Lent I am going to try to step out of my comfort zone and be different. I want people to wonder why I smile when things aren’t going my way and why I am excited to go to church. I challenge you to be different this Lent and to do one thing every day that scares you.

-Tricia

Tricia and Nikki Walz are proud Minnesotans who were born and raised in the heart of St. Cloud with their younger sister Briana. Read more about them on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.

Most People are Good

17 dead. When will these senseless mass shootings stop? Parkland Florida, Las Vegas, Orlando, Sandy Hook… the list goes on and on.

When I heard another shooting took place, I immediately got super angry. How can someone think they have the right to end someone else’s life? Or was it a mental illness that went untreated that caused them to act this way? As I have been reflecting the last couple days on not just this shooting but all the past shootings, I thought about the shooters, how lonely, angry, or hurt they must have been to do something so horrible. I thought about each of the victims’ families and how horrible that moment must have been when they were told they would never see their son/wife/sister/etc. again. Then I thought about each of the victims and the split-second decision they had to make to be either selfish or selfless. In a moment when they could have been just victims, so many of them stepped up to be heroes.

  • Aaron Feis was the football coach and security guard at the school in Florida. He died shielding students from bullets.
  • Sonny Melton was killed while covering his wife during the Las Vegas Shooting as they were celebrating their first wedding anniversary.
  • Firefighter Steve Keys was shot while performing CPR on a woman in Las Vegas.
  • Fire captain Mark McCurdy carried his sister-in-law to her hotel in Vegas after she was shot and ran back into the danger zone to see if any more help was needed.
  • Jonathan Smith, 30, saved about 30 people before he was shot in the neck in Vegas.
  • First grade teacher Victoria Soto from Sandy Hook hid her students in closets and cabinets. When the gunman entered her classroom, she convinced him the students were in the gym so he killed her and left.
  • Jose Martinez was saved by Christopher Hansen and Carlos Rosario in the Orlando shooting. One held onto Martinez’s rosary while the other stuffed a knotted bandanna into Martinez’s two gunshot wounds to save his life.

As hard as it is to focus on the positive in situations like this, it is very comforting to know that even though there was one ‘bad’ guy, there were countless selfless and generous people involved. These situations show us that in the times when the worst of humanity comes out in its cruelest form, the best of humanity is sure to emerge in its wake, stronger than ever.

“I believe this world isn’t half as bad as it looks;

I believe most people are good

I believe if you just go by the nightly news,

Your faith in mankind would be the first thing you lose.”              – lyrics from the song ‘Most People Are Good’ by Luke Bryan

-Tricia

Tricia and Nikki Walz are proud Minnesotans who were born and raised in the heart of St. Cloud with their younger sister Briana. Read more about them on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.

The Strength of a Woman

I came across a blog by Abby Johnson a while back that really struck a chord with me. It was titled “7 Things I Learned at the Women’s Convention About Feminists and Abortion.” There were a lot of crazy things she encountered at the convention as a pro-life feminist (in the truest and best sense of the word), but the truth that has been resonating in my heart since reading the blog was this: that the abortion industry, now more than ever, is playing on women’s fears and insecurities in order to convince them that they’re not strong enough, not ready enough, to be a mother. Abby wrote:

To them [the abortion industry], being able to kill women in the womb is totally pro-woman. Being able to exploit women’s fears of not being strong enough to be a parent is empowering. But pro-choice feminists know nothing of women’s empowerment.

“Oh, you are pregnant and in school? Well, there’s no way you are strong enough to finish your educational goals and be a mother. We will capitalize on your fear, make you feel weak, and give you an abortion.” Or maybe, “Oh, your boyfriend just left you and you are pregnant? Well, there’s no way you are strong enough to be a single mother. Let’s just get this abortion taken care of so we can keep convincing you just how weak you are.”

Pro-life feminists refuse to choose. We can be mothers and have careers. We can finish our education with children in tow. Is it a challenge? Yep. But women are made for challenges. We are strong enough to handle the challenges presented to us. It’s what we were made to do.”

Women are made for challenges. Can I get an amen?! This article has really made me start to think about what it means to be strong as a woman. What, at the very core, is the strength of a woman?

I think the feminist movement (in its worst form) has distorted what it means to be a woman so horribly that “strength” is often be equated with physical power or intimidation or ‘lording it over’ men, or even just trying to be like men and proving that we can do everything they can do. But if God made us male and female, He obviously had a reason!

Women weren’t made to live for ourselves—we’ve been given such an ability and desire to nurture in a maternal way, even if we’re not physical mothers. The feminine heart wants to love intensely, even when it’s hard and scary and there’s the risk of that heart being broken by loving broken human beings. But we were made for this challenge, for the challenge of loving with everything we are.

I think of the strongest person I know—my mom. She’s physically strong, born and raised a true farm girl, but her deepest strength lies in her love, giving herself totally to others and allowing her heart to be broken out of love. I think of Mary, the ultimate example for all women, allowing her heart to be broken by love, courageously suffering the incomprehensible agony of watching her son die the worst kind of death. The strength of a woman lies in this kind of love—giving ourselves completely and risking the pain and demands of love. I once heard that our capacity to suffer is in direct proportion to our capacity to love, because when we love another person with everything we are, their suffering becomes our own. What a beautiful gift— and a daunting challenge! It reminds me of a quote by C.S. Lewis from The Four Loves that pierces to the heart of what it means to authentically love:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

This is true strength. This is the strength of a woman. It’s not “strength” to abort a child in order to avoid the messiness and demands of love. Selfishness is the antithesis of strength. Let’s stop trying to convince women otherwise. You are strong, you are beautiful, and you are enough. Don’t be afraid to let your heart be broken for others—It’s what you were made to do.

–Nikki

Tricia and Nikki Walz are proud Minnesotans who were born and raised in the heart of St. Cloud with their younger sister Briana. Read more about them on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.

Wisdom for the Best Year Yet!

It’s that time of year when we all start making our list of New Year’s resolutions. We feel super optimistic that THIS is the year we are going to change our lives! Making it to the gym past Feb. 1, paying off student loans, and catching up with old friends are common occurrences on my list.

This year I started thinking about my resolutions, and they started to look quite similar to past years. So instead of just repeating last year’s list, I decided to talk to some people I look up to in my Catholic faith and ask for some help. I asked each of these people what advice they would give a young person in college, or in their 20s or 30s, so that we can live our lives more fully and make this year’s resolutions more meaningful than the usual vague goals we have set in the past. I never expected to be touched as much as I was by their advice!

Here is some of the wisdom that was shared with me:

“Take your faith seriously and have a personal relationship with Jesus.”

 “Value your relationships and health; don’t take it for granted.”

— Linda, 70

“The best gift you can give is your presence.”

 “Write down your dreams and the things that mean something to you. Use those things to remind you of who you want to be.”

 “Giving is like receiving twice; it’s the best gift you can give yourself.”

 “Read good things, even a little quote frequently; feed yourself like you do lunch and supper. Feed your soul and it will change how you think.”

 “Stop criticizing, condemning and complaining; find something good in every negative experience you encounter, and you will never be upset again.”

— Diane

“My dad’s uncle told me as I was going into the service in 1955 just three words: ‘Pick your company,’ and I have lived by that rule my whole life.”

 “Do as your parents ask because after they die it’s too late.”

 “Learn the hard way to forgive and forget.”

 “Learn what you can before it’s too late.”

— Gene, 83

“Make sure you find your servant’s heart because every day there is someone that needs a random act of kindness.”

— Karen, 62

“Enjoy life and follow the Ten Commandments. Keep your faith strong; stay active in your faith.”

— Father Greg, 80

I think the greatest thing as I reflect on these pieces of advice is that these people actually live this out, which touches my heart in more ways than I can put into words. I truly hope I can be like all of them one day — giving advice that I actually live out. These holy people inspire me to make real progress this year and I hope they inspire you as well! I encourage you to pick one of these and make a specific concrete goal for this upcoming year. Happy New Year!

— Tricia

Tricia and Nikki Walz are proud Minnesotans who were born and raised in the heart of St. Cloud with their younger sister Briana. Read more about them on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.

The Power of a Gentleman

“A guy is a boy by birth, a man by age, and a gentleman by choice.” -Vin Diesel

This past weekend I got to attend a beautiful wedding in Texas. The wedding was for the brother of one of my best friends, and the whole weekend was just so great. I not only got to meet Catherine’s family, but I also learned a valuable lesson while in the warmer weather!

One thing I immediately noticed was how gentlemanly the men are in Texas. I was a little skeptical that this was true all the time, thinking maybe it was just a good day, maybe a good hair day?! 😉 As the weekend went on, I realized that there was a culture of respect in Texas in a way that I had never experienced before. I rarely opened my own door the entire weekend!

When we were on the shuttle bus from the airport, it was incredibly crowded. People were standing and an older couple loaded onto the bus. Instantly, the young man sitting to my left got up and tapped the older lady on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me, ma’am, would you like to have a seat?” She was very appreciative and took the seat. We also went to Whataburger for lunch and a young boy, who must have been around 7 years old, held the door for us as we walked out. I thanked him and he smiled really big with a couple teeth missing, and said, “My brother and I try to hold the door open for the ladies.” Not only did these instances melt my heart, but it also gave me hope for our next generation.

Another great example of these gentlemen was my friend’s brother, Samuel. Samuel is 14 and from the moment we got there he was very attentive to our needs- if we needed a plate he would grab one for us, or if we were all leaving the house he would stop dead in his tracks and tell us to go ahead. When we went into the kitchen for breakfast, all of the men immediately stood up so the women could take the limited seats around the table. Samuel also put together a cot for us so that we would not have to try to figure out how to put it together ourselves. If more 14-year-olds acted like Samuel, this world would indeed be a better place!

Since I got back to Minnesota, I have seen gentlemanly behavior but, sadly, I’ve seen more of the opposite extreme. In fact, in the airport a guy shoved his way to get out of the door before me. These extremes amaze me, that some men can treat women with so much respect while others don’t make any attempt to act like gentlemen. Talking with Nikki about this, she remembered seeing a quote from Jason Evert that mentioned this problem in another way.

“Authentic femininity is a combination of class, tenderness and virtue. When a woman possesses these traits, a man will naturally want to be more of a gentleman around her.”

-Jason Evert

We as women obviously don’t have total power over how men act, but we do have more power than we think we do. We can help men to grow in virtue by being women of virtue ourselves, and from our example we can help them to want to rise up and treat us with the dignity we have! It’s a two-way street; both men and women need to be respectful of the opposite gender and expect to be respected as well. How beautiful is it that we as women have the power to help men become all they’re called to be?! Women- I challenge you to live out Jason Evert’s quote and raise the bar for the men in this world today, and men- never forget that there is nothing more attractive than a true gentleman!

–Tricia

Tricia and Nikki Walz are proud Minnesotans who were born and raised in the heart of St. Cloud with their younger sister Briana. Read more about them on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.

“Every Mile Mattered”

Have you ever heard a song that speaks to your heart so clearly that it’s almost as if God’s using a megaphone to grab your attention? Recently I heard the song “Every Mile Mattered” (click to watch the video) by Nichole Nordeman, and it was definitely one of those moments! It spoke into the fears and worries that have been on my heart lately in a powerful way. It speaks of messiness and confusion in our lives, and it reminded me that there’s a reason for everything that has happened, whether I can see those reasons now or not. Here are some of my favorite lyrics:

It’s history,

You can’t rewrite it

You’re not meant to be trapped inside it

Every tear brought you here,

Every sorrow gathered

It’s history,

But every mile mattered

Those last words are pure gold—“Every mile mattered.” A friend recently lamented to me after she broke up with her boyfriend, “Now I’m back at square one.” But this song helped me to realize that nothing could be further from the truth! Every experience, every hurt, and every joy we encounter changes us, and God uses all of those things to shape and mold us into who He wants us to be. What a crazy and beautiful truth! When things don’t turn out as we had hoped and we feel like that job or relationship or project was a waste of time, what if we held on to this reality of God’s patient molding of our hearts rather than giving in to frustration and regret?

It’s so easy to fall into the “Why, God?!” trap, doubting His love and His plan, doubting that He is good and that His plan is what’s best for us. It’s good to be honest with God with the questions and hurts of our hearts, but sometimes we need to take a step back and remember what an amazing and powerful and gentle God we serve. At the Encounter Milwaukee young adult conference this past weekend, we prayed the words of a praise and worship song, “You are good,” and at one point the priest had just the ladies sing it, asking the men to pray for their sisters in Christ as we sang those words, that we would know the goodness of the Father and His intimate love for each of our hearts in a deeper way. It was such a beautiful moment, as our brothers prayed that the Father would remind us of His love. The priest also reminded us that praising God isn’t the same as thanking Him—we praise Him for who He Is, while we thank Him for what He’s done for us. Even when we don’t understand why God is doing what He’s doing in our lives, and we fall into sadness and anxiety, we can praise Him for who He Is, because we know that He Is good and He will never change or let us down!

So this Thanksgiving, the raw prayer of my heart is that we would each be given the grace to take our lives—past, present, and future—and lift them up to the Father, praising Him for Who He Is and thanking Him for what He’s done in all the winding paths of our lives, even if it doesn’t all make sense to us right now. He’s not done writing our story, but we can trust that when we look back someday, we will see that His plan was beautiful—and every mile really did matter.

–Nikki

Tricia and Nikki Walz are proud Minnesotans who were born and raised in the heart of St. Cloud with their younger sister Briana. Read more about them on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.

I have finished the race

“I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.” -2 Timothy 4:7

As I type this blog, my muscles ache and my toes hurt, but it is all worth it because I completed my first ever 10-mile race! A big run like this has been on my bucket list for quite some time, but I was not sure if I would ever accomplish it. I am the furthest thing from a runner but I wanted to prove to myself that I was capable of doing it.

I started this 10-mile run with thousands of other people- young and old- at a little after 7 in the morning in the pouring rain and with the sun just starting to make an appearance. It would have been incredibly easy to have thrown in the towel right off the bat. Really? Rain? It was only barely above 50 degrees. But the support from the fellow runners and the spectators was something I will never forget!

The first 4 miles were easier than I ever could have imagined. I had never run 4 miles straight in training and I doubt I could do it again right now, but as a group it didn’t seem like quite as big of an obstacle.

The whole run I thought about how a race such as this is so similar to our journey in life. There are hills- some that seem too high to climb- and maybe we can’t sprint but have to walk it. There are obstacles that try to shift our focus, toes and muscles that hurt, or unexpected downpours. Finally, there is always the devil putting thoughts into our heads like “I can’t do this” or “it’s too far” or “I am only halfway?”

The 9th and 10th miles were the hardest for me. My muscles were so stiff and my whole body was exhausted. There were extra fans cheering us along this part of the race. There were people with funny signs that got us all laughing, and kids that were dressed up giving everyone high fives and yelling “keep running, you’ve got this!”

At times I did not have the energy to run like I did the first couple miles, but I knew I had to keep moving, so I would walk as quickly as I could until I could run again. I think this is exactly how we have to take life- when we think the obstacle we face is too steep to climb, sometimes we have to take a slower pace so that we have the strength to make it to the top, because each and every obstacle we are faced with can be conquered.

My challenge for each of you is to create the best possible support system to run this race with, and when you see others struggling up the hills of life to cheer them on and run it with them. You may never know how much strength a simple smile or high-five can give someone who may be contemplating giving up.

-Tricia

Tricia and Nikki Walz are proud Minnesotans who were born and raised in the heart of St. Cloud with their younger sister Briana. Read more about them on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.

Facing our Weakness without Fear

I’m sure most of us can relate to this experience: you go to Mass, find yourself refreshed and rejuvenated by God’s goodness and grace, go home, and before you know it you’re yelling at a family member or complaining about some inconvenience or insignificant problem. When you take the time to reflect, you’re angry at yourself, and lament the fact that even though Jesus literally just came into you in Holy Communion, you just as quickly turn away from Him and fall into the same sins.

Defeated. That’s how I feel every time I give in to my own pride and say things I don’t mean, or argue my point needlessly. That’s how I feel when I give in to my own selfishness and spend my time only on myself, and get frustrated with those around me for interrupting ‘my’ time. I think to myself, How can I receive such incredible gifts of God’s love and grace, and then fail to live those practically in my own life?

As I mentioned in my last blog, I recently began a 10-day self-directed retreat called ‘Lift Up Your Heart’ by Fr. John Burns, based on the 10 meditations of St. Francis de Sales in the Introduction to the Devout Life. It’s been so, so good for my heart so far, because it’s made me really reflect on my own life and grow in self-knowledge, which is something that’s always been hard for me! I just have to share this part of one of the meditations, because it gave me a new lens through which I see my own weaknesses and sinfulness that I think is so incredibly helpful!:

“In quiet reflection, name your own limitations. Admit them—as many as you can recognize. Then, with a deep breath, hold them up to God’s gaze and simply ask for help. Hear God say to you, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness’ (2 Cor 12:9). Then you can say with St. Paul, ‘If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness’ (2 Cor 11:30). At first it sounds foolish. Consider this: if you were not weak, you would not need God; because you are weak, God can work in you. This means, surprisingly, that the places in your life most attractive to God are the places of greatest weakness, because in those places He can most easily undertake the work of making you whole” (Lift Up Your Hearts 9-10).

That last line has really stuck with me: that the places of greatest weakness in my life are the most attractive to God, because that’s where He can work the most powerfully. He’s not scared off by my struggles with selfishness and pride and laziness, but those are exactly the places He wants to come into most!

There’s a Christian song called “If We’re Honest” by Francesca Batistelli which says, “I’m a mess and so are you/ We build walls nobody can get through/ It may be hard, but the best thing we can ever do/ is Bring your brokenness and I’ll bring mine/ His love can heal what hurt divides/ And mercy’s waiting on the other side/ If we’re honest.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t really like to admit to myself that I’m a mess. In fact, I just don’t like messes in any shape or form! Even my room has to be neatly organized and clean, or it drives me crazy. I want my life to be a tidy little package where everything is ‘just so,’ and nothing is out of place. But I know that nothing could be farther from reality! And the truth is, that’s the reality for each one of us. But that’s where Jesus wants to meet us—in our messiness, in our woundedness, in our brokenness. He wants to meet us there so He can heal us most profoundly.

Fr. John goes on to say, “God sets the terms and timelines for healing and wholeness, but nothing can begin until you show the sickness to the Divine Physician” (Lift Up Your Hearts, 10). We can’t wear masks with God. He knows our weaknesses better than we do, but that’s exactly what He wants us to bring before Him, with humble and docile hearts. How freeing that is, that God doesn’t expect us to be perfect! He just expects us to be honest. He’ll take it from there. God will do the healing, but we first have to bring our wounds and weaknesses to Him to be healed. It might be a slow process, but God knows how best to sculpt our hearts in order to make us into the masterpieces He desires us to be, the kind that can most clearly reflect the genius of the Divine Sculptor. What a beautiful truth, that takes away our tendencies to hide behind our shame and distrust of God rather than humbly bringing them before Him with the faith of a child, completely confident in the love of the Father. So we don’t need to be afraid of our weaknesses, because it’s precisely in our weakness that God wants to meet us, to show us His power and love.

-Nikki

Tricia and Nikki Walz are proud Minnesotans who were born and raised in the heart of St. Cloud with their younger sister Briana. Read more about them on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.

Sweet Encounters

Do you ever watch an interaction and your heart just melts?! Well I have seen a number of these moments recently so I figured I would share a couple of my favorites!

My mom has an in-home day care and the kids are always so fun and full of energy. We have two brothers, Noah and Cole, who stole my heart the other day.

After lunch, the kids take a nap; some of the older kids do not need to take a nap and play until their friends wake up. Noah is at the age where he does not necessarily need a nap, but Cole is still a bit young. Cole likes when Noah takes a nap with him so every day Noah lays down next to him so he knows he is there. This particular day my mom told Noah he had the choice again, he could either stay up or take a nap. Noah came over to me and said, “I really want to have an up day so I can play with my friends but I will go talk to Cole.”

Out of curiosity I followed and listened to their conversation. Noah very gently asked Cole, “Hey Cole, can I have an up day or do you want me to take a nap?” Immediately Cole says he needs to take a nap. You could see the disappointment in Noah’s face and he was quietly sitting there thinking. I jumped in and asked Cole if Noah could just come down and check on him every so often or if he could sleep with a toy Noah picked out. He shook his head and his eyes filled with tears. I will never forget Noah’s next move. He took a deep breath and looked at me with such compassion in his eyes. “It’s okay Tricia, I will just take a nap with my brother.”

He then gave Cole a big hug and reassured him that he would lay next to him so he wouldn’t be sad. My eyes were filled with tears as this kind of love for our brothers rarely exists anymore and it was so neat to see!

The next day I was helping with a brat sale and there was an elderly man walking ever so slowly with his cane across the parking lot. A middle-aged woman was walking into Coborn’s [grocery store] and hollered at him, “Slow down there, sir!” And he stopped dead in his tracks and pretended like he was hitting the lady with his cane and they both laughed and laughed.

These two stories show me how much love and unselfishness there still is in this world. It seems like the people you typically hear about are filled with hate and selfish desires. I think if we all put a little more effort to highlight the love and unselfishness that we see on a daily basis, we would constantly be reminded of our focus in life- and that is to love as Christ loves.

–Tricia

Tricia and Nikki Walz are proud Minnesotans who were born and raised in the heart of St. Cloud with their younger sister Briana. Read more about them on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.