This past weekend, I attended a retreat at the beautiful St. Vincent the Martyr Catholic Church in Madison, New Jersey. With all the craziness of the past few months, it was a welcome treat to be able to spend twenty-six hours in prayer and reflection and listen to the stories of other women who are at various stages in their prayer lives. It made me realize how blessed I am in so many ways, and it made me realize just what true love is…
The Cornerstone Retreat has a very strict rule that nothing said at the retreat can be repeated outside those walls. While I won’t betray the trust of any of the women who gave their own witness testimony to their faith, I will say that each story was more remarkable and more memorable than the one before. Each one left me thinking, I am so blessed to be here, to have my family, to have the support of my husband, children, parents, and friends. And we are all blessed that, no matter what happens in life, no matter what we do, no matter what we face, no matter how we suffer , no matter how far we stray, we have a loving merciful God who is always holding His hand out to us.
Whether you are a churchgoer or not, God is there. Whether you believe in Him or not, God is there. He is the shadow on the wall. He is the voice in the wind. He is the whisper beckoning you in your sleep. He is watching, waiting, hoping, asking, and loving.
St. Paul’s First letter to the Corinthians, which I and many other brides listened to on our wedding day, states,
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, it is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
All my life I thought about that this reading is merely the definition of love, and technically It is. But it’s much, much more than that.
It is THE definition of God.
For God IS love. God’s entire existence is love. His whole being is love. His whole purpose is love.
Therefore, what Paul was really saying is:
God is patient, God is kind. God is not jealous, God is not pompous, God is not inflated, God is not rude, God does not seek His own interests, God is not quick-tempered, God does not brood over injury, God does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. God bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
GOD never fails.
Listening to those women, digging deep into the recesses of my heart and soul, and praying fervently for the Holy Spirit to help me to be a better person, I came to the realization that God truly is ALL of those things to ALL of us. Whatever we are going through, wherever we are in our faith journey, yes, even when we don’t believe, God is still there being patient and kind, not brooding over injury or rejoicing in our wrongdoing, but bearing our suffering, believing in us, hoping we will seek and find him, enduring our doubts, and never, ever failing to love us.
We live in a society that is shunning God. We live in a society where people put themselves first and God and others last. We live in a society where instant gratification has replaced joyful waiting and where I AM is more important than HE IS. We live in a society devoid of love. LOVE is what we are all craving, but GOD IS LOVE. HE is what you are seeking! He is the CORNERSTONE, the building block, the foundation of all things.
I feel your pain. I feel your loneliness. I feel your heartbreak and your insecurities. I feel your doubt and your shame. I feel your longing. AND SO DOES GOD.
What are you waiting for? He is there, has been there, His arm outstretched, His hand open. He is reaching for you, to embrace you, to shower you with His love. All you have to do is open your heart. He is there.
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What I was writing about a year ago this week: Slipping Sand into Precious Pearls.
Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s book is The Greatest Gift. The suspense novel, Summer’s Squall, and all of Amy’s books, can be found online and in stores. Her latest novel, Island of Promise, was recently awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, is based, in part, on her family history and is garnering many five star reviews.
Book Three of the Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Hope, is now available! Order your copy today of the “book that was a joy to read!”- Ann on GoodReads.
Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019).