March 29: Breaking the Cycle

Day 25

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Every year when we promote the Best Lent Ever program experience, we say, “Don’t give up chocolate for Lent this year.” It’s not that we shouldn’t give up chocolate, but it’s the idea that, that is the focus of Lent for so many people.

And while it’s good for us to give something up, it’s also good for us to do something very positive—to take on a new habit.

It’s amazing how just watching these videos can set the tone for your day, or set the theme for your day, or impact you over the course of Lent. But I think it is important that we not lose sight of fasting as one of the central concepts of Lent.

Why do we fast? God uses fasting to liberate us.

There’s a fabulous story in the Scriptures. Jesus sends out the disciples in twos and gives them power to do all sorts of things. When they’re coming back, a couple of the disciples encountered this child. They try to heal the child, but they can’t. And then Jesus comes along and . . . bam. He takes care of it. He gets it done. And the disciples are like, “Well, hold on Jesus. You sent us out. You told us we were going be able to do the things you do. What happened here? Why couldn’t we get this done?” Jesus says, “Some demons can only be cast out by prayer and fasting.”

Think about what overwhelms you, what enslaves you, and what gets you down and keeps you down. What is the one thing that you’re struggling with, or what’s the one thing you’ve been struggling with for a decade or for two decades?

This is the message that Jesus has for us in those situations, because we’re all struggling with something. You’ve got your thing, I’ve got my thing. It might change at different times in our lives, but we are all struggling with something. Jesus’ message to us in that is, “Guess what? It doesn’t matter how strong your will is. You might have the strongest willpower of any person in your circle of influence, but willpower isn’t going to get this done.”

Because you’ve tried, haven’t you? You’ve tried to overcome that thing you’re struggling with. You put all your your mind strength into it, but it’s still there. It still kicks your butt.

What Jesus is saying to us is, “You can’t do this. First thing you have to realize is that you can’t overcome this. It’s bigger than you, and you need me to help you overcome this.”

Some demons can only be cast out by prayer and fasting.

What is it in your life that can only be cast out by prayer and fasting? Are you praying about it? Are you coming before God and saying, “Hey God, I don’t have this. I can’t get this done. I’ve tried it a hundred times. I throw myself on your mercy. I’m begging you to help me with this.”

But the second thing is the fasting. Fasting is self-denial. It’s saying, “I will give something up. I will deny myself my pleasure, my cravings, my self-interest. I will deny myself. I will fast.”

Once you experience the power of fasting in your life, you’ll be absolutely converted to its power. You’ll give a place to it in your life forever.

It’s like so many things when it comes to God and church and religion: We talk about it and it’s interesting, but once we experience it . . . that’s when it changes us. That’s when it makes us that new creation that Jesus talked about so often when he walked the earth.

So, rediscover fasting. Think about what it is and how can you employ it in your life. How is God inviting you to make it a part of your spirituality?

“Breaking down the destructive cycles in our lives is never easy. It is not something we can do on our own. We need the encouragement and prayers of the people around us, and we need the grace of God.”

Matthew Kelly, Resisting Happiness

Share this quote.

Focus

We are all struggling with something. Identify your something. Name it. Own it.

Act

Pray and fast, asking God to liberate you from that area of slavery in your life.

Pray

Heavenly Father, I want to be free. Help me give this struggle to you, because you are the only one who can liberate me.

Today’s personal reflection features Dynamic Catholic team member Rachel Carbon. Rachel is our web marketer, coming to us from Hershey, Pennsylvania. Rachel loves glitter, has an inordinate number of houseplants, and if she could be any animal she would be a flamingo.

How have you overcome a big struggle in your life?

Let us know in the comments!

We encourage you to comment on this reflection. All viewpoints are welcome, but we ask that you remain on-topic and respect other members of the discussion. Please remember that we are trying to help each other become the-best-version-of-ourselves. We reserve the right to make editorial decisions regarding comments, including but not limited to removal of comments. Be Bold. Be Catholic.®

  • Liz Charlie

    I throw up my hands and say, “God, you gonna have to handle this one because I sure don’t know what to do with it.”

    • Kathy MYny

      Ditto Liz! When I have a problem that I don’t know what to do with, I look at Jesus on the cross and mentally place my problems at his feet. I tell him, “Lord, I don’t know what to do with this, so I’m giving it to you to look after. I trust that you will give me a solution. I’m going to sleep now.” In the morning, the solution presents itself. Its a train of thought that’s different or others involved in the problem have changed their mind also.

    • Lea Novak

      I have found that when I paint, I really need to ask God to help me. When I remember to do this, things turn out well. When I forget, everything goes wrong…the painting fights me, it seems unbelievably difficult…all ways in which God is reminding me that it is only with His help that I can do this. And it makes perfect sense…after all He created the things which I am trying to capture an image of!

      • Lisa

        I agree, when I pray first, things go better.

    • Karol Padrucco

      I’ve done that as well…wrapped it up and placed it at His feet saying, “It’s all Yours because I just can’t do it”. Unfortunately, I often try to take it back and ‘work on it’.

  • Michael Baur

    I have overcome the big struggles in my life threw prayer. When I let God in and let him know that I need help. He help me find solution in my life.

  • Ed

    For me overcoming the big struggles in life requires an acceptance that I am not in in control. It is a turning away from the self reliance that I was told a s a child would make me free, to something totally dependent. Dependent totally on God. And yet I find myself consistently failing to let God lead. The good news is that when I do let myself depend on God everything is better. I am calmer, more in love with my wife, I am more likely to get things done instead of feel overwhelmed by the amount of things I feel I must do, all by myself.

    Reflection when practiced daily with the focus being asking God to lead and relying on his lead is one way I overcome my struggles….Big or small….it does not matter

    • Maureen

      Thanks Ed. I am just becoming aware at just how much I want to be in control…of everything. I also am realizing I am fighting a losing battle. Yet, I am struggling to let go, and let God lead me. Your post gives me hope. Thank you. Praying we both let God lead us today.

      • Lisa

        I’m beginning to accept that everyone has free will and that God will bring them along when they are ready. It doesn’t mean I can’t give them a gentle push once in a while; it just means I am more peaceful trusting God is working on them the way He keeps working on me.

    • Terrie Hymel

      Exactly how I feel. Thanks for sharing.

    • Nan

      Relinquishing control is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but it is easier when I remember that I never really was in control in the first place. When I am able to relax in God’s control I am so much happier and more relaxed. I am by no means completely surrendered in my life–when things come up that I am in charge of or responsible for I tend to grab back at that control and find myself filled with stress and anxiety. But every time I go through one of these challenges I get a little better at letting go. My mantra is “God is God and I am not!”

      • Karen

        Nancy that is a good saying! God is God and I am not. Awesome will keep that in front of me today! Thanks for sharing!

      • Lea Novak

        Yes, I have trouble with grabbing things back from God after I’ve supposedly given them to him…I’ll try to remember your mantra when these situations arise!

      • Lisa

        Good one.

      • NancyB

        “God is God and I am not!” Thank you so much for this prayer. I will use it from this moment forward. God bless you.

    • Anci

      Its comforting to see others that have some of the same struggles. Control is a difficult one and I too struggle with it. It is much easier since I have learned that I have no control over this life! The world wants us to think that we control our lives and our destiny…once I gave up that idea my life was much better. Now I work on other struggles but you never stop going back to the well for help and support from God to know He does hear us and is always there. It is we who leave Him. He’s still there waiting for us to come home to him.

      • Joyce

        There’s a quote I heard many years ago..” If you no longer feel close to God, He’s not the one who moved…”

    • Delia Shuert Kavanaugh

      Letting go and letting God, a huge struggle in my life. I like to feel in control. The funny thing is the more I tried to feel in control on my own, the less I actually felt in control. It has taken me years to get a handle on that and it hasn’t been pretty. One of the other things I had to learn, I really struggled saying yes to God’s plan. I kept saying you really expect me to do this? It’s unreasonable. There must come a point I can just give up on this and move on. After approaching it from every angle and coming to the conclusion I didn’t want to hear, I finally said ok God let’s do this. God knew what was best. Doing God’s will isn’t always comfortable or easy, but if we trust Him He always has a plan for good in our lives. God bless.

    • Marianne

      Love your suggestion and I will attempt this daily. Thank You!

    • Susie

      Thank you Ed for this reminder to me to let God lead.

    • Ma

      I love the saying that someone posted earlier this month, ” There is a God, and I’m not him”. Remembering this has helped me with letting go!

    • jerseyangel

      Ed this is a wonderful incite. I just shared it with my youngest son who recently started a very challenging job. He is often stressed out and feeling overwhelmed, but hangs in there. All four of my kids either have walked away from the church or are on kind of hold with their walk with the Lord. I pray for them and sometimes offer these little incites. Your comment was perfect.

    • Ma

      I love the saying Robert posted earlier this month, There IS a God AND I’m NOT Him! It has helped me tremendously

      • Joyce

        I’ve heard that quote twice in the last 24 hours…2 things I know for sure…”There is a God and it’s not me”. I first heard it on some random TV show my husband was watching and now. How miraculous is that!

    • NancyB

      I relate so fully with your struggle. Even when I think over and over, let go, let God, I still find the benefit of that prayer only lasts for moments. God bless you on your journey to learn to let God lead. I am right there trying to struggle with you. Prayers!

  • Patti Nicholas Rusczyk

    I struggle to give up smoking. Because I have a seizure disorder I cannot take aides to help me because they can cause seizures. I am asking God for His strength. Please keep me in your prayers. Thank you.

    • Andrea C.

      Patti, we’re praying for you! With God you CAN do it!

    • Kim Roberts

      Praying for you

    • Lynn Burnoski Kilbride

      I just prayed for you and felt God say “it’s already done”. So maybe, in faith, accept your healing and just keep focusing on His power.

    • Susan E

      Sending prayers! All things are possible through God!

    • Lisa

      That just proves how hard habits are to break. It sounds serious. You could try going to one of those healing masses/conferences they have periodically. Nothing like getting prayed over by a committed group. Some of them really get together and fast and pray for the success of the event.

  • Susan A.

    The mantra “let go and let God” has been very helpful to me.

    • Jim Snyder

      You must have been reading my mind. Here’s what I said the other day when I shared the how many Sundays quote to my Facebook page. I have a 50-50 shot to make 95. Would be awesome to have 2375 Sundays left, but just in case I think I’ll get after it today and not waste a moment thinking about past or future struggles & hardsships. Prayers up, let go, and let God

      • Susan A.

        Maybe just the freedom and liberty we are seeking!
        God’s blessings on your prayer up!!
        And those are pretty good odds!

  • Karen

    The more God is present in my life…..the more help is given to me for all my struggles….simple solution.

  • Eduardo Hoover

    My faith has brought me through my many struggles keeping me grounded and I don’t know what I’d do without it. I’ve had two wives pass on the the next life as well as a good friend. I was told by a doctor I would soon die and he had no idea how I was still living and functioning. I wasn’t even hospitalized but my blood oxygen would drop into the upper seventies at night yet I was driving myself an hour to make my appointments still ambulatory. Then there was my five days walking around with acute appendicitis which didn’t stop me from singing in the choir praising Jesus. Fasting is good but without prayer, worship and works of mercy it’s dead. And above that would be obtaining indulgences which I need some. It’s been a long time since I received one. My good friend who passed kept me informed when the Pope would be bestowing indulgences and how to get them. I so need a new source to find this important information again. Can someone tell me a source?

    • Phyllis E Esposito

      Wow you life is inspiring! I know many novenas have indulgences connected to doing them , also on Mercy Sunday the week after Easter if you go to Mass , confession & say the caplet you can get a indulgence.Your priest or a Catholic book store can give you more information . Good Luck!

    • Christina

      Eduardo, Enchiridion of Indulgences is the handbook/manual of indulgences and there is one put out by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and is $16.01 on Amazon prime. Good resource on everything you wnr to know about gaining indulgences. The three that I know off hand is reciting the divine chaplet of mercy on the first Friday of the month, saying the rosary for Saturday of the month and meditating on all the ministries for 15 minutes both combined with confession and receiving the Eucharist and also doing the stations of the cross.
      Sorry to hear about the passing of your wivesand your health issues. God bless you, Christina

  • trysohard

    I struggle still with gossip – though I feel I have largely overcome it and know how to avoid it. Recognizing that virtually no good comes from gossip and it reveals my own pettiness, the temptation loses its power. Like me, every person is struggling and needs to be lifted up, not chopped up.

    • Waiting Patiently

      Thank you for sharing. I too , struggle with gossip. It’s one of the things I have been trying to give up for Lent. I even wrote it down on the white board in my studio. I daily have temptations at work to gossip and I’ve been doing pretty good and feeling so much better. I hope you find the freedom and peace that Jesus wants you to have.

      • trysohard

        Thank you. May we all learn the art of holy conversation and good humor!

    • Latifa

      I think we all do at times. I try not to but my mum will start and I tell her I don’t want to listen. Then she thinks I don’t want to talk to her. I pray for her. She’s 80.

      • trysohard

        Change the subject every time. Tell her jokes. Find interesting information on the internet. Ask her questions. Let her give you advice. Model positive conversation about family members or holy priests who inspire you. Invite Jesus and Mary into every conversation.Tell her to think about something you want to discuss next time and ask her to write down her ideas. Find out all you can about her childhood. Everyone can be interesting if we are interested.

    • Karen in FL

      Something that has helped me is to imagine Jesus in the room with me. Would I say whatever it is if He was listening? (He is!)

      • trysohard

        Precisely!

    • Monica

      I am going to try fasting for this one on Friday. I think gossip affects a lot of people and it helps me to think that I am causing a friend to sin as well, which makes me feel more responsible for them. For lent I have made a huge focus on avoiding those that I like to gossip with and only calling when I have something uplifting to talk about.

      • trysohard

        Sounds like you are serious – good job!

  • Latifa

    My struggle about six years ago. I use to self harm myself. My parents had more time for my brother. I was born Moslem. Boys are more important. I felt they didn’t love me. Right through my childhood I felt like this. Six years ago it go real bad. I use to take overdoses, cut myself. I landed in hospital. I was admitted to a mental hospital. There I asked the pycologist why did God abandon me. She told me God is waiting on me. One day I went with my cousin who is Christian to a Maronite Catholic Church. I tell you then and there I knew I had to be there. I went every Sunday after that. My parents were not happy but I just knew I had to be there. Five years later I have Jesus in my life. I will not change that for anything. I cannot explain the joy I feel when going to mass. I gave up my old life. My dad is no longer with me. My mum is. She still takes my brother over me, but it doesn’t bug me. I have Jesus what more can I ask for. Some family don’t talk to me because of the conversion. That’s their problem. I am so much happier and relaxed. One thing I do have to work on is patience.

    • Ally

      God bless you.

      • Latifa

        God bless you too.

    • Waiting Patiently

      So happy for you Latifa and that Jesus is in your life. From your words you sound like such a beautiful person and soul. I am so glad for you that you found the peace that only God can give. May your life be blessed and filled with love. Have a blessed day an awesome week and a God-filled life.

      • Latifa

        Thank you. God bless you too.

    • Karen E.

      What a beautiful testimony of God’s grace and healing! God bless you!

      • Latifa

        God I’d good all the time. All the time God is good. Thank you and God bless you too.

        • Kay

          I am very impressed with your story. It makes me feel that I take my Catholicism for granted being born into it. You were very brave to join on your own even against ridicule from family. God bless you!

          • Latifa

            God bless you too.

    • Patti Nicholas Rusczyk

      Latifa, I am third generation American Lebanese and have attended a Maronite Catholic church here in central NY. The Maronite Mass sung in Aramaic is the most beautiful Mass I have ever attended. Most of us believe that family acceptance is of most importance but did not Jesus infer that it is following Him that is of the greatest importance? I commend you for your courage and faithfulness to Jesus, “good and faithful servant”. You are in my prayers.

      • Latifa

        I belong to the Maronite Catholic Church in South Africa. I’ve been attending that church for five years. I love Aramaic prayers as well. God bless

        • Karen Kotzbach McCreary

          My dear Latifa, I have wanted to write to an African woman almost my whole adult life but didn’t know how to do this . Here I am writing (sort of) to you and now I learn you live in South Africa . You are both a joy and my special Easter gift ! I am in tears as I try to work on this stubborn PC. I write REAL letters all the time . Let me know if you would like a pen pal .

      • Nick Rizzi

        You are so right Patti. Jesus says we may have to leave father and mother…to follow him! Both you and Latifa are inspirations to us all. At first it may not be easy or natural, but the reward is enormous. Love you both!

        • Patti Nicholas Rusczyk

          Thank you Nick. God bless you and yours.

      • marylamb72

        Sung in Aramaic? Oh how I would love to experience that! I get to the East Coast occasionally. What is the name of the church? Where can I find it please?

        • Patti Nicholas Rusczyk

          Marylamb, the Marionite church I have attended a handful of times is St Louis Gonzaga Church, located in Utica, NY. I believe only one Mass on Sundays is said/sung in Aramaic now, all others are in English. God bless.

      • marylamb72

        It is all Maronite Catholic Churches?

    • Todd Wilkowski

      Latifa – What an encouraging message. How deep, wide and unconditional is our Father’s love for us! May He continue to shower you with his love and grace on this journey you’re on!

      • Latifa

        I thank the Lord every day. It’s changed my life and my kids life for the better. God is great. Thank you. God bless

      • Latifa

        Thank you. God bless

    • Beverly

      You’re amazing Latifa, and your story gives me hope. God Bless You!

      • Latifa

        Have Faith and Hope. Our Lord is there for us always. God bless you too

    • Kelly Biehl Seppy

      Latifa, you are in a huge company of us who need to grow in patience! God bless you in your walk with Him.

    • nancy harris

      Latifa,
      How strong and brave you are! Jesus must be so proud of you. I know I would be if you were my daughter! You are I my prayers today.

    • Lisa

      Thank you for sharing Latifa! I too have struggled with family situations. And I too have sought out and found comfort and community by going to church. My parents who are Catholic, have not practiced and are against the Catholic practices for many years and did not raise me in the Catholic religion. I am the only one in my family who is going to church. I began this journey a year ago. I gave up selfish things by turning more deeply to Jesus. By committing myself to live a more productive life by turning my will and life over to the care of Jesus to the best of my ability. I am 50 years old and finally feel peace. I know this is where I belong. On Easter Vigile I will be making my Confirmation! It is an excitement I can’t describe! I will be praying for you Latifa. I am so happy for you!

      • Delia Shuert Kavanaugh

        Lisa, it is so awesome that you have found Jesus and you feel His love and grace! Congratulations on your Confirmation! May God bless you and keep you. May His face shine upon you!

        • Lisa

          Thank you Delia. I can’t tell you how much it means to me that you wish me God’s blessings! I wish you God’s blessings back!! 😇

      • Janet Marusiak

        Congratulations on your coming Sacrament of Confirmation to renew your Baptism promise. I love the Sacraments and all that join you will be also receiving an abundance of grace and to renew their Baptism call.

      • Marilyn Russell

        Family relationships can be so difficult. I struggle daily with my relationships with my children, and everyday I pray and lay these relationships at the alter, let go, and let God. I do not want to be consumed by my children, I do not want to be consumed by negative thoughts or actions towards my children or any other person. I do want to be consumed by the power of the Holy Spirit in my life. Father, Thy will be done. Amen

        • JoAnne

          Amen Marilyn! Lay it all at the feet of Jesus. Lisa and Marilyn, during this Lenten season as I pray and offer up my struggles I include yours. Special prayers and blessings to you Lisa on your journey in Christ.

          • Lisa

            Thank you JoAnne 😇

        • Ma

          Thanks Marilyn, I also struggle daily with my relationships with my adult children. I love the way you expressed your thoughts…esp turning them into a positive thought of only what you want. Going to use this as my mantra! Thy will be done, Amen. Hugs and blessings 💕

        • Kathleen Henshaw

          I, too, struggle with the adult children as well as my husband. I am the only Catholic, the only believer in my nuclear family. It is difficult at times. I returned to the Church after many years of trying to follow my husband’s belief system (Paganism) and my penance for all this? Pray for my husband and children and grandchildren. Turn them over to God. Be an example. Thank you, Marilyn, for sharing. It is so very difficult at times to NOT be consumed by your loved ones, but these days I’d rather be consumed by the love of Jesus. That puts everything else into perspective.

          • Kathleen V. O’Malley

            I have too struggled with with family problems until I gave them over to God and now I know a new peace.

          • helena handbasket

            As my priest is fond of pointing out, it took St. Monica 16 years of praying before her son, St. Augustine, turned to God!

          • Senorita

            I pray for my son constantly. I know I want his problem solved instantly. He is a struggling addict and despite him getting help through several treatment facilities, he goes back to the evil addiction. He has lost everything, either by it getting stolen by his fellow addict “friends” or by selling to get his so-called needs met. I have loaned him money with his promise to pay during his recovery periods only to relapse and I end up losing. I do not trust or believe anything he says any longer. I have one other daughter and I feel she is being neglected but I try to also give them attention. I feel I am constantly let down & do pray, pray, pray. I ask the Lord constantly to watch over him.

          • Patti Nicholas Rusczyk

            Amen!

          • Kitty

            Kathleen, I have many of the same problems as you. I am the only Catholic in my family also. My adult children were raised Catholic and received all the sacraments, but left the church during college. My youngest son was married by a friend who was not a church going person. It was a difficult time for me because there was not a single mention of God in the ceremony. My other son simply does not go to church. I pray that sometime they will return to the church, but I realize I have to leave it in God’s hands.

        • Toni

          Reading your message really struck home. I have an adult son who is an alcoholic. He is on the verge of being homeless. I struggle daily with all the negative thoughts. I do not want to be consumed by all of this. After reading your message I realize I need to let God take care of this. I have a struggle letting go. I pray to God “what I want to happen” and have a hard time adding “Thy will be done”. I need to trust in the Lord that He knows what is best not me. I too want to be consumed by the Holy Spirit.

          • Kathleen V. O’Malley

            Amen! Always.😍

          • Jean Walton

            I had to learn not to enable my son and practically abandon him. The song Held by Casting Crowns gave me comfort that we were both in God’s hands.
            My prayer song for my son was Breathe Again (I think that is the name of it) by Phillips, Craig & Dean. Very powerful. My son is currently clean and sober. Thanks be to God.

          • Debbie Bahrychuk

            Thank you Jean for your post. I too struggle with my adult children. I just listened to the song by Phillips, Craig and Dean. It is called Let It Beat Again from their album Breathe Again. It is beautiful!! I will keep it to listen to many times. God bless you and your family ♡

          • Eugenia O. Guzmán

            Toni, I remember going to talk to a priest one time because my brother was a drug addict and we hadn’t heard from him for days. Our parents were out of the country and we were seeking the priest’s advise as to what to do for him and whether we should inform our parents of the situation. The priest with such compassion and wisdom stated to us that we were trying to fix the problem. That this problem was beyond our control. That God sent his only Son to save us. What makes us think that we would be able to save my brother. He suggested we turn it over to God so that He could save him. It was such a relieving moment in our lives. So, yes, turn it over to God for only He can save us all!

          • Carole

            My daughter, too, was an alcoholic. I went to Al-Anon meetings and prayed she’d go into recovery. I was consumed with her problems. However, I also asked the Lord to take good care of her and decided to put her in His hands. And, He answered my prayers. No; she didn’t go into recovery. Instead, the Lord, in his infinite wisdom, took her home where she’d be happy and free from pain. He also gave me the strength to accept and deal with her passing. I like to think her grandparents were there to welcome her to heaven, and now I don’t have to worry about her any more. She is safe and at home with the Lord. What more can I ask for?

          • dianne

            Thank you for sharing that Carole, It must have been very hard to loose your daughter, but reframing it the way you did, by realizing that she is safe with the Lord in Heaven now touched me. Truely God gave you the strength to accept and deal with her passing. Your prayers were answered in God’s way. We all need to let go and let God answer our prayers in his way. He is in charge and he has a plan for all our lives. Like you said in His infinite wisdom, He brought her home. I have 4 adult children and one of my daughters has struggled all her life with depression and anxiety and self harm. She recovered and was trying to live a normal life, she got married had 2 beautiful daughters, but her husband turned out to be abusive to her, in a very bad way. It took her a year to realize and tell about it, and to get out of the relationship, and to get away from the abuse. But it pushed her into depression again and self harm, with suisidal thoughts. She married the wrong person, but God blessed her with those 2 little angels. So again God has intervened and pulled her out of her depresssion again. She is getting divorced and she has a long road ahead of her, she totaled her car, but she was ok, she lost her job, and she might loose a house they just built. But those angels are keeping her going. I have been consumed with all of it too. My older daughter was deployed and she needed me, but I think she felt like I was too consumed with my other daughters problems. She is home now from deployment and very safe and well, but I feel this distance between us. It makes me so sad that I can’t seem to trust in God the way that you did Carole, I need to pray and leave it all in his hands, I have to know, that in the Lord’s infinite wisdom that he is carrying us all through this hard time in our lives. I will keep praying for that. God Bless you and thank you for sharing your story.

        • Rose Dorsey

          I am also trying to let go and let God take care of things. I have a plan of how I could “fix” my life but I know that God’s plans for my life may not be the same. God’s plans equate to His purpose for me in this life. So, rather than mess that up, I try to take time to listen and pray for obedience when I hear Him. It requires patience but it’s well worth the wait.

        • Joy

          Yes Marilyn, well said!

        • Mary B.

          God knows how much we love our children, and I truly believe he has a plan for them … trust in His plan!

        • NancyB

          Thank you Marilyn. Though I am not being consumed by my family, I realize at this moment, that I am being consumed with negativity in another area of my life. Thank you for allowing me to quote you. ” I do want to be consumed by the power of the Holy Spirit in my life. Father, Thy will be done. Amen” Amen!

        • Lori Grajek

          Thank you for sharing. I think I have been too obsessed with my children. (I’m probably hanging on to them too much since they are getting older) 25,23 and 17. I think it’s time to have a “new obsession” that is focused on something different. Not sure what that is. Maybe I need to seek God’s direction for a new focus. YOu are absolutely right: let go and let God! I also love Proverbs 3:5,6. Read it and find peace and hope.

          • Kathi

            Lori,
            In yesterday’s video, Matthew Kelly poses the question, What are you hungry for – spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally? I thought these were very powerful questions, which I am still pondering. Perhaps through meditating on these questions, you may find your new “obsession” or focus.

        • Mary Brennan

          Thanks Marilyn for your share i can relate to how you feel☘

        • Lisa

          Yes. I know the feelings of being “consumed” by negativity. I pray with you. It is such an empowering feeling to let go and let God!

        • Patti Nicholas Rusczyk

          Marilyn, I too have to daily give up my will for my children praying only for God’s will to be done. My journey of trusting Jesus has been a struggle for years and years. Two years ago I read St Faustina’s diary and my faith hasn’t been the same since. Today I trust Jesus with my life and the lives of my family members. I am no longer afraid of anything because I know, with every part of my being, that I belong to Jesus Christ.
          My only desire is to please Him in everything I do.
          God bless you and yours.

        • Jane Lenzer

          Marilyn, l am struck by the simplicity of your answer. lt helped me too clearly see the problem and the solution in the same sentence. –”l struggle with family and l place it before God and ”let it go”. Thank you for your comment!

      • Marsha Mohan

        Lisa and Latifa, finding the peace through the
        Mass and the community is quite amazing. I am happy for all of us who have searched and have been blessed with God’s love, care and compassion to grant us peace. Lisa I will think of you and say a prayer as you receive your confirmation on Easter Vigil. Prayers for everyone. Have a wonderful Day!!

        • Lisa

          Thank you so much! You made my smile!!

          • Marsha Mohan

            Lisa as your story and comments brought joy and smile to all. We are all family 🙏

        • Lisa

          Marsha thank you! It means so much that you will think of me and pray for me! How beautiful! God bless you! 😊😇

      • Megan

        CONGRATULATIONS! I was Confirmed and received my 1st Communion on Easter Vigil last year and it was and still is the best day of my life! I know you will experience the same emotions I did. Very proud of you and the things you have accomplished.

        • Lisa

          Very proud of you too! It has been a wonderful and emotional journey this past year! God bless and thank you for your acknowledgement!

      • Karen

        I am so excited for you that you are taking the step to become Catholic. I have a daughter-in-law who decided to join the church. I don’t know when God called her to this, but without me even knowing about it, she was taking the classes. God has blessed her with this and because of this, my son is becoming more active in the church than he has for years. So I know God continues working on us even when we don’t know it. So Congratulations on your new love for the Lord and your desire to become The Very Best Version of Yourself!! God Bless you!

      • Latifa

        I will be praying for you too. I got confirmed three years ago. I am 46. I found Jesus at the age of 41. God’s timing is so much different to ours. My mum is still Moslem and my brother doesn’t believe in anything. My kids and I just pray for their conversion every day. God bless.

        • Joy

          My family is Catholic yet one member as an adult sits on the other side of the fence. And expressed being closed to holy conversation. I was advised to pray for this member and struggled with the idea because they are making the choice. Then I came to believe that the resistance may be otherworldly caused. Prayer may help to change that.

        • Karen Kotzbach McCreary

          Latifa, you are a joy to behold ! If you can do what you are , then I can pray my 4 adult children into God’s hands . One still practices her faith and she is my strength as I watch her deal with a very difficult life at the moment..

        • Kimberly Williams

          What a pillar of strength you are! To God be the glory.

          • Latifa

            All praise goes out to our Lord Jesus.

      • Paula Hecker

        I am a RCIA team member in our parish. I am so over joyed by your testimony! We have a treasure in our faith don’t we?

      • Kathleen V. O’Malley

        Congratulations Lisa one of my best friends is also going to be baptized and confirmed on Easter praise the Lord thanks be to God

      • Joy

        Congratulations and blessings to you, Lisa. How beautiful your testimony is.

        • Lisa

          😇thank you Joy! I love your name! Blessings to you too!

      • Jill Schmidt

        I find your story amazing…..the fact that your although your parents are Catholic but have chosen not to attend church and are against the practices of the faith, you have chosen to share in the beauty of the faith of our Lord through the Catholic church. I am so glad you feel at peace…..a peace that only the Lord can give!

        • Lisa

          Thank you Jill for your acknowledgement! It means so much to me! Peace be with you!

      • NancyB

        Welcome to our Catholic Community! We are so blessed to have you join us. Peace.

      • Lydia Ross

        Congratulations on becoming a practicing Catholic. May Christ continue to exhibit His Presence to you. Pray for your parents and by showing the presence of God in your life it may sow seeds of faith in your parents.

      • Ann Albosta

        Congratulations Liz! I am so happy for you! It’s very reassuring to have someone who was born Catholic but didn’t practice return to Catholicism. Who knows, you may influence the rest of your family. Modeling is the best form of persuasion.

      • Shonne Farrell

        Lisa, I can relate to your struggle growing up. I also was the only child in my family who wanted to go to mass. I left the church in my twenties because I was lost and was trying to find my way. Fifteen years later I came back as a grown woman who finally came home. Like you, Iam so happy to be in God’s house. I professed as a Franciscan Secular last May. I feel like Jesus is with me all the time.

    • Betty J

      Wow Latifa! You are a very strong person.

    • Leonard

      Glory be to Jesus Christ

      • Latifa

        Amen and Amen

    • Holly

      I’m proud of you! God’s love for us is the most important. You are a child of the one true king; you are very special. Thank you for sharing your story. Pray for your father, mother, and brother.

    • Theresa Trella

      Reading your story, I think of what Jesus told Peter in Mark 10: 28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”

      29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

      What we give up is nothing compared to what we receive; you have a Father, Mother, & a multitude of siblings whi value and love you massively!

      • Latifa

        That’s why I don’t worry and expect anything from my mom or brother where love is involved. I have Jesus who loves and excepts me for me. Our Abba Father loves all of us uncondtionaly. God bless you.

    • Lynn Kasicki

      What a truly inspiring story. It started my day off with tears of gratitude for the goodness of our God.

      • Latifa

        We should be thankful. I tell I’ve come a long way. I am so grateful that I found God when I did. I wish it happened sooner but everything happens in God’s time. God bless you

    • Lynelle

      Thank you for your story. My prayers are with you

    • Annette

      Hello Latifa, So happy you found Jesus! He is our way, truth, and light and he will always walk beside you every step of the way! I will keep you in my prayers as you are very courageous and I feel your inner joy of knowing and loving Jesus! His strength fills us when we are weak and His love is everlasting! God bless you always.

      • Latifa

        God bless you too.

    • Barbara Marrin

      Latifa, we welcome you to our Catholic community! We are so happy you are here and with us. We can’t replace the relationship with your dad, but we can support you through that loss. I’m glad your mum is still active in your life. I’m glad you are so content in your Catholic life that you feel joy at Mass. We all must work on patience, I must work on patience, God’s timing, not mine. Many blessings I wish for you and the continued love of Christ and for Him.

    • Ronda Jewell

      Latifa, wow. Sometimes it takes a wake up call to know the many blessings we have. I know this was not easy for you but I can only say, Jesus is the answer. Your journey is powerful and know you are a blessing to so many. God bless you, sister in Christ.

    • Mike

      Latifa, your words really impacted me and inspired me to look towards the sky and thank Him for giving you the strength to move towards His light! I will pray for you, your brother, your parents and those who will not acknowledge you because of your choice to make Jesus the most important person in your life. Thank you for sharing and may God bless you!

      • Latifa

        God bless you too. I pray for my mum and brothers conversion every day. I just want them to experience how great God is.

    • Paula Hecker

      Latifa, your testimony was beautiful! Thank you for illustrating how beautiful is our Catholic faith! Sometimes we “cradle Catholics” don’t realize how much we take for granted until we come across a witness such as this to wake us up out of our complacency. You have my gratitude today!

      • Latifa

        It’s the Holy Spirit working threw me. All praise and blessings go out to our Lord Jesus. God bless

      • NancyB

        Amen!

    • Marilyn

      How brave you are Latifa. I read some of the responses to you and I am joining the praise for how you are living your life. I belong to the Melkite Catholic Church and am so blessed to have been born into a community that believes in the Almighty power of God, the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus and the light of the Holy Spirit. This journey with Dynamic Catholic has opened my heart and soul to the dedication of people who had to struggle to find their faith, and I have learned through all of you that surrender to God’s will is the answer to living a fulfilled life. My prayer for everything is for the Holy Spirit to put the light on the right path and that’s how I do each day. God bless you and by your actions you will inspire others.

      • Latifa

        God bless you too.

    • Joe

      Thank you with all my heart! I am moved by your conversion and love of Jesus. Wow! Blessing be always yours and your family, (may they also know the joy you have.)

      • Latifa

        Thank you. God bless you too.

    • marylamb72

      Thank you! The boy over girl preference is not limited to Moslims. It is very evident in many cultures. So glad you overcame that disappointment without separating from your mom though. We have to forgive people for not being what we want them to be.
      God bless you!

      • Latifa

        I forgave them. I just pray for their conversion. God bless you too.

        • Duscha Ross

          I find it ironic that you still ask for the grace of patience; your life is an open testimony to God’s work in the world, and you were incredibly patient, waiting for the expected, appropriate and deserving love you were due. I pray that you continue to know that you have and will always find that love in Our Father, and may God continue to bless you with an open heart and a forgiving spirit. ‘God, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us’. Be sanctified, and blessed! God love you, Latifa!

          • Latifa

            You’ve just brought tears to my eyes. I’ve never looked at it that I had patience all that time. God bless you too.

          • Kathryn

            For years I prayed for God to “please teach me patience”. And he did, over and over again. A dear friend of mine asked what I was concerned about one day, and I told her I pray for patience every day and and still have not attained it. She asked me exactly what I say to God when I pray, and I told her I ask God to “please teach me patience”. She smiled and said and that’s exactly what He is doing. Change your prayer to “God, please give me patience.” I did, and HE did! He is amazing and loves us all.

          • Karen Kotzbach McCreary

            Kathryn, the fact that you never gave up praying for patience proves that God has granted you patience ! We just have to see things from another angle sometimes . “Easy peasy lemon squeezy,” as it’s said .We have to remember that anything we ask in Jesus’ name will be given unto us . Blessings .

    • Trish Simmering

      Latifa, It is so liberating that God the Father doesn’t have favorites! He so dearly loves us all greatly and with the same measure. We lay your hurts before the altar and rejoice that you have come home to the Catholic Church. He clothes you with jewels of righteousness and showers you with His love and mercy. He never leaves you nor forsakes you!!! Blessings always,
      Trish

      • Latifa

        Amen. God bless

    • Kj

      What a powerful testimony, Latifa! Thanks for sharing…

    • Vinnygret

      Thank you for sharing such a profound and honest story. You have really touched me with your openness.

      • Latifa

        I prefer to be honest. People who ate going through the same thing and are afraid go talk about things can learn from what I did. I just thankfil I opened the door to my heart to the Lord. I know that He can help with any situation. Faith is the key issue. God bless you.

    • Ann Albosta

      Such a beautiful story! I am so happy for you! I wish you all the strength you need to continue to be happy every day. Also, keep telling your story as it will surely inspire others.

    • Karen Kotzbach McCreary

      YEA! for you ! I am proud to say I even “sort of” know you, Latifa . I am wish you lots of (((HUGS))) . You have so many people who are cheerleaders for you and you deserve them. You will always have the tug at your heart regarding your old life, your Mom’s attitude and the relatives who have disowned you . But you said it best, you have Jesus . That’s it ! It is all any of us will ever need . Your Easter is coming complete with fireworks ! *_* K

    • Diane Grohn

      Congrats Latifa!
      My father has no respect for girls or women, he is 87 yrs. old. He told me just before my Mother passed last year that girls and women are Possessions, Slaves and Prostitutes! He really believes this bc he traded me once for something he wanted to a dangerous man, when i was young. He is also an Atheist. I have a strong faith and I thank god for this. Though I was raised Atheist, i started to believe in god at 9 yrs. old. I knew not to tell anyone to avoid punishment. Children have inherent wisdom and tolerance.
      You are very mature and wise to have determined all this at a young age.

      • Karen Kotzbach McCreary

        Diane Grohn You are a wonder all by yourself ! What courage it took for you to endure what your Dad put you through. Take comfort in God, Father of us all. You are right about children . Your story will remind me of how easy I have had it .You and Latifa are so very precious to me . God is smiling every time you both pray . Happiest of Easters !

        • Diane Grohn

          Thank you for your positive reinforcement. Easter blessings to you.

    • Cheryl Diamond

      Latifa, your story sounds like my story. I was very unhappy growing up. For years I did not know why I was so unhappy. I was not born a Christian either. Then one day the Lord invited me into the Catholic church, and my life changed. He has brought a lot of joy to my life. I have not missed a mass in 5 years. He changed my life and I am so grateful to him.

    • Tina

      What a really beautiful story. God must love you greatly and have fabulous plans for you concerning others.

      • Latifa

        I leave it in God’s hands. Where God leads me I will follow. I just thank God every day. My Abba Father. God bless

    • Johnny

      Beautiful story. Thank you for sharing. Your conversion story is a reminder to all of us that sometimes it just takes a friend to extend an invitation and the Holy Spirit does the rest.

      • Latifa

        Amen so true. God bless you

    • Marie

      You have given me so much hope for my own children. I will pray for you every day as you continue to learn about the Catholic faith and how beautiful it really is. I didn’t realize this myself until I met my husband after falling away for a few years.

      • Latifa

        Thank you. God bless you.

    • Margie

      Faithful God, how He loves you. What a magnificent testimony

      • Latifa

        Praise be to God always.

    • Jane Lenzer

      Latifa, l have to remark on your strength!! Your spiritual strength and that of your character. How strong you are to know that your brother is preferred over you, but to say, ”l have Jesus! What more do l need?” l pray that someday l will get to that point of realizing that,, no matter what my family thinks of me,,,l have JESUS.!!!!!! Thank you for writing xoxoxo

    • Margie

      Jesus is all we Need. I love this prayer by St. Teresa of Avila:
      Let nothing trouble you. Let nothing frighten you. Everything passes. God never changes. Patience obtains all. Whoever has God wants for nothing, God alone is enough.
      Be encouraged Latifa

      • Latifa

        Amen. Thank you

    • Neenu Tomi

      hi …even i grow up in similar situation…. many times my parents had told me i am useless thing …unworthy …keep growing up in jesus one day you will reaches a point of personal experience with Jesus …that time you will understand why he allowed all these how he worried about you what make them do this….” one best and most beautiful thing in your life is about come …the moment when Jesus explain you the word of god ” god is love ” … i clearly remember until jesus explain me this i had little pain for my horrible childhood …. but now …when i looke back …good everything he kept nice … their hard heart made me easy to hate their sinful ways…be very care in spiritual life there more chance for us fall …since we had lagging for love …try you best to sitick with jesus and saints …i got lots of help from the book “poem of man god ” by maria Maria Valtorta

      • Latifa

        Hi. It won’t be easy, but I tell you that I’ve put my complete trust in God. He has seen me through my rough patches in my life. I tell you I live with my brother who doesn’t believe in God. My mum is Moslem. My brother doesn’t allow my kids and I to pray in the house. We go outside and pray. I will not allow my brother or any other person to keep me away from God. My kids say I e become too holy. It’s not that at all. I’m striving to be the best version of myself and get closer to God. There will be a lot of obstacles in our way but we must not loose sight of the main goal. I will read the poem you talking about. Ever of the best. God bless

        • Neenu Tomi

          don’t worry even i struggled alot …just understand your about to reach the shore …very soon you will start understand.. in my case the book helped me to grow … am sure by the time you finish the book your way of looking life would be completely changed …and you will start feeling the presence of jesus vey clearly…and you know how to love him in better way ..just get the book and start reading it …

    • Lynn Nguyen

      Latifa, God bless you! I’m so happy you were lead out of the darkness and into the light! God is our Farther and the Lord is our shepherd, there is nothing else we shall want.

      Have you read Psalm 23? I’ve memorized this by heart and say it often. It provides me comfort and peace.

      The Lord is my Shepard, there is nothing I shall want.
      He lets me lie down in green pastures, He leads me towards peaceful waters, He restores my soul.
      He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
      Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not be afraid, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff comfort and protect me.
      You prepare a table before me in front of my enemies. You annoint my head with oil. My cup overflows.
      Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life. And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

      • Latifa

        That is my favorite psalm. I can’t explain how it feels to have God in my life. I. Just completely thankful. God bless.

    • Linda Carmelle

      Jesus asked the apostles to follow Him.This is your testimony too and by following Him you saved yourself,your children,and the future will be much improved!. Asking to give up family , even those who do not treat you as you deserved to be-with unconditional love- is so difficult and seems against our very nature. Many people stay in abusive relationships and can not break free from the bondage. Believing God has a better plan for our lives takes courage and strength and resilience. This seems impossible when our family,the very people who took part in our creation,have a different attitude or approach to life. However, it is God who knew you before you were born and allowed your parents to be able to give birth to you. He is your real Father and His family is your true family. Your cousin is a conduit to God’s Order of things and your salvation. Your children are blessed to have you and your cousin in their lives. The Beattitudes state Blessed are the Poor in Spirit,for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. You Go Girl!

    • Nett Lacsamana

      I’d like to take this moment to thank you for your sharing. This is my first time i think to hear about Maronite Catholic Church. I was born and raised a Catholic my whole life, and for the past few recent years have been a lot more active at my Parish volunteering and even active outside my church with an organization also helping me be more intuned with my Catholic faith. IF the Maronite Church was mentioned through all my dealings before, i certainly didn;t pay attention to it much. But now, with your sharing, i was curious enough, that I had to google it, to give a bit of an idea of what it is about. And from that research, I also encountered the word Jainism, and again, came across the word Asceticism. Thank you for your sharing. I learn something new, everyday.

    • Cindy Leslie

      Thanks Latifa for sharing. I went through difficult situations but it was work and coworker and certain so called friends of mine that was the problems. I learned a very hard lessons in my life. But for me I had a good family and my Catholic faith that helped me survive. I truely believe that God during those time was trying to wake me up and turn to Him for help and at that time(s) I just wasn’t listening well to God. It was like I lost him along the way. I went through such great suffering and sometimes even today but I have God and family…a family that God gave me. Though I can’t go into details, pray for your family. Pray for healing and thoughs that hurt you. I am doing this too. You are in my prayers. May the peace of Christ be always with you.

    • johnnyt

      God Bless you Latifa. I am so glad you found Jesus.

    • Winnie Svikhart Supple

      Unfortunately many families splinter for various reasons but as long as we know Jesus loves us and He is with us and will always with us then life is good. You are highly favored and blessed You are a child of God

  • Laura

    I love that concept, “Jesus wants to live this day with me!” Wow! I struggle with feeling down and overwhelmed by all that isn’t “right” sometimes. A project at work that is not going to hit target, my fat, old body, those scratches on the window sill from my dog, the depressing state of American politics – the significant and insignificant pile up around me and I feel trapped. The thought that Jesus wants to live this mess with me, through me, in me….wow! What a blessing! It will be ok, even if it isn’t “right” because He is with me. Thank you Rachel!

  • Pearl Brown

    We all have struggles in our lives. I have quite a few but I pray every morning to ask God to help me with these struggles no matter how long it takes. The Lord is all I have with these struggles and He is all I need. Thank you Lord for being there.

  • mrcpuhead

    Today’s reflection made me think of the idea of finding and maintaining balance in life. That could be between work and family, goofing off and doing something productive, eating healthy foods and indulgences, on and on. The model I strive to follow is one that balances spiritual, physical, and emotional health. I’ve found that if I ignore any one of these or even give one less attention than the others, I struggle through the day. So I’ve been trying to spend Lent restoring the balance among all three factors, as I believe that is the best way to stay resilient no matter what life throws at me.

    • Lea Novak

      Balance…yes! I seem to be neglecting health these days…appointments I should make but don’t, exercise I should do, but don’t. Resistance!

    • Rachel

      I really relate to your comment! Maintaining balance is so challenging. I especially struggle with two extremes: eating healthy food/working out versus eating junk food/pushing back my workouts. This is where fasting can be beneficial in my life…fasting from the excuses I make when I grab yet another piece of chocolate or shorten my run.
      On the other hand, I’m also trying to “fast” from placing my identity in my physical wellness. While taking care of myself is certainly important, I often let my obsession with working out or eating well take over. This is where BALANCE (as you so wisely highlight) is key! Blessings as you continue to strive for balance! I will be too!

  • Deborah Kelleher

    I know from past experiences when I take on challenges with God’s help the outcome is successful. However, there are still times I will try to tackle things on my own, and I get frustrated with the outcome and with the fact I did not ask for God’s help. Currently facing a challenge with weight loss and realized I quit asking for His help to stay focused on His plan in my life.

  • Paula Gregory

    Prayer comes easy for me every day. Is fasting good for people over 65yrs.,healthwise

    • kimisu

      I think Matthew may mean fasting in the sense of abstaining from the negatives rather than just food. Such as, you can fast from the resistance that keeps you from overcoming your situation or your mindset, or deny yourself a night out on the town so that you can devote yourself to prayer and reflection, or skip watching TV for a night or a week or a month, or something else that will deny you a pleasure or an indulgence or a craving.

  • Susan E

    My husband died of a sudden heart attack 8 years right before our eyes. The PSTD for my then 15 year old daughter and myself was debilitating. I walked around for years waiting for the other shoe to fall. My mind was filled with “what if’s” from morning to night. Slowly – bit by bit as I prayed the fear started to abate. My favorite prayer – which I say every morning is the memorare. And my favorite scripture is “Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. And God’s peace with is FAR BEYOND HUMAN UNDERSTANDING will keep your hearts and mind safe.” Phil 4: 6-7. Be blessed everyone. And thank you DC for this awesome platform to connect and form community. #IlovebeingCatholic

    • Dan W.

      Thank you Susan for giving me my favorite bible passage to remember. I have been searching until you posted Phil 4: 6-7. Don’t we want to always know or try to figure things out? This passage reminds us that the peace of God transcends all understanding. I pray for you and your daughter, and send a petition for your husband.

    • jerseyangel

      Sorry to hear. Can’t even imagine. Love the way you have let Jesus carry you through such a difficult time. Your testimony is so powerful. Will keep you and your daughter in my prayers.

  • Nancy R

    I overcome struggles by not becoming overwhelmed and too focused on it in a negative way. A move a muscle change a thought approach. I do feel alone with my struggles though.
    I will try to use focused prayer and fasting as a tool in making the shift.

  • Karrie

    i am currently struggling with an individual at my workplace. I have always tried to be to the nice one, the helpful one, the YES one and nothing every seems to help when I encounter her. Shes very loud, negative and seems to gather a group to “side” with her. Its has happened countless times over the years and im to the point where I cant sleep or focus. I have done everything I can think and PRAY constantly for help how to overcome. Any suggestions?

    • JG

      JG
      Pray for her

    • Alice Ann Hengesbach

      The following is oh so hard to do and yet I have been told that it works. In fact the following has worked in my life when I remember to do this: pray for this person rather than for yourself. Pray that whatever fears and defeats that have made her into her current self will be removed. Pray that she, too will become “her best possible self.” Praying for the “other one” in a dispute takes the pressure off of us and that then relaxes us. As I write I realize this is what helped change an identical situation in one of my jobs. You pray for her and God will take it from there. All will be well.

      • Kerrie

        Thank for what a wonderful suggestion! I will do just that!!

        • Alice Ann Hengesbach

          Kerrie, I will be praying for you. : ) … it is hard when you just want to be pleasant at work and your actions are not received in that spirit. Prayer takes a while and it does get your thinking turned around to the point where you realize “it ain’t you” and if by chance it is you, prayer will steady your mind enough to make a few little changes that will resolve the situation. All the best.

    • Tina

      It seems like she is jealous or envious of you. These are horrible traits. They hurt both you and her too. So, the best thing is to pray for her. Miracles do happen.
      God loves you.

  • Kelly Biehl Seppy

    Latifa, you are in a huge company of us who need to grow in patience! God bless you in your walk with Him.

  • Bill S

    One of my major struggles is dealing with our oldest adult son. He suffers from bipolar depression and he will have terrible mood swings that affect his relationship with his wife and children. He is being treated professionally for this disease, but I worry a lot about him, much more so than our other adult sons. He has several obstacles in his life that do not help his situation and while I have searched for solutions to help him to alleviate some of these obstacles, I realize that he must do this on his own. He is a great person but sometimes he doesn’t see this in himself. I continually pray to God that he will work through this and become the best version of himself. We all want our kids to do well as they grow up and move on in the world but it’s hard to watch him have so many struggles.

    • Diane

      My oldest son also has bipolar depression. When I got divorced he stayed with his father who didn’t believe he was bipolar and took him off all of his medication. He is now 21 and been in and out of jail. He is working on his GED. He does not respond to my texts or calls. I see him maybe once a year. I pray for people with mental illness all the time. My mom too is bipolar and I have seen the depression among other things first hand. You are right, they must seek the help on their own and find out what works best for them. My son tends to do the opposite of what I say so the best thing I can do for him is pray.

    • M

      Bill, my adult son has also been diagnosed with bipolar
      disorder. He is wonderful when he is
      stable, but his moods still fluctuate even while on medication. I sometimes blame myself because I also am
      bipolar. But I thank God that he has
      been diagnosed much earlier than I, and he has his whole life to live knowing “what
      the problem is” and learning strategies to deal with this condition.

      On the other hand, this disease has definitely brought us
      closer in our relationship. When he says,
      “No one understands!” I remind him that
      I do and we talk about similar events that have happened in my life, and poor choices
      I have made while “flying” or in a deep depression. I love my son. From the very first time I felt him turn in
      my womb he has been my gift and I thank God every day for him.

      Keep praying Bill, and I will keep you and your family in
      my prayers. God is definitely in control. BTW, St. Monica is now my favorite saint!

      • Bill S

        Thank you M. He sent me a very nice email last year right after one of his “down” moments on July 4th, explaining what was going on. My heart sank for him but I keep hoping that he can work through this. I certainly don’t have the understanding you do but will be there to lend him an ear when he needs to talk and let him know we are always there for support.

    • BettyBee

      i came across this prayer advice from a post in last year’s Dynamic Catholic Lenten series (I love reading the posts!) It is something that helps me a lot. “Do you believe that I am the Son of God, and do you believe that I died for all men and women? Then why do you continue to be so distracted and anxious about your loved ones? Do they not only belong to me? Could it be that I could somehow refuse to work in their lives while performing wonders in yours? I have done that. Nor have I charged you with changing them. Yours is the task of forgiving, loving, interceding and letting go in my Name. Come closer to me yourself for the grace to do it and I will do the rest. Trust me.” The part that pops out to me is the “Nor have I charged you with changing them. Yours is the task of forgiving, loving, interceding and letting go in my Name.” That has really changed how I react to and handle the difficulties and disappointments that come with having a bipolar child.

      • Bill S

        Very nice! Thank you for sharing.

    • Duscha Ross

      Bill, I am married to a man with Bipolar Depression and your post struck me so… I just wanted to say to you that God has prayerfully given him a partner in this. As a wife, it is a struggle because you pray that they will remember how much they are loved in the midst of the ‘storms’ as I call them. When they happen, I reinforce my children by sharing with them, in front of their father, that he is a great man, and God’s gift to us. I pray that it is a powerful reminder of our strength as a family, and that with God, nothing is insurmountable. My prayer for you, your son and his family, and your extended family is that you all continue to recognize how much strength God has brought together in you; that you lean upon one another (as you undoubtedly have), and that you continue to recognize that no affliction comes without a blessing – I think this one helps us remember how precious is joy… right on the other side of pain. After the rain comes the sun, and they are both from God. Be blessed and stray strong… you walk in the light of Joseph as a father; may you continue to have his strength.

      • Bill S

        Thank you, Duscha. It sounds like you and my daughter-in-law have much in common. He is blessed in that his wife, who went through RCIA, has continued to pray for him and tells him that she isn’t going anywhere (even though when he gets into a “funk”, he tells her he wants a divorce). She also takes the kids to school and they all pray together in the car on the way to school. I am sure those prayers help. Those storms can be very frightening when they pop up. Blessings to you, your husband, and children!!

  • David B

    Over 6 years ago I was downsize from a company I worked at for over 19 years. Even though my work was not very fulfilling the money was good. I still remember the day cause I knew what happened. I started praying immediately. As I got the speech it’s not you it the company’s direction I continued to pray. I had to tell my wife I also told her that God would be with us. I was able to focus on business that we started however this didn’t bring the income necessary. I prayed even more about financial situation cause after. Almost a year things got very tight. I was force to take jobs making a lot less My struggle my passion has become business that I love and working jobs that are not fulfilling. I pray constantly for guidance. As I listen to this and read your testimonies. I can only say Jesus please guide me

    • Tina

      God The Father is a loving Father and sees us suffering as His Son did. Therefore I find the following prayer very comforting.
      ” I thank You God for my past which has been your Gift to me. Now I offer my present and my future as my gift to You. This I offer united with the Passionate Suffering and death on The Cross of Your Son Jesus Christ, which is being offered at this moment, during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, going on in different parts of the world.”

  • Linda

    Prayer, reading and study, talking things out, personal reflection, being mindful of the moment, relying on the word of God, surrendering to God’s will.

  • Alice Ann Hengesbach

    Just as we have made time, chosen time for “The Best Lent Ever,” we can choose how to spend other parts of our life each 24 hours. Now that I think of it, the single biggest change I’ve made in my life came through denial and prayer although I don’t usually select those words to the describe the experience. Fasting is choosing to spend time in a certain manner; it is clearing the time for active prayers, contemplative prayer. Fasting is not so much denial as it is “making time” for God. Now that I’ve said it, my prayer is to pray past resistance and return to the practice of fasting in my life. Enjoy this 24. Blessings.

  • Clara Turci Depko

    If I am struggling with a health issue I pray and remember this too shall pass and I also remember Job. If I am struggling with family issues that attack me when I wake in the morning and when I go to sleep at night. These struggles I find can be best overcome by just saying your will be done or thank you Jesus. Every time it comes I thank or praise God and it goes away. But the health issues I deal with all day and they can wear me down. I find on days I am depressed from pain and confined to the house it is hard to pray. Those days I miss not being able to get to mass and thank God for family that pray for me. But I know this too shall pass. We grow in the struggles and it is because of our struggles that we are able to reach out to others through their most difficult times and help them. I praise God every time my headaches are gone or my back is pain free and I can walk and enjoy the simple things in life. Perhaps without those struggles I would not enjoy the simple things when I can.

  • Nancy D.

    I know God is with me through good and bad. Therefore, if I am in a destructive cycle, I have to believe that God knows the bigger plan for me and that my time of learning has come. The quicker I stop resisting him and let him fulfill his plan with me, the sooner the destructive cycle will end. Easier said than done, but like everything in my life…I am a work in progress.

  • Magdalene

    My big struggle is resentment toward a member of my husband’s family who has repeatedly treated us with contempt. I resent them for the injustice and him for not standing up for justice. I cannot seem to overcome this one on my own. I have prayed so much about it. I go through an endless cycle of anger and guilt for feeling angry. Does anyone have recommendations on the the type of fasting that will help this? Thank you.

    • Penny

      Magdalene, I used to spend a great deal of time being angry about my husband’s alcoholism until I realized that the anger only hurt me and affected my relationship with people. From then on each time I would begin to feel that way, I prayed for God to help me find peace. It didn’t make the issue go away, but it helped me fight the internal battle. I will keep you in my daily prayers.

    • Bernice

      Mother Teresa used to say ‘Lord, what an interesting disguise You are wearing today.” – so I try to remember that He sees more good in a person than we often do … and to imagine Him standing with His arms around their shoulders.

      • Jo

        I love this quote! And believe me, I’m going to remember it and requote it. What a beautiful way to look at people.

  • Daniela D.

    With prayer and total abandonment onto God’s will. This process was scary and at the same time so liberating. I now trust God with my whole life, knowing that I am not alone no matter how difficult my path turns.

  • Andres

    Can anybody tell me to whichwhich scripture Matthew is referring? I like to read the Bible after listening but unfortunately I’m not familiar with that story ..

    • Patricia

      Andres, it is from the Gospel
      Of Matthew chapter 17 verse 19-21

    • Michele

      Matthew 17:14-21. Some translations say prayer and fasting and some do not. If you read the notes in a Catholic bible on that Scripture, it should explain this.

  • Rebecca

    I overcome struggle by praying to God and talking to my closest friend about what is going on. I find that when I talk about it, I find a way to bounce back from my struggle.

  • Mike

    I feel like I’m in the process of overcoming a big struggle through these Best Lent Ever videos. This program was recommended by my parish priest. It has truly been the best lent ever for me. I’ve gone back to confession for the first time in eight years and I’m spending this Lent reflecting on and praying about some major issues in my life. If you told me the week before Ash Wednesday this would happened, I would’ve been extremely skeptical. I didn’t do this, all I did was make the space to let it happen. The lesson for me is to let go so that you can listen and have the faith to allow God to come into your life.

  • Jim

    For me Rachel’s story reinforced the truth that we cannot tell from the outside the pain and suffering someone has gone through or is going through, and we need to be gentle with each other.

  • Seeker

    My struggle is materialism and while I acknowledge it I’m not even close to overcoming it. Clothes, antiques, things for the house, travel, cosmetics. You name it, I probably have it or want it. Also, as a museum curator I find meaning in objects; I am very attached to heirloom possessions from deceased loved ones. I pray for balance and focus in my life — away from the material world to the spiritual. Scripture admonishes people like me over and over again. But thus far I’ve made little progress. Your prayers and suggestions are appreciated.

    • Robert

      If you like things, you’ll love making others happy by giving them away. And with each gift share your wisdom about the item with the recipient so it can take on a story of its own and continue to bring happiness to both of you.

      Yeah, easy for me to say. Prayers and good thoughts to you.

      • Seeker

        I like this idea, Robert. Thanks, and thanks DC for this forum!

  • Peter L

    Wow. U can’t beat honest, vulnerable personal testimony for putting teeth into and flesh on the gospel. Thank u Dynamic Catholic team members for initiating that in this forum

  • Mario Cannariato

    Latifa, your love for Jesus has removed this resistance that Matthew Kelly has been describing in this years best lent ever. I myself have made a Cursillo and enjoyed that community in prayer as an extra piece of my Catholic worship. Your message and mission are so strong may Jesus be with you to surmount all obstacles you encounter including inpatientence. God bless and walk with always.😇✝😇

  • Jacob

    Biggest struggle I have is my anxiety it can be my social. I don’t got many friend. I always say I don’t got time for friends because it an excuse for me. I don’t like to go out as much. I always try to go out but, I tend to always eat alone and no one notice.
    That’s the biggest struggle I have. I am trying to overcome it.

    • Kerrie

      Hi Jacob,
      I felt the need to respond, I am the exact opposite! I talk to everyone and sometimes think I need to scale that back a little. Maybe to find more friends and become a little social you could connect with fellow church member sin your area or help with a church social function happening soon? With your post here it sounds like you have already taken a step in the right direction! I sometimes feel like I’m overloading God with all my requests, but I feel his presence. I love the song by Mandisa- Overcomer! You should try to listen to that;) Have a happy day my friend!

    • Robert

      Be yourself. We all have our quirks. They make us unique.

    • Susan Henderson

      I had severe social anxiety/phobia as a child and young adult and felt very lonely. I have learned many things, but one of them is that if I focus on myself that anxiety grows. Have you considered joining a support group? NAMI (the Nat’l Alliance on Mental Health) has these. It is a way to share struggles, learn from others ways to overcome social anxiety, practice social interactions in a safe environment, and receive support, and friendships sometimes develop. If you hate to go out this can be a struggle and cause discomfort/anxiety in the beginning, but it is so worth it to try and improve your life. DBSA is also another great resource if you suffer from depression. Pray that God will give you the humility to not focus so much on yourself. Most people love to talk about themselves and you can often get a conversation going by noticing something about the person and asking them a question about it. “I love your Dr Who shirt. Are you a big sci-fi fan?” Sometimes people have shirts or stickers indicating that they like pets. People LOVE to talk about their pets. “What are your favorite animals/breeds?” Things like that. God bless you in your struggle. Don’t give up!

      • Jacob

        Thank you for the advise. I do pray every night to overcome this. I LOVE pet. My is a dog. I will ask that question. I will ask different kind quesitions. Thank you. God bless you too.

        • Susan Henderson

          God bless you, too, Jacob. My daughter also has severe social anxiety but is doing so much better now that yesterday she was volunteering at the Humane Society and talking to strangers to try to get them to adopt some animals who had been there awhile, telling people the good points about those pets. This is a miracle. I also like to meditate on Phil 4:6-7 and Isaiah 41:9-10. These are Bible verses about giving our anxiety to God. I have them on 3×5 cards and have to repeat them to myself often.

  • LDC

    Out of nowhere, I remember a stranger telling me to “surrender”. His words haunted and puzzled me for years. At the time, I was struggling with my faith, and had no relationship with God. I believed strong will, determination, tenacity and ruthlessness equated to success. My life was a battlefield, which slowly resulted in anger, pain, self loathing, and distrust. It took falling to my knees in despair to bring back the gift of faith. My faith has allowed me to offer up my struggles, to “surrender”. I believe that stranger’s word was a whisper from above. I continue to pray for the will to “surrender”. I am grateful for my faith, my church, and my peace. Thank you Dynamic Catholic for your existence, your words, your work and your reminders. Today I pray “Heavenly Father, I want to be free. Help me give my struggles to you, because you are the only one who can set me free. Help me Lord, to surrender.” Amen

  • Mary Compean

    When I retired after 49 years as a nurse, I had plans to tutor grade school children and work at the Humane Society. These plans did not materialize. My health became an issue and I spend most days at home, doing what little cleaning is needed and watching TV. I lost a brother to cancer last April and I feel as if I have not grieved for him yet. So my struggle has not been overcome, it is still with me. I say the Chaplet of Divine Mercy daily, but I think I should pray more. I do not know how to talk to God.

    • Jane Hurley

      I try to visualize God sitting right next to me and holding my hand as my friend and share my worries and concerns and asking for God’s strength and grace. I also spend much of my day similar to you, but am trying to break that cycle bit by bit. I keep reminding myself it is a process, and set tiny goals, but try not to get down on myself if I don’t accomplish the goal immediately. When watching TV, if you get EWTN or another catholic channel, you might consider watching some of those shows for inspiration. God bless you in your journey.

  • Anci

    My biggest struggle right now is food. I am very overweight and have always been an emotional eater. I controlled it a lot of my life but once I hit menopause, my willpower is gone and I am constantly struggling. I have a heart condition and a family history of Alzheimer’s so my weight is truly harmful. My husband is incredible and supportive and I really want a long life with him and my family. I tend to take problems on and take care of people. He wants me to take better care of myself now that my mother has passed away and there is less stress. This is the struggle in my life right now. I have overcome major struggles in my life. Looking back, we had a lot of problems with my stepson and daughter when they were teenagers and at one point my daughter was cutting herself and we realized she had been abused by her biological father. My “controlling” nature to “fix” things just didn’t work anymore and it drove me to my knees (as Lincoln said – I had no where else to go) and at that point I felt Mary’s arms around me and I knew that I had to give this to the Lord and pray. I sent out an email and had people praying for her, and us, all over the world. It was an amazing feeling to get emails telling me they were praying for her. I knew then that my struggle and my hopes had to be in my faith that God was my father and loved me more than I loved my children. That made me think more about what kind of child I was and am. He not only got me thru all of that but did so in a way that my children respect and love me and others have told me it turned them to faith because of the strength they saw in me. That strength was Christ….not me but Him. Now I have to turn and look at my struggle and let HIm in and let Him give me the strength to follow Him with my health and my struggle with food. He has shown me so many times it is the food I have to give up and I resist; like a child resisting… I needed to see this video today to remind me that it is not my will and my strength I have to fight this struggle. Only by prayer and fasting will I overcome this because that is what He is calling me to do. Will I be obedient? Please pray for me so that I will let Him shine thru and enable me to follow him and not another idol I put in the way.

    • Karen

      I struggle with this also. Will be praying for you! God bless you, you can do this with His help!

    • Jane Hurley

      I feel your pain considering your struggle with weight as I too have this constant struggle. It impacts my whole existence as everything I do is so much harder and limiting. I have been using this best lent ever program to once again address this struggle. I am turning this over to the Lord with prayer and fasti

    • Denise

      I also suffer from this problem and have tried many different things. Resistance keeps kicking my butt. Prayer and fasting will become my new mantra. Food and being overweight have been a lifelong struggle for me. It is time to turn it all over to God. I will keep you in my prayers as well!

    • kimisu

      Anci, you could maybe try looking at some of your food choices as “gifts from the devil.” If you’re in the kitchen and you go to the refrigerator and pull something out that you know will be bad for you, say to yourself, “the devil wants me to eat this food, and he’s offering it to me right now” and make the decision to put the food back, or, better yet, throw it out. Thank God for being there for you in that moment. Say a prayer for having the strength to resist the devil’s temptation. If you still need something to eat at that moment, check that fridge again and see if there aren’t some tasty carrots or an apple in there and have that – your gift from God. If you don’t need anything to eat at that moment, thank God and let Him know you appreciate His help. And it’s a moment by moment thing. Stretch out those moments, and, before you know it, a whole hour could go by without emotional eating. Or two. Or half a day. What a gift.

      • Anci

        Thanks. I will try that too!

      • Joseph Jay

        Great perspective, really.

  • Ellen Marie Dumer

    Thank you Lord for this message today. It has made me aware of a struggle of decades that for as much as I love the Lord, I have been taking on myself. Now I see that fasting can be a key to healing of this struggle. God bless everyone in this community.

  • Teresa Anne Sorensen

    I haven’t overcome this so maybe I shouldn’t share but my struggle is to overcome materialism and live more simply so I can share more with those in need. Some ‘fastings’ I have tried include doing spring cleaning and giving away items I really don’t need and use, not looking at catalogs or ads and not doing any unnecessary shopping, and finally challenging myself to donate the same amount of money as an unneeded item costs. This helps me to really think through the purchase. God has inspired me to work on this and with His help and some of these fastings, I am getting there.

  • Janet Marusiak

    I know a priest who fasts two days a week I was told by someone who worked close to him. He is such a holy priest and his homilies touch your heart every time and you lose sight of him as you watch him speak and you see Jesus talking and that priest is Father John Fletcher. I learned this year that fasting does not have to be chocolate or any food really. I fast from my waste of time and put the effort to going to daily Mass on Thursdays with Adoration following and Fr. Raymond does an excellent job and Mass on Friday and Stations of the Cross. Each time I go to a week day Mass I feel especially blessed and calm. I have had so much trouble missing my yorkie and it seems I am not even thinking about her lately as God as answered my prayer to move on and not to dwell on the bad but only dwell on the present and what is good for me.

  • K

    My struggles are mostly about the people in my life. I’m always trying to help those around me and make everything better for everyone that I lose myself in all of that.
    I recently was trying to help a family member through a struggle in their life and I thought I was guiding him in the right direction through God and the resisting of happiness, and all was going good until he took a total turn around and went back to where he started from which was going back into the situation where he was unhappy. I felt God was helping me to help him, so I was confused. I pray for him and hope everything works out for him and now back to me with my struggles. I take everyone else’s struggles and make it my own I guess? I am thankful every day to have God in my life but I feel I’m still missing something:(

  • BJ Jarvis

    I guess my Big struggle in life was cutting and trying to kill myself like every day or more. I did these behaviors for 33 years and for some “reason” I am still walking this Earth! I do not try to end my life now because of my BFF who rescued me from myself and my dysfunctional behaviors. I seem to have a strong Death wish to this day but am self harm free. About 5 years or so. Urges do arise often and since I believe in Jesus, my depression has not yet won my life. Thanks Be To God!

    • Marianne

      You are in my thoughts and prayers. So glad that you have God in your life!

      • BJ Jarvis

        Thank you. I can use every bit of prayer that is offered. Thanks again!

      • BJ Jarvis

        Thanks Marianne. I just hope God can help with the hurdle I’m facing now.

    • Backupqueen

      Thanks for sharing and thanks be to God that you are self harm free. May our Lord continue to comfort and guide you and help you overcome your struggle with depression. I am praying for you. Stay strong and stay close to Jesus.

      • BJ Jarvis

        Thanks backuqueen I appreciate all your prayers

    • Freed1972

      Completely understand. I struggled for 10 years with strong suicidal thoughts. And still do, but not to the degree I did 5 years ago.

      5 years ago, the thoughts were like a siren’s call. Hang in there. Since you have a BFF, someone loves you.

    • Susan Henderson

      I started having suicidal feelings at the age of 9 or 10. They continued throughout high school, though to a lesser degree, and into college. I finally got some help when I was 21 and suicidal and in a severe depression because my mother finallly recognized the signs after my uncle committed suicide. I have been fighting depression my whole life and am now 52. Meds don’t help all that much, but do help some. Exercise helps. Eating right helps. Getting outside in nature helps. Making my journey in the company of others really helps (I belong to a support group with the depression and bipolar support alliance which is a national organization with support groups throughout the country.) I have learned not to beat myself up mentally. My spiritual director has said: 1) practice gratitude (write down 3 things I am grateful for each day), 2) be of service to others ( I am going to the nursing home & praying with the residents), 3) Stop negative thoughts especially about failures/sins. Satan means “the accuser” & he will try to make guilt/shame a tool to keep you down 4) offer all struggles with prayer, trusting God, failures to God as a sacrifice. Some days I still just don’t want to keep going when health, parenting, marriage, and financial struggles seem too much. But I am persevering by the grace of God.

      • BJ Jarvis

        Hi Susan. Thanks for responding. I have a spiritual director but he doesn’t handle the mental health . He has helped me out considerably.

        • Susan Henderson

          This is funny to me because I have a counselor (Catholic) who doesn’t handle spiritual health. I think in the church we need more mental health professionals who understand the aspects of a spiritual depression & can give sound mental health/spiritual counseling. JP II said they are all connected-spiritual, physical, & emotional and an imbalance/disoder in one area affects the other areas. The way we separate & compatmentalize makes it hard to achieve holistic health. I’m glad your spiritual director is of help to you.

          • BJ Jarvis

            Good Morning Susan. I guess I got the pick of the litter for my therapist. I’ve been seeing her for 6-7 months. She’s really good and she is a Catholic. Yeah for me. I agree with you about needing more health care professionals in the Catholic area. I would like to keep in touch would that b ok? I am willing to give my email. Thanks

          • Susan Henderson

            You could give your email or look me up on Facebook as Susan Frisch Henderson if you do that. I’m better with PMs than email.

  • Patrice

    Please explain fasting and how to fast.

  • RD

    When I think about this question, I go back to a time in my 20’s. It seemed like the whole world was getting married and there was no one special for me. I remember feeling so down alone, forgotten.

    Prayer and surrender to God’s will really was the way out of that struggle. I remember telling God, “If it’s not for me to get married, show me what You want to do with my life.” I got into the habit of reading the Bible during my lunch hour. I looked around and started volunteering my time at a homeless shelter and also in an office that was working on the pro-life cause. These were great experiences and I really did grow in learning about God and becoming more personally connected to Him.

    I still wasn’t sure what God wanted me to do with my life, however, but then, seemingly out of the blue, my husband came into my life. I was close to 30 by then. I think I really needed those six or so years of struggle to begin grasping the truth that we NEED God to be first in our lives. If we don’t have that priority, if we convince ourselves that something else (even a good marriage) is the ticket to happiness, happiness will continue to elude us. I can still forget to put God first, but it’s not like the forgetfulness of my younger self. I recognize that any emptiness is a call to prayer and I focus on getting back on track. Lent is always a great reminder of this. Lord, thank you for this opportunity to reflect and draw closer to You. I love you. Amen.

  • JayAW

    I’ve been unemployed for nearly six years. I’ve applied for hundreds of jobs and had some interviews but I’m told that I’m overqualified most of the time. This really angers me because I grew up poor, worked my way through college, and paid off my student loans in 10 years, but now after all of this trying to good things with my life, it’s used against me. I went from flunking out of college, working my tail off to overcome this and other challenges, and then getting a good job that paid me well, only to have it all taken away from me. What was the purpose of doing all that I did then? If anyone feels that they have to comment and say that God has a plan for me, please don’t reply. I’ve heard that so many times and I’m resigned to just sit here waiting for God to show me what’s next, if anything. Maybe my mission is done and now it’s time for me to whither away like a leaf in the fall time of the year.

    • Robert

      Wow, such a tough sito. But also congrats on what you have achieved.

      What strikes me most is your comment about “what was the purpose…..”.

      The purpose I think was you being yourself and displaying the wonderful talents you worked so hard on. Don’t forget it, don’t regret it, don’t stop trying to improve it.

      Not going to pretend to offer any secret special wisdom to resolve the situation, but am going to point out that you’ve overcome difficulties before, you can do surely do it again.

      Best in all you do.

    • Hi JayAW, Unfortunately for us we can’t see the future. Yours may be amazing and not at all what you expect. I was moved by your post because I want to just give you a hug and ask you for a favor. That favor would be to be open, truly open, and trust in God. I think you might say you are doing that, but when you are open, and trusting, you aren’t angry, you are mostly joyful. You said, “I’m resigned to just sit here waiting for God to show me what’s next, if anything.” Trust me, I know it’s easier said than done to be open, and trust. So my prayer for you is that this morning you let God know that you are going to trust him today and be open to whatever it is he has in store for you today. But then… you must go through the day knowing that you may not get the answer you want and expect, but you will get what you need for a completely full life. We think God’s not helping when we try to force the answers we want. Practice might not make perfect, but it will move you in the direction of joy. Don’t just sit, go share yourself! Don’t rob the world of the joyful you!

    • Rose

      Jay, so sorry you are dealing with this horrible struggle. Do you have any resources you may have overlooked? My parish has an employment network that helps people like you with the job search. Our son was dealing with a similar struggle and after many prayers (mine and his) he came to realize that his frustration and anger was coming across in his interviews. He also put aside his pride (which he rightfully had, he worked hard for his MBA) and he left some info off his resume. He was not unemployed as long as you but he had hit rock bottom. I have no idea what the answer is for you but I will keep you in my prayers.

  • ljohn

    Rachel,

    I think a lot of people find themselves in a very dark place in their life and never know how to get out of it. I hope your story helps people realize that Jesus is always there. I pray for that, because I am not sure a lot of those people are listening to this series. I pray that your openness will reach someone that needs it today, whether from hearing you or speaking to someone who just heard your story. I have been involved in many Christ Renews His Parish Teams over the past 10 years and I have found most people just do not talk about this openly, but when the time is right we all seem to find out that life has it trails and tribulations (some very intense) and we seldom know other peoples problems. Thank you for sharing your dark point and openness to Christ.

    God Bless,

    John

  • boulders124

    Latina I know what you went through. I had a mother who loved my sister more than me and it led from one destructive relationship to another. I now have learned through prayer and listening to others speak of the power of Jesus that I can forgive and finally find peace within. It took me 77 years to find this. God bless.

  • Jennifer

    I struggle with loving and accepting myself and my life for who and what it is. I struggle with letting go of the lose of 2 children and feeling like I am missing something when, in reality, I have so much. I have so much love to give those around me, but I have to love myself first. I have not overcome this struggle yet but am ready to let go of the ownership of this struggle and let God walk with me.

  • G

    One of my struggles is a decision my husband made about two years ago with his job. He had a opportunity to move out of state with his job. It was his dream place and he turned it down because it just wasn’t the right time for our family. Well he regrets that decision ever since and I feel that everyday. I’m down on myself for not helping him fulfill that dream and so I struggle all the time with it especially when things are going bad for him at his new job that was another bad decision. I pray all the time for things to get better and that something will come into his and our life that will be the right decision. 🙏🙏

    • Carlos

      G, my heart goes out to you and to your husband. The empathy you have for him and his current situation shows how much you love him. It is so hard to see someone go through these struggles, especially when he is doing it to help benefit your family. Just try to be there for him in love and God will reveal His plan.
      I have made several similar career decisions, the last of which was for my family. I gave up a rising career in the Navy because our family was at the breaking point with all the time I had to spend away from them. Really bad and really good things happened, including several new job changes. Off and on I have had regrets, but I realized that these regrets were selfish because my family needs me to be present in their lives first and foremost. Christian write Max Lucado gave me these three nuggets from his book “Just Like Jesus” regarding how Jesus saw his struggles: 1) Jesus was able to see the good in the bad, 2) Jesus was able to see the purpose in the pain, and 3) Jesus was able to see God’s presence in the problem. If we continue to seek him in prayer and fasting, he can open our eyes so that we will see what he sees.

  • Donna Jajich

    When I was in college I was engaged to a guy who was no good to or for me, yet I couldn’t seem to break away from him. I remember one night I got down on my knees in the family room of my apartment and asked/begged Jesus to tell me what to do. A few days later my then fiancé said something to me that caused me to suddenly drop everything I was doing, get in my car, and drive 2-1/2 hours home to my family. I felt Jesus and Mary’s presence the whole drive home. After a few days with my family, and a lot of prayers, I gave the ring back and changed my life, all for the better.

  • Marianne

    I struggle with certain situations in my life causing anxiety episodes which lead to a flare up of my IBD. I need to learn to trust that God has my back in all situations “thy will be done.”

  • Rosie

    Forgiving myself for previous wrongs and decisions in my life has stayed with me for a long time. I have gone to confession and know I am forgiven however, I continue to harbor those self imposed guilty feelings. I do pray but as Matthew said sometimes fasting is necessary to complete the process, so to speak. I have not combined these two attitudes (prayer and fasting) but will make a try of it. I need to do this to move on in my spiritual life and to be able to be available for others when necessary. I love what I do and would love to be so much more giving and wide open to give others the opportunity to overcome what they struggle with.

    • Claudia Ann McLean

      Thank you, Rosie. That helped me. I did not give my children a faith foundation and feel that my great failure. Now they all are grown. Youngest is 42. I must let that failure go and move on to be giving & wide open (as you say) to helping NOW. I too am forgiven. I must believe that and forgive myself.
      Thank you!

      • Rosie

        I am sure Claudia that you taught your children right from wrong. Sometimes as adults, they have to search and find what is missing in their lives. I feel you are right in helping NOW because we are never too old to open our hearts and minds to God. You are doing the right thing. Sometimes I feel if we have grandchildren, working through them is an easier way than going through our grown children just like working through the children in faith formation classes and events draws the parents in and hopefully to conversion and renewal.

    • Art evangelist

      I too have struggled with this in the past. Once when I went to confession and told the priest this, he told me to “Literally Leave those OLD sins right there in the confession booth!” So, I did that day and since I am a visual person, this is the Only way I could help myself, by picturing this to be, and asking Jesus to take them and rid them for me! I felt at peace finally and keep Trusting Jesus more each day to do the same each time I confess new sins. I try to fast more for each struggle as I go along too. Have a wonderful blessed day!

      • Rosie

        One time I went into confession Art and told the priest, I am confessing this sin again because I had been struggling with it and couldn’t forget it. He said by confessing it again and not forgiving myself, I am committing the sin of vanity. So, even though not always forgotten, I realize that I am forgiven and I have to believe that and move on and find a new struggle. LOL

        • Art evangelist

          Thanks for sharing.

  • Zack Hohenberg

    Powerful Rachel. Thank you.

  • Magalis Muniz

    I’m still struggling. But I realize that I can’t do it myself. Heavenly Father, I want to be free. Help me give this struggle to you, because you are the only one who can liberate me.

  • Ann Basile

    He wants to spend the day with me . . . thank you for that beautiful truth, Rachel.

  • Kathleen Cranford Kelley

    Rachel said, “Jesus woke me up.” What powerful words! Do I push the snooze button down, again or do I wake up and walk with God?

    • Carlos

      When she said, “Jesus woke me up,” I felt like he was waking me up in that very moment too. It was a literal wake up call to pay attention because something important was happening. Although this was a story about Rachel’s struggle, I invite Jesus to wake me up every morning and throughout my day.

  • Carey Montz

    December of 2011 I was 360lbs and finally had enough. Everyday was at least 2-4 cokes, cookies, you name it. Towards the end of the year and into the next year I made a commitment to stop and dedicate myself to the gym, and to a diet that I found that worked for me. I set mini goals for myself and eventually lost over 100lbs. I still struggle with over eating at times, primarily on weekends. But the coke habit is gone, and I continually to get exercise pretty regularly. Breaking the cycle of binge eating junk food on the weekends is tough. But I’ve done it before and can do it again. I’m happy, and I’ve kept the weight off now for 5 years. But it’s still a struggle. And truthfully one area of my life where i need to improve is to put that struggle in God’s hands and ask him for help in that area of my life.

    • Kevin Clark

      Thanks for sharing! It’s not easy losing weight. My Doc said I needed to lose about 40 lbs. I had high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I am lost 35 since this last June.! I am amazed u lost you lost 100 lbs. don’t ever give up or think you alone I will pray for u and god is with u.

      • Carey Montz

        Great job and your weight loss. I decided to set mini goals for myself during my process. First it was just to stop eating the junk. Then exercise was added. Then I started the diet. First it just wanted to get down under 300. Then my goal became okay I wanna lose 100. After I did that, it became how much could i lose. Thank you for the kind words and you will be in prayers as well.

  • Elaine

    Latifa, God Bless You. My struggle is with my relationship with my adult children. It is a broken relationship and a constant concern to me. I continue to pray that God shows me how to overcome this struggle.

  • Sherry McCollum

    The biggest struggle I had to deal with was when I lost my father in the most tragic way. It was sudden, shocking and senseless. It has been 15 years and there are days that I still struggle with losing my father, he was my rock, my supporter, my first love, my everything. But as years went by I asked God why this happened and how to move forward with my life. I actually saw a therapist because I was having trouble just talking to my family and especially my husband. Talking to a stranger seemed easier than talking to your close family and it really helped. Basically, how I was dealing with the loss of my father is that I was putting him into every aspect of my life from laundry to doing dishes which is where he really didn’t belong. What’s funny is that my husband told me the same thing but I needed to hear it from a stranger to take action on it. I believe that God led me to the therapist to open my eyes that I have a great support system right at home. And I was too blind to see it at the time. Life has become less of a struggle and more of a joy and all because God is at my side and always will be. Going to church tonight to pray and thank God for all he has given me.

  • Jan Onnen

    I needed to hear this today. Thank you Dynamic Catholic.

  • Susie Caughey

    The starting point in overcoming a big struggle in my life began 8 years ago when I attended a Women’s Cornerstone Retreat at my Parish. As a single mom with a young daughter, every day, I felt I just ran with the herds. My life had no substance. Yes, I loved my daughter to pieces and would do anything for her. However, life for me was a matter of “getting through” the day only to do it all over again the next. I prayed and always brought my daughter to Sunday mass. However, even at mass, I looked around me and felt that everyone had it together except me. I knew no one at that church. I was a newcomer. I walked in the doors every Sunday and walked out not knowing a single soul. I was so lonely inside. One Sunday at mass, a Speaker got up to invite women to attend this weekend Retreat. My daughter spent the weekend with her dad. I went and experienced a great spiritual awakening. I realized those people I may have even envied at Sunday mass were just as broken as I was. We were all in this together. I joined team the following year and that team became my 1st small faith-sharing group in the U.S. We are 12 women, still meeting on a monthly basis 8 years later. I found community in this group of women from all walks of life. I never looked back. We pray for each other, support each other and have been there for one another through our ongoing trials and tribulations. I realized God wanted more for me in life. He invited me. I said “yes”. My daughter has moved out at this point. I live alone but no longer feel alone. God is so with me.

  • Ana Raterman

    This week have been so far a big struggle for me… I’m a self-employed caregiver caring for two ladies every day and I got very sick Sunday with a very bad cold, and have to stay home, so if I don’t work I don’t make any income for this week; over that, I live by myself going through divorce. At this moment and since the beginning when I make the decision of divorce my husband I knew God had prepared me for the journey and with Our Mother have been my providers, support and comfort for the last year.
    So, after reading today message about fasting I definitely are giving up my income for this week to God with all my heart and pray he will, as always, make me able to use the gifts he had given me to make it up sooner than later.
    I thank God for give the peace in my heart that supports me every day and make me strong to do not be afraid at the down turns in life as well to keep me strong in praying for the needs of many many others that have less than me.
    I’m not posting this to make you feel bad for me, no!
    My only motivation is leave a testimony for many that are discouraged for things not going well, I told you have faith! God will not forget you he loves you very much and with his love and faith we can overcome anything comes in our way!
    May God bless you all with Mary and Jesus!

  • Marguerita Guerra

    My parents passed away within 3 months of each other. My father passed away on Christmas. I was so close to my father. I cried every day. It was difficult to breath much less function. My heart hurt so badly. My husband suggested for me to retire so that I could focus on dealing with my parents passings. So I did. I went to two retreats at Holy Name Retreat House and prayed every single day. Although I didn’t fast, I was able to start smiling again and feel again. God is good.

  • Pat Smith

    I love spending time with Jesus in Adoration. Fasting is much easier when I spend time while fasting with Our Lord . My focus is on Him.

  • Jean

    Wow what a great msg for me. I got it. I love all I have and am learning from Matthew Kelly’s Lenten studies the last 3 years. You r such a great teacher.

  • Peggy

    I struggle with family issues. One reason is my control issue, I don’t want my family to struggle so I try to fix everything. I have been working on this very hard because I can see I control nothing only my Lord can. So this is a big deal for me and fasting has always been difficult for me but I am trying and will continue to pray to always “let go and let God”.

  • Laura LaDue

    Whatever it is that I struggle with, I find that in order to get past it I need to take a deep breath and offer it to God. Almost immediately I can feel a weight lifted.

  • Eugene Randy Day

    Does anyone have any information on Fasting? I have never done it and would like to take Mr. Kelly’s advice. Can anyone point me in the right direction? Thank you

    • Trudy Ray Parmarter

      Your Personal Guide to Fasting and Prayer by Dr. Bill Bright Just google it. It’s a free online resource.

      • Eugene Randy Day

        Thank you

    • Susie

      Eugene, You can fast in little ways like do without salt, pepper or ketchup on your favorite food or creamer/milk in your tea/coffee. When you are tempted to reach for it, just offer your fast up to God for something you are struggling with in your life or intercession for another’s struggles. You can also go bigger and give up that morning cup of coffee or not eat any solid food at all until later in the day or give up a certain food you love. At the moment when you most desire to consume what you’ve decided to go without, your fasting will turn you towards God.

      • Eugene Randy Day

        Thank you verymuch

    • Linda Carmelle

      For more info visit your local Catholic Church in person to obtain a church bulletin. Or simply download a copy from the local Catholic church, the Ash Wednesday or 1st Sunday of Lent will have the Fasting Guidelines posted for Catholics in the bulletin. Coincidentally thats where I learned of the Dynamic Catholic Best Lent Ever program too. =)

  • Mel Babin

    I think all of us have many struggles in life for which we can pray and fast. My father died when I was two and my mother had eight kids to rear. It was very difficult for her and we became a dysfunctional family. My brother was in a car accident and committed suicide 10 years ago. I am the youngest and felt lost in the shuffle. I have overcome through prayer and fasting and want to tell everyone that God is there for you in your deepest, darkest moments. I may have let Him down through sin, but He never let me down. He was right there waiting for me. I am grateful and feel blessed by God for His presence in my life.

  • Dorothy Cabral

    Growing up I struggled with a dysfunctional family. My parents separated and devorced multiple times and my dad was an alcoholic. It’s needless to say I was a bitter, angery child and hated God for allowing this to happen in my life. After all this was all his fault wan’t it? I mean I heard numerous times how God has a plan for us, all I could say at the time was wel “thanks for this mess.” I resented my parents, hated my father and his drinking and was angry at my mom for allowing all this to happen!
    As I grew I began to realize I wasn’t alone, there were many families struggling with the effects of alcoholism. Then finally I was introduced to Alanon a twelve step program based on your higher power “God”. It was there that I found God and learned to let go of the hatred, the finger pointing and the bitterness. I learned to trust Him and let go of all my worriers. I learned to love my parents despite their faulted and
    Imperfections. With God all struggles can be over come!

    • Trudy Ray Parmarter

      I too grew up in an abusive alcoholic home and married an alcoholic at a young age. With God as my higher power, Al-Anon turned my life around. I could let go of past hurts and struggles. Praise God.

  • Tony Pantera

    I struggle accepting that we are taking care of my spouse’s sister. She can not work and is dependent on us for her housing and seeing that she gets the medical needs taking care of. I’ve racked my brain for ways to liberate us from this financial and time consuming burden, but to no avail. It is time I gave this one to Jesus and start fasting and prayer.

    • Trudy Ray Parmarter

      Tony, we had the same situation with our oldest adult son. I could see the life draining out of my husband as he struggled to help him financially and physically. It also put stress on our marriage because it seemed to be the focus of our lives. We finally ‘Let go and let God” with the situation. We are no longer responsible for his complete care. As you pray and fast may God show you the way to people and resources to help.

    • Nancy

      Hi, Tony! Is there other family who could help? Also, contact your church and county to see what assistance can be offered. Good luck! I will pray for you.

      • Tony Pantera

        We have recently had some help from her sister’s other sister and mom. She has been on our state’s access medical plan, food stamps etc., so that all helps. Things are better than they once were, but we are still under a lot of pressure. Thank you for you input and prayers. Bless you.

  • Ruth

    I struggle the most with self-confidence trusting myself and my instincts. I often feel as though I am unable to express myself the way I want or make meaningful connections with others. Feeling that way makes me feel trapped inside myself with no way to share myself with others. I have asked God for peace and the ability to step back from my worries and refocus them to more productive tasks.

  • Lisa

    Rachel (from Dynamic Catholic) thank you for sharing your story. The working and living your life for you versus living it for God is truly something I try to overcome. I like how you said that He makes time for you. He really does if we just let him. That’s the hard part – letting Him lead. Again, thank you.

  • Trudy Ray Parmarter

    This topic definitely came when I needed it. In our home and in our youth group we call these “God moments”. Praise God.

  • Peter G.

    Mr. Kelley makes reference to fasting as a big part of casting out one’s demons. How does one fast in the Catholic church. When I think of “fasting” I think of Jesus’s fasting for days on end. The body can only go 3 or 4 days without water. I’m also reminded of how the Jews fast from sun up to sun down taking in only water. This also raises another question, What if the Demon you are casting out is alcohol and drugs. A therapist will tell an addict, “Don’t get too hungry, thirsty, or too tired for fear of relapse.” In my case my demon is short explosive temper, and anger that I want to cast out, and have been unable to on my own, This Lent I have turned it over to God and I am unsuccessful in Lent so far. Better, but not successful. Any suggestions on Fasting? What is acceptable intake during fasting: Water, Juice, no water, no juice etc? How long should I fast? Thank you for any advice and comments.

    • Latifa

      It’s not easy to give up things that are not good in ones life. In one of Mathew Kelly’s talks he mentioned that we should do small good things to crowd out the bad. When we concentrate on the bad it doesn’t go away. I have a problem with patience and short temper. So far this lent it is not working. I pray to God to help me. It won’t be easy but if we take baby steps we will get there. God bless you.

  • Deb Robidoux

    I would love to learn more about the proper way to fast. Anyone have ideas? This has been on my mind for a long time.

  • Tiffany Rupp

    I teared up a bit listening to Rachel. I too love my job. But God’s signs are clear. He wants me to quit. I’m currently pregnant with our second and we will hopefully get to meet him in the next month and few days. It’s exciting… and yet I know how much I’ll miss my job so my struggle continues. I just have to keep trusting God and thanking him for continually hitting me over the head with signs that say “My will be done.”

  • I don’t rely on prayer. I’m always trying to fix things myself. I see that my ego is the obstacle – believing that I can do what only Jesus can do as shared by Him to his disciples. I’ve gotten through some pretty big struggles, but only now I’m realizing that I probably or simply pushed them down deep rather than lifting them up high. Thank you Matthew and Rachel for today’s message.

    • Joy

      Amen!

  • Mary Miller

    Could someone define “fasting” for me? Is it the term ‘fasting’ as I learned so long ago as a child about food? For instance, not eating between meals, or is it as Matthew implied not giving into our cravings, whether that is food, technology, etc.

  • Diane

    My struggle is over eating and sometimes bingeing. I belong to Weight Watchers have reached my goal and now the struggle to keep it off. I was Lutheran and converted to Catholicism when I got married that was 37 years ago. I have always had a hard time with fasting. I made the excuse of not growing up with it. Thanks Matthew for giving new insight on fasting. I will look and do fasting with joy and ask for strength.

  • Clare54

    Information about fasting….you can find the information on this page. Click on the word “above” at the top of this page…then click on Lent. There is everything you need there.

  • Shyne4god

    Wow I’m so glad you searched and you found ! I am the youngest of five and for my parents it was always my older sister and brother 🙁 feeling unloved by my parents I found God at 13 and slowly I learned that I Was Loved and now I know my best friend is always by my side ! So no earthly person can ever be more important than my relationship with God and like you even tho things never changed We Did !! And that makes all the difference in the world ! God Bless !

    • Joy

      Even though things never changed, we did. Such good words Shyne.

  • LJ

    Fasting and prayer, can we allow God to raise us up? Is not that the real struggle? People, Pope, Bishop, who among us has not said words about sorrow for sins? I’ve read scripture and Saint Paul, formerly Saul did not state his reality to a deaf audience. He was a part of community and not a make a believe community. Because unless we share blessing we share only words and that is wrong.

  • Joy

    So many comments that resonate for me in this discussion, so helpful to read. I’d like to add how God brings people to our lives who through relationship we are challenged to grow and ultimately grow in our own holiness. I have learned this many times, in relationships that are good and those that can be a struggle. In addition to praying, I have been using Mr. Kelly’s idea to give the next minute, hour, etc to God. This combination of active participation has made a great difference, helping me to better work through challenging times with people and to help myself better understand that no matter what my mind may think, my soul must be nurtured and is, through connecting with God.

  • mercyme42

    Several years ago I became very emotionally and mentally ill over my job. The stresses to constantly be faced with outperforming my last accomplishment was overwhelming and exhausting. Then to experience rejection as not meeting the approval of those you were trying to service and called nothing more than a mom and pop operation was both humiliating and demoralizing. God heard my cry for help and placed me in a very nurturing and healing environment. He helped me realize that my job did not define me. He did. I am his child! Accepted, cherished and loved without anything done on my part. All would be well. Now I am semi-retired. I’m still learning to listen to the Lord. The message I hear most often is to live in that moment. Be patient. Be kind. Be loving. Smile. Listen. Share. Rejoice.
    I am so enjoying this lovely series. Thank you and God bless you.

  • Cecilia

    We have a 14 year old son and some days it is quite challenging. He is pushing away and testing boundaries as is quite age appropriate. It manifests as disrespect and has been happening at school and church in addition to home. For lent, I gave up wine and sweets. It would have been so normal to have a glass of wine to ease the feelings I had around parenting. I am finding that when I even think about having a glass of wine or a sweet, instead I am asking God for help. And the interesting thing is that I’m getting others to engage and help with our son to teach and model appropriate behavior. It has been a blessing. I had been just trying to change something for lent these past few years and not fasting. I really realize that the fasting adds a major aspect for me. It helps me to keep God front and center. I say let go and let God as well as With God all things are possible. This has been such an amazing lent — hard, yet rewarding. The fasting does make a difference for me. It awakens my dependence on God.

  • Kathleen Henshaw

    I struggle daily, as so many do, with chronic pain. I sometimes feel it consumes my life and I start feeling sorry. I recently asked God to cure me of this. I know His response was to remind me of the suffering Jesus endured for our salvation. Now, when the pain makes life difficult and the medication does not work, I remember how our Lord suffered for us, the torture and pain He endured, it lessens my pain.

  • Mary Compean

    Thank you Jane. I do watch EWTN for the Chaplet Of Mercy, but it is Lent and I should watch it more. There is also a song I like, “He walks with me and he talks with me, etc. when I remember it. Thank you for your blessing. The anniversary of my Mother’s death just passed; a particularly brutal day for me. I went to Chicago to see my first grand daughter, I was there about 3 days when I got a call that she had cardiac arrest in a hospital in Iowa, but she had been revived. I went to O’Hare airport: I had a ticket to fly back to Washington , but I did not think I should get on the plane. I had no one to talk to, never thought of God, so got on the plane, flew to Seattle where my daughter helped me get another ticket back to Chicago. By that time we knew she had lost her life. Joy over my new granddaughter turned to grief and confusion in an instant. So that is on my mind these days. The granddaughter is now 16, that’s how long ago it was. It still makes me sad because I was her first nurse and I thought God should have let me be with her. So there’s that.

  • Maria Lopez

    Family issues and human control really are not a good combination. I have been struggling with both. After listening and reading comments today, I have found strength, comfort, peace and hope. I closed my eyes and through the anguish and tears there was Jesus with open arms in silence just letting me be and allowing me to let it all out. Then he consoled me and told me to let go, he has this and it will be fine. He loves us all. He is our strength.

  • Andi

    I struggle with forgiveness. Forgiving others and especially forgiving myself. I was abused for years during my childhood. Prayer has helped me. Praying for the person that has offended me changes my perspective and helps me to be able to forgive. It’s an everyday struggle sometimes, but God is always faithful.

    • Carlos

      Andi, be gentle with yourself. If you ever need a reminder, go into Scripture to see who God knows you to be. You are His child and there nothing that will ever separate you from His love. Nothing! I have always been an accommodating person, but forgiveness was something different. It wasn’t until I focused on God’s grace and mercy that I was really able to understand forgiveness. If God can forgive me for all I have done in my life that has separated me from him and if Jesus can freely give his life for ME, I can respond in love by forgiving others for the harm they have done to me and to my life. I have found that not only the other person receives healing, but I am put at peace as well. If you haven’t done so already, you should read Allen Hunt’s book “Everybody Needs to Forgive Somebody.” It is a free book on the Dynamic Catholic website (pay shipping only). After reading these stories of forgiveness, I not only accepted God’s forgiveness but was able to forgive others freely too.

      • Andi

        Thank you, Carlos! I will read the book.

  • Gail

    During the time that my sister suffered an aneurysm and subsequent stroke, I learned to hand it all over to him, absolutely nothing was in my control….except to pray! I invited everyone I knew, and didn’t know, to pray for her healing. After almost 24 months in the hospital and a nursing home she recently moved into an apartment! Here is my struggle, I constantly worry about her, I am having a hard time letting go! I keep telling myself that God did not bring her this far to let her die alone in an apartment! Her faith is stronger than ever and I am changed as well. In most situations I can pray and feel at peace that I can accept God’s will. But right now my “human-ness” is not cooperating! I think tomorrow will be a good day to fast and pray about this. Did not occur to me before today’s Lenten reflection by Matthew!

  • Fanny

    Putting together yesterday’s and today’s subjects I realized I have been focused in healing from respiratory problems that started long ago. I have been thankful for being able to afford doctors and prescriptions. I am conscious that God has provided. To make the story short, the penny dropped that I have done my best except asking Jesus to heal me. Thanks for helping me get to the next level.

    I will appreciate it if you help me with a prayer to accomplish this. Blessings to all.

  • Lisa

    Whether it is fasting on bread and water or just giving up complaining, we are building up our self-control and thus our ability to overcome resistance.

  • Duscha Ross

    I read so much of what others write and think I have nothing to share that compares, but for me, in my life, I struggle with the sin of pride. I would hope that God has chosen to give me gifts that I am using, and good things do come to me, but I think intelligence and capability in our world can allow arrogance, judgment, and criticism to too easily flow… this is my struggle and I pray that God can help me to express the best parts of myself as a believer in Jesus Christ; that I may diminish and He increase. I want it so badly and it brings me to tears, though I recognize it is nothing in comparison to loss of life, of family, or home, or of health, so I pray that those of you suffering from works that you did not cause be brought even tighter into the palm of God’s hand; Christ loves you so. God Bless you all, and may God continue to work great works in our unfinished conversions this Lent and always.

    • Carlos

      Duscha, Thanks for your honesty. Just the fact that you could identify this as a struggle shows me that God has convicted your heart about it. We almost never see ourselves as the world sees us. Most of the time we either put ourselves lower than we should or elevate ourselves higher than we should. I would really love to ask those around me what they really think about me. Am I a know-it-all? Do I act like I have all the answers? Am I judgmental? Do I act arrogant or criticize to quickly? I might be afraid to hear the answers.
      I have searched long and hard this past year to learn about humility and what it really means to be humble. I know it starts with more of Christ and less of me. I’m very glad you brought this into the discussion.

  • Carlene Moore

    I struggle with fasting. I don t think I have really found the way to fast the way I should I have always had bad feelings

  • Lisa

    Wow Rachel! Incredible story.

  • Jimmy Smith

    I gave up smoking cigarettes and drugs 6 years ago I also got out of Abad relationship about that time by asKing Jesus for help and guidance I couldn’t have done it withouthis grace

    • Tina

      Congratulations Jimmy. Continue to keep close to Jesus and His Mother Mary who is our Blessed Mother too. I have found Her to be always with Jesus and close to each one of us too.

  • lizmvr

    When I was younger, I got kicked out of my parents’ house. I struggled financially, which is probably to be expected, but I did get extra hours at work and donated plasma at a place near my full-time job. Overall, God did provide for me, including giving me strength to walk a lot to avoid having to pay bus and cab fares.

    • Tina

      I`m really touched by your story. I don`t know what I would have done if I had been in your place.
      I hope you have the opportunity to share your story with other young people. Many of them need to hear of hope and goodness to be inspired. I`ve seen a few live a life of desperation and even committed suicide.

  • Kathleen Spector

    Caring for an adult disabled son has the potential to be overwhelming. Every morning I place a kiss on Christ’s feet as they hang on the crucifix in my bedroom and ask for His help today.

    Throughout the day if I am feeling tired or overwhelmed, I pay a visit to the crucifix and remind myself He is helping to carry the load and I thank Him.

    I find drawing Christ into my life and its struggles, frees me to be tired, prayerful, happy or alone.

  • Maria Lopez

    Family issues and human control really are not a good combination. I have been struggling with both. After listening and reading comments today, I have found strength, comfort, peace and hope. I closed my eyes and through the anguish and tears there was Jesus with open arms in silence just letting me be and allowing me to let it all out. Then he consoled me and told me to let go, he has this and it will be fine. He loves us all. He is our strength.

  • Chera McCormick

    My struggle is spending money emotionally not thinking of the future, my husband was a cradle catholic, and worked so hard to teach me not to buy my affection from my family they loved me regardless of gift or money. He wanted so bad for our marriage to be blessed by the church and I had been in RCIA 3 times and never completed, because I was married before, and you know what process you have to go through, so I took the classes right up till the very end, and he went with me all 3 times. We were married 28 years, and my mother passed away, which he helped me through that period, she was my best friend, and not a day went by we were not talking , and then 9 months later my husband past I felt that my life ended and I was alone. I missed so much work that I was told I was released of my position, had no retirement money which I drew out to pay hospital bills and care for my husband. I have exhausted all my money going to school to learn the Medicare insurance business and now have my license, and trying my best to get clients on the phone all day calling Turning 65 list which I had to buy, and I’m at my whits end, and stress that I can’t pay my bills next month, and may lose everything. The best of all this I talked to the priest and he Baptized me and confirmed me on the one year anniversary of my husbands death, so I’m a new true catholic, and I have been able to go to mass each morning like my husband had done all our marriage. I have prayed and asked God for his Grace and mercy in my finanical situation. Reading all the comments below of struggles I know now God’s will be done, and I’m trying real hard to come out of the darkest I’ve put myself in grief. Everyday I’m blessed to go to mass, and getting stronger by the day by the greatness of God.
    I’m am so happy to have found this site and listen to it each day. Thank you.

  • Deb Santoli

    My biggest struggle is the battle of the bulge! I have been obese since I was a child. Lose pounds and gain right back! I’m on a new journey of shedding my baggage. This time I have turned it over to our Lord. I’m praying and fasting and what a difference that makes. I find myself getting rid of the unhealthy food and sweets that aren’t good for me. In Matthew 21:21-22 Jesus said Amen If you have faith do not waiver, and all things whatever you ask for in prayer, believing you will receive. I have received so far I’ve shed 30 lbs and I’ve drawn more closer to our Lord Jesus.

  • Lynn Nguyen

    My biggest struggle was overcoming social anxiety. I memorized this prayer and said it out loud every morning, sometimes multiple times throughout the day.

    Dear Lord Jesus, please come and heal my wounded and troubled heart. I beg you to heal the torments that are causing anxiety in my life. I beg you to heal the underlying source of my sinfulness. I beg you to come into my life and heal the psychological harms that struck me in my childhood and from the injuries they have caused throughout my life.

    Lord Jesus, you know my burdens. I lay them on your good Shepherd’s heart. I beseech you by the merits of the great open wound in your heart, to heal the small wounds that are in mine. Heal my memories so that nothing that has, happened to me will cause me to remain in pain and anguish, filled with anxiety.

    Heal oh Lord all those wounds that are the cause of evil that is rooted in my life. I want to forgive all those who have offended me. Look to those inner sores that make me unable to forgive. You who came to forgive the afflicted of heart. Please heal my wounded and troubled heart.

    Heal oh Lord all those intimate wounds that are the root cause of my physical illness. I offer you my heart. Accept it Lord, purify it, and give me the sentiments of your divine heart.

    Heal me oh Lord from the pain caused by the death of my loved ones. Grant me to regain peace and joy in the knowledge that you are the resurrection and the life. Make me an authentic witness to your resurrection, your victory over sin and death, and your loving presence among all men. Amen

    • Jim Maida

      That is a beautiful prayer Lynn. Thanks for sharing.

      • Lynn Nguyen

        Thank you Jim

    • Carlos

      Lynn, I agree. That is a wonderful prayer. I have a daughter who is going through a similar form of anxiety. It covers a lot of things that we have talked about in the past, that she just can’t let go of. When the right time comes, I think this may touch her heart in a unique way. Thanks.

  • Jean Walton

    This really hit home for me.
    When my son went into Rehab for the ‘nth’ time last year after years of struggling, it was put on my heart to fast from chocolate and coffee. When I had cravings it struck me that he may be having a difficult time at that moment and I would say an extra prayer. He is now 15 months sober and working full time (and a proud father of twins!) So yes, I believe that some things only prayer and fasting can heal. Jesus, I put my trust in you!

    • Tina Xinastle

      Wow! What a wonderful testimony. Thank you for sharing, Jean

  • Monica Moreno-Mata

    I totally understand Rachel Carbon’s struggle. I too am trying to figure out how to balance work with prayer and church. I feel better when I pray and go to church consistently. 🙏🏻☝🏼👼🏼

  • Doug

    Over the years I heard many people witness about how their lives abruptly changed by becoming one with God. They told me that it “just happened.” I never understood what that was like. But what they did tell med was that it took a lot of prayer. So I tried it…rather, I did it, not try.

    I’ve had all kinds of struggles: financial, marital (my fault), mental illness, meningitis, back surgery, job loss…stole, lied, cheated, forged. How did I even survive right? Well, by the grace of God.

    And I repeat myself almost daily that my prayers were answered 5 years ago this month. And, it just happened! It’s just like the blind man who was cured in last Sunday’s gospel. All of a sudden, I could see. Then later that same year, just before Christmas, by His grace and mercy, I received the message from Jesus that told me “everything is going to be alright!” And it has been.

    Believe in God and trust what I’m telling you is the absolute truth. No matter what is going on in your life, by turning your life over to Jesus, you will have no fear, worry, anxiety or stress. Pray, pray and pray some more. I want you to experience what I’ve experienced. I want you to be whole and complete with God. I want you to be nothing but happy and full of love. Jesus wants you to know that “everything is going to be alright.”

    Trust in God!!!!

    • Carlos

      Thanks Doug. Yours is a story of hope and a true testimony of God’s grace and mercy in our lives. I am currently experiencing what seems like a slow and methodical conversion, drawing ever closer to God each day. I am also learning that we can live up to our call to a life of holiness, through Him, with Him and in Him.

  • Helen

    I never experienced or really heard about giving my problems to the Lord except from my Protestant friends. But some years ago I was struggling with a problem to the extent I couldn’t sleep or think about anything else. Should I do A or should I do B? Neither was a good answer, but I kept struggling with this question. Finally I gave up and asked God for help in answering my problem. And lo and behold, the next day the answer came in the form of C, which had never entered my mind. And it was the perfect answer!
    I still forget to let God do some of the heavy deciding for me but when I turn to him he always answers me.

  • Sue

    Thank you for giving me the courage to admit how hurt I have been since my Dad’s death. He was a “Hell Fire & Brimstone preacher. I told him when I left home (& got the courage) To tell him — I did not like his God! All he did was punish! Then when I found the “Love & Forgiveness of the Holy Father” in the Catholic parish– he really was upset & shed tears on his deathbed because he would never see me or my other 2 sisters who also converted to Catholicism to see us in Heaven. How surprised he will be! I feel more love, strength, & encouragement than I had ever felt before! Yes, I still face the rejection of my children because of my new relationship with the Heavenly Father — but I still “Know” when the time is right — He will lead them home.

    • Carlos

      Sue, thanks for sharing your story. I really keyed on your statement about your kids rejecting you because of your faith. I have experienced the same thing over the last year or so. My whole family, wife and children, have rejected me in a similar way. Our entire family was raised in the Catholic Church, but once the world got a hold of them in different ways, each one chose to turn their backs on God and on me. In Luke 12:53, it reads, “They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
      Though divisions will be stirred up, and a person’s own household may be his foes, sinners will be converted, and God will be glorified.

  • MaryAnne Casaul

    Being consistent in keeping my prayer time. This has been the greatest tool to help me with my daily struggles. I find if I do not take the time out for prayer and fellowship with God my day goes wrong. Prayer is conversing with God. If I can’t take the time out of a busy day then I talk with Him all day during the day. I take my conversation to my car, driving to the store, shopping, anywhere and anytime I need help. He is ever present with us.

  • Judy

    I grew up watching my mom smoke. Then my oldest sister started. In my mid teens I started smoking. Every time I would quit, it would last for six months. Then a vicious cycle began that lasted more than ten years. When I caved to the craving because of stress, depression, certain feelings, you name it, invariably the amount of smoking would double.

    If I had 3 cigarettes a day, when I restarted it quickly became six. I’d quit again, and six became twelve. I became so addicted to nicotine that this drug of choice was controlling me.

    Then I got sick January 1988. I was hospitalized for a week. I had a severe case of the flu. Only a few weeks earlier, a guy a bit younger than myself had the same flu, but he died on my birthday in December.

    I remember that January while in the hospital bed crying because I thought I was going to die, just like that guy. That’s when I gave it to God. I went cold turkey, which is hard enough. I was smoking several packs a day, and then some. Yet, by God’s grace, he took away my cravings. Even the smell of second hand smoke was immediately offensive.

    I haven’t smoked in 29 years, only because of God’s amazing grace.

    What scares me though is my uncle had quit for 40 years then ended up with lung cancer. That possibility scares me; but for the grace there go I as of today.

    Not sure why it is, but the real possibility of death can cause someone to totally change their life, but only when God is in control.

  • Colleen

    I’m wondering if Matthew Kelly means fasting…as in giving up strictly food or if he might mean something else…just giving up other “things” denying ourselves “things”? Does someone have some light to shed on this?

    • Tina

      In one instance, when he quoted Jesus as saying ” certain demons are cast out only through prayer and fasting”,(words to this effect), he meant fasting from food. This is known to be very powerful.
      Then I suppose, fasting from things, is like giving up television during lent, and using the time , for example, for reading the Bible or visiting an old lonely person, maybe reading something to them or shopping groceries, as I have been taught.
      Hope this is of some help.

  • Aaron Giard

    I am so glad Matthew Kelly mentioned the power of fasting! Fasting, literal fasting, not just giving some treat up, is so underrated in our Church! I am discovering the power of actually fasting (eating only bread and water) and it is so grace-filled. My prayer has become better when I fast because I am more aware of my need for God when I am truly hungry and not just jumping to food that’s I take for granted. I am more humble, then, when I come before God. My alms giving becomes better and further reaching because I am more connected with the hunger of humanity and our need to be in solidarity with one another.

    I encourage you, if you are reading this, to think about picking a day or two each week to literally FAST. Our Lady, in her apparitions at Medjugorje, calls people to strictly fast on Wednesdays and Fridays in prayer for the world and ourselves. We convince ourselves that it is not healthy or possible for us to fast and literal fasting is not reasonable, but isn’t this nonsense and not coming from faith? Hundreds of millions of Muslim people around the world literally fast for an entire month every day from sun up to sun down and they don’t wither away and die. I pray that Christians can rediscover the spiritual power of fasting, prescribed by Jesus, the Bible and spiritual masters of the past and have a practice of regularly fasting in order to guard ourselves against the devil and our selfish desires. Yes, let’s not just give up chocolate, let’s give up eating for an entire day until having bread for dinner! Real fasting cannot be done without prayer, and dedicated prayer at that, because while we are weak, with God all things are possible.

    • Susie Caughey

      I did this “literal” fasting as a teenager in Lough Derg in Ireland. That was a long time ago. You just further clarified “sacrificing” and “fasting”. Thank you. I need to actually “fast” again to feel what this is really like.

    • Maria Nowak

      You have inspired me to start fasting as a new habit; to literally fast (not just giving up a treat) for the first time in my life. I am reflecting on how today, out of all the day, Matthew Kelly talked about fasting/praying; a coworker spoke about fasting 16hours for a few days/week (she is not catholic) and my good muslim friend reminded me of her month-long fasting for Ramadan (which doesn’t start until May). This is most likely the answer to my current struggles.

  • Michael Ennis

    I have spoke on this before, but the biggest struggle I have had was with alcohol. I drank quantities that should have killed me. To break this habit, I totally removed myself from everyone and everything I knew, and started the process of drying out. It took me nearly two years before I could say that the habit was gone. Since I quit, I can honestly say I do not even miss drinking. I stopped so completely, that I could not even use hygiene products like Listerine or NyQuil because they tasted too much like alcohol. I did not even have alcohol on my wedding day. The only time that I struggled after that was when my younger brother passed. I wanted so much to drink then, but I persevered. I was too angry at the world, and yes, even at God over the loss of my brother. I did not know what to do. I prayed and prayed, and eventually, I learned again to listen for the response.

    God Bless

    • Clare54

      God Bless you Michael and thank you for sharing your personal story here.

  • Colleen Braun

    I can’t say no when someone asks for help!! To the point I am not tco myself and my health issues!
    Someone sat me down and said if you don’t tco YOU FIRST who will be here to tco the people who depend on YOU???
    So now when someone asks for help I stop and pray and ask God if it’s His will to give me the strength to carry on! Also the people I tco have heard me often say out loud ‘ok Jesus please send down the saints and angels because I need help’ or Mother help me!!!
    I know I can do nothing without God and the heavens above showing me the way!!

  • Maria

    I overcame bulimia, addiction to smoking and severe anxiety disorder, and many other struggles. All of those were thanks to God but especially anxiety since I didn’t do anything to change it. I didn’t go to therapy, take meds or even try self-help. For 2 years I could barely get to a grocery store without panicking and one day I thought, “What’s the worst that can happen? God is with me no matter what” and a few months after that I was travelling to Berlin for work and had no more fear of going anywhere, just like that.

    • Tina

      I admire you for your courage and trust in God. May God continue to Bless you greatly. Thank you for sharing.

    • Susan Henderson

      This is awesome and illustrates how one’s thoughts have so much power over us. I too have overcome addiction, & eating compulsively. Anxiety still kicks my butt, though. I hope you use & share your story in ways & places that can help others and give them hope to achieve what you have.

    • Alcide Bouchard

      God is the one with the power. When we agree with Him, great things can happen!

  • Caitlyn

    Is there a safe way to fast?

  • Alice

    The biggest struggle I ever had was when my father died many years ago. At the same time, I had just bought a new home and then found out I might lose my position which included a company car due to an elimination of my position company wide. The economy at the time was terrible and many people were out of work. It began a year long corporate shuffle of everyone having to prove themselves. I was worn out when it started from dad’s death. I began to have panic attacks etc. I asked my mom, what do I do? And she gave me great advice. “Go to church”. God got me on the other side of it. I regained my health over time. In the end, I actually received a promotion and retired from the company 25 years later. It taught me God is there for me and never to let myself become that upset over anything! Let God take over. But Matthew Kelly is right, life is filled with struggles some we bring on ourselves and others that fall in our lap. I have something I am struggling with that is nothing in comparison to THE BIG struggle many moons ago. I was wondering about the fasting. Great explanation of turning tough situations to prayers and fasting. Going to give it a try tomorrow. God Bless all, if you read this and you have a big problem. Turn it over to God, I promise you are not alone.

  • Kelly

    I have found that fasting prayerfully is indeed a very powerful form of prayer. I also have heard many recommend that when you are pray-and-fasting, to fast on bread and water which I used to do years ago. I want to do that again (thanks to MK & all of you at DC) but since I have recently been warned I may be pre-diabetic, it is best I don’t use bread to fast anymore. A friend gave me a good idea that is working for me: fast on broth with a little cabbage shredded into it. Also, since I am just starting this up again, it is more doable for me to just fast 12 hours at a time for now. Believe me, I get hungry! It is a sacrifice! I am so happy to be pray-and-fasting again to help our blessed mother to pray for her intentions! (See book, My Heart Will Triumph by Mirjana Soldo)

  • Trevor Pelkey

    I am currently overcoming a big struggle in my life by routinely connecting with God each day and having faith that everything will be okay!

    • Kelly

      Trevor, I am going to pray for you right now.

      • Trevor Pelkey

        Thank you so much!

    • Alcide Bouchard

      praying too

  • MurphsLaw

    I never really understood Fasting until I learned it’s purpose from Matthew. I have found out that Fasting is probably the only way you really build the self-control, the ability to deny yourself, into a pattern that you really can get closer to possessing yourself than ever before. Will Power? Sure that may work for some, but when you control such a vital element of human existence like eating- you begin on a path of control you then realize many people do not have- or want to. As Matthew has said, until you truly possess your self- you can’t (or won’t) genuinely give of yourself to others. or attack the things in your life you struggle with. Fasting makes you stronger at your weakest.

  • Barbara

    I have hadTourette’s Syndrome since age 13. It is a daily struggle. I pray about it but when I am upset it is more difficult to control. I have to give this to God and let it go through prayer and adoration. I pray but am hesitant to listen to God’s reply. God is good. I have to trust that He will help me.

    • Trish Matta Melnick

      The very best part Barbara is that you are giving it to God. That you are trusting Him. Even if at times you feel that aren’t letting go of it, that is a very human and natural thing that happens. Just persevere and pray without ceasing. I felt the Blessed Mother telling me that when praying the rosary and I never forgot it. When I get weak I try to pray more because I know it is what I need to do. I will keep you in my prayers because I know that at times it helps to know others are praying for you.

  • Janet Revheim

    I struggled to forgive my husband for a great hurt he caused our marriage. I knew in my heart that it had the power to not only destroy our marriage but to destroy him as well. It would have been easier to leave but I knew that if I left it would be my sin against God. My husband is not a Christian and I have often failed to model the love of Christ for him. So I prayed and walked the stations of the cross to help me forgive my husband. I picked up my husbands cross and I carried it for him. Through the stations of the cross I have learned how to truly love my husband. My husband is a great man and God has blessed our marriage. As a Catholic married to a non-Christian I now see that it was actually myself who hurt our marriage in my failure to show my husband the love of Christ and my failure to protect our marriage with prayer. Now that I have given my marriage to God I have a real marriage and my husband is willing to have our marriage blessed by the Church. I pray that someday I will be able to see my husband welcomed into the church as well.

    • Mark Darrow

      Powerful testimony! May God always bless your marriage.

    • Seeker

      I echo Mark’s comment. This is a powerful, articulate story. Thanks for sharing it and prayers to you and your husband.

  • Rita Gahr

    To all who have posted today, you are all amazing. Thank you. I will be using Thy will be done as well as Jesus I trust in you.

  • mjtav240

    Long ago, about 15 years ago, I finally gave up smoking. What Matthew says is so true!! I had wanted to quit for such a long time, but sadly, I really enjoyed it (if you can imagine that!), and I simply wasn’t able to do it on my own. Finally, I started praying to God to help me fight this addiction. It was amazing!!!!! I started running, just short distances, and walking. One day, I was smoking a cigarette and I could only smoke about half of it. It didn’t taste very good anymore and I just didn’t want it. This happened about five more times, every time I lit up. The next day, I stopped smoking! It was SO easy! I knew it was because God and I were fighting this battle together for my freedom!! Praise the Lord – He is truly awesome!!!

  • Theresa Pecoskie

    What is actual fasting. Does that mean we don”t eat. This sounds like a dumb question but i really don’t know

    • Susan Henderson

      The church asks us to fast on Ash Wed & Good Fri by abstaining from meat and only eating one full meal and 2 half meals those days. There are many ways of fasting. One can fast from a particular food item, give up a meal (if you are in good health), fast from TV or Facebook or a sporting activity, fast from a vice like gossiping or swearing. Then offer that fasting sacrifice to God as a prayer in union with Christ’s sufferings for a particular person or intention (i.e. to break an addiction or for my friend with cancer or to save souls). It is traditional during Lent to also give the money that you would have spent on a food or activity that you gave up to the poor. This is almsgiving, which along with prayer & fasting are the pillars of the Lenten season. It is also very beneficial not only to give something up but to try to establish or practice a virtue in it’s place. If you give up gossiping, for example, every time you are tempted, try to think of a good thing about that person; if you give up TV, spend the time in prayer instead or doing spiritual reading; if you give up a food item/meal, give the money you would have spent to the poor or donate the equivalent that you gave up to a Food Bank. Hope this helps!

  • Seeker

    Quick comment re “literal” fasting (severely limiting food intake) as opposed to sacrifice of some non-food activity, or restricting some foods:
    This should NOT be attempted by anyone with health issues. This may be stating the obvious but you cannot be the best version of yourself if you fast yourself into illness.

  • Nicole M.

    When Matthew was talking about struggles, one word came to my mind… procrastination. I have been struggling with this for as long as I can remember. I put things off because I have other things I could be doing. The problem is, these other things aren’t really as important as what I’m putting off. I know that if I would do a little bit each day I would take tremendous stress and worry off my shoulders. I guess I’ve always told myself that I work best under pressure. I know that’s not the case. I have a lot going on in my life these next few months and I would love it to be stress free. I know I need to pray about this and even fast so I can break this bad habit!

  • Amy Reinhardt

    The biggest struggle in my life is something that my heart is still recovering from. This was the passing of my paternal grandma on March 9, 2017. Even though her death was 10 months in the making, it was still hard to let her go. Through family support and a ton of prayers, I overcame a great deal of the pain. The most prominent moment was when I realized, at the funeral, that she is up in heaven being pampered by angels and saints. She’s not suffering anymore. She is with her Creator. Knowing that gives my heart peace.

  • Arthur Brown

    I often struggle with control of things and people. I also struggle with not letting others finish speaking before I interrupt others to let them finish their thoughts. I am working on these issues and finding at times catching myself to apologize for interrupting or wait 5 seconds before speaking. I know people need to finish there thoughts and I need to listen to make sure that I heard everything that they said before responding. God bless each and everyone of you on your daily spiritual journey with God, Christ & Holy Spirit.

  • Tina

    The way I have overcome a big crisis is through:
    1. The love and caring concern of friends.
    2 studying and reading how others have tackled similar problems.
    3.journaling.
    4.Expressive creative art: painting and semi classical music.
    5. Praying and receiving wonderful and amazing Graces from God.

  • Paz Bingham

    Reading your posts my eyes feel with tears since I relate to each and everyone of you.. my struggles are many but during this Lent and for two weeks now, I have found out that my daughter Junior in College is pregnant and while I’m happy she chose to keep the baby , I am deepley sadden by the turn on her life and the uncertainty of her future .
    I struggle with terrible thoughts and I pray to God every day to take her and guide her in this so God’s will be done… So she will be strong…
    We also have addiction in the the family so I’m familiar with let God and let go… is out of my hands .. If only i could discard the thoughts ….

    • Alcide Bouchard

      Hi Paz,
      It’s not easy to stop worrying because we love our children. But on the other hand, love never fails. Consistent, unconditional love has the power to transform others, especially those close to us. Let her hear kind words; encouraging words that don’t condone the sin, but love the sinner. Your kind words (that focus on her having chosen life for her baby) will have an everlasting effect. She knows her mistake. She’s worrying too. She’s having terrible thoughts. One of those thoughts may be “do my parents still love me?”

      If you work at finding peace (surrendering to God), then you can show your daughter how to find it. Go to church and cry for a while if you have to, but try to be strong for her when you get to see her. Jesus loves you all so much! He’s trying to save each one of you. He wants to work through you to save your daughter, and whoever is struggling with addictions.

      I was a severe addict (for about 36 years). I had arthritis in all major joints and my spine. I had a spinal injury. I had about a dozen planter’s warts on the soles of my feet. I had regular stomach cramps, and problems digesting. I had violent thoughts and was addicted to movies. I had anger issues and trouble sleeping. Over the past 10 years God has healed all of it, and has lovingly restored my soul. He has taught me to forgive, by praying for those who have hurt me. I didn’t deserve any of what He did for me. I simply cried out to Him for help and started reading my Bible every day and He started to speak through the scriptures.

      I try to reconcile with God through the sacrament of confession (to a priest) each month or two, and I gain strength from the Eucharist every day. He’s our only hope. He’s the only one who can do all things. He will help you find peace. Take courage.

  • Patricia Pollock

    This lesson on fasting should be helpful with my addiction since addiction is a life long problem, these words will be very helpful. I must realize that sometimes the only way to healing is through Jesus, prayer and fasting.

  • Kathy

    Thank you all for your inspiration. I too have given my deepest struggles to the Lord in prayer. It’s powerful and brings peace.

  • Tina

    Thank God you had the courage to post the above. Satan is a coward. He runs and hides in the face of bravery.
    Please may I suggest that besides keeping close to Jesus, you keep close to The Mother of Jesus. She is your Mother too.
    She is very powerful against Satan, because Jesus gave her the power to destroy the head of Satan, right in the Garden of Eden, in the very beginning of the Bible.
    You could start by praying 3 Hail Marys every morning and night. Then pray the Rosary daily and go to Confession once a week. She will help you. I have witnessed Her Power.
    I will pray for you.

  • RN

    I have been praying for a new job as my past jobs have left me very unhappy. Is it ok to add fasting to my prayer for a new job? This isn’t a spiritual request, and I know I can’t twist God’s arm so to speak to grant my request, but would adding fasting to my request be pleasing to God or is this a total misuse so to speak of fasting with prayer?

  • Jennifer Festa

    One very big struggle in my life began when I was probably around 8 or 9 years old.
    My father worked very hard at his job but allowed himself to drink way too much to help sustain a normal lifestyle in our home. He and my mother would argue very often and my three sisters and I would just not know what to do. I SO wanted things to be different!
    I remember going to bed all the time then, praying to understand why things had to be this way. I did grow up understanding why my father had the need to drink but not easily accepting how our family was destroyed by it. For me, God especially answered my prayers
    by sending a wonderful man into my life. We are married many years now and have been gifted with a beautiful family of our own. I saw early on the power of prayer and felt the hand of God in my life through this hardship and others.

    • Alcide Bouchard

      Hi Jennifer,
      It’s so good that you give God the credit for never having abandoned you! Pass that on to your family, so that whatever struggles they face, they will know where to turn for help. I can tell you have forgiven your father. God loves a child-like heart.

  • Micheal Patterson

    After listening to the video, I am feeling called to fast, in some way. I’m not really sure where to start. Food is the obvious choice, but I don’t know if that would be considered fasting for me. I’m not really that into food. Does anyone have any good resources or ideas on fasting. I’m brand new to this; however, I know I’m called to it, so I’m going to do it.
    Thanks for your help.

  • J Phon

    Latifa and Lisa, I wish I could reach through this computer and put my arms around you. God bless you both. I am so spoiled. I was born and raised Catholic by a supportive practicing family who continue to remain dedicated to the faith. It takes stories like yours for me to see what a blessing I have and what a responsibility I have to share what I know. Thank you both for your bravery and love of Jesus in the face of such obstacles. I will do my best to not waste the blessings I have been given as a cradle Catholic.

  • Jules

    I usually pray about my struggles and talk to my husband or friends about what is bothering me. Praying always seems to help. But I need to start fasting more often . My biggest struggle right now is my desire to work out and to get into shape again. I feel so unmotivated and I don’t want to do it. Resistance I know .. I need help in my mind about it. I have been eating better but I need to workout. God help me get motivated.

  • Sarena

    I had been in an emotionally abusive marriage for years. I kept trying to find a way to fix it. I gained a lot of weight, my anxiety became almost unbearable, I never felt healthy or happy. I felt like a failure. I prayed during this struggle so much and I felt that God was there with me. I was scared and my family was far away. Things turned to the point of pushing me to leave him. I did and had to really focus on being in that moment for my kids and I. Today, I have forgiven him and we are friends. I have a second chance to have the family I had wanted so much in my marriage. I am learning constantly that when struggled come on we need to let go and place them in God’s hands.

  • Kim Bordelon

    What a blessing it is to read and be able to share all of your stories, I am truly blessed to go through the struggle I face knowing I am not alone. I have a community of loving supportive faith based friends and my almighty Lord and savior to give me hope. Thank you

  • Bibi

    Thank Latina for sharing! God bless you.

  • Jane Lenzer

    The problem with me is that l have had so many extensive and tangled struggles, that l’m beginning at age 60 to shut down. l have terrific panic attacks and can scarcely leave to go do things even go to church. l have prolonged ptsd and non-situational depression called major depressive disorder. What it does is chop my life down to being just alone with myself for MOST of the time. Humans are meant to be social creatures, as anyone who has had Anthropology 101. l feel l’ve been CAGED and l pace like an out of place lioness. l’ve yet to overcome it, but l have big fainting issues if l don’t eat on a regular basis. l can only presume that l must do something to replace the foodless part of fasting…l don’t believe Lord Jesus wants me to put myself at risk like that. Praying is hard, because l get zoned into my laptop, as a sort of replacement for time with people. When l do feel free to pray, my mind won’t SHUT DOWn!!! lt wanders and zig zags all over the place and l cannot keep my heart and mind on Jesus…..l’m lost down every street l try.

  • Vivienne

    The struggles and challenges are always there as part of life.i try to identify my mistake or my contribution to it,so as not to play the blame game and to take responsibility .I then pray asking the lord to change me or use me to correct the mistake.I like to sing which lifts up my soul a great deal.I would love to take up guitar again but just lazy about it.
    I took up fasting this lent, struggling with it but making a headway.i never thought I could fast..it reminds me I have to pray or read the Bible and this keeps me less worried and redirects me to the Lord.

  • Rae Mims

    I think by letting go. By not trying to do it myself – as I always had done. But, when I prayed about it I heard God tell me – you have to do nothing. It is my will. It had to be to God’s glory. I was so accustomed to “doing it all” but giving up the reins was hard. But, I needed a new job and bad. I didn’t look. I didn’t send out resumes. I got a new job and never looked back.

  • Maria

    I’ve had to overcome my struggles doing not so great in school by giving up Netflix. I love Netflix. I don’t have cable at my house, but we have Netflix. I can easily say no if other people are watching a show b/c I live with my family and they don’t pressure me about it. However, if I watch Netflix by myself, I watch many episodes/movies at a time. Not only that, but I graduate in a year and I want to learn some new skills to help better my chances of employment after that. AND I’m working on a graphic novel series that I’ve been dreaming of doing for years. It took me a long time to think about, but I decided it to be for the best to give up Netflix until I graduate (which is well over a year). I’m hoping that for those times I desire for entertainment besides my hobby, that I’ll get some good reading in. And traveling. I’ve never had time to travel before, but now I think I can. Just simple day trips. 🙂

  • Niove Candida Rosario

    I have some struggles in my life and I am working towards overcoming them but I need to learn to quiet down my inner voices so I may hear his. I feel I am trying but maybe not hard enough to feel and know he is right there walking with me. I yearn for feeling his presence every day in my life. I yearn for feeling that overwhelming happiness that comes from feeling his presence.

  • Jim Bahen

    Is it fasting when you take time from doing other things and sit down and read Scripture and pray ?? You give the most precious gift of time to spend time seeking God in your life ??

  • Maureen

    When we let go and let God, we are finally getting out of the way so God CAN handle it. We may actually prolong the issue by worrying, trying to fix and forcing our own outcome. He handles it in his time and his way for good reason. Trust, trust, trust ~ and love with detachment. God is the answer.

  • Elizabeth Brumann

    My past and the arthritis.

  • TheTicoRico

    Not so long ago… 8 months maybe, I was having a very rough time at work. Cried all the way home at the end of every day. Was looking for another job, applied to several other positions within and outside of the company I work at. Nothing. Nothing.
    It was not until one night in front of he Holy Eucarist I just poured out my whole self to Jesus. Powerless, I realized that if I was in that situation it had to be for a greater purpose and only He can help me understand what that was. I just laid there… crying… kneeled with my face on the floor. I surrendered myself, my job, my life to Him. For the first time in my life I really “let go”. Don’t know how long I was there. It didn’t matter. It felt so good. He really took the burden away. I went home; continued to go to work, doing the best I could. Eventually, without me even noticing, things took a 180• turn. Nothing changed at work, but at the same time everything changed. I am happy, doing my best (my best today, is far “better” than my best 8 months ago!)
    My relationship with my manager is outstanding and -believe it or not- turned down an offer for another position because the past 3 months have been the best in my entire career. Surrendering to God is the first thing I should have done! It took me a while, but when I did, He took care of me. I love you Lord!!

    • Jo Martin

      Surrender to God is my answer this morning! Thank you for sharing your burden. My burden is living fully content at home. I recognize this morning that my struggle is bigger than me and just doing the daily feminine things at home are a burden. I won’t go into all of it, however, I woke up this morning heavy hearted about this struggle I’ve had for years. I believe the Lord answered the cry of my heart in what you shared. Will you please pray for me.

      • TheTicoRico

        Praying for you. I’m sure Jesus is just waiting for you to surrender your burden to Him. He will give you peace!

  • Claire

    My daughter has been a recovered addict for a little over eight months, after using for the past four or five years. I have just had to put my trust in God over and over again. I still know how fragile sobriety is, day to day as they say. But I have to live in hope in order to function. A friend of mine, who’s son has relapsed recently after going through one of the best 12 step programs for the past nine months, made a comment to me that ” she knew she shouldn’t have gotten her hopes up”. I believe that a moment or day spent in hope is never a waste and you shouldn’t feel like a fool if things don’t turn out the way you hope, because it is far better than spending a moment or a day worrying. When we choose to hope, we are choosing to trust. Trust is a choice we have to make over and over again and is what I hear people of faith struggling with more than anything,no matter where they are in their faith journey. In a state of hope we experience so of God’s peace. So God gives this free gift of hope and peace, when we exercise our free-will and choose to trust…trust leads to hope…hope leads to God’s peace.

    As for our obsession with our children, we do have to get to a point where we turn them back over to God. This obsession can be a form of idol worship because we are placing our hope and happiness in people, not God. You are a reflection of God, not your children.

  • Michelle

    A big struggle in my life has been weight, or food addiction to be correct. I have prayed about it, I’ve followed various weight loss programs to a greater or lesser extent, and finally thought I had it beaten when I lost enough weight to make my doctor smile, and to get all my bloodwork numbers in the “safe” range. And now I’m heading toward gaining it back and just can’t get a handle on it. Fasting would be good, but if I were able…um….willing to fast, I wouldn’t be in this predicament.

    • Susan Henderson

      Have you tried Overeaters Anonymous? I think they may even have some call-in groups now. If you get a sponsor, you can commit to them to email your food log to them daily to keep you accountable. Also meetings help with the addiction aspect of emotional eating. I’m with you here. I lost 155 lbs. I still go to a support group to maintain my weight loss.

  • Ava

    My parents disowned me for a while because of my calling to be a nun. I overcame it. I can now call them Mom and Dad again.

    • Margie

      Praise God for your commitment and for our Father’s faithfulness. God touch and keep you under His mercy

    • Linda Carmelle

      God asks a person to be willing to give everything up to follow him,sometimes we don’t realize that may mean family ties too. I’m so glad you were faithful to him and somehow with God’s help a resolution occurred! what a blessing!

      • Ava

        It was for a while. Now my parents hate me again But I will follow God, even if that means losing my family. It may hurt but I’ve got my church family to lean on.

        • Linda Carmelle

          Praying for you and who you are becoming.Praying your family softens their stance and realizes this is Gods’ plan for you.

          • Ava

            Thank you so much. I will keep you in my prayers.

  • paolo

    My mother was my inspiration, and I served the Lord with Passion, and continued to keep moving, Yes, it truly is difficult when you do not have the support set up to keep lifting you up. My mother has passed, so now, I am asking the Roman Catholic Church to support me in my new mission. I was happy that my brother donated to my organization. I am still waiting for others to nail down my mission. God good and He is faithful. I will receive the support of the Catholic church, in some way or form. Yes, in the scriptures it says, father against son, mother against daughter for my sake. So sometimes, it is a choice, you cannot change anyone but if a family member brings you down, you need to separate to further your relationship with Christ.

  • Alcide Bouchard

    Emma,

    Run after God in as many ways as you can, and when you discover a guy who is running in the same direction, then he’s the one for you.

    Be careful about what you watch, read, and hear. Choose your friends carefully because you will become just like them. I don’t hate my old friends. I miss them sometimes, but I know that I can’t follow Jesus and hang out with them.

    Confess your sins (yes, to a priest) as soon as possible. Next, speak to Jesus; He is literally always with you. Ask Him to purify your heart and mind. Your mind and heart (your feelings) won’t be reliable until Jesus has restored your purity. DON’T follow your heart. Follow Jesus.

    He has blessed us with His words. Study them, meditate on His sacrifice; how he suffered for you and me. He will guide you, but you must be patient and cooperate with what He asks you to do. If you’re not hearing from Him at first (through His word), don’t stop reading and praying. Make a daily commitment to short times of prayer and stick to it as much as possible. We can’t overcome serious issues alone. We are helpless on our own.

    If you stumble, get back up as soon as possible, by confessing again. The sacrament of confession is amazing! Yes the priest will gently give advice, but also God gradually works through this sacrament, combined with communion, to restore our hearts and minds to what He intended when He breathed life into us.

    May God bless you and get you ready for heaven, where He has prepared a place for you.

  • Linda Carmelle

    Hindsight is always 20/20. What is important is that you made the decision to make God the Most important man in your life and you did redefine your own boundries. That relationship does not define who you are now,that relationship taught you many important life lessons. Sometimes we need to learn through adversity because we were not open to learning the lesson in a different way or because we didn’t realize that one little sin could snowball into others ,like when temptation comes to whisper in our ear.
    You already know the answers and have reached out to God to pull yourself from that situation. As a matter of fact it is YOU who may want to consider counseling your peers when they find themselves in similiar situations. I’m just saying it because I know there are others struggling at this very moment from the same affliction,in the same time of life as you(and those who are more advanced in years still struggle with it too.)
    As for me, I was married very late in life. I was nearly 40 when I was engaged to be married. So many times I met men who only had their own agendas on their,umm,”minds”,and NOT a value for dignity or moral compass. I was beginning to think there could not be a man out there that respected himself ,let alone me.
    But I was wrong,and God allowed me to meet the man He had in mind in His timing,NOT in my timing. The reason is God had to prepare us to be together,to use our experiences to change our spirits and attitudes so we could have a successful strong Christian relationship. This would not have been possible in our 20’s because we each had so much to learn in the ages to come.
    Think of the word AGE as a definition for the principle A Growing Experience. Grow in God’s Grace and Blossom in Good Time to Become all He Made You to Be=)

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