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Inviting God in, again and again

Hello friends! It's been a while since my last blog post.

I am so grateful to share we had a beautiful baby boy born May 11. William 'Liam' Daniel Whiting joined our little family in a rush, coming only half an hour after his father and I arrived at the hospital. Yikes!

Despite his fast entrance, Liam is a healthy and growing boy, and we are so in love. His personality is so stinkin' sweet. I just want to smother him in kisses.

Who am I kidding? I do smother him in kisses multiple times a day, HA! Poor kid.

Now that he is four-months-old, and I'm sporadically getting a few hours of sleep again, it's time to resume posting here more regularly. Woohoo!

So you'd think I'd have this big splash of a post, with super deep reflections to share. Something profound. But in reality, it's more like a random sentiment (and encouragement) for your day :) ...


I remember the moment well. I sat among my elementary school peers. The church basement classroom walls were covered in young children's artwork, no doubt including some of my own. The carpeting was old and musty, well-worn from years of loving use. Supporting metal beams held the drop-down ceiling. Classic 90's decor filled the space. It was nothing special really. Yet, the space was filled with love and life, hope and promise for us young kids.

During our previous class, the religious education teacher asked us all to pray and invite Jesus into our hearts. On this day, she asked if any of us had done so. I eagerly raised my hand.

"Since our last class, I've prayed multiple times a day and asked Jesus to come into my heart!" I proudly exclaimed. Expecting an at-a-boy from the teacher, thinking I was really something for doing our assignment tenfold, I was taken aback when she was less than impressed.

"Emily, you only need to invite Jesus in once. If you keep inviting Him in, it's like you welcome a guest into your home and while she's still there, you keep telling her to come in. It's unnecessary," my teacher gently corrected me.

My face became hot with embarrassment. Heaven knows I was trying to impress my teacher and classmates, and I clearly failed (which is fodder for an entire separate blog about living to impress others instead of God - a struggle I've clearly had since childhood - but I digress). Lord, please forgive me for my self-righteous motivations.

But somewhere, tucked away in the recesses of my memory, this scene popped up recently as I proceeded down the Church aisle to receive the Eucharist. Now several decades later, I found myself pondering my school teacher's comment - "Emily, you only need to invite Jesus in once."

You see, I'm not so sure that's true.

Yes, once you invite Jesus into your heart, He stays. Because He's a loyal God who does not abandon or forsake. But, I on the other hand? I do abandon and forsake. I am not loyal. I am fallible within seconds of inviting Him in.

Have you ever had an incredibly beautiful, dare I say holy experience with God, only for your own sinfulness to take over shortly thereafter? I have. For instance, I'll have just left Mass feeling forgiven, free, loved and full of life, only to snap at my husband on the drive home. Or, I'll have just said Amen to an intimate prayer with God, only to be cynical and judgmental a moment later.

I still need to invite Jesus in repeatedly. Daily at minimum, but usually hourly or more. HA! This is not because He leaves me, but because I try to throw Him out with my sinfulness. I push Him away in my pride, selfishness and self-righteousness.

Praise God He always forgives, always stays near and is always eager to make His home in my heart.

He's near your heart too, friend. He is knocking on the door. But in His loving wisdom, He will not let Himself in. Because love isn't really love if it's forced, right? He loves us so much that He patiently waits for us to invite Him in. And reinvite. And reinvite. And reinvite.

Hallelujah He always eagerly accepts our invitation! What a loving God we have!

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