I Have Heard Your Prayer

In times of trial, we often feel isolated, with no one to turn to, who really understands. In these moments, God is our ever present help in troubles. He is here, and He knows exactly
how to reach us in particular, with a sign of His
tender love and presence.

If we are listening "very carefully" we will not fail to hear His whisper, whether it comes to us in a glorious rainbow from the midst of a storm, or a blatant bumper sticker from a rusty old pickup, or a rock that cries out
with a particular message.

If it carries His anointing, it will penetrate our hearts and make us aware that we are not alone. In this comfort, we will be strengthened and given courage to persevere, sometimes in situations that seem beyond anyone's strength to endure.

The greatest obstacle to us hearing these whispers, is unbelief. And the enemy stands by waiting for those moments when we are most vulnerable that he may find well plowed soil in which to sow seeds of despair and hopelessness, insinuating that God isn't listening and doesn't care about you or your problems.

The sovereign God Who gave life and purpose to all of His creation, had something very special in mind
when He created you.

He alone knows the road you must travel to arrive at this ultimate destination. He also knows how very painful the journey can be. Traveling beside you, He shares in your joys, your sorrows, your victories, and your failures, just the way you wish a best friend could.

That is why He sends us little consolations that declare His love and tender concern for our every circumstance, to calm our every fear, "Don't be afraid, I am here.
We will do this together."

There is Great Hope

The features of St. Francis and and faces to the right of the manger were added.

Turtle in the Manger

God is not embarrassed to use unusual images to strengthen our weary souls. A Franciscan brother, was often cautioned by the Lord to be like the tortoise, who although he was slow, won the race against the energetic hare who ran circles around him. This brother returned to his prayer place one day after a very great temptation to give up hope, and found this image glowing from his vigil candle. He reflected on the trials of Joseph and Mary, that something was being birthed in him, and resigned himself to be content in making progress like the tortoise.

The Cross

This precious reminder was found in the wood pile during Lent, as the Lord was purifying us so that we would resemble Him more. It was an encouraging sign, that purification, as a process, must pass through our comfort zones and penetrate into the deeper places. Places that are often painful to the touch, but need the fire to burn away corruption
and refine the gold.

The Tortoise and the Hare

A Confirmation

This rock with a dove was found as a sister got out of her car, on the way to pick up materials for a very unique and unexpected ministry into which she was being called.

She also felt the need for slow steady progress, so she put this little " rock that cried out" on a turtle bean bag and keeps it in her work space.

It became a reminder in times of discouragement, that this indeed was God's will for her life.

Breath of God

This holy sign came from a Carmelite nun who had no previous musical experience, and was being called to write holy music and sing. One day in prayer she felt the Lord telling her not to be afraid, that He would breath and sing through her.

Later that day, a wood cutter brought her this heart. It is a frequent reminder of what St. Therese the Little Flower once said, that on that day, the Lord would be very embarrassed with her because she had no works, but she had complete confidence that Jesus would have His own works through her.

The very sight of this holy sign, she relates, gives her the strength to overcome great fears and insecurities as she faces new challenges in her work every day.

A sister shared this amazing story and sign with us. She had been called by the Lord to embark on a very large project, without any assistance from her community.

Almost no one totally believed that this was from the Lord, although they were praying for her, but God gave her the conviction that it was and He would help. Providence brought her funds for materials, volunteer work crews, and permissions that seemed totally impossible to acquire. Finally in an incredibly short amount of time, in the dead of winter, the work was accomplished.

A group in a position of authority, instead of being happy and grateful for the gift God had given her to share with them, were very angry.

Tearfully, retiring to her cell, wondering if she really had missed the Lord and done this all in her flesh, a great wind rose up outside, and as she went out to secure things, this balloon, (brand new at the time) had blown right up against a fence beside her cell.

Feeling totally edified and peaceful, she knew that the Lord and His saints were happy with her, and she was able to pray for those who didn't understand, and later they too were able to accept this timely gift from God.

A young mother kept bumping into the same lady at the grocery store while she was shopping. As she walked out with her groceries, the other lady did too, as they walked she discovered their cars were parked side by side as well. Unable to discount these coincidences any longer, they finally began talking to each other.

The woman had just come here to recuperate after living in a very and sad violent situation in Africa, where women and children are being brutally murdered everyday. They exchanged phone numbers, but the young mother was at a loss for how to comfort her. As she was praying, her little five year old son bent down and picked up this piece of wood from the ground. It was the answer to her prayer.

This rough heart shaped rock with a grey tao cross ( a symbol of salvation used by St. Francis and the Desert Fathers), came at a critical point in time, a crossroads, when a relationship of 14 years, was at a final breaking point.

The married couple who loved God and each other deeply, brought this rock to us. They had tried everything to reach a place of harmony and accord. No amount of prayer or counseling seemed to be making any concrete change. They had suffered through years of things getting better, then worse, better, then worse again.

This rock was discovered in the doctor's parking lot, when the couple finally went to seek medical assistance, in the hopes that a brain chemistry imbalance was at the core of the problem. It was discovered that there was both an imbalance and a chronic underlying disease that caused constant physical pain.

Through the great mercy of God and with the appropriate medication, this relationship was turned around, and to this day, the couple is happy and productive, in full time service to the Lord. To the glory of our merciful God. Amen.

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