I write to pray and often to process situations that I am encountering along this journey God has given me.

The idea of writing under the tagline All That We Have initially was formed out of gratitude with a heart recognizing the blessings God has given this family. As the years have progressed, there have been moments where that umbrella of All That We Have has had me looking to heaven incredulously with eyebrows raised, completely overwhelmed by “all that we have.”

Have you ever felt this way? Where you both rejoice at the blessings you have been given and scream or revolt at the ones whose burden you instantaneously sense?

The thing is that when your faith life has been developed into one where the rose-colored glasses are always on, when we take a look at “All That We Have,” we realize that how we perceive it has been changed by gratitude. If we were together, you would hear the derision in my voice right now as I type gratitude because there are times when all that we have does not feel like a blessing, but we (praise God) have formed ourselves so closely to Him that all we can do is praise Him and yet the human nature within us wonders at this duplicity because we also sense our own frustration, annoyance hurt, sadness and/or anger over “all that we have.”

If I sound like I’m having my own counseling session, humor me. I just might be. Perhaps it will be good for us all. 

One of my boys recently finished a children’s book called A Series of Unfortunate Events. Every time I picked this book up from the coffee table, bathroom or kitchen island, I would snort and roll my eyes to myself. Story of my life, I would mutter. How easy it is to slide into that place.

The past few years have seen so many challenges. After walking through years of intense hospital and medical needs for my children, I thought we would get a breath. But, instead, our family has battled covid, cancer, addiction, depression, family members stepping away from the faith and a loss of community that has left us at times without a breath. 

And yet, we have been marveling as we push play on the praise music in our home, singing while we work, listening to each other and pulling each other back toward Jesus. Though empty, He fills us. It’s paradoxical and beautiful at the same time! 

Jesus is the safe place, the shelter. He invites us into our sufferings and not out of them. In Colossians, St. Paul says he rejoices in his sufferings. St. John Paul II reminds us that this suffering we are invited into, whether it be a great burden or a little annoyance, allows us to pick up a splinter of the cross that Jesus carried for our sake. In picking up that little sliver of the cross, we are transformed and we radiate Jesus. Our perseverance confounds and invites others into asking what is it we have. The answer is, of course, not what but whom? Joy is the secret weapon of being a Christian. 

“To praise you is the soul’s joy and delight. Guard me with the power of Your grace here and in all places. Now and at all times.” St. Augustine reminds us that we were created to praise the Lord in all things, and he wisely reminds us to ask for the grace to continue to do so. 

As Catholic Christians, I think this is the origin where we must stand, at the crux of rejoicing and suffering. Not one of us lives a life without either and recognizing all that we have is the beginning of that journey. Rejoicing in it and persevering is the next.  

This article first appeared at The Catholic Times.