Day 17: Thank you to Sidewalk Advocates, St. Teresa of Avila RL group, Holy Spirit & St. Nicholas Croatian Catholic Church, Knights of Columbus, Ascension Holy Name Society, and Individual Volunteers!

I have to admit that I wasn’t very enthusiastic about starting Lent this year.  Actually, I was outright dreading it, feeling worn out from many responsibilities, almost resentful of giving up anything else when daily life already requires plenty of self-denial.

I asked God to help me out, to remind me of the many reasons why Lent can be so refreshing and rewarding, and He allowed me to wake up on Ash Wednesday feeling a little more ready and willing than I had been.  I decided on a few sacrifices and planned some ways to give God more of my time.

We were just a few days in and I was starting to sink back into that feeling of resentment when I felt this call:  “I don’t want you to give Me more of your time, I want you to give Me all of it.”

Excuse me?  You’ve blessed me with an incredible life that I absolutely love—wife, mother of five children, and volunteer for a number of organizations that are dear to me—but it’s not easy!  We’re talking 18-hour days, with the remaining 6 hours often spent in a sleeping bag on the floor of my nightmare-prone four-year-old.  Now You want me to give You the last pathetic shreds of my time?

(Disclaimer:  I know many people have very intense and stressful schedules, and are juggling many responsibilities.  I’m not trying to compare, and I wouldn’t trade my life for any other.  Just explaining how I felt…)  😊

Anyway, after my initial reaction, I started to realize something.  All my time is pretty much accounted for already…what God really wants is for me to let go of the idea that it’s MY time in the first place.  I was surprised, and then intrigued.  I knew I couldn’t do it on my own (that’s a tall order for a self-admitted control freak) so I asked for His help, and He has granted me the grace to try it.

I’ve gotta say…I am blown away by the sense of peace it gives me.  My unmet expectations and resentment disappear.  The important tasks get done, because God uses time much more wisely than I do.  And I’m not beating myself up for things I’m unable to get to, because I don’t feel like it’s all my fault—God is the one in control!  I’m also gratefully noticing quiet moments that I might have otherwise missed.

I am not going to have a perfect 40-and-0 record this Lenten season.  I drop the ball every day, many times a day, and have to start over again with God’s mercy and grace.  But this just might be the best Lent ever in terms of helping me to grow.  I really need this!

If you would like to come to our 40 Days for Life vigil but are just too busy, I challenge you to try giving ownership of your time back to God.  Ask Him to make it fit into your schedule.  It may require stepping out in faith because He may not show you exactly how He’s going to work it out, but you can trust that He will.  God will never be outdone in generosity. 

“Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”  Luke 6:38


Here are the pictures and reports from today’s vigil!

Barbara and Richard, 7-9 AM:

Christine, Bill, Maryann
Standing in the breach at 933 Liberty Avenue

Maryann, Christine arrived at 6:30.  We got there at 7:02
Our electricity turned off during the night.
Half hour after waking up, we arrived on the sidewalk…dazed and coffee deficient.
Bitter cold, unrelenting wind.
Al and Sally were not with us this morning. 933 Liberty felt even more hostile.
Could that be possible?
We prayed for Sally and Al. If one is hospitalized, both suffer…age old maxim!
I spoke with one of the couples going in to the dirty window, beige, evil site. He insisted, “This is none of your business.”
“She is my sister,” I answered.
Is it really corny to say the truth?
What is it that makes saying that out loud feel corny?
Regina came and we retreated to a warm car.

Regina, 9-11 AM:

My shift began with a warm greeting from Barbara as she waited for Richard to arrive with their car. They both braved the elements this cold, windy morning, as they began today’s vigil with fellow prayer warriors, MaryAnn and Christine.

I was so happy to be joined by Side Walk Advocate, Kathy Laslow who thoughtfuly updated me on SWA news and progress.

We both prayed, made offers of alternatives to PP bound woman and engaged in some discussion with passerbys when approached.

Around 10:00, I was happy to be joined by Dan from Holy Family in Steubenville, and by Parishioners from St. Therese Parish who prayed all 5 decades of the Rosary!

The familiar faces of faithful Marie and Gloria were a welcome invitation to head off to my Adoration hour at the Oratory where I remember The 40 Days Family in prayer every Friday!

Thank you all for your sacrificial witness! To God be the glory!!!



Marie, 11 AM-1 PM:

Thank you for enduring this terrible wind for the babies!

There were several Holy Spirit parishioners on site for this shift.  It was a peaceful day except for the wind which kept trying to take our sandwich board.  We prayed around it to keep it from walking away. Several of the pedestrians on the sidewalk gave positive inclinations of our prayer efforts.

Pat, 5-7 PM:

Bill from St. Philip’s in Crafton and Bill from First Presbyterian downtown
The Holy Name Society group: John from Ascension in Jeanette, Paul from St. Paul’s in Greensburg, and Ed from Ascension

I always smile when I see that the Holy Name Society from Jeanette will be keeping me company on my Friday evening shift.  Ed is so good at keeping us focused on praying and away from too much idle talking.  Thank you Ed.  I was also joined once again, and right from the start, by Bill from Crafton.  I really appreciate his company.  Later on Bill H. joined us as well.

While we encountered one very strange man (who wanted Ed’s rosary), he didn’t stay long – and wasn’t nearly as annoying as the wind tonight.


Check back later for additional pictures and reports!  

2 thoughts on “Day 17: Thank you to Sidewalk Advocates, St. Teresa of Avila RL group, Holy Spirit & St. Nicholas Croatian Catholic Church, Knights of Columbus, Ascension Holy Name Society, and Individual Volunteers!

  • March 2, 2018 at 8:29 pm

    Great opening commentary. I’m going to take your words to heart.

  • March 3, 2018 at 7:27 am

    Great reflection Jen, thank you!


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