Promises | Meet Bernadette
| PRAYER TO LIVE IN GOD'S PROMISE |
Lord, teach me how to live in Your Promise:
That You, Creator of all, made me a unique expression of Your Love
worthy of being seen and known.
That You will not forsake me–
instead, You prepare a place for me;
I belong in Your Sacred Heart.
That You hold all of my life in Your hands
and You call me Beloved.
That Your plan for my life is a future of hope–
every step into my longing can lead me towards Your Heart.
My Lord and My God, thank you for being faithful to Your Promise. Amen.
| PROMISES: JUNE 2023 |
Our theme for 2023 here at Eden Invitation is Joyful Hope, one of our three core values (you can read more in-depth about it here). Navigating the longings in our hearts can be difficult for people with LGBTQ+ experiences, but in Joyful Hope we can step into our longings–the longing to be known, to love and be loved, and for purpose– knowing that God has promised to meet us there.
How do I know that God will keep His promise?
The Scriptures hold many examples of God’s love and fidelity to His people. Amidst exile, slavery, wars, and famines, God has sent messengers and prophets to speak to His people. One example I love is from the prophet Jeremiah. He was sent to the Israelites during their exile in Babylon, and through him, God says:
For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—oracle of the LORD—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope. | Jeremiah 29:11
There have been scores of books written on these and other verses. But these are not the only places we can learn His promises. His fidelity continues through each and every one of our lives.
I know God is faithful because He has made promises to me–this colorful child of His–and He has been keeping them with creativity I never saw coming.
So who am I?
My name is Bernadette O’Keefe, and at the writing of this blog, I am the Communications and Relationship Specialist for Eden Invitation. You can think of me as the “bridge” for those who are new to our mission and community. Through social media, email, mailers, and articles, I share the stories of my fellow striving LGBTQ+ disciples and the work God is doing in and through their lives.
Speaking of stories, I think I’m ready to tell you more of mine.
June can be a time of great tension–celebrated as the Month of the Sacred Heart for Catholics, and Pride Month for the wider LGBTQ+ community. Here at Eden Invitation, we deeply care for and receive people who come from one or both of these spaces. We hope to invite people into the Heart of Jesus and to be a reflection of His Heart whatever their experiences may be. So throughout the month of June, I’ll share with you how God has invited me to encounter His Heart through the promises He’s made to me. Each week we’ll post a little chapter– a brief window into my journey as a striving disciple with an LGBTQ+ experience. But to help tie these stories together, here is a very brief “plot line” for context:
I was raised Catholic in North Dakota. I left my hometown to earn my bachelor’s degree in Secondary English Education from Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland. There I became fascinated with the history and development of the English language, and so I decided to pursue my master's in English Philology (think Tolkien, but I didn’t go so far as to literally write parts of the dictionary). I graduated from the University of Wroclaw, Poland in 2019. (Yes, you read that right– I got my English degree in Poland, but more on that in a later post). Beyond academic pursuits, I’ve served as a campus minister, taught middle school, been employed as a proofreader, and there have been many other adventures on my way. The thread tying all of my experiences together is my love of a good story.
From studying literature to writing the stories of others to now sharing my own, I have been learning about God’s creativity and love. His Eye is attentive even to our minuscule details, working all of these stories into the Greatest Story of His Love for us, where we aren’t side characters but central ones. He comes to us, abides with us, eager to share the story He wants to write through our lives.
So, are you ready for a crazy story? It’s good– I promise. See you next week! (Read Part 2 | I am Beloved)