Tuesday 9 April 2024

There You Are, God! - Karina Fabian and Deacon Steven Lumbert - Finding God in the Everyday

There You Are, God!
Finding God in the Everyday
Karina Lumbert Fabian and
Deacon Steven Lumbert
Laser Cow Press
ISBN 9781956489156
ISBN 9781956489163

There You Are, God! - Karina Fabian and Deacon Steven Lumbert - Finding God in the Everyday

This is an amazing little book. Each chapter is a different reflection, they are are alternately written by Karina and Steven, daughter and father. These lessons are:

The Reluctant Convert
Love in a Pot of Rice
So Help Me, God, I Didn't Do It
Martyr for the Trivial
Out of the Depths of Despair
Does God Send Flowers?
The Close Call
Bare Feet
Who, Me?
Small Steps, Steady Progress
Cough Up
My Non-Personal Relationship with God
The Patient Friend

Each chapter begins with a quote, then a personal story and then the Life Lesson learned from the experience. Each reflection is supported with a biblical verse and with a quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. When I reviewed the first edition of this volume I stated:

“This book is a little treasure that I know I will go back and reread again to inspire and encourage me in my faith. It is a great book that was very well written. The book also includes a list of books for further reading and a few prayers at the end of the book to help start us along the path of deeper devotion. So give it a try; it will challenge you in your faith and motivate you to go deeper in your spiritual journey!”

I a couple of chapters in when I realized it was a second edition of the book with a different title. While reading this edition I highlighted a few passages, some of them are:

“Deacon Steve and Karina have been gifted with a distinct and penetrating insight into how God can be found in almost every place and in every experience of our lives. Through this little book, they share with us the fruit of that insight. Their amazing little stories are enthralling. Written in easily readable and well-crafted snippets culled from combined life experiences , this book illustrates God’s love for us and how we can confidently go to Him as our Father.”

“The fundamental lesson of the church’s catechetical life, reflected both in the ancient catechumenate and today’s RCIA, is that Christian discipleship is an ongoing developmental journey.”

“We owe Karina and Deacon Steve a debt of gratitude for their sensitive and inspirational message. Like the catechists of the ancient church, they remind us all that being a disciple must be something that permeates every aspect of our being.”

“This past year, I even started attending daily Mass. My journey to truly living my faith has been one of small steps ever forward, and ironically, as I journeyed, my Dad began a similar but far greater journey of his own.”

I do not recall what I did the first time I read this volume. But this time I started reading it just before Lent began. I read a chapter most days. I did miss a few days when life because busy, both at home and at work. The fourteen reflections are very well written. And in some ways a lesson I needed even more now in 2024, compared to when I first read it in 2011. A few days I found the reflection particularly impactful and the next day reread that chapter rather then just pressing on.

A sample reflection is:

Martyr for the Trivial

Let us all be brave enough to die the death of a martyr, but let no one lust for martyrdom.
- Mohandas Gandhi –

I'm 5'3", but I don't think of myself as short until I get into my car. The seat belt just doesn't fit right. It rubs my neck or falls wrong across my chest. Most of the time, I can ignore it, but sometimes—especially when I'm already irritated over something—it will drive me insane. I pull at it, shift around, sometimes even hold it in place with one hand while I drive. And of course, I get cranky. The manufacturers were smart enough to make an adjustment slide for it on the door—why couldn't they have brought it down just another of couple of inches so it would actually work for me? I seldom complained about it aloud but bore the suffering in silence. I'm such a martyr!

For years, I kept meaning to get one of those little straps that pulls the seatbelt over just enough to fit me right. However, I couldn't bring myself to "waste" three dollars. Finally, I thought, "Why am I making a big deal of this? Stop being a martyr over a triviality and solve the problem!" I put it in my car and it works great!

Recently, I got into an argument with someone. A writer asked me for a critique, which I devoted a good portion of my writing time to crafting. She dismissed it as nonsense, with the implication that I was just being snide. I spent a fruitless day trying to explain my position, only to get "polite" jabs in return. The next morning, I went to Mass with those replies circling my mind like wolves and snapping at my fragile peace.

I knew the solution: give it to God, forgive, and move on. The whole thing was trivial. However, just like with the seat belt, I insisted on trying to solve the issue my way and build myself up as a martyr in my own mind. (A very unmartyr-like attitude indeed.) I had to stop being a martyr over a trivial gripe and solve the problem.
I turned my focus to God and laid the conflict at His feet. The chaos of arguments and hurt feelings stilled and faded. I prayed for the person I had argued with, then I prayed for me: "Lord, let this end in me now."
So simple a solution, but it works great!

Life Lesson

What is it about human nature that makes us want to build mountains out of molehills? Whether letting dishes pile up in the sink or letting a family argument swell into alienation, we can let things continue to irritate and grow—even when we know the solution exists!

As Catholics, we know God can transform suffering, and we have many martyrs to give us examples. However, God doesn't want us to dwell on pain. He's not impressed when we choose to suffer over the minor annoyances of life rather than taking the initiative to resolve problems—or, just as bad, when we will not accept outside help—His help—to resolve a problem.

What's your "martyr issue"? Take some time today and dwell over it, but not about how you've suffered. Instead, offer it to God, then think about really solving the problem. Of course, the first step is to simply pray, "Lord, let this end in me now."

For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God.
2 Timothy 1:7-8

God is infinitely good and all his works are good. Yet no one can escape the experience of suffering or the evils in nature which seem to be linked to the limitations proper to creatures: and above all to the question of moral evil. Where does evil come from? "I sought whence evil comes and there was no solution", said St. Augustine, and his own painful quest would only be resolved by his conversion to the living God. For "the mystery of lawlessness" is clarified only in the light of the "mystery of our religion".
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Paragraph 385

I read the first edition of this book in 2011, punished under the name Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life, I am uncertain why the name changed. But I can state it is an excellent read. I believe I got more out of reading this new edition then I did my first time through. It is an excellent volume I believe any Catholic, or really any Christian would benefit from reading. I can easily recommend this volume.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2024 Catholic Reading Plan!

Dex Hollister Series:

The Old Man and the Void
Dex's Way

Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator Series :
Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator
I Left My Brains in San Francisco
Shambling in a Winter Wonderland

DragonEye PI Series:
DragonEye PI Novels:
?.0 Magic, Mensa and Mayhem (Revised edition)
?.0 Live and Let Fly (Revised edition)

DragonEye PI Short Stories:

DragonEye PI Original First Editions:
Live and Let Fly

Space Traipse Series:
Space Traipse: Hold My Beer, Season 1
Space Traipse: Hold My Beer, Season 2
Space Traipse: Hold My Beer, Season 3
Space Traipse Stories

Mind Over Series:
Mind Over Mind
Mind Over Psyche
Mind Over All
Hearts Over Mind

Edited by: Karina Fabian:
Infinite Space, Infinite God I
Leaps of Faith
Infinite Space, Infinite God II

Nonfiction with Deacon Steven Lumbert:

Contributed to:
Firestorm of Dragons
The Zombie Cookbook
The Book of Tentacles
Twisted Fayrie Tales
FRIGHTLINER: And Other Tales of the Undead
Mother Goose is Dead
Word by Word: Slowing Down with the Hail Mary
Image and Likeness Literary Reflections on the Theology of the Body
Corrupts Absolutely? Dark Metahuman Fiction
Weird Noir
The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal Novels
Manifesto UF
Avenir Eclectia
Planetary Anthology: Jupiter
Planetary Anthology: Pluto
Planetary Anthology: Luna
Planetary Anthology: Uranus
FlagShip Science Fiction and Fantasy v2i5
My Little Book of Headdesks
To Be Men: Stories Celebrating Masculinity

There You Are, God! - Karina Fabian and Deacon Steven Lumbert - Finding God in the Everyday

Why God Matters - Karina Fabian and Deacon Steven Lumbert

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