The Grace of Rebirth: Chapter 8 {Grace of Yes Book Club}


Welcome to the Grace of Yes Book Club! We’re reading Lisa Hendey’s new book, The Grace of Yes: Eight Virtues for Generous Living.

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I had responded to and auditioned for the lead singer position in a professional praise and worship band. I had effectively won the talent part of the competition; all that was left was an interview with the band members. At that time, I was a fallen-away cradle Catholic in my early twenties. I grew up singing in a few different bands, and the evangelical churches that offered contemporary praise and worship music felt like a good fit at the time. It was a blend of two great loves of mine — God and music. Now I was one conversation away from landing a professional gig.

Then came the question that brought our rollicking conversation to a screeching halt.

“Lisa, have you been born again?”

Yeah. Umm. Errr … Cue crickets.

I tried to muster a story about how I had a rebirth of sorts during my ninth grade Confirmation Mass. And at the mention of Confirmation and Mass, the room became silent. I knew I had bombed. At one point the conversation turned very anti-Catholic and the band basically tried to justify my comments based on my incomplete, Catholic understanding of what it means to be “born again.” {Click on over here to read about the Catholic response to that question.}

I walked away from that interview knowing it was over. The band didn’t want me to be a part of their group. Equally, I didn’t want to be a part of a group who carried such open hostility toward Catholics. Even though I wasn’t a practicing Catholic at the time, my immediate family members were faithful. The attitude the band members shared was a direct insult at my family.

Looking back now, I see how that moment played a minor, yet important, part in a “rebirthing” experience. A few months later, I had a deep desire to be back in the Catholic Church, and I found myself driving around town one Sunday morning looking for a place to attend Mass. I ended up at a parish named after St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music, and felt at home. I eventually came back into full Communion with the Church, and there at St. Cecilia, I even found a group of musicians and formed a Catholic praise and worship band.

I was also a graduate student during that time, and once I graduated, I began making a career for myself in city management. I was still casually active in music ministry, as a cantor for Mass and many a wedding or funeral, but I buried most of my music ambitions once my career took off. Today, I rarely do much with music unless it’s at home or from the pew. In fact, most people in our current parish don’t even know I sing. I’m not purposefully putting my light under a bushel basket. It’s simply a matter of choosing the greater good, and I am truly finding peace in doing my share from the pew.

Now I’ve walked away from the career to become an at-home, homeschooling mom to three, and for the past five years, I have supported my husband as he completed the deacon formation process. The Holy Spirit clearly told me to get comfortable in the passenger’s seat because it was time for Joel to obey and follow his call.

If ever I was addicted to myself, the path that God has me on right now has been the best detoxifier. God continues to reveal Himself in new and sometimes surprising ways, and the Holy Spirit is constantly opening the door for personal rebirth. Reflecting on my faith journey and listening to the witnesses of others, I’m constantly reminded that God reveals Himself to us as we’re prepared to receive Him.

By the grace of God, here I am reflecting on chapter 8, “The Grace of Rebirth.” My husband is ordained now; it’s safe to say I’m in the middle of another period of rebirth. God certainly didn’t take away my dreams and charisms the day Joel was ordained.

But now what? What does it mean to be a deacon’s wife? As I am working through that, the following words from Lisa Hendey have resonated with me:

“I’m personally ready to move beyond comfortable confines to explore the vast potential God is calling me to in my life. When I start to second-guess my worthiness to rise to that call, I remember the followers Jesus called — fishermen, a repentant tax collector, a woman of ill repute. In them, Jesus saw God’s grace. He called them, taught them, and challenged them to live up to their full potential, sending them out into the world to shine his light while caring for those in need. They were called to go beyond what they had always known, to leave the comfort of the synagogue with little or no safety net. The disciples’ yes was a radical commitment to trust that God had the perfect plan for their lives.”

Lisa goes on to share about one of her super crazy-fun life’s dreams, an opportunity that would require her to leave her safety net, but would also allow her to shine Christ’s light with a very large audience. You really must read the book to find out more.

Thanks to Lisa’s revelation about her big-time dreams, I’ve been thinking: what are a few of my dreams and life’s goals? God has gifted me with the charism of music, and while I’ve had to set that aside, I’m sensing I’m being called to share those talents in new ways. What does that look like for me? I don’t know, but here’s an idea (or three). I have admired Catholic musician and songwriter Matt Maher for many years now, not only for his musical talents, but because he has found a way to flourish as a devout Catholic in the contemporary Christian music world, which can be less than friendly to Catholics in my experience.

I would love to sing back-up for Matt one day. Because that’s what I do — I blast his music in my home or car, and create harmonies with him. Now I’m not just aiming for a one-time-hop-up-on-stage-and-look-like-a-goof while singing with him type of opportunity. I’m talking about heading into the studio to collaborate and make music with him. (Mr. Maher, if by chance you’re reading this, I have references. People you know, know me!)

Heck, while I’m pouring my heart out, here’s another pipe dream. Seems like every year right around this time, I start daydreaming about putting on a Christmas concert where I sing the classics. I can see myself standing center stage in a historic theater wearing a beautiful red dress while I sing into a vintage microphone with a big band accompanying behind me. Clearly I haven’t thought much about that one!

Now, for a not-so-outlandish dream, rather a goal, I’m going to work toward incorporating my music into the talks and retreats that my husband and I lead. We’re actually headed to a parish near Vegas in the coming weeks to lead a two-day marriage retreat, and I’ll be sharing some of my music then.

It’s uncomfortable for me to share those deeply personal dreams here. God and my husband were about the only two who previously had a clue. But after reading The Grace of Yes, it only felt right to share those intimate thoughts with you. So now that we’ve read about Lisa Hendey’s awesome life dreams and goals in Chapter 8, and I’ve shared mine here, all that’s left to know now is what are yours?

To Ponder, Reflect, and Discuss:

  1. Have you experienced moments of rebirth in your life? What did that look like for you?
  2. What are a few of your dreams and life’s goals? Don’t be shy about sharing those outlandish, unlikely, or even seemingly laughable ones!
  3. Describe your yes to God as it is now and as you desire it to be. What small step can you take today toward living a Grace of Yes?

Feel free to comment on your own thoughts from this week’s reading, your impressions and reflections, and/or your answers to these questions.

This is our final week for the book club. Thank you for participating! If you want more information about the book or the book club, be sure to visit the Grace of Yes Book Club page.

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Copyright 2014 Lisa Schmidt


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  1. Oh Lisa this is incredible! I can’t wait to hear you sing! Thank you for your beautiful reflection on this final chapter! The book club has been such a gift for me!

  2. The bigger the dream, the harder it is to share, and the riskier it is to pursue. I’m on that path right now, and it’s not a wide or a welcoming one. I keep walking it, though, because, well, no birth is easy, especially not rebirth. I really needed to read your post today, Lisa. Wishing you many blessings on your way!

    • Erin, so glad you chimed in with your “Yes” experience. You have been such a blessing to me. Your writing is a true gift, a beautiful way of sharing yourself generously with the world around you. Sometimes that path is so challenging! Thank you for sharing your heart.

  3. ive never had really big dreams. I never set New Years goals. I won’t say that I play it safe. I just do what pops up in front of me to do. I do feel at a cross roads in my ministry but will just wait for God to tell me what’s next.

    • Sandi, thanks for sharing. I admire your faithful approach. Many days I wish my dreams and aspirations weren’t so big, especially considering I barely have energy just to accomplish the daily vocational tasks that must be done. I often pray: “Lord, if these dreams aren’t from you and for you, please (oh, please please please) take them from me!”

    • Sandi, that’s always a balancing act for me… being trusting enough to know that God has a plan for me, yet diligent enough to try to discern it. I’m glad you are reading with us – you’ll be in my prayers as we begin this New Year!

  4. Lisa, I hope you get to realize your dream of singing for Matt Maher some day! Lisa H., I’m not so sure about the Survivor plan…
    This ending chapter was inspiring. It’s a great reminder that our “yes” to Jesus probably won’t be pretty, easy, or well-funded. To help myself step out of my comfy little world, I recently started volunteering at a Food Pantry. It’s been a great opportunity for Jesus to show me how judgmental I am. It’s very humbling to look at a woman who’s life is in ruins and know that, without God’s grace and mercy, I would be in her shoes.
    I’m going to take a few notes and then pass this book on to a friend! Thank you so much, Lisa H., for writing it! (Please check with me before you accept an offer from Survivor!)

    • Thanks for commenting and sharing your thoughts. The examples of “yes” that Lisa H provided in Chapter 8 inspired me, too. “Our yes to Jesus probably won’t be pretty, easy, or well-funded.” Well stated!

    • Elyse, you do so very much to give your beautiful “yes”! I loved hearing about your work at the Food Pantry! I would love to do that some day too. I know that you will truly touch the hearts of those people that you will serve there. Thank you for sharing the book with your friend – I hope it is a blessing for her too! And I’ll wave to you from the Island!

  5. Lisa Schmidt congratulations to you and your husband in the Deaconate vocation.
    For me, giving voice to a dream or even a goal makes me vulnerable to the realities of failing. In secret I pursue something that I deem important and am only accountable to myself should I not succeed. I am seeing this as somewhat self destructive. I believe that because I withhold these priorities from those closest to me, I have already failed. I have denied myself and those around me the intimate relationship God has intended. And who knows perhaps by voicing my goals I can be a bit more relaxed about the time I spend working toward them without guilty feelings. Now there is a novel idea! Guilt free pursuit of ones dreams. 🙂
    My (guilty) outlandish dream is to travel the world.
    I join the others in saying thank you to Lisa Hendey for your Yes! This book really has been a journey of self discovery for me.

    • Thanks, Gina! I *really* identify with your comment. I’ve been sitting with your wise words for a day, and I really think you’ve pinpointed a sore spot for me. I struggle a lot with false humility. It stems from being hurt when I do put my talents out there and then feel as if I am rejected, looked over, dismissed, etc. And with music, well, it’s such a visible, public, and very personal charism. So I sinfully hide away in an attempt to protect my ego. *Ouch!* Lord, deliver me from my pride!

      As I prepared to write this blogpost, I shared with my husband about some of the experiences and emotions that I have stuffed way down. It was so freeing to do so. I didn’t realize how much I needed to communicate all that to him.

      I’m looking forward to following your adventures around the world! 🙂 Godspeed!

    • Gina, thank you for trusting us enough to share your dream. You and I share that… we’re so blessed to live in such an amazingly beautiful part of the country, but there is something about traveling that truly ignites my soul. I can’t wait–some day–to take an adventure pilgrimage with you!!

  6. I am finishing up chapter 2 of Lisa Hendey’s book, but just had to jump in late! I have been a stay-at-home mom for 16 years! It seems like so much of myself has been given to my husband and children that I don’t know who I really am! I’m insanely happy, not complaining one bit, but I do have crazy hopes and dreams.

    One dream for me was to dance again. I was a ballet dancer but greatly discouraged by my parents to pursue dance after high school. As an adult, I have become involved in Nutcracker productions, dancing as an adult in the 1st Act Party Scene with my husband. So much fun! It is so fulfilling to be onstage again, even if it’s such a small part.

    My big aspirations involve somehow figuring out how to help children with autism. Two of my children regressed into very profound, severe autism, and God shook everything I believed as an RN to pieces. He dared me to find alternative answers to heal them. Thank God I listened. They are both recovered, which is truly controversial. However, along the way to their recovery, I learned invaluable information about autism being an autoimmune disease in many cases. Regular doctors diagnosis autism in terms of behaviors, with little hope besides therapy and meds to control aggression. God led me to doctors that reversed the autoimmune process in my young toddlers’ brains. I feel compelled—no, absolutely pushed—by God to figure out how to help others, but I just don’t know how. I have spoken at biomedical autism groups, spoken at my sons’ special ed preschool, written an article for the small-town newspaper in my home town, and emailed/spoken with individual moms.

    Now #10 is on his/her way, so my time is very, very limited. I just wish God would send some kind of flashing billboard with directions. 🙂 Oh, and sleep. And a maid.

    I loved reading this post! Can’t wait to finish reading Lisa’s book. God bless, and thanks for reading the small book I just wrote. 😉 Thank you for letting me dream a little.

    • Jaimie — you’re not late, your timing is perfect!! This is meant to be an ongoing conversation. I hope you’ll go back and look at all of the other book club posts. They have been such an amazing blessing for me. I know you’ll enjoy them too. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I look forward to learning more about your “Yes!”

    • Wow, Jaime. I am so very inspired by YOU! Thank you for sharing and I can sense that you absolutely have a gift and a message to share with others. I will keep you in my prayer intentions because I have a few friends who seem to be walking a similar path as you have with two of your kids.

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