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Black Catholic Young Adults

Dying to Self

Katy FloodI had been grappling with these verses since I read them during my morning Bible study back in October:

Article Index
Dying to Self
What does it look like to be crucified with Christ? What does it mean that “I no longer live?” How do I deny myself? Click for full story
Shining her Light: Proud Young Women, Black & Yes, Catholic!
In honor of Black Catholic History Month, 13 year old Vanessa was asked by her churches BCHM Committee to share with her Parish what it means to her to be Black and Catholic. Click for full story
Vocation, a Journey to Conversion
A reflection written by Fr. Davis when he was a deacon. He was ordained to the priesthood June 2013 in New York. Click link for full story
Online Resources for Teens: lifeteen.com
Check out the these resources for teens concerning alcohol, sex, living a pure life and more Click link for full story
Examination of Conscience
Every day we must examine our reflections and take account for the mark we have left on the world. Click link for full story
The Time has Come
On June 1, 2013, seven young men of the Josephite Fathers and Brothers religious community were ordained to the priesthood at the National Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC in what was both a festive and holy occasion. Click link for full story
The National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) 2013
From November 21st through November 23rd, the young Catholic church of the United States will gather in Indianapolis, Indiana to play, pray, and praise as only they know how at the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC). Click link for full story
The Road to Youth Ministry: Discerning God’s Call
Ministry discernment begins with a call received at baptism. This call comes from God to every baptized Christian. Some folks would like to think that God dialed the wrong number and couldn’t possibly be calling them. They are wrong. God calls all of us to mission and ministry. Click link for full story
Is Waiting Worth It?
The boundary for sex is marriage. God instructs us to wait to express our physical sexuality with another human being. He knows the power of it and knows that the best place for it to be expressed is inside of marriage. When sex happens inside of marriage it acts as a bond that keeps two people together, for life. Click link for full story
My Reflections on the National Black Catholic Congress XI
I have attended Congresses in the past as a youth. But now as a young adult, I believe I learned more from the experience. Perhaps now, as I am developing my own relationship with God, I was able to comprehend the various topics discussed in a deeper manner. Click link for full story
Reflections on Keeping Young Adults in the Catholic Church
I see the kids and teens in my own church and while they may not be on fire with their faith yet, I see that spark that will soon ignite and want so much for them to keep that spark ignited. I want them to join their church committees, be a true member. I want them to stay with their faith and profess to the world that yes we are black, we are Catholic and we are just as on fire with our faith as other Christians. Click link for full story
Words from YOUTH that attended the NBCC (National Black Catholic Congress)
Reflections from YOUTH that attended the NBCC (National Black Catholic Congress) with pictures. Click link for full story
The Princess Within: 3 Steps to Realizing Your True Identity
The attack on our feminine souls can be strong and relentless. The war on our identity can seem like a never-ending nightmare. Where can you turn to find relief? Where can you go to find the answers to who you really are? How can you begin to realize that you are beautiful and perfect, a true princess? Click link for full story
The Teen Brain: Still Under Construction
The more we learn, the better we may be able to understand the abilities and vulnerabilities of teens, and the significance of this stage for life-long mental health. Click link for full story

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Matthew 16:24-25

I just didn't get it. What does it look like to be crucified with Christ? What does it mean that "I no longer live?" How do I deny myself?

I wanted answers. But it seemed no one had any. I wanted to know what it looked like to be completely surrendered to Christ and to die to self. But I didn't know anyone who could tell me what I needed to do to make that happen. Of course, we all can give examples of those people that sold everything they had and moved to Africa to serve the poor and destitute. But I wanted to know how to do that right here, while still having electricity and running water.

Maybe I shouldn't have tried to find out the answer. Maybe I should have just read the verses and moved on. But I couldn't move on. I got stuck there. And God wasn't going to let me go so easily. I just had no idea what was coming next.

And it was a big. No, it was huge. It would change everything.

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So, how does one "die to self?" Well, I think it is done one of two ways. One, you can release those things you are clinging to and allow God to take control. Or, two, you can have something so incredibly blind-side you that you are forced to die to self.

I had the latter happen.

At age 45 I have found myself pregnant with baby number four (actually #8, with 4 in heaven). I know, some of you are laughing out loud. 45? What was God thinking when He decided this little maneuver?

Don't get me wrong, I love babies. Babies are beautiful and definitely a blessing. It's just that we had moved on. My youngest went off to kindergarten this year, and for the first time in 13 years, I was on my own during the day. I was back to a job that I love and enjoying the stages of life my three boys are in. I can't say I didn't think it could be a possibility, but I just knew (so I thought) that God was changing the direction of my life and that we were finished with babies. I am 45 years old. Come on. Really?

I have cried a lot this past month. I have wrestled with the numbers (how old I will be when he/she is in grade school, when they graduate high school. I have stopped running the numbers because it doesn't look good). I have cried out to God and asked why. And the only reply I have heard back is "Do you trust me, Katy?"

Ahh, that word again. Trust. Do I trust Him? Intellectually, in my head, yes. But in my heart, down deep where the sensitive issues lie, do I? I had to wrestle with that. I still wrestle with that.

I have had to mourn the loss of the life I desperately wanted. The ministry that I was so hoping God was going to bless and increase. The adventure and travel and speaking and ministering all over the world. The Word says He gives us the desires of our hearts, right? So why wasn't this turning out like I had hoped and planned?

Because this isn't about me. Ouch. That is hard to even write, much less hear it come out of my mouth.

Those verses above are saying that it isn't about me. Or you. It's about Him. And when we surrender it all to Him, then we surrender all. All means all.

It doesn't mean some or a little or most. It means all.

How easily we can give Him the eight or ten things we hold most precious, but hold so tightly onto those last two. I heard that zinger at a seminar recently and it struck me so hard I gasped out loud!

I had surrendered. But I guess not all. There was still something I was holding back, thinking that He wouldn't notice. But He did.

Maybe you can relate? Okay, maybe not to being 45 and pregnant again. But I am sure that there is something that you are having to die to or have had to die to? Something that is forcing you to move in a direction that you hadn't planned, or maybe even wanted? Maybe you've lost a loved one and you are having to do life without them. Maybe it's a job that you loved and now it's gone. Maybe you look at your life and it isn't anything that you thought it would be. You thought you'd be married by now. Or have children by now. Maybe you're not in the job you want, the career you want, the ministry you want.

When things like this happen, our flesh just wants to scream and yell. I wanted to throw myself on the floor, kick my legs like a 2-year old, and throw a royal temper tantrum. We want the circumstances to change and for everything to go back to the way it was. But we can't make that happen. I can't make that happen.

And so we learn what it looks like to die to self. To be crucified to Christ. To no longer live, but to have Christ live through us.

I am learning what it looks like to give Him the very sacred parts of my heart trusting that He will care for them better than I ever could.

Hard lessons to learn, I will say. But I know that this life that I am living has had some incredible highs - both personally and in ministry. I have traveled, spoken, taught, shared and encouraged men and women all over this world. I have watched three beautiful boys grow and learn and develop into children that I am proud to call mine. I have a husband that is my biggest encourager and cheerleader (don't tell him I called him that). That is a pretty sweet life, I must say!

Oh, life won't look like I had planned. But I am trusting that the God who created me, loves me, and knows me, just might make it look even better!

Katy Flood is an international speaker who encourages others to walk in the truth of who they are. She speaks to teens and adults on the topics of true beauty, identity, sexual integrity and relationships. More information about Katy's speaking ministry can be found at www.katyflood.net. Her blog, Beautifully Redeemed, is where she shares her passion for these truths -www.beautifullyredeemed.com. Katy is a wife, a mother of three beautiful boys, one daughter and lives in central Pennsylvania

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