Deny Yourself

I went to bed last night thinking about my monthly reflection. I had not read the gospel reading yet, but as I lay there thinking, God placed a specific situation on my heart. I knew He was asking me to tell the story. This morning I sat at my computer and did a quick search for the readings of today. I had to chuckle when I read one of the first lines, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” I really think God has an incredible sense of humor for those of us who benefit from that. And so here goes my little story of denying myself….

Since our children were very small, I had their high school picked out. I would get excited just thinking about it when I drove by with small toddlers all buckled in car seats. As many of you know, time does not slow down, and I am convinced as we age it just goes by more rapidly. Before I knew it, we had a highschooler. Then two, then three, and now four.

Early this year, God not so sneakily brought up the idea of homeschooling quite literally through one of our daughters asking about it. My initial reaction was surprise and doubt. Then followed the thoughts of, “but this wasn’t the plan.” In other words, this was not MY plan. Humph.

Clear Message

The more we prayed about this and the more we talked about it, it was quite clear what we were supposed to do. God was asking me to deny myself, deny my plans. It was very hard. Fear and doubt weighed heavily on my heart. Many of those wiser than me who I consulted were supportive, but the person whose opinion I value more than anyone on earth (beside my husband) was, and still is, very much against this. There in lies the cross. I had to pick it up and I will be carrying it no doubt as we embark on this journey. Nevertheless, at the 11th hour when we committed to God’s plan instead of my plan, I had peace.

As we know, like it or not, it is only God’s opinion that matters. If I am doing His Will, it is enough. I am not strong enough, wise enough, insert whatever word here, but through Christ I am all of these things. For it is Him working through me, merely a vessel or clay.


Being the loving Father He is, He has given us many affirmations we are doing His will. I don’t know why I still get surprised by this. Perhaps it is not really surprise as much as sheer gratitude and joy. He surely does not need to send these big, bold affirmations, but they really are encouraging on this journey of discipleship.

We have the choice every day to hear His call or not, to act on His requests or ignore them. I hope you will act on them, carry your crosses, and grow that much closer to your Savior.

[Readings: Dt 4:32-40; Mt 16:24-28]

Joanne Huestis-Dalrymple

Joanne Huestis-Dalrymple is a freelance writer residing in Wake Forest, NC. She is a wife and mother of eight, plus two in heaven. Joanne coaches the St. Thomas More Academy swim team and is a member of the school’s CrossFit team. Joanne has a devotion to our Blessed Mother and she enjoys reading, writing, gardening and going on adventures with her big family.

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