I know it's early...but happy St. Patrick's Day to all of my wonderful readers!
Lots of people celebrate the feast day of St. Patrick, one of the three patron saints of Ireland, by wearing green and eating potatoes. Last year, I made Irish soda bread. I doubt I'll do much this year since we're getting back from a vacation that day, but I'd better wear green or my sister will pinch me black and blue. Heck, I'm pretty sure we pinch each other even if we are wearing green. We're sisters.
But similar to St. Valentine (whom I blogged about back in February), not many people know much about St. Patrick. To be honest, I don't know very much about him, either. But what I do know actually came from VeggieTales. Watch the short yet wonderfully hilarious video here: https://youtu.be/fg5ejLGEnZk
Anyway, the man now known as St. Patrick was actually an English boy named Maywin Socket who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Ireland. People who are kidnapped into slavery, especially when they're sold to a distant land with a strange language, don't always react in the greatest ways. Some grow angry, others escape, and yet others develop a victim mentality. But not Maywin. He clung to the faith he'd learned in England and began to pray. By the time he left Ireland six years later, he was praying 100 times a day!
Eventually, Maywin went back to England and became a bishop. The church, for reasons I have yet to understand, decided to change his name to Patrick. Patrick then had a dream in which he felt led to go back to Ireland and preach to the people there. Today, he's credited with introducing Christianity to Ireland, as well as driving out all the snakes. But that's a story for another day.
I find it interesting that St. Patrick was called to preach to the same people who enslaved him. And he went willingly! I remember being in spiritual bondage. It's similar to physical slavery in that whatever bondage you have, fear in my case, dictates your every action. Sorry, I can't go to that party, I'm too scared. Sorry, I can't spend the night, I'm too scared. I don't want to go on vacation. What if something happens while I'm away from home?
And yet St. Patrick was willing to face all those fears he had, fight the good fight, and do what God was calling him to do. And because of him, an entire nation met God for the first time.
I know that I'm not always willing to face my fears. I have a lot of growing to do. But I'm starting to learn that God uses the battles we've gone through in life for our good. I dealt with fear--heck, I'm still dealing with it on occasion--but I can help other people. I can give them a hug, along with the kick in the pants and the "snap out of it!" that I needed in the midst of my own battles.
I haven't had many opportunities to help people through their fear. Maybe I'm not ready to do that yet. I know I still have a long way to go, that I still give into fear more times than I ought to. But I know I'll keep growing, learning, and that someday I will be ready to teach others.
Do you have any St. Patrick's Day traditions? I knew a family that dyed their Guinea pig green every time March 17 rolled around. If you have anything that crazy--or if you're just planning on eating a potato and wearing a green shirt--be sure to let me know in the comments below! God bless you, dear readers, and don't forget to like us on Facebook!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.