My mother always told me I should marry rich…

According to my mother, I’ve always been different from my siblingsnever doing anything normal in reference to a job, among other things. The Father has etched in my heart this ministry and I desire to serve Him and let others know His love. Well you still love J.crew, Williams Sonoma and other fine things, so you should marry rich. I’m not opposed, nor would I say no to marrying a man I loved, who was both rich in the Father’s love and well off financially :) But in the mean time…

So, this is humbling and I really need YOUR help! Since launching Made in His Image I have fundraised my salary and have barely gotten by paying my rent, car insurance, phone bill, food, gas for my car, etc. I have had an exceedingly large dentist bill over the past several months and I’ve really been struggling financially. I need to raise at least $800.00 to pay for 2 months of rent.

All of the money that MIHI has received has gone to help the women involved and now I really need some financially support. I would be so incredibly grateful if you would please consider donating to this cause. I might just make you a pie in exchange :) Or anything you might like :)

CLICK HERE TO MAKE A DONATION AND CLICK ON THE MAKE A DONATION TAB

I am extremely grateful!
Feel free to ask any questions and please pass this along to anyone you think might be able to help.

Maura Byrne

Founder of MIHI

ps and my mom was partially kidding, partially being serious when she said that :) And I told her this was the kind of man I was going to marry :)

Happy Mother’s Day!

Made in His Image would like to wish all mothers, whether alive or in Heaven, a beautiful and blessed Mother’s Day!! We are praying for you in a special way today! Thank you for your selfless love.

My mom is one of the most giving and selfless people I know. Just last weekend when I called her early Sunday morning to tell her I had a layover at the Newark airport for two hours that I didn’t know about, she makes some of my favorite food to bring to me.

I bet I was the only person at the airport that day that was brought homemade blueberry scones, strawberries and a grilled balsamic chicken and roasted red pepper sandwich. Yep, I’d be willing to bet I was the only one!

From a very young age, I vividly remember my mom teaching me the power and beauty of the Rosary. I have seen my mother’s faith put into action through exceedingly difficult and traumatic times. She never doubted in the presence of God, despite all odds, always trusting that He would provide.

One of my favorites memories with my mom was when she taught me to bake. I miss those days so much. My mom is one of the most amazing and talented cooks alive. Her talent is incredible and her ability to bring people together through a meal is beautiful. She can take the most ordinary ingredients and turn them into a delicious masterpiece on your dinner, breakfast or lunch plate.

If there was a selfless mother award my mother would win it hands down. When I was going through therapy, she started her own music business – teaching children to play the piano and gave all the money to help pay my student loans, so I didn’t need to worry about another expense. My mother is an exquisite definition of selfless love. I aspire to love like her in my lifetime.

I love you Mom! Happy Mother’s Day! And yes, you were right, I wish I had listened to you and kept up with my piano lessons!

This is one of my favorite pictures of my mom, right after my brother’s wedding.

The Most Important Person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral, a dwelling for an immortal soul. Even the angels have not been blessed with such a grace. They cannot share in God’s creative miracle to bring new saints to Heaven. Only a human mother can. Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creature; God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation.

What on God’s good earth is more glorious than this: to be a mother? – Joseph Cardinal Mindzenty

Happy Mother’s Day!!

So why MIHI, he asked…

Yesterday someone asked me, Why did you launch Made in His Image? And this is my answer: Made in His Image exists to help women find their worth and cherished dignity as a daughter of God. This is for the woman who sees her self-worth through a number on a scale. This is for the woman who looks at a photoshopped model and wants to be her. This is for the college athlete who needs to try harder to honor God with his or her athletic ability. This is for the college student whose hope has run dry. This is for the young girl who has nightmares of traumatic events and still locks her door at night because of fear. This is for the girl who has scars on her body from abuse and even deeper emotional scars on the inside. This is for the woman who just heard the words from her boyfriend, I’m addicted to pornography. This is for the woman who can’t stand her reflection in the mirror. This is for you, because I love you. I love you with every ounce of my sensitive heart. And I will not stop until you know the Father’s love, until you feel His gentle arms around you saying, you are my child and I love you not because of what you do, but because you are mine.

Now, on to some positive thinking…

You are what you think! Today, take one negative thought and turn it into a positive thought. For example, if you look in the mirror and are tempted to think “I hate my body” instead, choose one positive thing about your body. For instance, “I love that my eyes are blue.” I know you can find something positive. Try!

ALSO: YOU MUST HAVE A PLAN! Poor planning leads to a disaster.

One woman involved with Made in His Image wrote the following.

Summer Goals:

  • Daily Holy Hour
  • Daily Mass (3 times a week)
  • Confession twice a month
  • Sunday Mass
  • Continue counseling
  • Go to the beach frequently
  • Train for 5K (5 Days a week workout: 3 cardio intense days, 2 light cardio days & lifting)
  • Overcome my eating disorder
  • Lose weight in a healthy manner
  • Job if possible
  • Lots of baking/cooking
  • Read lots of books
  • Write
  • Take pictures
  • Go to at least one concert
  • Most importantly, make Jesus happy!
That’s AWESOME!! MIHI is so proud of her!

Another woman wrote:

I remember once, about a month ago, when I was extremely hurt and felt such a strong urge to binge/starve myself, drink and cut myself or take an overdose. Instead I decided to try something different and I went to the chapel and prayed and cried my heart out in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The release, peace and joy I felt afterwards were incredible. – written by one of the women Made in His Image helps hold accountable

Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament….There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth, and more than that: Death: by the divine paradox, that which ends life, and demands the surrender of all, and yet by the taste (or foretaste) of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained, or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, which every man’s heart desires. – J.R.R. Tolkien

What’s your plan? Let Made in His Image help you! Contact us today!

When Life Disappoints: Vulnerability & Relationships

The human heart is a complex thing to understand. In fact, I don’t think we can ever truly comprehend the depth of the human heart and all it’s facilities. It can love passionately one minute and be crushed the next, but admits the joy and pain it keeps beating, keeping us alive. Our hearts can give, feel pain, joy, sorrow, and be pierced with disappointment.

Last night I couldn’t sleep and pondered vulnerability, relationships and God’s love, among other things. I think everyone has experienced the pain of losing someone close to them. It hurts.

Then I thought of something: God is the ultimate example of vulnerability. He came not just to give a piece of His heart to us, but all of it. He allowed the Romans to arrest Him, spit, slap and beat Him. He opened Himself up to be scourged out of love for us, as His flesh was torn from His body and blood spilled out. They roughly submerged a crown of thorns on His head, which penetrated into His skull. Then he lovingly picked up His cross and carried it to Calvary. Along the way He thought of you and I, because we were why He chose to suffer. But He never regretted a moment of His bitter and sacred passion, He only kept loving us. When He arrived at Calvary, the soldiers violently stripped Him of His garments to the point of tearing His flesh. As they pounded nails into His scared Hands and Feet, He thought of you and I, and He kept giving until He expired His last.

So despite how the world disappoints us, the people that lie to us and let us down we must keep fighting with love in our heart. We must keep striving to open our hearts to vulnerability without the fear of being hurt. And if our heart should get hurt, we must make the choice to see beauty in the opportunity to mirror Christ’s love: to give without asking anything in return.

This is for the woman who looks at a photoshopped model and wants to be her…

Because you’re worth more than that!

Numerous emails this week caused me to reflect on the birth of Made in His Image, something I really needed to do. It’s not mine – it’s His. I have simply tried to respond to the desire and grace He has put in my heart. Often times I shutter at how poor of a job I do, but with each new sunrise and Holy Communion comes a chance to begin again. A chance to throw myself into the arms of the Father and ask Him for the grace to respond with courage and strength to what He is asking of me. Because while there are times that I bust out 5 miles in record time because I’m so excited for this ministry, at other times it’s scary.

I need to continue to learn how to not take people’s negative comments personally. Pray for me. Sometimes I get really tired, but I trust in the Father’s gentle love, peace and reassurance. I know He wants this. This is for Him. This is for the girls who need to know their worth and their cherished dignity as a daughter of God. This is for the woman who sees her self-worth through a number on a scale. This is for the woman who looks at a photoshopped model and wants to be her. This is for the college athlete who needs to try harder to honor God with his or her athletic ability. This is for the college student whose hope has run dry. This is for the young girl who has nightmares of traumatic events and still locks her door at night because of fear. This is for the girl who has scars on her body from abuse and even deeper emotional scars on the inside. This is for the woman who just heard the words from her boyfriend “I’m addicted to pornography.” This is for you, because I love you. I love you with every ounce of my sensitive heart. And I will not stop until you know the Father’s love, until you feel His gentle arms around you saying, “you are my child and I love you not because of what you do, but because you are mine.”

You are the Heavenly Father’s daughter. You have inherent worth as a daughter of God, created for greatness, in His image and likeness. You are an heir to the Kingdom of God.

Also, don’t let the manufactured bodies that you see in the media deceive you. Those models are exceedingly sick, here’s proof. Model Crystal Renn’s agent told her, “you either live with the difficulty of being so thin or become a plus-sized model.” Put your time and energy into striving to imitate the Saints. They should be your role models.

Those Thoughts Use to Plague Me

Last weekend, my best friend Karissa and I stopped at Whole Foods to get coffee prior to going to a movie. The barista looked at me, May I help you miss, what can I get started for you? 

Can I get a small mocha to go please. Would you like whip cream on that miss? (People say miss a lot in the south). Yes, please.

That will be 3.27.

I reached into my brown bag (a Longchamp bag given to me by my sister Clare) for my wallet. Karissa gently touched my bag, Let me get this for you Maura. Really? That’s so nice of you. Yes, I would like to treat you. My mind flooded with memories as Karissa paid, some good and others that were not pleasant to relive

Someone once told me, The depth of our love is how well we receive. I never use to be able to receive love from people. I always questioned their motives. Why does this person want to help me? Why are they being so nice to me? They couldn’t possibly mean what they say. How could they love me? I feel so unlovable, they must want something in return. I mean really, what is it that they want from me? 

Those thoughts use to plague me. While it is still difficult at times to trust, especially when it comes to men/relationships I have made tremendous progress. I am so grateful for God the Father’s love in my life and His hand over me. He desires the same healing for you!

Receiving appropriate love is very important. It allows the giver to get out of themselves and think of another. Therefore, when I would turn down a perfectly genuine gesture of love from a friend it brought the attention to me, instead of focusing on the giver who was trying to do a kind act. So really, when you receive love from others, you are allowing the giver to grow in virtue and character, and you, the receiver, are learning too. You are learning to trust again, which is exceedingly challenging after various traumatic events, when people have let you down, or when you constantly question other’s motives.

Perhaps you think of yourself as I did, someone unworthy of love. That is a lie and you MUST combat those thoughts with Truth. You are worth more than you can even fathom. You my friend, are a child of God, an heir to the Kingdom of Heaven. You have transcendent value just as you are – a son or daughter of the Father. His love is not conditioned on your physical appearance, the grades you get in school, your athletic ability or what you accomplish. He loves you just the way you are and when He gazes at you all He sees is His child, whom He yearns to help and protect.

How could you not be worth something with a future and Father such as those?

Pornography is Satan Personified

Please join me in praying for all of those who are addicted to porn. Below is a really great article, please read and share. Let us strive to change our culture for the Kingdom, one soul at a time.

Raquel Welch: the ‘era of porn’ has ‘annihilated’ men

BY KATHLEEN GILBERT

Tue Mar 13, 2012 17:04 EST

March 13, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As one of America’s most revered sex symbols, she might not be the first celebrity to jump to mind as a crusader against pornography. But Raquel Welch, who rose to icon status as the beauty in the leather bikini from the 1966 movie One Million Years BC, told Men’s Health Magazine in an interview posted online March 8 that today’s sex-saturated culture had sapped the meaning out of sex, and damaged countless men through the pornography industry, which she called “an exploitation of the poor male’s libidos.”

“It’s just dehumanizing. And I have to honestly say, I think this era of porn is at least partially responsible for it,” Welch said of rampant sexual addiction. “Where is the anticipation and the personalization? It’s all pre-fab now. You have these images coming at you unannounced and unsolicited. It just gets to be so plastic and phony to me.

“Maybe men respond to that. But is it really better than an experience with a real life girl that he cares about? It’s an exploitation of the poor male’s libidos. Poor babies, they can’t control themselves.”

Welch criticized men’s modern habit of “equat[ing] happiness in life with as many orgasms as you can possibly pack in,” and described the concomitant loss of real masculinity in vivid terms.

“I just imagine them sitting in front of their computers, completely annihilated. They haven’t done anything, they don’t have a job, they barely have ambition anymore,” said the 71-year-old actress. “And it makes for laziness and a not very good sex partner. Do they know how to negotiate something that isn’t pre-fab and injected directly into their brain?”

When Eric Spitznagel of Men’s Health interjected that Welch’s views could come across as “prudish,” the aging sex icon said she was “fine with that” and pined for the days when bedroom fantasy was a private matter.

“Can you imagine? My fantasies were all made up on my own,” she said. “They’re ruining us with all the explanations and the graphicness. Nobody remembers what it’s like to be left to form your own ideas about what’s erotic and sexual. We’re not allowed any individuality. I thought that was the fun of the whole thing. It’s my fantasy. I didn’t pick it off the Internet somewhere.”

This isn’t the first time Welch has been critical of the culture that helped fuel her lengthy career: in a 2010 column for CNN, she lamented the effects of contraception on society, particularly its enervating effect on marriage, the “cornerstone of civilization.”

“Seriously, folks, if an aging sex symbol like me starts waving the red flag of caution over how low moral standards have plummeted, you know it’s gotta be pretty bad,” she wrote.

For the complete article click HERE.

So Don’t Be Afraid to Show Them Your Beautiful Scars

I have received several emails in the past few weeks that inspired this post today.

Yesterday evening I read an email before going for a run. It echoed many I have received and my sensitive heart truly ached for the young woman who wrote it. Of course I could pray for her, but was there anything else I could do?  I pondered those thoughts as I rummaged through my winter clothing to find my Nike running pants.

Yesterday it was cold in Nashville. I’ve definitely grown accustom to the warmer weather of the south, so when it’s registering high forty’s I bundle up. My mom always use to joke that if anyone in our family was missing a blanket in the winter they would probably be able to locate it on my bed.

I laced my Asics tightly and turned on my ipod, and as my feet hit the pavement all I could think about was helping this woman who is a prisoner inside her own body. I’ve never met her, like the majority of the people I receive emails from. Yet I know most of them. I know their stories. I know their pain and I know it well; and I’ve shared their struggles in a unique way.

This woman and many others have expressed their fear in getting help, and that is what I desire to address today. I want to be vulnerable with you and share part of my story. It is my hope that God will use it, to inspire those who need professional help to seek it out. Several years ago I was very sick and didn’t know what was wrong. In order to conceal some information, because it’s in my book, I will condense the story. I went to IPS (Institute for the Psychological Sciences) in Arlington, Virginia. While there, I participated in two full days of intensive psychological testing. It was one of the most emotionally and physically draining things I have ever encountered. Several weeks later I went back to hear my results. I was diagnosed with chronic post traumatic stress disorder due to various life experiences. Three doctors recommended for me to engage in intensive trauma therapy for two years. I finished in a year and a half.

The thought of getting help consumed me with trepidation.  Why should I go and reveal my heart and soul to a psychologist? In my naivety, I convinced myself that:

1. They will never understand.

2. I don’t even know how to form words to describe how much it hurts to a friend, let alone a stranger. 

3. I can’t afford it.

4. I’m scared and the thought of talking to someone makes me shake with nervousness. 

5. What if the people who hurt me find out that I told?

6. If I get help and cry I’m displaying a sign of weakness. 

Well, after completing a year and half of intense trauma therapy I can tell you from my heart that:

1. There are doctors that genuinely care and understand. They might not have experienced the same difficulties you have, but are trained extensively to help you. It takes tremendous faith and trust on your part to trust them.

2. There are countless ways to express your pain and struggles. It will take time, but you can start slowly and build up to revealing more. You can also draw as well to express your feelings, trauma and emotions. Art therapy is very common and helped me tremendously.

3. I worked 7 days a week in the beginning to pay for the care I needed. In addition, I was awe-struck at the generosity of my doctors who made my care affordable for me. Two doctors never even sent me a bill for thousands of dollars of care they administered. They wrote off the entire bill. One receptionist told me “In his twenty-five years of practice I have never seen him not bill a patient.” People genuinely want to help and it’s good for wounded hearts to receive love through others generosity.

4. It’s okay to be scared. I would actually be concerned if you weren’t. When I first met my doctor I was terrified. I had only spoken with him once on the phone and the sound of his voice frightened me. I knew God wanted me to see him; I knew in my heart He wanted me to take this leap of faith. So I packed everything I owned into my Honda Accord and moved to Tennessee. If it didn’t fit in my car I left it behind. The first time I met my doctor in person, I knew everything was going to be okay. He was one of the most gentle, patient, faithful and educated doctors I had ever encountered. Was I still scared despite those characteristics I listed about him? Of course, as that is only natural, but sometimes, we are our own worst enemies. We need to learn to trust those who are deserving of our trust.

After God, I credit him for my healing. Made in His Image would never have been possible without him. He now sits on the Board of Directors for Made in His Image.

5. Contrary to what I thought, you are exhibiting tremendous courage and strength in seeking out professional help. It might not feel as if you are, but you are. Your vulnerability, bravery, determination and perseverance will shine through the darkness, it simply takes time.

Two years ago I sat in Arlington, Virginia at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences (IPS) when Dr. Kathryn Benes compared me to a solider returning from war. Dr. Benes is the Director of the Catholic-based Psychology Ministry at Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Denver. Prior to moving to Colorado, she served as an Associate Professor and the Director of the training Clinic at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences. Dr. Benes also developed a nationally recognized, diocesan-wide mental health program that ultimately became a doctoral-level psychology internship site in the Nebraska Internship Consortium in Psychology, an institution accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). This program is currently the only APA-accredited internship site in the nation that is specifically designed to train psychologists from a Catholic perspective.

Seeing Dr. Benes’ credentials and hearing what she said about me helped reshape my thought process. Also my brother is a Captain in the Marine Corps and has served two missions overseas, if I knew he needed help I would encourage him to get it. And would most certainly not think him weak for receiving that care. I would think him tremendously courageous for embracing what needs to be dealt with, instead of simply ignoring it. Why didn’t I see myself as worthy of the same care? Why wasn’t I good enough to receive help? 

I wrestled with those thoughts and came to discover my dignity as His daughter worthy of care. Our Father desired nothing more than to provide, protect and take care of me in my illness and beyond and His generosity is boundless. He simply asks us to trust Him.

Will you not let Him provide for you the same way?

So don’t be afraid to show them your beautiful scars, ‘cause their the proof, yeah you’re the proof – Matthew West

It’s Coming On Christmas

So it’s Christmas Eve and the stockings are hung, Christmas tree is decorated, cookies are baked, presents are wrapped, house is clean, Christmas Eve dinner is being cooked and all of the little cuties (children) are eagerly and anxiously awaiting Santa’s arrival in the morning as they contemplate the age old question: Does Santa like regular milk or chocolate milk – sugar or chocolate chip cookies? What if he is lactose in tolerate? 

Let’s take a moment despite the hustle and bustle of the day to prepare our hearts and minds for the King’s birth. The birth of the One who was born into humanity so that He could then be ridiculed, spat upon, crowned with thorns, scourged, nailed to a cross and killed for our salvation.

Neither Advent nor the tomb is Christ’s final rest in the world. He rests in the midst of the world now, in the Host.

He is as silent, as secret and hidden, in the Host as He was in Advent or in the tomb. He trusts Himself to His creatures in the Host as He trusted Himself to Our Lady in Advent; only then He gave Himself into the keeping of the one human creature who was sinless and in whom He could have His will, and now He gives Himself into the keeping of sinners.

In the Host He is immobile, dependent. He rests in the priest’s hands, on the paten, in the tabernacle. He remains with us, resting in all the cities and all the lonely and unexpected places of the world, in little tin churches as well as the great cathedrals, in schools and hospitals and prisons and asylums, in concentration camps. Wherever human creatures are, He rests in their midst.

Just as His sleep in the boat that was threatened by the storm made His Apostles ask Him, “Master, art Thou unconcerned?” so there are those who are puzzled today by what looks like unconcern.  It seems to them that once again Christ sleeps unconcerned in Peter’s boat, which is threatened with the danger of sinking; but again the same answer comes to us across two thousand years: “Why are you faint-hearted?  Have you still no faith?”

Christ could show His power and glory; He could show that the Host is God; He could break down the pride of those who have no fear of God. He does not. While injustice and arrogance prevail, He remains silent and helpless, and seems to do nothing at all.

It has always been Christ’s way to come first in secret, to come in a hidden way, to be secret even in those in whom He abides, whose life He is, to be known first by His love, gradually becoming known by the quickening of His life within them and only afterwards by His face or by His power, by the word that commands the wind and the water.  The Host is resting among us in order that Christ may work the miracle of His love in us, changing us almost imperceptibly into Himself, in order that through us His love may overcome the world. -From spiritual writer & mystic, Caryll Houselander: “Wood of the Cradle, Wood of the Cross”

Leaves you with a lot to ponder eh?

It’s Christmas Eve shout out time!!! Can I get a drun roll please…Bum, bada bum, bada bum bum. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I would like to introduce you to a good friend, the incredible, talented and holy MATT FALEY! And the crowd goes wild!!

Matt works full-time in young adult ministry and uses this platform to share the gifts and talents he has been given to re-invigorate the Gospel for college students and young adults. Matt is an experienced speaker and worship leader who has brought his energy, humor and authenticity to college students and young adults all over the Midwest.

Check out Matt’s amazing blog: When Neccessary Use Words. Matt use to serve as a FOCUS Missionary and has a really awesome facebook page as well, Matt Faley – Catholic speaker.writer.singer. Go ahead and “like” his page and share Matt’s joy for Christ with all of your friends.

Will I Ever Be “Normal?”

If I had a penny for every time I asked myself that question when I had an eating disorder I’d be a rich woman.

Why is it that she can eat pizza, then ice cream and wake up the next morning and eat breakfast without worrying about her weight? Plus, she doesn’t exercise. I mean come on, what is up with that? And here I am eating next to nothing and exercising daily and still feel fat. What is wrong with me? Will I ever be free from these thoughts that plague me constantly? Will I ever be able to enjoy food again? Will I ever be able to eat like I use to and not think of myself as fat? Will I ever be able to run in moderation? Will I ever be normal again? 

Welcome to my past thoughts that consumed me for years.

Recently, with the launch of Made in His Image I have reflected extensively about where I have been in life and where God has brought me through His grace and healing. He desires the same for you. Healing is a gift, just like the cross, none of us earn or are entitled to healing. But, with the proper disposition, we can cooperate with God’s will for our lives.

When everything seems to go wrong – maybe you overeat,  under eat, exercise in excess or dwell on negative thoughts, the essential component in overcoming these behaviors is hope. Don’t dwell on your mistakes, acknowledge them so as not to deny they exist and ask for God’s grace to begin again. Each new sunrise marks the beginning of a new day, another opportunity to strive after holiness, virtue, moderation in exercise, positive thoughts, eating in moderation for those who overeat and striving to eat for those who restrict.

God is behind everything. Implore Him to assist you, the key to recovery is prayer and grace. And when you fall, dust off the dirt as you rise to thank God and begin again, always embracing each opportunity in life to seek beauty.

Also, turn to Mary as your mother and ask her to help you. I read the following from The Privilege of Being a Woman and it struck my heart as to how esteemed Mary is. Ask her to be your mother, tell her how much it hurts, how badly you desire healing and how you need Heavenly grace to continue in your fight for freedom. She is always listening to you and will take your petitions to her Son.

“Satan fears Mary not only more than all angels and men, but in some sense more than God Himself. It is not that the anger, hatred and the power of God are not infinitely greater than those of the Mary. But it is because Satan, being proud, suffers infinitely more from being beaten and punished by a little and humble handmaid of God, and her humility humbles him more than the divine power. The devils fear one of her sighs for a soul more than the prayers of all the saints, and one of her menaces against them more than all other torments.” – The Privilege of Being a Woman, by Alice Von Hildebrand