Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Allow God to Take them into the Desert

As I sit here wishing to share my thoughts because it has been a while since I have said much of my own, I am in a state of blankness.  So much going on, being super busy, and just needing to rest in between it all is about all I have right now .... But I know there are morsels of grace I could share.  So I will try, and keep it simple and short.

Today is the Feast of the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist.  What a memorial.  John was the final prophet to introduce Our Lord before He was to made known to us.  His wisdom and holy life of preparation for His coming is an example beyond what can be understood, although we can attempt to understand it. 

John's sole purpose it seems, was to prepare the way for the Lord.  As I think of all the new college-goers, and students coming into the new school year (my kids, and my sister who just went to college last week and got moved in), I can't help but think of how John's endurance to serve the Lord first is also an example we must heed our attention to and continue to practice in faith.  I was talking to my daughter today--- and it's been difficult for her to figure out what she wants to do in life as an adult, in college, etc... I of course, encouraged her to pray and seek the guidance of God in her decisions.  Pretty basic, right?  But as I sit here and put these two things together, I am coming to the purpose of what to write today.  John knew our Lord from the very beginning of his existence, when he jumped in the womb of his mother as the precious sound of Mary's call to Elizabeth.  John also chose a path of self-mortification through his fasting days in the desert on locusts and honey. We are called to do the similar act of self-mortification and fasting as we are molded into people God wishes us to become.  So many temptations rouse our fickleness and distract us from His Plan.  We can get caught up in ourselves so easily, and lose that sight... We focus on our plans, and reward ourselves by working so hard, and forget to credit God for the gifts we receive, and we become engulfed in selfishness.  The Vice of all vices.  The virtue is what we must hold true to, doing the right thing, and continuing to pray, so that we, in a sense, allowing our efforts to do God's Will become our self-mortification. 

John said to make straight the paths for the Lord.  The path must be well lit, (which comes from our faithfulness and prayerful hearts), and we must not lose sight of His Will for us, by prayer, the Sacraments and sacrifice, to remain ON the path, and self-mortification so that we make the paths straight, where Christ can join us in our Journey.  When I say "we", I mean us and our kiddos must learn this lesson, daily. 

John suffered death, a horrible beheading, for his love our Lord and His Will.  He died what we think nowadays a humiliating death, as we are often afraid to be at the mercy of those who persecute us. So we chose to blend in, hiding our Christianity in a way. We hope our kids resist this temptation, and choose to serve the Lord vigilantly.  We all hope our kids will choose this virtuous and holy path, but it is not typically what we see from our kids at first. I struggle with the baffling reality that as my kids are aging, I cannot "read" them so easily.  Its frustrating, and we want the lines of communication to stay open, and we question their motives, their behavior, their path. 

Here is the catch:  But, we must allow God to take them to desert.  For, in the desert, they learn to know Gods Will, and the beginnings of wisdom to know God's Will are being shaped.  Some of them seem to have to be there a long time, where we as parents wonder how much longer before we see the fruit, and the victory over the temptations, trials, and tests.  As mothers, we have to have the kind of faith in them that we want to see them have.   Eventually, they will come back into the fruitful world and know the difference.   Either way, God's Will will come to be made manifest.  All the learning will amount to something God will use to mold our kids.  The desert is a GOOD place to cultivate holiness.  We must remember we are raising Saints first, scholars second. 

May Our Lord and St. John the Baptist be with you and your children in this new school year.
JMJ




Sunday, May 21, 2017

Love them the way I loved the cross

Earlier this morning after Mass, we had an amazing opportunity to see Father in Confession. As I was sitting there, contemplating my own struggles as a mom, the things I face from the scrutiny of the world, or the challenges that seem overwhelming, the Lord spoke to me and said this. "Love them the way I loved the cross! When it hurts, remember this: the cross splintered Me, and I embraced it. The crown of thorns pushed into My Head and I said nothing, but prayed forgiveness upon them. They pierced My Heart and My Precious Blood of Mercy poured out upon their faces." 


I of course, got teary, Recalling how Christ chose His Cross out of love for ME. Nothing was going to deter Him from His Mission. And oh, how it sounds easier said than done for mommas to do this... But He kept telling me that I must trust Him. Especially with all those worries of my heart.  I entrust my kids to Him.  

I of course, was thinking where the cause is for all my downfall and sin in terms of motherhood. It's  a little of everything.  Marriage, kids, the world out there, the laundry in here, the list could go on.  So many responsibilities can just plain drain a momma out. Being a mom to the teenagers, and then babies at the same time is beginning to reveal a great divide for me. I remember my kids all being babies. Now I have spunky teenagers reminding me of what fun is at that age. And I'm stuck in the middle. I'm mom yes, but I'm also 35. I'm not even over the hill yet. My heart still wants to have fun too. Part of me also still needs to be mom- the romodel-rule-making-don't-look-at-me-like-that-mom.  And part of me wants to have babies, still.  

A momma has to keep a clean house. Even more so when she needs to be organized and able to pull off homeschooling at the same time. Chores have to be done everyday. And she has to be the one to pull her kids off their devices at times to do them. All of these things can be very productive ways to bring peace into the home- or the opposite.  It can start a whirlwind of complaining or fighting. This is where it's hard for every mom and dad. The strain of the kids pushing the boundaries and testing the waters makes for a tired momma.  When they don't let up and submit to your authority, is when  it's tougher than ever.  My struggles are my lack of patience with the Lord at times to work miracles and make me have perfect kids now, and not trusting Him long enough for me to remember to keep calm and know that they will eventually turn out just fine, as long as I persevere.  Getting flustered and angry is too simple a response that I end up needing to go to confession for because I had failed to be at peace.  Let's face it- we all struggle and we probably can all relate to this exact scenario.  The hurt that cuts when you have a child defying you and after everything you've done to bring him or her up properly. It's a setback momentarily. This is what I felt when the Lord said what He said to me. He also reminded me, "Trust Me. Pray for the Grace to trust Me and remain at peace."
He also said, "Pray that you respond to this grace to love your children in the midst of the chaos when they are making poor choices.  Bring them to Me. You want to embrace family prayer time? Teach them to pray the way you like to pray.  Give them what I gave YOU.  Your mission is to bring them to ME.  I gave you what you need to do this. If you would trust Me and listen to me..."  

Now you see why the tears, heh? What a flood of truth! He had revealed quite a bit more to me, but I think I'm meant to keep some things to myself, for now. All I know is He wanted me to share this.  He knows I forget easily if I don't write it down, and so I do write. 

My relationship with Christ is amazing and ever-evolving. He is my breath. He is my energy. He is my Hope. It's so interesting how the Mass's readings today reflect so well in the lives and off the lives the faithful. I'm just amazed that the Scriptures today spoke of Philip's actions and that Peter said to "...be ready to explain the reason for this hope of yours." The Holy Spirit is so powerful and can speak volumes into our heart. But we must first, listen. And then DO. And by God's grace, we can succeed. We have a reason to hope, and we can simply trust Him. JMJ 


Reading 1
Philip went down to the city of Samaria
and proclaimed the Christ to them.
With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip
when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing.
For unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice,
came out of many possessed people,
and many paralyzed or crippled people were cured.
There was great joy in that city.

Now when the apostles in Jerusalem
heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God,
they sent them Peter and John,
who went down and prayed for them,
that they might receive the Holy Spirit,
for it had not yet fallen upon any of them;
they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Then they laid hands on them
and they received the Holy Spirit.
Reading 2
Beloved:
Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts.
Always be ready to give an explanation
to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope,
but do it with gentleness and reverence,
keeping your conscience clear,
so that, when you are maligned,
those who defame your good conduct in Christ
may themselves be put to shame.
For it is better to suffer for doing good,
if that be the will of God, than for doing evil.

For Christ also suffered for sins once,
the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous,
that he might lead you to God.
Put to death in the flesh,
he was brought to life in the Spirit.

Alleluia
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord,
and my Father will love him and we will come to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel
Jesus said to his disciples:
"If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
And I will ask the Father, 
and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always,
the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept,
because it neither sees nor knows him.
But you know him, because he remains with you,
and will be in you.
I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
In a little while the world will no longer see me,
but you will see me, because I live and you will live.
On that day you will realize that I am in my Father
and you are in me and I in you.
Whoever has my commandments and observes them
is the one who loves me.
And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I will love him and reveal myself to him."



Monday, May 8, 2017

“Please excuse this mess; I am building my dream home.”


“Please excuse this mess; I am building my dream home.”


What is your first thought at these words? 

I’ve heard similar sayings before, but I have always been annoyed with not having a perfectly tidy house, believe or not.  I like things in their places, being organized, and having my work and play time separated in my day.  I find it hard to relax if there is something I know that has to be done.  I am a worker. Probably one for perfection.  And obviously, that just can’t be attained.  I’m often rushed, feeling cramped for time, running late or something or other always because I try to tackle so many chores and items on my list every day.  But, I was hit with a reality while I was vacuuming tonight.  I always like to enjoy resting and getting my break after I send the kids to bed, because, in all honesty, it’s the one time of day I can get all my cleaning done, and it stays that way…. Long enough for everyone to be sleeping. Ha!  See the irony?  Ahhhh… I have reached a point where I am getting tired.  Of cleaning.  All the time.  I don’t want my life to be spent keeping house the way a maid would.  I want to be MOM.  There are struggles as a perfectionist personality.  Believe me.  And so I am grateful to God for His Holy Spirit. Especially when I am vacuuming at 10:30 at night. 

It’s true: I have inherited the same tidiness from my mom.  I remember always cleaning.  It seemed like we always had to keep house, and I often wished mom would just JOIN us.  I don’t want to be like that where I feel I am always missing my down time with my kids.  I have to make a mental and conscious decision to begin building my dream home. It isn’t the dream home built with brand new materials. Or one being perfectly new and fresh and clean.  Or one where it appears I have all my “stuff together.”  This past year, a friend revealed to our group of ladies that she fears what others will think of her, her mothering/parenting, etc., if she had friends over because she can’t always have the house in perfect order.  What a truth bomb.  Don’t we all face the same pressure?  We worry so much about how we are viewed because of the state of the house.  My question is “Why?”  Why is that so easy a trap to fall into?
First, we are the catalysts for the hope of the future, aka The KIDS.  Why WOULDN’T the evil one want to tear us down?  Make us feel like it’s too hard to raise a family? And second, we live in a culture where materialism is at its finest.  We often without thinking about it even, have the inert push to become Stepford Wives.  We want to “appear” to have everything.  Some of us don’t have these pressures, but I know many moms, and have seen MANY different personalities, Type Bs are great friends to Type As.  Some of us are just natural-born organizer Type A women who have to have order to manage all the things we take on, like myself. And that leads to a stressful situation sometimes. 


Source
Back to the opening title, what makes a dream home such? Is it the perfection, the nice, fresh house all the time? AS Christian mothers we must refocus our attention to one thing: raising our children to be happy and healthy.  I love the book A Mother’s Rule of Life. (I have it listed in my resource section.) We must designate a certain time for certain things each day, making the time with the kids and meals the priority:  even if we finish nothing else.  Be HAPPY AT HOME.  I recently shared a fantastic article from Above Rubies on loving to be home on my Facebook page (so be sure to read it if you haven’t!) And, so, we are left with leaving the house in shambles momentarily--- to have fun and quality time with our little ones (and teens too) ---and we can come back to the mess.
Isn’t a dream home a place simply where the food is cooking, the kids are playing, and you are happy? And when I say happy, I am not talking about having nice things.  I am talking about being able to read to the babies, and craft with the older kids, and enjoy life.  We barely have enough time in the day to imagine doing these things amongst the business, right?  Wrong.  It is our CHOICE of where to spend our TIME.  Just do it!  Can it be challenging, coming out of an old routine and attempting another one?  Yes. I get it.  I’ve been there. Lots of times.  You can make a master plan where you designate certain activities with your precious kids and NO MATTER WHAT, YOU STICK TO IT.  You will find that after some time, it will become what you ALL are looking forward to, and it became the priority for everyone.  
Build your dream home.  Leave the mess there.  Gather everyone around before bedtime to help reorder the house.  When you all go to bed, you will have peace and memories that you want to do again the next day.  And slowly, after some time, you will have built your dream home.  That place you call home where the cooking makes you happy.  Where the kids make you happier.  And where the mess isn’t such a big deal.   The house we wish to build is not of wood and nails, but of faith and virtues, hope and charity.

Remember, the catalogue picture of a dream home isn’t what makes it a dream.  It’s the peace and happiness inside that makes it all count.  Take a breath, and begin building.  <3

"Wherever God has put you, that is your vocation. It is not what we do, but how much love we put into it." ~ St. Theresa of Calcutta

JMJ

Friday, February 10, 2017

We have an offical HOLY MOTHERHOOD BLOG!

Come and visit us now at. . . .   THE HOLY MOTHERHOOD BLOG


I have had so much fun at this blogging site, I am going to keep everything that is here, here. But all the NEW stuff will be at the new place! Come stop on over and join us there!  :) 
(It's still under some construction there, but it will be finished soon!)