It’s all about balance, the dishes can wait.

Gospel  LK 10:38-42  The Gospel reading, the story of the sisters Martha and Mary.

Today is the Memorial of Saint Martha, poor suffering Martha.

I have read this or heard this Gospel all my life and always I had the same thought: “Why does Martha get the raw deal and Mary gets to do what she wants!”  I used to think about how selfish Mary was to not help her sister.  These thoughts came at a time when I was in a perfectionistic frame of mind.  I thought if I didn’t do it it, (whatever that it is), wasn’t going to to get done.

I wonder now if that isn’t where Martha was.  Here is Jesus, her friend, her Lord, her Saviour, and what is she doing: housework.

Today I heard this Gospel and sat straight up in my pew.  It’s all about Balance!

What does Jesus say to Martha?  “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken from her.”  At first what Jesus is saying kind sound a little belittling, especially if you feel as if no-one helps you.  It’s as if he isn’t going to command Mary to start working and help Martha.  And you want him to force Mary to help because you want and need help for all you have to do.

But look at these words, they are important: Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. When we are out of balance, we allow worry and anxiety to come into our lives and blind us to those things, those gifts that are all around us.  Jesus isn’t saying to Martha that she shouldn’t be worried, when appropriate, but she is putting too much into worry and allowing her perfectionism to take over.  Her perfectionism is like a little devil on her shoulder spitting venom into her ear about how Mary never helps, how Mary is always getting out of things. This out of balance view has Martha not being able to see is that the dishes can wait, but those rare moments will fly, and she/you/me will never get them back.  So, if Jesus comes to your house today, stop doing the dishes and sit for a while at his feet; it will do a world of good.

Women Betrayed by Planned Parenthood

rallyThis was my first political rally.  I don’t consider myself to be a political animal.  I hate politicals.  I didn’t go to the rally because of the politics; I went because of the women.

After hearing about Planned Parenthood selling of fetal body parts I was reminded of what Saint Mother Theresa said: “We must not be surprised when we hear of murders, of killings, of wars, of hatred. If a mother can kill her own child, what is left but for us to kill each other.
How I wish we were surprised by all manner of killing.

She also has said of abortion that it shows how well a society cares for all of it’s citizens.  We must now realize that abortion is genocide.

I was a past director of Project Rachel. I worked with women who had abortions. One of the speakers, MaryJo Thayer, said: “that women do go to have abortions as something they look forward to, they do it because they feel trapped.”  And that is so true.

If we want abortions to stop we must be willing as a society to give these young women alternatives, help them find the counseling they need, jobs, homes, daycare, education.

We must change the thinking from this will ruin their life to, it may delay goals, but life does get better.  Being a mom isn’t a curse, it’s a blessing.  You will become more powerful, more you than you could ever know.

We need to support not condemn.

It wounds me to the soul when I hear of faith-filled school who have policies of expelling young pregnant students.  Where is the compassion in that!  Those young girls are looking for help! Compassion!

It wounds me to the quick to think of how these moms must feel now that the news is filled with Planned Parenthood’s action.

I stood in there at the capitol thinking of all the women, all the children.  Praying for them. Praying for us.



From girl to the powerful woman called mom: Spiritual Evolution

Children Change Moms Profoundly

Children Change Moms Profoundly

I believe to be a good at any of the listening ministries: psychiatry, psychology, pastoral counseling, and yes, spiritual direction; you have to have had experiences that help to create you as a compassionate person, soulful listener.  In other words you have to be willing to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.

When I was a younger woman: high-school, college age, I was sure I knew what was what.  I was a bit militant in my beliefs that no-one has the right to tell a woman what she should do with her body, and I felt like that for a while; that is until I became pregnant with our first.

At that moment the womb was rented and I was a mom, like or not. I have to tell you I was surprised by that! I was sure that if I was ever to become pregnant I would just go off and have an abortion, but I couldn’t, wouldn’t do that.  It was scary to now be someone’s mom.  I wasn’t finished being me yet and now I have to become someone I don’t even know; mind blown.  Thank God it takes nine months to become a parent, because you need that adjustment period!  You need that time to listen to God’s call in your life.  It’s not just growing up, maturing, no it’s more incomprehensible, perplexing.  It is the reshaping of the soul, spirit, mind: You are co-creating with God in making a new person, wonderfully and marvelously made.

I call this time in my life the time of spiritual evolvement as I went through what I believe some moms go through.  First there is the denial that you are pregnant, must have missed counted, my period will start next week, well, maybe the week after!  Than anger at being pregnant, (if you were not planning to be in the first place), at the thought that God has given you all these gifts and talents that you can no longer use because you are going to be a mom. Then you bargain:  God if I am pregnant you gotta help me out!  Next you go through sorrow at the life you thought you were going to have disappearing as this new imposed life takes root.  But slowly new thoughts prayerfully emerge; thoughts of how your gifts and talents are now going to expand, they were never going to be wasted; you will be using them in greater more profound ways.

It is at that time that you/I became a mom.

But many moms, especially young moms go through this process spiritually blind.  They are so consumed with fear and what society tells them is going to be the worst thing to ever happen to them that they are like drowning women grasping for any life line that is thrown, and sadly that it is a false life line.

When I went off to college I had a roommate who experienced two abortions. What I remember now in highsight was even though I was in my militant you can do anything with your body stage of life I could not give this roommate money for her abortion.  It had nothing to do with it’s cost, at the time abortions where $300.00; it had everything to do with the deep seeded truth that abortion was not the way to go.  Somewhere in my soul I knew this little person did not deserve to die simply because life is messy.  God was putting the situation in front of me to have me look deeply into my own soul to see One: How was I being called to treat someone caught in that situation. How could I be the loving voice, gentle compassionate friend/image of Christ to her?  And two: what should my Christ like response be if she rejects what I have to say and says something like “it’s my body and none of your business what I do!”  She and I never roomed together after that incident and to this day I pray for her and for my own failings at not being insert thought here: _______.

When I was home during breaks working at the jewelry store that was in the same building as an abortion clinic I saw first hand the women who went in and then came out so changed by what had just happened.  Very few seemed to be leaving with a sense of relief and I write more about this experience in my post: The Spirituality of the Window.

Looking back on the journey of my life I can see the paths with their twists and turns, always leading back to those times when God was there as I faced my own worries and concerns at motherhood, was there with friends who dealt with difficulties with motherhood and wept with friends who made decisions that changed their lives beyond understanding.  Motherhood can seen as a role that can swallow you whole if you allow yourself to be.  Or it can become a powerful ministry and witness of Christ, one in which God uses your gifts, talents, hopes and dreams to profoundly change you and the world!  You can become a powerful woman who allows God to take those life experiences that change us and use them to create us into more compassionate and wise women.

Life is messy, and time and time again we are called to be like Christ, and motherhood has a way of helping us to do just that.


I am a Mommy with many cares

Mommy Mantra July 24, 2015

“Perfectionitis”, and it’s partner “controlisits”

don't panicHear then the parable of the sower. Matthew 13:18-23  

The Parable of the Sower hits me hard every time; especially reading this: “As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;  yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately  he falls away. “

I know many moms who live with great faith. I can think of one mom who just lost her disabled daughter, while caring for this lovely girl mom never seemed to lose faith, never seemed to lose joy. Her journey as a mom was filled with struggles many of us will never know, but still for her the seed seemed to land on good ground.

For many of the moms with which I have journeyed the tribulations of motherhood can take precedence over God. Every family has problems: children dealing with illness, addiction, emotional issues, and our mothering seems to be on very rocky ground. We hear the word, we may even love the word, but then life comes crashing in on us like a freight train, and it’s all we can do to just hold on!

It’s a very different thing if it is just you are a hearer of the word as a “regular person”, someone who feels as if they are not responsible for the futures of other people: people they help God create. I think then it is much easy to stop listen and receive the word. So why is so difficult for us moms? Some moms, myself included, have “perfectionitis”, and it’s partner “controlisits”. I call it being blind, deaf, and mute to God. For those of us afflicted with “perfectionitis”, and it’s partner “controlisits” we become blind to God by only seeing the trouble, we believe we are the only ones to see the future and it is most often grim. We have a huge time trusting that that there is a positive future. Then we become deaf to God, we are so worried that we are deaf to anything he may be trying to say to us! Finally that leads us to being mute. We don’t speak to him and if we do it’s rare.

Spiritually we are like chickens with our heads cut off. Our emotional headlessness, if you will, comes because we are running around panicked; it may be justified that we are panicked for a while, but we have to stop, look and listen for resources, helps and guide. Spiritually headlessness is much different. The panic pushes the word/God out of us. As in the parable we can hear the word, even rejoice in it, but panic will not let it take root.

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See even spiritual directors don’t have this spiritual stuff down yet.

A Pontifical Sung Mass at the close of the Mid...

A Pontifical Sung Mass at the close of the Middle Ages or early Renaissance (15th century) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How many of us are guided by the Spirit? I know I wish I would feel freer to be so.

For me, being guided by the Spirit means that I spend a few minutes in the morning praying about my day.  Doing the Morning Examen.  I have often thought I was born 800 years too early.  In the time, I live now being prayerful often gets you pegged as being a religious loon.

I know I am not alone.  There are so many who are holding back simply because of a fear, a fear of being different, fear of being confident to be prayerful, dare I say religious.  Please, my dear fellow moms I am not talking about someone sanctimonious!  I have no interest in that.  For me, it is letting spiritual aspect of my nature come to the fore much more than I allow it.  I don’t want to preach on a street corner, or make people feel uncomfortable with me.  Or appear like a stuffed shirt.  No!  Jesus was none of those.  He enjoyed a good wine, a fine dinner with friends, hung out with the rowdy crowd.  Geez, some of his inner circle were the rowdy bunch!

Jesus was no stuffed shirt, but you knew where he stood.  He was very clear about who he was and what he was doing.  He and His Father talked all the time.

Now, if I were living in the Middle Ages, going to Mass every day, being prayerful, setting life around a religious calendar would be the norm.  There are times when I think I would love to be cloistered, but only for a little bit.  So, maybe, for me this is a seeking of bring the aspects of monastic life that I love in balance with the life and family I love.

So, this week my dear fellow moms: May you be empowered by the Spirit to become who you are called to be.

Pray About the Girls

I am feeling it’s time to begin to step back, to begin to pray for the Duggars.  It is time to take stock of what we have learned/are learning/ will continue to learn.

One of my Fellow Moms wrote me on Facebook about a blog post I had written earlier that day: The Emperor was always naked: Duggar trauma.  First, let me say why I chose that title for my blog post.  The obvious is the reference to the children’s tale of the Emperor’s new clothes.  The Emperor is a vain and imperious man, which is easily made gullible by two greedy “cloth merchant/tailors”.

First off, there is JimBob as the Emperor, thinking that he, chosen by God, can do no wrong and, therefore, is all wise enough to know when he is being conned.  TLC, who are acting like the cloth merchant/tailor, having been lulled in by the Emperor’s story of ordained love and pure family, sees dollars signs.  So the Emperor and TLC were conning each other.

What TLC never saw was the Emperor was always naked.  He just hid his “sin” very well with a family dressed in the magic cloth of sanctimoniousness.

Now that we have spewed our bile, it is time to look back to see what it is God is calling us to do.  The Fellow Mom I mentioned brings up a very important point: the girls.

Well said, Patty. [Refering toThe Emperor was always naked: Duggar trauma] I noted earlier today that I took a mild interest in them; more from the stand point of how does a family that largely do life? Natural curiosity. I have not, however, viewed them as “not Christian,” but what you say really made sense and gave me an “aha” moment. I suppose I never paid much attention to their religious vitriol because I knew they were more extreme. It’s sad; I do feel somewhat betrayed because despite the extreme views they have, I wanted to believe that their hearts were in the right place. But yeah, the reactions have been less than desired. I mean, the sisters? That’s incest, and old or New Testament, that is an issue not taken lightly. Forgiveness and healing is important, and I pray that the girls who were violated can find some peace somehow. But getting peace means they need to have a voice, and sadly like so many other abused women, their voices are being silenced.

The girls are being overlooked as we rain down all our frustration and righteous indignation on the Duggars.  All of that will not be/is not/can not be helpful.  Now comes the time to step back.  Ask God, go to reconciliation, for all the unkind, unChristian thoughts we have had over the Duggars. For all the gleeful thoughts over their misfortune.

I have worked with many moms in crisis, with children sexually abused and know that the first response, after getting the abusing child in therapy, is to tend then to the abused victim.  It is very disturbing that, from what I know, Michelle has not gotten counseling for those girls. As her daughters experience life, issues will come up for them many of them revolving around trust, and self-worth.  For those who believe that self-worth is a code word for selfishness, consider what the Bible says about it. 

We are all made in God’s image.  God desires nothing more from us than to have a relationship with him.  He has died for our sins, given us grace and mercy, and provided the Holy Spirit to advocate for us.  All of this would not be done for someone worthless.

If they do not get counseling, and not the type that blames/shames the girls, but real Christian counseling that speaks of God’s Grace/Mercy and healing; these will girls may act out sexually. Their thinking being that they are created to be a boy’s/brother’s/man’s play thing because they are sinful, so, why not, what are they for anyway. Or they become sexually repressed, so fearful of that aspect of their life they can not become intimate with their husbands. Sex becomes a dirty duty instead of the God intended deep communication of love and trust. Both of which were destroyed by the molestation. And believe both were.

Let’s say the girls do marry and begin to have issues. If they turn to mom, and I have seen this happen as a social worker for Catholic Social Services; Mom is not going to want to hear it. Her reaction will be just to forget it’s over.

AND the most likely reaction from Mom, Michelle, is to forget it ever happened.  This will silent those girls for a long time, perhaps a life time.  And this code of silence is used by mothers who may have known or did know, as Michelle surely has, as a way to control the girls; to keep the facade that all is well/perfect.  It is used by the abuser to protect themselves from being caught.  It is the ultimate tool of control.

It is also the great soul killer.  When you are forced to be silent, you are compelled

to deny what happened to you.  The Duggar sisters would begin to think that “it” never happened.  Or that “it” was their fault so be quiet, so no one hates you.  As they deal with the aftermath of what their brother did to them: they lose all faith in man and God.

All in all not a very good scenario.

The Emperor was always naked: Duggar truama

Social Media has been a buzz with the Duggars.  Much of what I have read has been quite angry, and I think, in most part, that anger is well felt.  There are the loyal fans who feel betrayed.  Who feel as if they have been duped.  They wonder if the message they saw as being projected by the Duggars was actually what was being preached.

On the other spectrum there are those of us, I count myself in this group, who never jumped on the Duggar bandwagon felt a sense of justice finally done.  For myself from the beginning the Duggars made my skin crawl and when a commercial would come on I would demand that whoever had the remote MUST CHANGE THE CHANNEL NOW!  I even prayed about why I felt so vehemently opposed to them, and what I received was the thought that they were “evil”.

Since the news of Josh Duggar has come to light each day, we learn more and more about the family.  Each day there is more discussion.  I wanted to try and to be as gentle as I could when addressing the subject, so I include a Facebook post and response between J.K and myself

J.K. Response to my original Facebook post: I don’t trust anyone who needs to keep telling people, “I’m a Christian.” I will know who you are by your behavior & your integrity. You will show me who you are …

My response to her: J. K., unfortunately, the Duggars were, have been, showing us all along who they are/were/will be. They were showing us by their actions/reactions the type of society they wish to build: one in which the old testament understanding of women as evil prevail. One in which men are deemed master over women, which explains why Josh is being revered almost praised for his actions, and the girls ignored.

For the Duggars, proclaiming they are Christian is saying to the rest of the world that they are marked for special favour in the eyes of the Lord while we are condemned. Their arrogance, though they will tell you they are humble people, really (?), do humble people exploit their children, life by being on TV as a self-proclaimed shining example of good Christian living, but as the Old Testament says: pride cometh before a fall.

We have seen weekly their behaviour and integrity. All of it based on the attitude of our cruel god is better than your forgiving, all merciful God. They have told us by their actions that we should repent and start living as they do. As for their integrity. Integrity is usually defined as admitting one’s fault and not shifting blame. Many would say Josh has done that, good for him. He has, but what of the girls? How are they being treated with integrity? Here is where another meaning can be explored. The Duggar world view of women bad, men, not just good but masterfully perfect, will have them demanding the girls forgive their brother and nothing more. In fact, we have learned that their parents believe the girls do not “need” counseling. Here the second part of the definition of doing the right thing is not expressed. They do not believe the girls need anything and from my work experience, they will be annoyed at the least and downright angry at most when the girls do show emotional/spiritual wounding.

Now on our part. We, right now are angry. Many loyal fans feel betrayed. Many, like myself who never jumped on the band wagon, feel, and here I am guilty, feel a sense of justice. We can now speak what we have known in our hearts: the emperor was naked all along.

But we should not be gleeful at their fall, for pride goeth before a fall.

We should pray and pray hard for them because many/all of us have skeletons in our closet.

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