Like you I am a mom. We have four children two sons and twin daughters. My hubby and I met in college and have been married over 20 years! Together we have been through sick preemie girls, rebellious teens, sleepless nights, and time on our knees. What has kept us going through all of this?
Belief that God is always with us, and that prayer does work, and has.
Why am I blogging? It is in response to my calling as a Spiritual Director, and to the moms who spoke to me of the need they had for something Catholic, something MOPS-like (Mothers Of Preschoolers), something that spoke to their spiritual need to be supported in their vocation as Catholic Moms.
When you consider that the first to the tomb of Jesus were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome than you can begin to understand the power of a woman’s, a mom’s witness. When you consider that the Blessed Virgin Mary is shown in scripture not as this weak little woman-child but a strong exceptional Jewish mother than you can begin to understand the power of a mom’s vocation. When you consider that women received the tongue of fire and preached just as the men did, Acts 2:17, than you can begin to understand the power of God’s call.
So, we as women, as moms, should feel a great sense of pride and purpose!
It took me many years and many experiences to learn that. It took spiritual and emotional support for myself so that I could grow as a woman first, which is essential to my growing as a wife and mom.
This is why I blog, I want to help moms feel nurtured in their spiritual lives, their vocation as moms, their callings as women, because I have needed the same support, nurturing and encouragement!
I have done a great deal in my life to bring me to this calling.
Linda Schenk—Lansing, Michigan: Patricia “Wilson” Perkowski allows the Holy to work through her to bring spiritual healing which brings the realization of God’s forgiveness. Forgiveness from God is ours for the asking but forgiveness of self/others can be a longer journey. She can lead the way. She teaches others what God has taught her.
I have always felt called to help others. I had been helped by a lovingly wonderful therapist. So I went to college to learn about social work and psychology.
My journey to my call began with my experience as a Director of Project Rachel, where I worked with many post abortive women, I saw the spiritual-emotional harm that abortion can cause. Faith Magazine (Lansing Diocese) article about my work
It built with my Mothering Mentoring for Family Growth Center, a program of Child and Family Charities, guiding new, young moms from feeling over whelmed, depressed and lonely, to seeing the world in a more positive light.
Then onto my many years with Catholic Social Services in their Homemaker Program where I helped moms leave abusive relationships, give encouragement to moms in crisis, and worked with moms teaching parenting techniques; I experienced first hand how encouragement, reassurance and advocacy supported women and helped them grow emotionally-spiritually.
I did all these because I, like far too many, came from a home where my needs took second place to the needs and crisis of my parents.
From those experiences I saw that much of what was needed was support for the spiritual aspect of healing, that is when I learned of Spiritual Direction.
I took formation at The Dominican Center of Religious Study at Saint Francis Retreat House, DeWitt, Michigan, graduating in 1998. God then called to my dream job, working at the parish where all our children went to school. I became Director of Religious Education for Holy Cross Parish where I helped mothers understand their children’s spiritual development as well as journeying with them work through their own issues with their spirituality, faith, and moments of doubts of God’s love.
Which brought me to my specific training as a member of the Theophostic Prayer Ministry, which is not counseling, but rather prayer ministry. TPM gave me yet another tool to use to help moms seeking forgiveness, guidance, insight from God. Theophostic Prayer is a ministry of prayer very similar to Spiritual Direction, so I had to learn more about it.
Recently I was invited to become a counselor for Together We Heal, an organization focused on providing counseling and guidance for those who have suffered the trauma of childhood sexual abuse. I, myself, have personally experienced abuse and grow spiritually-emotionally stronger with the support of a faith-filled therapist.
All of these have been a professional answer to the call of God to help moms, but there is also the personal which is the greatest source of my answer.
As I have said, I am a married woman of 20 + years and mom of four. My hubby and I have been through all the sleepless
nights, worried nights, and up all nights, that comes with being a parent. We have dealt with just about every parenting situation: turbulent teens, sick preemie twins, emotional upheaval; and we survived it all with a little humour, lots of love and a ton of support and prayer.
There is no family that is perfect or untouched by something
Our twin girls were born prematurely at 32 weeks, with our youngest weighting only 2.12. We have a child with ADHD, one with ADHD and Dyslexia. A child with depression, and one who deals with epilepsy and a social anxiety disorder. All in all, the typical family.
I am not a native Midwesterner. I am a Washington DC gal, and always will be. I find myself here because my husband got a job here, a good one, and this is the place he grew up, so like Ruth, I went where he went. We found ourselves expecting our first within the first year of our marriage, not what we had planned. Here I am with a little, a ton, of culture shock, and a new baby; something I know many have experienced; and like so many starting out in a new place I knew I needed support, friends, someone who had my back. I sought out like minded people who had gone done this road before me.
Without the support I received from Family Growth Center and the other young women who journeyed with me when I was a young mom: Jo Copper, Julie Bauer; I know my young parenting would have been much harder.
With the spiritual support I have gotten from the Brethren Church Interdenominational Woman’s Group, run by Anita Buckwalter Smith, I know my spiritual life would have been swallowed up by my parenting duties and I would have lost a greater part of myself.
These two places and the wonderful women within them helped me stay focused as a mom and a woman. They were there during the hard times, the good times, the ok times. It is when we face our fears, difficulties and responses that we grow stronger. It is when we journey with someone who understands, who has gone through the same fire that we learn to, or at last can begin to, love ourselves. Without inspiration from prayer I would never have heard my calling.
With all I have gotten how could I not help give back?!
My story in CV form:
- Member of Spiritual Direction International
- Spiritual Director since 1998
- Member of the Theophostic Prayer Ministry
- Together We Heal (Sexual-emotional abuse ministry)
- Executive of Spiritual Consultants and Direction for Women, llc: Miracles Happen.
Workshop Presenter for:
- Head Start
- Family Growth Centers
- Saint Casimir Parish
- Diocese of Lansing; Post Abortion Issues Workshops for:
- Retreat Leaders
- Support Group Leader
- Freedom Conference
- Common Conference Lansing Diocese
Support Group Creator for:
- Family Growth Center
- Holy Cross Parish
- Saint Casimir Parish
- Home Visiting Social Worker with Catholic Social Service 1987 – 2000
- Mother Mentor for Child Abuse Prevention Service 1990 – 2000
- Director of a Catholic Woman’s Ministry: Project Rachel 1999 – 2005
- Director of Religious Education – Holy Cross Parish 2005 – 2009
- Creating Family/Mother’s Ministry for – Saint Casimir Parish 2009 – Present
Personal Belief Statement:
- I believe that the greatest interpersonal search we make is the one that defines us as spiritual beings.
All Organizations Sited, unless otherwise, Lansing, Michigan
As a young mom my greatest strength came from the support of women/moms who have walked the same mothering journey as I!