What a great morning! This morning I am at Lansing Community College‘s, (LCC), library to work. I arrive at LCC a half an hour before the library opens so I am sitting here in the lobby waiting. I love sitting here joining all the others waiting for the opening. Here I am listening to a group of geeky guys playing a Mystic Knights of Ka’Ah-ish game, a small group of girls talking animatedly about their lives-all young adult gravitas, a “mature” returning student working on his laptop. I love all the energy, of all that hope, of all the expectant joy, and excitement.
I know a lovely woman who as a young aunt took in her sister’s children, here is her story:
“I lost a 2 1/2 year old nephew to shaking syndrome. This poor baby didn’t stand a chance; two parents who NEVER should have had children (and one of them was my younger sister)! I will continue to be a voice for these voiceless victims until the day I die!” People have asked her how she would stop child abuse her reply is: “By continuing to speak up for the rights of children! It amazes me that we can get more people to rally around animal rights than our own children. Things have changed since I lost my nephew but it is a long and slow process. The key is to never give up!”
What you can also do is stand up for a child who may be being abused. You can call Child Protective Services anonymously. There are organizations you can join if you wish to be active in the solution; in Lansing, Family Growth Center is always looking for volunteers. I know of Family Growth Center from personal experience. I both volunteered and had our eldest children in programs there, that was about 25 years ago. Family Growth, affectionately called FG, is a very nurturing place for both mom and child.
Here is what they say about themselves from their website:
Family Growth Center (FGC) provides free drop-in respite childcare to families in crisis and parents who need a “stress” break. Childcare is provided by a highly skilled and compassionate staff in a licensed facility. The FGC provides quality care for children from 6 weeks old through age 5.
During days of operation, hours are 9:00 AM – 11:30 AM/ 1:30 PM – 4:00 PM for both locations.
During the School Months (September – May),
the Family Growth Center is open on the following days:
Monday: University United Methodist Church, 1120 S Harrison Rd, East Lansing, MI 48823
Tuesday – Thursday: Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church,
549 E. Mt. Hope, Lansing, MI 48910
During the Summer Months (June, July & August),
the Family Growth Center is open on the following days:
Monday: University United Methodist Church, 1120 S Harrison Rd, East Lansing, MI 48823
Tuesday – Thursday: Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church
549 E. Mt. Hope, Lansing, MI 48910
Other aspects of the Family Growth Center
include the following:
• FGC operates a small food, toy and clothing bank for FGC families in need.
• FGC helps connect families to other community resources in support of
employment, housing, health, and legal needs.
Please call (517) 371-1347, for more information.
You can make a difference by volunteering just a few hours
a week to the Family Growth Center.
You can also help in the following ways:
• You can provide your assistance by adopting a family at special times of the
year or donating toys or games for the holidays—making holiday dreams come
true for needy children and their families.
• You can choose to help lower our costs by donating much needed
office supplies or equipment.
• You can also help by giving generously through a financial donation
to the Family Growth Center.
For more information on this and other Child Abuse Prevention Services programs, contact Kathy Kelly, CAPS program director, at (517) 484-8444 or email to email@example.com.
From my Facebook time line this morning, written by a mom of teens: “When do the growing pains of your children stop hurting and stressing you?”
My response to her was: Sweetheart. I am with you. Trust. Trust in your mothering instinct. Trust in your gut. Trust in love and grace. Trust in hope. Trust in the strength of your mothering. Trust in the larger positive picture. Trust that you know when to reach out, when to hold back, when to lovingly confront.
As with all things God connects us one to the other. Earlier this week there was an incident with our eldest twinnie, and the wisdom of her sister gave me more insight into parenting. It was an “Aha” moment, a God inspired comment from someone that is directed to you, God speaking directly to you: She said it was time to put the anchor into the water. How apt that image is.
The anchor became a key Christian symbol during the period of Roman persecution. As Michael Card observes in his recent album, Soul Anchor: “The first century symbol wasn’t the cross; it was the anchor. If I’m a first century Christian and I’m hiding in the catacombs and three of my best friends have just been thrown to the lions or burned at the stake, or crucified and set ablaze as torches at one of [Emperor] Nero’s garden parties, the symbol that most encourages me in my faith is the anchor. When I see it, I’m reminded that Jesus is my anchor.” ~Christian History
Jesus calmed the seas, Peter tries to walk on the water to Jesus, Jesus tells the apostles to haul in their nets when they were sure they weren’t going to get any fish; how much like parenting situations these are. My friend has teens, but this is just as fitting for any mother of any age child. We often find ourselves in rocky, turbulent waters of life.
We try to have faith to walk out in trust onto those churning waters of troubled parenting waters. We try to stay strong, to keep our eyes on the parenting prize: having children who are what God calls them to be., but there is always that rogue wave that knocks us off our stride. we begin to sink, and find Jesus’ firm, steady hand reaching out to us.
He asks us why we have little faith? Faith in our own instincts as mothers, faith in trusting God. Faith in our judgement that when and what resources we need we will get.
Jesus doesn’t chide us for our mistakes, fears, doubts, he just asks us to cast out our net again, to try again, to keep going, keep trying. He knows that positive emotional movement forward is the best way to help turn everything around.
We are the anchors in our children’s lives. We are the secure link between the fear they have of becoming adults and the roaring need they have to be adults. We need to be stable, secure, strong and calm in the face of their uncertainty about life, who they are and how to live life.
Jesus is our anchor, our strong link, so we may be all our children need.
Always look to the big picture, the pain will lessen as long as we are anchors, anchored to Christ.
Here is a post of a mom dealing with the same thing. Elephant dedicated to mindful life.
Today let’s pray for a positive big picture of our lives.
Righteous Cause Monday.
I found this on my Facebook feed about a young mom who wanted to quit being a mom, a blog post from the website “Finding Joy”.
Sweetheart, fellow mom, you are not alone, we, moms of older children, feel your pain, understand your pain, had lived your pain, and survived/thrived and grown as women and people in ways that not being a mom would have given us. We, moms of older children, know how mothering can feel like you are standing in the tunnel and you see NO LIGHT at the end. The end is near, just hang in there.
We, moms of older children remember those early days. It is so easy to be lost in the endless late nights of breastfeeding infants, not getting the sleep you need, constant nappy changes, and laundry that feels like Mount Everest. It takes a huge toll on you, after a while all that exhaustion can make you feel person-less. Hang in there my dear heart. Please ask for help. Please ask for friends/family to give you a break so you can recharge, get much needed rest.
We, mom who have been there, love you, want you to hold on. We understand the struggle of toddlers and young children as the role of hormones and self discovery starts to create conflict between you and that lovely little baby you were just beginning to understand. It feels as if you are starting over, in a way you are, hang in there. Find support for those times, joining with other moms in the same struggle can give you much needed support and wisdom, creating life long friendships. There is a reason TV shows like Super Nanny or American Nanny are popular, there is no manual we receive at our babies birth that explain how to be a parent. There are resources to help you become the mom you want to be. But please I beg you don’t fall into the perfection trap; we, no matter how much we want to, we will never create prefect children, prefect home, perfect life. We can only create the best life, a better life.
As your children become school aged you have finally a feeling of confidence much earned by all you have learned, survived, created that works for your children, your family. During this time you may find your child needs help with learning or being, but you now have strength to deal with it. You will have good friends, good support, more understanding of yourself, your child, your world.
Please know that tweens and teens are again like toddlers. Again you will face children who want fierce independence, please do not lose heart if things get rough, they will get better as your children mature.
“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”
Some things very few will tell you. There will be great days, months, years, things will be wonderful. Keep those days in your heart. They will come in handy when things get touch, they will help you staying in love with mothering, your family, your spouse, at moments when it looks like you are in that early tunnel again. People will “advice” you on how to raise your children, trust your heart. As I often say, my mouth is bloody because I was biting my tongue to keep from saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, trust your knowledge of your children to know how to treat difficult times. There will be times when you will make mistakes, where you feel like just waking up will be wrong; but know love and forgiveness will work wonders.
Know my dear fellow young mom that you are loved and supported. here are moms all over the world thinking good thoughts for you, saying prayers, sending blessings; we are all in the same boat and want to be a help if you need it.
Vicky (19) relating her first remembrance of God, about age three:
I remember thinking that He would keep all the babies in a pocket next to his heart and he would hand pick the parent of each child. I believed that he would sit on his throne in heaven looking down on everyone and that you had to ask him to be able to get a gift or to do something, in sense believed him to be my father. I remember not being scared of him because I know he loved(s) and cared(s) for me. Also not being as curious of him as I was when I was a young teenager. He made the world make sense for me.
I have asked fellow Catholic moms for questions that they might have on such questions about motherhood and spirituality, children’s spiritual development, finding time for yourself, or just to learn more about Spiritual Direction; I have received four: Thank you so much, a great start.
From Marisa, she asks: How do you encourage children to pray when they don’t believe it works? Thank you!
Thank you, Marisa. Since I am no sure the ages of the children it might be helpful to review their spiritual development.
|The “global” stage – Infant to seven zzzzzz||
|The “concrete” stage – Eight to 12 zzzzzz||
|The “personal connection” stage – 13 -18 zzzzzz||
Reference: David Elkind, Ph.D., professor of child study at Tufts University
Now how can moms help their children develop a relationship with God?
|Parents with children ages birth to 5||
|Parents with children ages 6 to 9||
|Parents with children ages 10 to 15||
|Parents with children ages 16 to 18||
Note for moms of teens: Be open to following your teenager’s lead if she/he introduces you to spiritual passions and commitments that are important to her/him, but are different from yours. If she/he moves in directions that cause you concern, share your perspective and listen to what she/he has to say.
Now I would ask what has happened, a divorce or death of a significant person in the children’s life; because this can break the bond of trust that is developing. It is important to talk with the children to help them process what has happen. Children will by nature think that they have somehow created the situation, helping them process out what happen and how they were not responsible can help rebuild a relationship with God.
You might want to get the Prove It book series by Amy Welborn. Amy Welborn is an American Roman Catholic writer and activist, as well as a public speaker. Formerly, she was a theology teacher at a Catholic high school in Lakeland Florida and served as a parish Director of Religious Education; here is her website
Marisa, I hope this helps.
Reference: Spiritual Development in Childhood and Adolescence at spiritualdevelopmentcenter.org.
Next answer to question 2: When did Jesus knew.
All day I have been dealing with these thoughts rolling around in my head; so I thought I would let them out.
Earlier I wrote about Thomas and comparing his experience with those of our children learning to navigate the world. In that comparison I used the words “quell fear”; those are the words that have been rolling around in my head, the words I feel complied to expand upon.
You see Thomas wasn’t with the others when Jesus first showed himself and I don’t think it was doubt he was expressing but fear.
Doubt for me always held a bit of a lie in it. Because to doubt you have to mistrust the thing or person and I can’t see Thomas, one of the Apostles, mistrusting Jesus. Or having misgivings, or apprehension, or being suspicious; all synonyms of doubt.
I feel he was more afraid that Jesus wasn’t what he thought he knew he was; why else would Jesus say: “Peace be with you?”
Jesus knew, as we learn the longer we parent, that disciples, and children, fear the new the different. But each of us, like Thomas must explore, learn and discover that new, that different, this life for ourselves.
That is what I think the Gospel’s focus is on; not the fact that Thomas doubted, but that unlike all the other disciples, and ourselves, he was not there first hand, he had to learn about what happened.
That is extremely important. He had to learn! He isn’t doubting Thomas. He is learning Thomas.
Mommy Mantra July 3, 2014: Feast of Saint Thomas It would be just too easy to write on doubt, but today I feel called to write about Jesus’ response: “Peace be with you.”
Oh Lord, do I wish I could react to “surprising” parenting situations like that! In all the parenting classes I have taken, and taught, over the years the basic concept is the same: gentleness rules out over an overly emotional response.
For those of us with older children, tweens, emerging adults, these readings can speak volumes. The Prophet Amos is coming down hard on Israel. Jesus is in the boat asleep when a huge storm threatens to swamp it.
The two readings seem to have nothing in common with each other. Amos is dealing with an unruly Israel who think the rules don’t apply to them. Jesus is in control of a situation that terrifies his disciples.
Sounds very much like many parenting situations I have been in.
I am often like Amos reminding the children that they are loved but the rules are the rules. And my husband is more like Jesus taking control of a situation that could/did/have potential to get out of hand, and bringing it around. It’s the partnership of parenting styles that works.
Now we are imperfect beings dealing with things imperfectly, but the readings do speak to parents. What they are saying is we must set boundaries, give our children responsibilities, teach them the way they should go, but be prepared to see them do the opposite sometimes. Like Amos we got to lay the law down, repeatedly, but let them know they are loved and everything is a teaching moment, character builder.
But some parenting situations are a little bigger than undone chores. These are situations that try parent’s soul.
That is when a cool head must prevail. As Jesus did we can not let panic take over. If it does we are sunk.
That is when a grasp of the bigger picture is needed. Jesus knew what was, he had no fear because he knew what he could control. We are not Divine, but in every situation there are things we know we can control.
That’s when you call on the biggest guns ya’ got on hand: prayer.
I want to take a moment and talk about prayer and difficult situations.
As I have said in the past we are parents of four ranging in age from late twenties to late teens, and we have what seems to be two sets of kids: the ones that appear easy to raise, and our challenge children. It’s the challenge children that dropped us to our knees. We prayed for guidance. We prayed for courage. We prayed for wisdom. We prayed for the right words to say.
Sometimes it looked like God wasn’t listening and frankly that feeling sucks. But then something would happen that broken the situation open.
Parenting is both art and “science”, but what it truly is is faith. Faith in your calling. Faith in your spouse and helpmate, faith in God