New Eve

Mommy Mantra December 8, 2014: The LORD God then asked the woman: What is this you have done? The woman answered, “The snake tricked me, so I ate it.” GENESIS 3:13

Both women impact our lives, the world, themselves.  Eve, like many of us, trusts others, she looks outside herself to find guidance.  Maybe she does this because she did not trust her inner voice, or maybe she was naive and could not see when someone is leading her astray; she had to suffer the consequences to learn more.

The LORD God then asked the woman, “Why did you do such a thing?” The woman answered, “The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it.”  Was Eve’s reply an innocent response to God because she did not know she did wrong?  Or was she being defiant?

Mary, the New Eve, is she so different than Eve?  She knows God as Eve did; her difference was trust, trust in God.

Was her thinking different?  Mary when told of God’s plan for her life she said: “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Both women known the Lord personally.  But both women react to the Lord in different ways: one more thoughtful, one more impulsive.

Being impulsive it is easier for us to sin, lose our connection with God.  Being thoughtful helps us choose the better path.

Comfort, give comfort to my people

Why are they sharing when I asked them not to!

It’s FYI Wednesday and I have asked fellow Catholic moms for questions that they might have on such topics as motherhood and spirituality, children’s spiritual development, finding time for yourself, or just to learn more about Spiritual Direction; here is the latest question asked by Crystal:

I have a question that is more particular than spiritual: First I want say, I do not post many pics of our under two year old on Facebook for a number of reasons, but my Mother-in-law takes every photo I do post and shares it on her pages. She also uses pics I have texted to her on her Facebook pages. She uses the pics as her profile and cover pics, and never asked me if it is OK.  My mom does not do it.

This habit really annoys me but I can’t explain exactly why, other than that I don’t want people I don’t know having access to pics of my child. I know it is the internet and there is no real privacy but still. I have tried to let it go, knowing she is just proud of her grandchild but it gets to me every time I see my baby show up on her pages. It makes me not want to send her any pics! So, here is what I am dealing with: 1) should I really just try to quit being annoyed or 2) try to find a way to ask her to stop, in a way that won’t make her mad at me, I am already on the bad list with her. We have been married less than three years so I am still new to handling in-laws and have a long life ahead and do not want to have a strained relationship if I can avoid it. How can I deal with this situation?   ~Crystal

Crystal,  Mother-in-law “trouble” is a universal let me speak from personal experience, professionally as a spiritual director and as a future Mother-in-law myself, being a mother-in-law is a reflection of how we perceive the world, relationships, and how we are to be mother-in-law to our married children’s spouse.

Do try and talk with her first, remember that she is excited about her newest grand-baby, and people who are excited they tend to assume everyone else is just as excited as they are, and that you couldn’t possibly mind a few innocent pictures. In fact I will bet you anything that she will be shocked that you are upset, so a HUGE bit of advice, go into it with as light a heart as you can and do the old “Oh I forget to tell you this,” type of talk. That will deflect angry and put her at ease so you can talk with her; if you go in as if you made a mistake in not telling her will be much better and easier on you than going in with “YOU better not post anymore pictures of Susyque” kinda talk. If she, anyone really, feels attacked they tend to defend themselves they will attack back.  By going on the defensive you are creating a situation where listening stops, you want to always be moving forward.

Now on to your feelings. I can tell you are feeling all sorts of upset, violated, even wronged, and those feelings are very strong, valid, and rightfully so! We as moms are biologically/God givenly, (coined a new word!) geared to protect our babies, but don’t make the mistake of  not saying anything out of respect, really out of fear of Mother-in-law, being quiet isn’t respectful it only harbours anger.

Your mom, bless her heart, knows you and I bet you two have talked about your picture policy, but you never mentioned whether you talked Mother-in-law about your photo policy.  If you have and she is ignoring the policy, tell her again and like I said don’t be surprised by the shock. And if you did talk to her and she doesn’t think the policy is really meant for her; that can and will lead you to feel a great deal of disrespect from her. If this is true, she may be saying of you: “she’s young what does she know, posting pictures of my grand-baby is harmless!” This speaks more to your Mother-in-law’s magical thinking of magical protection around her grand-baby, than it does of any disrespect of you, set her straight determinedly, but nicely: more sugar than vinegar, may be with humour.

Let’s consider this: she is disrespectful of you.  If you have discerned this about this situation, and truthfully your whole relationship, pray over why this may be so. Does she have some preconceived notion about you that she will not let go? Is she a helicopter moms? Helicopter moms believe that the only way for a child to live life is if the mom lives it for them, through them and with them. These moms have an impossible time letting go, especially of sons, and everything they do is through the Helicopter mind: cling so they don’t make a mistake. You may be seen as a mistake, so tend very carefully and talk to your husband about how you feel.

Also look at your feelings toward her.  Do you both come from different cultural backgrounds, hold different convictions, see life differently?  Understanding how you see her will help you discern how to handle your responses to her in future.

Disrespect is a tool that can be used by Mother-in-laws who are jealous that some else has come into their son’s life. I am only saying this so you can go pray over this and discern what is going on, but those who are jealous will use passive-aggressive techniques to try and regain control, but in a way they, (the Mother-in-laws), think is sly and that no-one could possibly see as coming from them – the Mother-in-laws. This can be very dangerous for the relationship of your marriage, so it is vital you talk with your husband and that he back you up to his mother.

Here Wikihow has an article on just this subject: How to Deal With a Difficult Mother in Law

Slavery

Mommy Mantra October 14, 2014: Gal 5: 1-6 “…..so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery”
Paul speaks right to the heart of the matter, he is saying to the early Church don’t get caught up in the law it will only draw you away from what is important: Christ.

One of the many things that can draw us, as moms, away from Christ: the pursuit of perfectionism. There is no perfect mom. That is a myth that needs to die. The only thing it will lead to is competition. And competition leads to envy, which leads to gossip, which leads to superiority.

None of these are remotely helpful, Christian, or loving.

Stories of mother’s prayer

susan hiddenThis is a joyous Facebook post.  For almost a month her sweet ten year old daughter was sick with some unknown and worrying illness, it took days for doctors to determine that her daughter had appendicitis.  For her, her husband and son it was a terrifying time. A time when you need to reach out.  Being the new Millennium means reaching out to friends, family and nieghbours through social media: Facebook.  It was through Facebook a strong and faith-full community came and rallied around this family, filling them with prayers, support and love.  Every day the community, (both virtual and physical), anxiously waited for updates.   Every day prayers where posted, Masses offered, all with the knowledge that when two or more are, (virtually), gathered together there is God.   The community stormed heaven with prayers of healing for the sweet girl sick in her hospital bed.  Prayers for strength for mom and dad as they stay a prayerful vigil at the bedside of their little girl.  Prayers for big brother so he will still feel warm support as mom and dad deal with little sister’s health support.  Prayers for the doctors and nurses who worked to bring their sweet girl to full health.

Now, the prayerful mothering experience of a young mom who sought out God’s call for the best way to educate her lovely school aged son entering first grade.  Here is her story of prayerfully discerning the best and most supportive way to educate her son. It is certainly not the typical first grade experience.

We started off the year at a private school, which our son has attended for the 3 previous years for preschool and Kindergarten. Things did not go well. He was struggling both academically and socially. We pulled him out of school in the middle of the 2nd week. We decided to try homeschooling. Things have turned around into such a positive experience since our son has been homeschooling. He seems to have regained a love for learning (which he loathed learning in his former school). He read his first book! He was SO proud! I’m jealous his dad gets to be the one with him all day long, (I work 8-5, M-F) but I’ve been doing lessons on the weekends. It has been going really well and we think we may do this for more than one year now! We initially thought we’d hire a tutor to come to our home but after a few communications she stopped responding. We’ve been doing fine on our own, so I took that as a sign that we don’t need someone else to do it for us. I feel like this has been one of those “everything happens for a reason” experiences. Although it felt like hell getting here, I am so glad we ended up where we are now.”

Then there is this very imporimmodest dresstant thread being discussed on a Facebook group focusing on Catholic Moms.  A newly married woman, (who I am not sure is yet a mom, if she is than her children must be very young), posted about her experience of a recent Mass.  She was upset with a Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist who, for whatever reason, was not totally “there” when discharging her duty, but what caught my eye was her throw away statement of young girls; I read here that the girls who must have been preteen/teen agers, dressing immodestly for the celebration of the Baptism during that recent Mass.  This struck me in the heart because it is a HUGE issue, one I have dealt with personally and professionally.

My reply to her posting was of a very personal experience of how a family member of ours was being talked about during a Mass, and what was being said was very hurtful.  This thread had many members of the group posting replies to me in support and of their own mothering experience of their own troubled girls in their own family who were/are dealing with emotional-spiritual issues that they express their pain through their dress.  This preteen/teen girls’ dress is more a call for help, love and support than derision and hurtful-loving help not understanding the moms feel such pain when they and their girls were judgedrd instead of prayed for.  One of the members posted perhaps the best understanding of the aspects of prayer: that our experiences can be transformed by God into wisdom for others and our self, she wrote:  “And God uses us and struggle to help others.”

10689545_10202678678597317_1759546044157950620_nFinally, this loving senior portrait.

I posted this reply to this young woman’s Facebook timeline: “Look at this senior picture, really look at it. First off how many seniors would have their mothers in the picture, very few; so what does that say? It says that here is a daughter, (Kateri), who understands and values her relationship with her mother, who understands the sacrifice and work of her mother, and how that work, in all it’s aspects, shaped her into the woman she is becoming.

Secondly, look at Dawn’s face! She is beaming! As she should be!

Both Kateri and Dawn’s face just glow!

 

As Moms we need all the help we can get.

Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels RV 12:7-12ab “For the accuser of our brothers is cast out,
who accuses them before our God day and night.”

As Moms we need all the help we can get.

Raphael Glorious Archangel St. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, you are illustrious for your gifts of wisdom and grace. You are a guide of those who journey by land or sea or air, consoler of the afflicted, and refuge of sinners.

I beg you, assist me in all my needs and in all the sufferings of this life, as once you helped the young Tobias on his travels. Because you are the “medicine of God” I humbly pray you to heal the many infirmities of my soul and the ills that afflict my body. I especially ask of you the favor (here mention your special intention), and the great grace of purity to prepare me to be the temple of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

God, with great wisdom You direct the ministry of Angels and men. Grant that those who always minister to You in heaven may defend us during our life on earth. Amen.

Gabriel O Captain and Leader of the armies of heaven, unworthy as we are, we beseech you without cease to surround us with your intercession and cover us beneath the shelter of the glory of your ethereal wings. We bend our knee and cry out with perseverance: “Deliver us from danger, O Prince of the Powers on high!” Amen.
Michael Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; may God rebuke him, we humbly pray and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

Prefect or Complete: Which is it

English: perfectionism at its finest

Mothering/parenting, while it has many rewards can be very frustrating, and we have to be honest with ourselves about that or else we fall into this trap of having to be perfect: a perfect wife, a perfect mother. I speak from experience. I have been married 30 years have four children: two sons 29, 24, twin daughters 19; and our house has have had EVERY possible parenting issues you can imagine: troubled teens, drug and alcohol, preemie twins, ADHD the list goes go.

Say you are a young mom with very young children, who like all young children get swarmy, fidgety, hungry, bored.  As this young mom you are trying your best to keep those children as quiet and prefect as possible, but it’s hard.  You can feel the eyes boring in on you.  You can feel them drilling holes in the back of your neck. You feel exposed, vulnerable. Than it happens.  Call it mommy hormones, lack of sleep/rest, but you find yourself balling like a baby right along with your infant hungry child.  You had just reach your tipping point and the tears came. Those who don’t get it or who are annoyed by what happened are dealing with their own issues, and for the most part that issue is, frankly, perfectionism. It something I have seen time and time again, Take the lady who said “GAH” to you, who rolls her eyes in that: “My God!” derisive way; for her Mass is an ordered and quiet perfection. She likes it when nothing goes wrong and when it does well you, mother, are not doing your job right. Again the trap of being perfect.

Perfectionism creates no support only derision. In Matthew 5:48 Christ tells us to “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect”, you could just as easily replace prefect with complete. None of us can be as prefect as God but we are all call to strive for that perfection, some people just forget the striving to be prefect part and demand perfection from others NOW.

But it is much easier for us to see how we can be as complete as God: Grace, mercy, hope, faith. The Sacraments help us achieve this completeness, our turning from temptation, doing Acts of Mercy. In the Old Testament people who were striving for this completeness would be called righteous.

To combat that perfectionism I found I had to keep my eyes on the prize, and the prize is a moving target: infancy…keep them feed, happy and dry. Toddler/young school child: teachable moments of life, faith and the world. Preteen/teen helping to guide them through the pitfalls of hormones and the second toddler-hood. And part of that fight to be prefect meant I had to ignore those who were judging my calling on how I was to be a mom. You can’t please everyone, so you might as well please the person who matters the most: God.

Road to Perdition

One thing I feel called to do in my own life, is to stop thinking of per-teens and teens as somehow on the road to Perdition. I/We must start to see everyone…as Christ did/does/and tells us to. I am thinking of my work with moms of teens/preteens going through hard times. These moms see themselves in a long dark tunnel and the light at the end, what light? For them days can seem like a long series of frustration, guilt and despair. the very common mantra is: “Where/What did I go wrong/did I do wrong. These can intellectualize that every child has been given by God gifts and talents that are to be a benefit to His people; but for right now they are doing their best to keep their preteen/teen emotionally-spiritually healthy. Thinking of the future is so far off it might as well be centuries from now.

Right now these gifts and talents are hidden under issues that have come to surface, but as they work on what God is calling them to do; their gifts and talents will shine through. I deal with moms of these trouble kids, and I tell them that the pain their child is going is going to be changed by God into wisdom. I tell these moms that their own pain has been changed into compassion, wisdom and emotional-spiritual strength. But these changes must come with the attitude of Christ: positive, compassionate, wise.

Trouble men, or lying yes men

Jesus

 

Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people:
“What is your opinion?
A man had two sons.
He came to the first and said,
‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’
He said in reply, ‘I will not, ‘
but afterwards changed his mind and went.
The man came to the other son and gave the same order.
He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir, ‘but did not go.
Which of the two did his father’s will?”
They answered, “The first.”

We have four children.  When our eldest was a teen, he was very troubled, angry, and difficult to live with.  When asking him to do anything it was struggle.  He was always honest in his dislike of any chore we would ask him to do, but he always did them, maybe because we gave him no other choice.

As a mom I was often frustrated by our eldest.  He did everything he could to make it very clear he didn’t care what he was being told to do, he just wanted to do what he wanted.  It was as if he was goading us to argue with him.  It wasn’t going to happen.  If he wanted us to yell at him like many of his friends parents did, yelling at their troubled sons of all they frustration and anger, that wasn’t going to happen either.

I often told mom friends of mine that I had a mouth full of blood from biting my tongue.  I knew at the heat of the moment if I really open my mouth and said what was on my mind, it would destroy my relationship with my son.  That was not what I wanted.

In the Gospel passage we don’t read that the Father, (God) yells at the son, (us).  It doesn’t even say what tone of voice the Father uses to address the son.  There is no indication that he was anger or frustrated with the son, from what we can gather the tone at best must have been neutral.

God does not fall into the trap of becoming part of the first son’s refusal.  He, God, just assumes the son will do it and the son does.

Now the second son is even more frustrating to deal with.  To get his Father off his back the second son says yes, but does not comply.  The second either is willing to do but forgot, fine that’s fair.  Or this boy lied from the started which would make for some heavy duty trust issue between Father and second son.  At least with the first son you knew where you stood, with the second it is all a guessing game.

So the question is: Do you want yes men who are truly lying, or troubled men who at least let you know where you stand and therefore be able to work on the relationship, me I want to know.

Why I love Pope Francis

Dear Pope Francis:

Thank you for bringing compassion, love and Christ-likeness to my beloved Catholic Church.  Thank you for being the type of Pope who does not want to live in the Papal Palace, but chooses a simple Roman apartment block.  Thank you for wanting to go out and walk among your people to get to know them, and what they truly need.  Thank you for washing the feet of troubled teen-agers.  Thank you for embracing that disfigured man.  Thank you.

Your actions are showing the whole world how to live as Christ asks us, thank you.  Thank you for shaking the Bishops, Cardinals, all the Clergy awake.  Thank you for demanding that they no longer live the letter of the law to the point where they loose sight of the people they serve.  They Serve!

Thank you Pope Francis for seeing us, your flock, as people who hurt and need healing.  As people lost who need to be guided home.  As people without hope and are struggling.  That we need a Catholic Church that will not just preach to us of our faults, believe us we know our faults, but one that wants us all back no matter who we are.  After all didn’t Jesus CHOOSE to be with the greatly hated of his time?

Pope Francis, thank you, for reminding the Clergy that if they keep acting like the Pharisees, all rules no compassion, there won’t be a Church to guide!

Thank you Pope Francis for loving Christ more than the role you have assumed.