Dwelling place of God in the Spirit

Mommy Mantra October 28, 2014: Ephesians 2:19-21

So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God,built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone. Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord;in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

This reading from today’s Mass resonated with me to the heart.  Words like household, foundation, capstone, structure, temple, all speak of dwelling: especially household; a place where loved ones gather.  From that household a foundation for life is created by parents who love and siblings who share with each other that parental love and support.  A household is a structure that is hopefully built on the foundation of God and the Great Commandment where parents teach their children values, convictions and beliefs of the church placed on their hearts; and these teachings help propel the children out into the world to do that same.

From that household we are given space, place and time for us to create ourselves as God has called us to be.  Experiences of our lives, reaction to those experiences and how we see God acting in our lives will create us as a dwelling place for the Spirit and from that we invite others into our lives to experience God as we experience Him.

 

The Lie Cross: Sometimes crosses can be forced on you

women praying

Watch TV in the last few years and there have been campaign after campaign featuring “real” women.

“Always” has a commercial showing how young women’s views of themselves change from confident preteens who have not bought the hype to young women who did.  It was a Righteous Cause Post of June 30, 2014.

Just a few days ago I read of this: Stop The Beauty Madness As they describe themselves and their campaign:

There is a great groundswell and the numbers are rising daily. We are a new tribe, and we know it is time to take back the streets-OUR streets. We know that begins with lifting our self-esteem, our self-imposed standards of worth, and honoring our deepest truths about what it means to be “enough.”

We are not only working towards this change. We are witnessing this change. We women KNOW we are done with competing, done with comparing, and done with playing the ugly/beauty game. We are waking up from the crazy beauty hypnoses we have been under.

“Dove” did this very evocative video of how we “see” ourselves and how others see us.

What does all this mean?

It means that we as women have forgotten a great truth:  We are Daughters of the Great King.  And we have allowed society to tell us differently.  It’s as if society draped across our shoulders a huge cross as if it were a stole of royalty:  Here you go a cross made just for you; your ugly, worthless, insignificant!  You’re welcome!

It is a cross we as women have allowed ourselves to have placed on our shoulders. It is not a cross we pick up such as illness, or work difficulty, or wondering how to answer our calling; no this is a cross society has said we must have so they can sell us our own beauty back.

It’s a cross I know too well.  I am going to tell you a truth about myself: I hate my growing older self.  There are a lot of reasons that I will blog about, but mostly I feel that being a mom has robbed me of some things and now that my children are growing out of the house as well as gone from the house, I see it as time to try and regain my beauty.

But that is the problem with these types of crosses, they are lies we tell ourselves.

The lie I tell myself is that somehow I am not pretty enough, good enough, woman enough.  I know stunning older women so it’s not age that robs you, it’s you that robs you.  What I mean is we forget, or no longer care about ourselves.  I have allowed the lies in my head about how I see myself to become truths.  I grew heavy because I believed the lie that no-one cared who I was, I was just a mom.  I stopped caring for myself in other ways: How I looked, what I did, my attitude.  All because of the lie: you are just a mom, invisible, “personless”.

The, what I will call the “lie cross”, wants you to believe the lies; because in believing the lies you have to forget to fight for the greater truth, that God has made each one of us beautiful, in his own image.  And that motherhood is a calling of greatness.

We can’t fall into the pain.

Mommy Mantra July 10, 2014: Hosea 11:1-4, 8c-9
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“Thus says the LORD: When Israel was a child I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son.” After listening to the readings at Mass this morning I couldn’t stop thinking how much God sounds like every hurting parent.
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No family is untouched by problems, troubles. No mother hasn’t had heartache. It is an experience we all will share and it doesn’t matter how slight or significant; pain is pain.
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We can’t fall into the pain. We must know that when we mourn God mourns. There will be times when our children will do something to turn away from the lives we tried to create, the values we tried to convey, the future we had hoped for them. Even in this pain we should try to continue to trust in a God who is control and to trust in our power of prayer.
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This is not easy. When in pain we can draw away from God, from friends because of a shame, please don’t, fight the urge and try to continue to pray. We can assume too much responsibility from the troubles and problems, but we are not the only influence on our children. They have their own thoughts and beliefs which may be very different from ours. Maturity plays a huge part and we, while still dealing with our situation, should still try to pray for guidance when to step in and teach or to step out.
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As God did not destroy Ephraim we can’t stop trusting and working toward healing of our hearts and theirs. No matter what is happening we must trust that God is in his heaven and all will become right in our world.
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Today let’s pray for each other.

Mommy Mantra July 9: Hosea 10:1-3, 7-8, 12, Matthew 10:1-7 In Hosea the more prosperous Israel becomes the more temples more worship of God. Jesus calls a “new” Twelve tribes to continue his work. Hosea points out the falseness of the worship that has become like lip service. Hosea calls Israel to sow justice and reap piety. Jesus continues that call when he gathers the Twelve to be the new tribes of Israel. They do tie together.

Yesterday Jesus is moved to pity for the people worn down by exhaustion. These people, in some translations, are said to be harassed and torn apart and not by walking, something else is at foot. Today Jesus has called his twelve, and by extension us, to continue his work; and when I think about that the image that comes to mind is the mom at the sink at the end of the day. After doing all she is called to do in a day she still has more! We know that there is much to do for the kingdom but right now this labourer is harassed and torn apart by life. If we do not care for ourselves our worship can become like lip service because we just don’t have any more to give; we gave it all to our children, our spouses, our work. That is something that is too often missed; that we as moms, labourers for the kingdom must take time to rest. We must find time to find our authority: to understand our calling and how Jesus is calling us. We need to be shepherded – guided. Before Jesus sends out the Twelve to have authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness, he builds them up. He gives them what they need. Too often as moms we ignore that very vital part of being a labourer; we just jump in with both feet and then find ourselves lying prostrate from physical and spiritual exhaustion. That is when we can feel shepherd-less, lost, confused and mostly frustrated – lost sheep. Today let’s pray that when we become exhausted either physically, spiritually, or both; that we take it as a sign we need to be shepherded

Mommy Mantra: We Must Help As Well

Mommy Mantra July 8, 2014: Hosea 8:4-7, 11-13 Matthew 9: 32-38

Hosea speaks of false idols and Matthew Jesus works remind us we must help as well.

Mommy Mantra July 4: “Trampling Upon the Needy”

busy mom

Mommy Mantra July 4, 2014 Amos 8:4-6, 9-12 Matthew 9: 9-13

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Amos again is telling Israel to stop “trampling upon the needy” and the Gospel sees Jesus telling the Pharisees that he has comes for: “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

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Look at Facebook and read all the posts about abuse, or crime, or scandal. Watch TV, listen to AM radio; you can not get away from it. Is this what the people of Israel were feeling as they listened to Amos day after day? How many of them must have thought the problem is too bad!

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Then centuries later Jesus comes having to deal with the same problems. His answer is to go to the source and gently be with them. Eat with them. Laugh with them. Love them into changing themselves.

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The snooty Pharisees must have loved that! Gave them something more to gossip about instead of working to resolve the problems of society.

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As moms we are called to raise children who will be part of the solution. We are called to do the same, but the problems, like in Amos’ time, seem never ending!

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Jesus shows the way. He isn’t trying to conquer the whole problem, he breaks it down to working within his corner of the world.

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Pay it forward. Random acts of kindness. These are two of the ways to create a world where love triumphs over hate.

Living Love Tuesday: Ways of being Gentle with Yourself (video)

Amos and Jesus

smile to hideMommy Mantra July 1, 2014: Amos 3:1-8; 4:11-12, Matthew 8: 23-27

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