Prayer for Mom

Even though you may feel colourless, the day is filled with promise
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Moms, you are loved more than you will ever know!

Moms, please know that God cares for you as he cared for Lazarus. You are not invisible! You are loved!11045305_883226915033856_4846539595364202378_n

 

Lazarus: Child Abuse

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Australian Childhood Foundation brilliantly captures HOW abuse children feel. Invisible.~

Moms, the Gospel can speak so profoundly. LK 16:19-31

On Twitter there is a champaign to #StopChildAbuse and this picture was on my Twitter stream. <——-

It is very significant because this campaign reminds me of the Gospel of today.  Lazarus, the beggar, is at the door of the Rich man asking for food. The Rich man ignores him. Both men die.  Lazarus goes to the bosom of  Abraham while the Rich man goes to hell.

The Rich man has received all he wanted and needed in his life while Lazarus relied on others charity.  This made Lazarus invisible.  He had no power, no prestige, no money/wealth, so he had no status quo.

The Rich man has no name, he is all of us; those of us who walk past the homeless man, don’t know the name of OUR postman, wouldn’t give a second thought of the maid in a hotel.  The Rich man does not see, will not see, can not see all the pain around him.

But we must see.  The most powerless of our society are children.  We can say why does God allow innocent children to suffer at the hands of those who claim to love and protect them. It makes it so easy for us to throw up our hands and say there is no way to stop this, because it’s what God has brought.

Believe me when I say God does not bring illness, suffering, sorrow; that would go against what we know of a loving God. Thinking like that makes a sham of God as Love.  No, God does not cause suffering – let’s be very honest here – we do!  We are called by our Baptism to help #StopChildAbuse.  We are called by our Baptism to treat children as the gift they are.  We are called by God to raise our children with love so they will love.

It is a great time for parents of faith everywhere.

When I was in highschool, (I went to a Catholic all girls High school), there was a nun who taught human Catholic sexuality.  She taught us that as women we may be called to marriage and children.  For her marriage and child raising was an opportunity for parents to raise saints, but also to become saints.

Yesterday Pope Francis announced plans to canonize St. Therese of Lisieux’s parents during the family synod and that is fantastic for parents. It is a great time for parents of faith everywhere.  This action truly supports parents in our Baptismal role of Priest, Prophet and Queen. It gives us hope that as faithful parents our guidance of our children, our being their role model, our lives lived as 2Tim 1:7 tells us how we should and must be lived filled with the Spirit of God [who] does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline that by doing all that we become the parents God calls us to be.  But we do not do this without the help of God and the tools he has given us.

With the example of  Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin we have confidence to raise saintly children, but how do you do that?

Become your Baptismal role of Priest, Prophet and Queen for your children, your family, your community.  When I was a young woman, before I was married and a mother, I was a very fearful person.  After I became a mom I found great strength, strength I never thought I would have, and it was because God had given me that strength because I was a mother.  Know that your children are crying out for leadership.  Those times when they say: “I hate you!  You  are the worst mom in the world!” it may hurt for the moment but know that is being said because you have hit a nerve in the child that suddenly they are not in charge, and they say whatever they hope will make you back down and let them have control.  Remember God put you in control.

Staying in control means you are mindful of a child’s development.  Each stages of your child’s development has its own challenges. Toddlers and Teens are very similar, both have fastly developing brains awash with hormones.  They can not think logically or rationally, that is where you must step in and be the face, voice and stand of reason and logic.  Always assume the best with your children and work as a parent from that position because that will help you focus on the best not the worst.

Creating children of moral strength is by responsibility.  Knowing that every child can do something significant the more connected to the world they will feel and this will give them a better of understanding of how much they are needed by God, their community, life.  Give a child a chore they can do.  Have school age children pick a chore, teens give them a chore that makes them feel significant and helpful.  Connection with the world is connection with God and a how they find their own love of themselves as God loves them.

Continue the teachings of Godly connection and Godly self-love, which is what parenting truly is, and why we are Prophet: First Teacher, by: Allowing them to be as God calls them to be.  As our children grew we gave them every opportunity to view all aspects of the world and their talent.  We worked as a family for Habitat for Humanity, as they grew older they helped teach CCD classes, were Lectors, altar servers.   We helped them explore their talents exposing them to music lessons, acting, sports.

Help them have a sense of independence.  Each stage of a child’s development gives them an opportunity for independence.  A young child is able to pick their own outfit from a variety of approved choices. Allow a teen to go places and be responsible for their own action.  We must build up to independence with each small step, only when there has been a misstep do we step in, and become Queen: Guardian.  When our eldest was an older teen, almost 18, he did something that got him arrested.  It was the hardest thing to do to watch him go to jail, do probation and apply to all the conditions, it was the most important thing to do: Keep his feet to the fire so that he would come around to be a better man.  This my husband and I did with great love, without accusations, without belittling.  We tried to act as Jesus would have acted with our son.  We must remember that when we deal with the situations we are not condemning our children as people of God, but we condemn their actions, hold them responsible and help them hold themselves responsible.

As a note: Our son is now 29 years old, working for a major company as their chief IT person overseeing interns, and a group of employees.

Be authentic.  If we wish to raise saintly people, we must be authentic.  We must live our faith, live as we believe God is calling us. We must show our children who a servant of God is and how they act.  The adage of don’t do as you see but as I say will not create morally strong people.

Being authentic will help us speak to our children as Jesus would: Speak in love, peace and justice. Speaking in love means we speak the truth to our children, our family, our community.  We must speak in peace, not to nag because that disheartens person and makes them not want to do as we ask.  Speaking in justice means we don’t speak in could/should/would, but also working in the strength of straight forwardness.  Jesus did not just think of what he had to preach but spoke it out loud.  But honest and let people know what you are thinking, feeling and hoping to understand; this is also speaking in love, in peace, in justice.   Know that your words have the power to heal, to create, to destroy.

Finally, take time to renew each relationship in your life with special, specific, and significant time alone.   Every person in your life: God, children, spouse, friends and self.

Some resources:

  • Raising Saints: A place of retreat for this mother of seven to speak on the joys and challenges of life for a Catholic family immersed in American culture.
  • Raising {& Teaching} Little Saints: A blog about family life, home educating, and faith!
  • Family & Honor Inc.: Providing and promoting a family-centered Catholic approach to chastity education
  • Raise Happy Children…Raise Them Saints! Paperback – October 6, 2002 by Mary Ann Budnik

Power!

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Ya talkin’ to me

crossesFellow Mommies,

How was your day?

Yesterday for me was a bit of bust. That’s not a fair assessment, it is better to say that there was a great many things that were done that were good. It is just that I had wished that all of it was done well.

But is that what God wants us to do with ourselves; only seeing the things that were going wrong?  No!  Why would He?!

Thinking about my day, any day, really, is a matter of putting myself in God’s presence.  How would He see my day?  Where there things that I should have done better; you bet!  Are those things that did not go well something that should condemn me, no!

There is a biblical practice called replacement.  It is also something you will find in therapy or counselling; it’s used mostly in Applied Cognitive Psychology when someone has something that they are battling: Phobias, compulsive behaviours, additions.

Both the biblical practice and the therapeutic practice have things in common.   They both ask that we look at our behaviour and replace those thoughts, actions, beliefs that are holding us back. Ignatius would say to his novitiate to examine their day in light of what God was calling them to change, to strengthen.  Ignatius asked them to review what they did, how and what they thought, and where they could have done better. All steps in replacement.

Let’s look at the steps:

First consider this bible passage: “Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right … Think about all you can thank God for and be glad about” (Philippians 4:8).  God must have thought that our thoughts we were VERY important to how we perceive ourselves, our world, our family, our community.

Secondly Replacement:  Our thoughts are very important, the more positively we can think, or turn our thoughts to the positive the better we will be. Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Remember when your Mom would say to stop and think about you are going to say, or to count to ten before you say anything – that is discerning or testing what you are going to say, is it Godly = Positive.  If we take that time to think before we speak, any speech: self talk, direct talk, we will transform our minds to the positive.  That will renew our mind/self because we will be starting to speak as Jesus spoke: positively.

Third Replacing: This brings us to some steps to that will help you replace thoughts.

  • Write down those things that people have said to you that are positive.
  • Write down all the things you are grateful for during the day
  • Find bible passages that speak to you of God’s love for you.

The more we see those patterns of positive action, thought and love, those times of when God was active in our life; we will begin to see life more positively.

The last method: Look deeply.

We have to see our lives as they are.  Write down everything in your day, good, bad and indifferent.  God is present in all of these. Pray/talk to God about how you could have done things better.  Write down what impressions of God you receive.

Over time you will feel more positive, see life more positively, and even as I experienced yesterday; life may not go smoothly all the time but even during those times there is God helping you through it.

 

From Death into Life

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Second week of Lent. Family altar

Good morning fellow Mom:

I hope your Lent is going well.

As I look at the week past from Ash Wednesday to this day; I wonder if I can keep up my Lenten promise.  Will I sustain this momentum?

It will be so if I can keep up the daily reminder that God and I are in a relationship to become a better person.

For so many years I have carried around so much weight; emotionally, spiritually. There are so many whys, but the most important one is the one I hear from so many moms: I am just a mom.

My Hubby and I at our Godson’s Baptism.

 

The Most Dangerous Words: “I’m JUST a Mom”: Understanding the Power of Language to Limit or Lift You

I may be a spiritual director, working with moms, but like many of the moms I understand the struggles they feel because I have felt them as well, lived them as well.

Lent is about preparing to become that new person.  If I don’t or can’t keep it up, what does that mean for me?  It means that I am not yet ready to commit to the new person God has been calling me to be.  If I can’t, does that mean God will hate me? No, of course not.  God invites, invites, invites until we say yes.

It means that somehow this life I have created, the old life, is giving me more rewards than the work it is taking to be the new me.  It means that laziness, which is also a form of hiding, is trying to keep me a prisoner of my thoughts of worthlessness.  I have to pray daily to God to help me keep going, not just for this Lent but for the rest of my life.

He wants the best for us.  He sees moms as powerful women: I have to think of Mary.  God is the ultimate cheerleader, guide, teacher, supporter.  The work is hard, but God knows that when I am done, died to my old self, and successful He will be so excited that He got to work so hard with me to become new.

 

Prefect Fit

Abuse
Abuse

I found this tweet on my timeline and thought: “How perfect a fit is this for the Gospel of today!”

The Gospel today is filled with ways we break covenant with our neighbours by judging harshly, calling them fool; and when we break this covenant with them, we break it with God MT 5:20-26

Although it can be painful at times, it’s a beautiful treasure to have people who will speak truth into your life. Accountability is a gift.

 

This is cow

Fellow moms, did you ever play a game where you made believe that your children’s dolls, stuffed animals were “real”?

When our twinnies where in Kindergarten to second grade while they were at school I would arrange their favourite dolls so that they looked like they were reading books, or playing jacks with each other, or colouring quietly on the floor.  Just recently our youngest twinnie confessed to me that that would “freak her out”.  As a young girl she had come to believe that her dolls were alive and would listen at the door to see if they would be talking to each other or moving around, if she heard nothing she would go in; but then she worried that they were laying in wait for her.

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The infamous Cow

But our other daughter, the eldest twin, she loved it!  Well, just recently our eldest twinnie has brought that early tradition back with Cow.  Here is Cow —->.

A few days ago I found Cow on my computer in my office, then at my place at the dining room table, so I put cow by our eldest’s college textbooks as if she was reading them, then put our daughter’s hat on Cow. This morning I found Cow in the pocket of my coat as I was searching for my keys as I was out the door for Mass.

It made me smile to pull Cow out as I muttered to myself: “What is this!”

This got me to thinking, being Lent and all and seeing that as a spiritual director my mind will just go this way, of the spiritual about this little game.

Each time we play this game we are forced to seek Cow out; as we are called to seek God out.  Cow is hidden from our view, we have no idea where Cow is or where Cow will “pop” up, so it is a mystery. Just as God is a mystery in our lives and we have no “real” idea where He will pop up.

But when we find Him, when we pull Him out of His ever present “hiding place”, that place right before our eyes; aren’t we pleased when that happens?  Don’t we exclaim in wondered tones: “What is this!  Oh, its God!”

How can you NOT love this man!!!

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I ADORE Pope Francis. Just look at this picture! This man is so in love with his faith, his church, his God that the joy just beams out of his face! That is the face of a true follow of Christ!

Do you agree or what?