This Sunday the first reading was from Proverbs and spoke of Wisdom building her house. As moms, baptised to be Priest – Nurturer, Prophet – First Teacher and Queen – Guide, we must build our own house with Wisdom. But it is impossible for us to do it alone. We need the prayer of friends and family. We need the nutriment of the Eucharist: “To the one who lacks understanding, she says,
Come, eat of my food.” She tells us to: “Forsake foolishness that you may live; advance in the way of understanding.” A calling for us to be compassionate, loving and nurturing when we run into a new mom, or a mom with a problem; we may be the wisdom they need!
I have known Mary Jo Thayer for some time. She was a Theology teacher at the Catholic high school our twin daughters attended. A few weeks back I went to the rally for Women Betrayed by Planned Parenthood and saw Mary Jo there. We did the usually catching up and then the Holy Spirit whispered in my ear: “Ask her if she would mind writing something for you.” So I asked her and she agreed. Her article on Family really seems to fit the first reading of this past Sunday.
Growing a Fourth Day Kind of Family: The Prayer
By Mary Jo Thayer, M.A.
While raising our children, I was daily provided with ample opportunities to live out my vocation as wife and mother. I learned to make my every task a prayer, or at least I attempted it. I read a helpful little book by called Holiness of Housewives and Other Working Women. This changed my life, or at least how I viewed my life. Every diaper change became a prayer: “Thank you, God, for giving me this little poopy bottom to change. Bless the women who cannot bear children.” Similar prayers were uttered in other tasks typically wrought with low appeal: cleaning up spilled juice from the carpet; digging slivers out of feet; refereeing sibling rivalry. You know, the fun stuff.
Another helpful book was The Five Love Languages. If you haven’t read it. Run, don’t walk to the nearest bookstore or library. This read was instrumental in raising my ability to love the family God was giving me and the personalities that went along with it. This book also taught me something about myself, as well, and I learned to redirect myself more positively.
One of the vices I had to overcome was my temper. I came by it rightly being raised in a highly emotional household. I carried that right into my marriage and my parenting. With the help of a good book on anger, the counsel of a really good priest, and numerous trips to the confessional, I was finally able to conquer my temper and be free to be the awesome mom God created me to be. Seeking outside help is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of strength and ultimately love. Love your husband and your children enough to go get help!
Now that our children are adults, my daily work is over. I have done the best job I knew how to do, and what’s done is done. I have apologized to each of my children for my failures, and they can see that I strive to love them the best that I can. They love me, too, which teaches me more about God’s mercy than I probably deserve.
I have forgiven myself, which is key. Mothers have a profound ability to blame themselves if they’re kids aren’t perfect. We tend to obsess if junior isn’t going to Mass every week, or if one of our kids have abandoned the faith. By and large, these things are not our fault. I have had to remind myself of that, and I also have to remind myself that kids in their 20’s and 30’s are probably not going to have the faith of a 55+ woman.
Therefore, I have turned them over to God, and I daily remind myself that my job now is to pray for them. My daily prayer is that they seek God’s will and use His gifts of intellect and free will to honor Him. I pray that they will desire the truth and learn to live it to the full, so that they can become all God created them to be. This was my fourth day prayer at the beginning of my parenthood, and it needs to be my fourth day prayer now.
|About the guest author: Mary Jo Thayer:
Mary Jo Thayer is an accomplished writer, public speaker, and published author on the topics of chastity, sex education, faith formation, parents as primary educators, and religious freedom. She began her public speaking career in 1999, spring-boarded by a personal experience. She has developed seminars and delivered talks to a wide range of Catholic and Christian audiences. She has had her work published on-line and in print.
Her article “Chastity 101” appeared in an early edition of FAITH magazine, as well as Couple to Couple League’s Family Foundations. She has several short essays published in various homeschooling periodicals and is a contributing author to several books pertaining to homeschooling, evangelization, and the role of Christian women in today’s society.
Prior moving to Grand Rapids, she taught the moral theology courses at Lansing Catholic High School, was a leader in women’s ministry, taught adult catechesis, and was often a keynote speaker for Catholic retreats and seminars.
Recently, she has been called upon to speak about the issues facing our nation with regard to religious freedom. All of her material integrates Saint Pope John Paul II’s The Theology of the Body. She and John, her husband of 34 years, currently live and work in Grand Rapids, where they are members of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, board members of Grand Rapids Right to Life, and Certified Promoters for the Couple to Couple League International. The Thayers have four adult children and one grandchild (so far).