Friday, November 4, 2016

More on Yes

This post is kind of related to my last post. I was thinking about how we might hold back part of ourselves, in our marriage, out of fear of what lies ahead. I like being aware of our holding back. We don't always have to have SOLUTIONS you know, or make a change...we could simply sit with it and say..."hmmm...yes, I sure am holding back right now."

My husband and I did NOT stop at two children, and so, I feel like I always ask the question of myself when someone asks ME the question, "Are you going to have anymore?"

I seem to always not really know. Who even knows these things?

Well, all I can say is I take complete comfort in knowing that...

Our Lord will wait for our yes.

He will wait for your yes.

One of the most comforting images of Our Lord that has saved me tremendous heart ache as I wrestle with this Catholic marriage and commitment to openness to life, is the image of God as gentleman.

I can't believe I am going to admit this but one of my guilty pressures is watching engagement videos on YouTube. Ha! You aren't even surprised! Part of me thinks, “Ah this is such a private moment! This is so special this very HUGE question!” and then I find I am clicking play again.

There is usually a profession of love in words, and yet the gentleman is compelled to not only speak these words of love, but to say it with his body as well. He might not even get it that he is about to speak volumes with more than just the symbolism of a “proper engagement,” he is literally saying I am making myself small before you…to ask for your hand in marriage.

He kneels. He kneels small before her. And she usually, as the knee goes down, the unsuspecting bride clasps her mouth. No seriously, watch the videos, she is speechless? I am not sure what the reaction of covering her mouth means…maybe it means, “I have no words, right now in this moment!"

But she DOES have a word! And I only watch proposals with a yes! (although, for shame, there are marriage proposal fails that have gone viral).

I wonder though…I wonder at this yes that she gives so readily. It doesn’t always happen that way. Read any number of Jane Austen novels and you will see a waiting that happens. Darcy waited for Elizabeth.
The tall cadet with the kind brown eyes will wait for you to start speaking to him after he professed his love to you in a stairwell at the academy. He will later affectionately call it your trip to Jupiter, even though you deep down know it was a very painful time for him. He made a confession of love, calling it an ocean, and then he waited for you. He waits for you and so fifteen years late you have five babies together.

A friend told me once that God is the perfect gentleman. I find great peace that knowing as a true gentleman, God would never force himself on me. That he would wait patiently for my yes.

I say this also wanting it to be very clear to you, that if he is asking this yes of you, he will pursue you. You are His prize. We think Pride and Prejudice is romantic? If God is placing on your heart a call to new life, this my friend is the greatest adventure of all, and he will pursue you. 

It is just nice if we can be aware of all this. His pursuing. Your holding back.

God Bless xxoo

Friday, October 28, 2016

Our Yes

A few nights ago we had a double baby shower to celebrate two beautiful mamas in my Bible study group. I hosted in my basement, which turned out to be the perfect intimate setting we needed for laughs and tears and sharing our hearts. The twinkle lights and decor reminded my son of the atria in Juneau...he said to my husband, "Mama made an atrium down here!" Yep, I cried at the dinner table when I heard he had said this. I thought the shower pictures would be fitting for some of my thoughts today.

Beautiful and delicious cake made by Sheila

In a social media saturated world, we can’t help but look around at the lives of others. Family size is just there! And when your heart has the stirrings of wanting to be more open to life, counting how many children and calculating the spacing of said children becomes easy mommy math.

True. Except that we don’t always know the true size of any family unless we are privileged enough to hear the story of each mother as she tells who has grown under her heart and who has grown IN her heart.

By under her heart, I mean babies and children who were here and are no longer visible materially in this space but have gone on before the rest of the family. Miscarriage. Stillbirth. Sickness. Tragedy. All such real crosses. I have sat humbly in the presence of these brave mothers. They walk with a family that is missing someone and yet so very present.

 Loss can even occur IN a heart. I recently befriended someone who “lost” in a way, a little girl she was paired to adopt overseas and  had become very attached to only to have her torn away because of a change in circumstances, her file was moved along…in a sea of adopting files. And the mama shared this with tears welling in her eyes. I share this hoping you will always see through these eyes when you start sizing up families.

So in our one minute world, we see and we size up, it just happens. We compare and we look at your family and at mine.

Where is your yes? Where is hers?

She said yes nine times! She said yes to a four sibling adoption!?!

If she can do that many children and be so happy, why is my yes SO hard then?

(Hey! Be careful putting others on a pedestal you comparer you!)

Oh be so gentle with yourself!

With her yes came the graces, they are not yours to have but hers.

I wonder, dear reader, if you can turn from contemplating on not being able to say yes at this particular moment to affirming hers. Can you even believe it? Yes, make all that you see in her yes..not about YOU!

If you or your husband are struggling with a call to more children, can you be a blessing to those who have children?

Can you rejoice when she first tells you she is having her ninth? Can you give big hugs? Can you say, “Congratulations! How can I help you?”

You are life giving when you bring a casserole. It might be simple comfort food to you, but to her it will taste like the best meal in the world…because she didn’t have to make it!

When she has her third, can you have her other two toddlers for a playdate so she can be with just baby? When you drop her children off at the end of the playdate, can you empty her trash can…without being asked?

You don’t have to even do a “work of mercy”, it can be as simple as kind eyes in Mass at the back of the narthex with a whisper “Your baby is beautiful.”

If you are not at a moment where you can say yes, can you find moments where you cheer on other mamas in their yeses! I have walked many months of my life holding back from our Lord because I felt what He was asking of me at the time was too big. If I could serve my friends with little ones, I found a bit of comfort in knowing I was making their life giving love choices feel even the slightest bit easier.

There is a woman who walked this earth, it was the land of Israel to which she called home. She made room in her heart for everything with her yes, the whole of humanity, including you.

Oh the Blessed Mother, dear reader, allow yourself to rest in the heart that pumped blood to our Lord and Savior. Allow her maternal heart, full of grace, to comfort you and your journey to yes.

God bless.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A Battle to Remember a Battle

St. Michael's feast day was late September and a few of my mama friends and I schemed up a massive nerf war in order to celebrate St. Michael's awesome victory over Satan. It happened a few weekends after the actual feast day, but we all prayed St. Michael's prayer at the beginning, which somehow seemed to make everything (as in it being well past his actual feast day) alright.

It was actually very easy to pull off as everyone pitches in. We bring food but keep things simple. One family, who are more seasoned in nerf wars, cleverly ordered tons of ammunition and safety goggles.

The four families had 23 kids between them, so the dads were certainly outnumbered.

We moms took turns watching the littles and joined in every now and then to support our men

 and our parish seminarian also helped out the dads.

It was so much fun! Our backyard joins with our friend's backyard so the kids already had an intricate fort complex in the woods and all the terrain was just very appropriate for this kind of endeavor. one got hurt! I look at these pictures and I am thankful for Catholic culture and large families. It is so easy to speak large family when you are with other large's keep it simple, I will bring mac'n cheeses, let's make sure if you get "hit" you can go to the healing area and count and be better so noone has to be upset, can we add cupcakes and a happy birthday at the end for one of our eleven year olds? YES!

  It wasn't a trip to a theme park but it did require dads who can give up Sunday football to play...and maybe some taquitos.

 God Bless!