Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Greatest Gifts

I've been reminded in a few different ways lately how precious motherhood is, and what a gift these sweet children are. 

This Christmas season I have considered the importance of Christmas. Mary and the whole world (past, present, and future generations) welcomed the greatest gift to humanity EVER in the form of an innocent little baby. Jesus chose to come as a baby. Babies are gifts! They bring new life and hope and promise. 

Life is quick to happen. Our time with them is so short. It saddens me when I look around and see so few children cherished, nurtured, and loved the way they deserve. We are guilty at times of this in our own home, and beg Gods forgiveness and grace in helping us give them the godly example of HIS love. 

As we love the Father because He first loved us, similarly will they learn of His love through us which will enable them to love God and others better. 

Our job as parents and mothers is so important. I remember when I was first staying at home with Teá and how conflicted I felt about staying home (which actually lasted about 3 years). Many around me made me feel as though I should be working. I felt that way, too. I didn't come from a home with a stay at home mom, and I always assumed and envisioned I would also be a working mom. Well meaning people would question things like whether my kids were getting enough socialization because they weren't in daycare, preschool, and now school, or whether I was offering them a good example of womanhood and being a productive member of society. 

Yet, whenever I came to God in prayer over these and many other concerns, I was only left with the impression that we were right where we should be, and what a GIFT our family has been given to have each other. Of course there are the normal, everyday stresses of life, but in general we are spared a LOT of stress that naturally comes with two working parents, plus the stress of not being the primary caretakers of our children and finding suitable arrangements for them, and of giving up hours everyday with them. Not everyone can do this, and even more people who could choose not too for various reasons, and yet God has generously shown us the treasure that is found in pouring into our children in the ordinary moments of each day. I am grateful He has given us this wealth of treasure, the gift of time with my kids. The gift of not only being able to teach them but also show them each day how they are to live, how we are all to live, which is a virtuous life honoring God and living in love.

Parents have the moral responsibility of forming their children, and we will all give an account to God someday on how well we handled that ever important task given to us. Let's not turn our eyes another way or hope someone else will come along and do our job for us. With Gods help I am certain we can rise to the challenge and raise our children in a way that is worthy of what has been entrusted to us (which is their very soul!!). 

It's also very evident (at least I personally think so) how the family is under such attack in today's culture. It is being torn apart, mocked, trampled upon, and reimagined. The family is supposed to be a beautiful reminder of the family of God, of His church, even of His very nature. We should all be very prayerful in regard to how we construct our lives at home. It's easy to be swayed and swept away by the current ideologies or cultural norms. This is not Gods Will however. Family is the most basic unit of society and holds it together. It is also the means by which God has chosen many of us to live out our vocations and grow in holiness. Yet it is all too often ignored or pushed aside for other endeavors which do not have our holiness, sanctity, or for the glory of God in mind. 

I pray that all would come to a greater realization of the true gift we are given to bring life into this world, and hopefully, into Heaven. We are taking part in Gods own creative nature as He allows the creation of new human beings to come to life through us. Each one is unique, irreplaceable, and beautifully made in His image with a special mission only that one person can carry out. 

I'm so grateful for another life God has given us that we will get to meet and welcome into our little family in a few short months. The girls anxiously await their new baby brother and couldn't be more excited! Neither could we! Thanks be unto God for all His blessings! 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

To Be A Better Mom...

A popular topic of conversation among myself and my friends whom are usually also mothers is the subject of parenting. Parenting includes a plethora of subject matter, from discipline to play time activities, to sleeping habits, to forming their character, and the list goes on. One thing I did not expect as a new mother was the vast array of opinions on parenting methods. Everyone seemed to have a certain way of doing things and many believed it was the only way of doing things. Or at least that was my impression as a new mom. I've since learned most moms don't actually feel this way and many struggle, like myself, with feeling like they are not a good enough parent and that the job seems at times to be impossible.

I have a lot of growth to do in order to become a better mom. I am not perfect and I have identified many areas in my own parenting style which need special attention in order to become the mom I want and hope to one day be. I've learned there really is no magic formula in parenting because every parent is unique and every child is unique. However, I have found one key in helping me to become a better mom and that helps develop better children. 

To be a better mom we must be the person we want our children to be. Do I want my kids to be more patient? Then I must be more patient. Do I want them to be better listeners? Then I must listen to them and give them my full attention. Do I want them to be less whiny? Then I must whine less and glorify God more in my words and actions. Do I want them to love others and serve in their community? Then so must I. 

Our children are going to learn the most from watching us. They will respond to life's challenges like we respond. They will interact like we interact. They will love like we love. They will also argue like we argue, whine like we whine, judge like we judge, hate like we hate. We are not perfect, nor are they. As much as they need our discipline, we must discipline ourselves to become more Christ-like as well. We must deny ourselves and become truly selfless in the giving of ourselves to God and others. Lastly, we must draw ever closer to Our Lord, for only by the strength and grace He provides can we hope to be the moms, and people, He asks us to be.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Save us from the Fires of Hell

"Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy. Amen." 

Our family prays this Fatima prayer daily, and recently while saying this prayer I wondered how Jesus might be answering it in my life. How is He "saving us from the fires of hell"?

Of course, He ultimately made it possible for us to go to Heaven with Him by His life, death, and resurrection. He faithfully forgives us of our sins whenever we seek His forgiveness. Still though, we must accept His awesome plan of salvation in our lives and work out our salvation with all fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12), for faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26) and we must continually avoid sin and its damning effects.

That being said, sin comes in all shapes and sizes. How easy it can be for us to fall! We ask for Gods help, and we ask for His saving grace, but sometimes His saving grace comes in a different form than we imagined. The path to holiness is a difficult one and honestly, as I'm slowly learning, it is not a comfortable one. I'm becoming more and more convinced that comfort is for fools and is a passing pleasure. We should expect to be humbled, to lay down our pride, selfishness, wants and desires, hopes and dreams, riches and possessions--none of which are comfortable for us. It is easy to pray nonchalantly "save us from the fires of Hell" and then when hardships arise we wonder why the Lord is allowing them, when in reality these sufferings and trials are saving us from the fires of Hell! That is why it is written in the epistle of James:

"Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
~James 1:2-4~

It is a true joy to be saved! Thank God for His saving graces, mysterious as they sometimes are. Let us humble ourselves, so that when we encounter trials, we will be joyful and believing in the power at work by the Holy Spirit through them to help us grow in holiness and set aside our wicked ways, which are not pleasing to the Lord but truly offensive. With confidence we can approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and grace in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16). Therefore, let us pray wholeheartedly and confidently, 

"Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy. Amen."