30 May 2010
I understand that it can be difficult for civilian families to relate to military folks and the military lifestyle. It’s hard to really grasp the emotional highs and lows, and the toll that military life takes on a family unless you’ve lived it. Through no fault of their own, many civilians just don’t get it, and how could they?
Until I lived through my husband’s weeks of field training exercises, I didn’t understand what it was like to be a temporary single mom, with him popping in and out of home life like a frequent visitor and having to get used to him being around again.
Until I lived through his deployment to Iraq in 2003, I could have never comprehended the heartache of saying goodbye to him in our doorway at 0300, closing the door behind him, and thinking to myself, “That might have been the last time I’ll ever see him. That just might have been it.” Do you know how hard it was not to fling open the door and run after him? I had two small children sound asleep in their bedroom, and their Mom sat up on the couch crying til dawn, begging the angels to keep my beloved safe. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do next. Turned out, it was make breakfast.
Normal stuff of normal life fills the days of loved ones waiting at home for their soldiers who are “in theater” – that means in the war zone, in harm’s way, in danger. Not at home with you. Yet every moment there lingers a fear in your heart, and a small lump in your throat.
Every day the prayer is the same, “Please Father, keep him safe today and bring him back home to me.” Every day you smile in front of your children whether you feel like smiling or not. Whether you’re worried or lonely or tired, you do your best to keep things “normal” for your kids. And you remember that whatever you’re going through is peanuts compared to what your soldier is enduring.
So while there are many things I don’t expect the civilian world to understand, I do expect them to REMEMBER the sacrifices made by our uniformed heroes, the ones who go to the worst places on earth and do the most difficult and unpleasant jobs in order to protect us back here at home. Most of them are like my husband, in that they don’t want public applause or thanks and they don’t really need medals. They truly appreciate the person who shakes their hand, looks them in the eye, and says, “Thank you for your service. I’m glad you’re home safe and sound.”
They truly appreciate the people who look after their families while they are away. The guy who mows the lawn for a soldier’s wife; the woman who helps out with childcare once in a while or brings dinner over; the person in the housing office who takes pity and makes sure a repair gets done pronto. And in my case, the guy in the Rear Detachment (the soldiers in the unit who stay behind to help coordinate things) who comes over to this panic-stricken wife’s house to seek out and destroy the red wasp flying around in the kitchen. Really. I was *this close* to needing a tranquilizer.
It’s not hard to remember. It’s not hard to appreciate the sacrifices made for our freedom. This nation could start with one simple thing this Memorial Day, in this soldier’s wife’s humble opinion: The Mojave Memorial Cross.
What happened to the Home of the Brave? Lately it seems we’ve become the Land of the Cowardly, the Land of the Ungrateful. I join with the countless others who are incensed over the theft of the cross and the desecration of this memorial to our heroes. When they find the lowlife who stole the cross, I hope they send him to stand a checkpoint in Iraq or Afghanistan for at least 18 months. I hope they assign him to the Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit (Bomb Squad) so he can use his quivering fingers to disarm (hopefully) an enemy specialty before it blows him to smithereens.
And while they’re at it, they should “recruit” the guy who started the stupid lawsuit in the first place. A man who lives in Oregon decided it offended him to have a simple, plain, unadorned white cross standing on a rock in the middle of the Mojave Desert as a tribute to fallen soldiers of WWI. The memorial was placed there over 70 years ago by friends and comrades to remember their fallen buddies, and suddenly, some jerk in Oregon decides the cross cannot be tolerated any longer. And this nation kowtows to this guy’s selfish vendetta, and a lawsuit nearly triumphs against the memorial, against the fallen heroes, in favor of a guy whose life wasn’t harmed one iota by that quiet cross standing in the desert a thousand miles away from him.
Now that the original cross has been stolen, the court has taken another step toward forgetting the heroes and favoring the cowards by claiming that the Supreme Court decision to let the cross stand only applies to the original cross and not to any replica they may create. In other words, they can’t put up a replacement cross. That is America the Ungrateful, America the Cowardly.
My husband will spend this Memorial Day quietly remembering the soldier whose body he escorted home to his family in Georgia the year we were married, the one who died in a freak accident during a typical field exercise. He knew it could have just as easily been him. So did I.
He’ll remember the soldiers who died in Iraq under his command, as well as the ones who were permanently injured. He’ll remember the nearly two dozen friends he’s lost; the ones who did not come home alive. Perhaps he’ll wonder again why he did come home alive.
I’ll spend Memorial Day thinking of all of them, and thanking God for their sacrifice and praying for their eternal rest. I’ll thank God again, for the millionth time that my beloved came back to me safe and sound. And I’ll pray for every hero currently in theater and beg Heaven’s angels to stand watch and keep them safe.
And I’ll remember my friend, Karin, who became a widow at age 34 with two little girls, and I’ll remember how many, many families have lost the one they loved. I hope they know, this day, that their hero is not forgotten.
What kind of nation tears down memorials put up by its heroes, in remembrance of its heroes? What kind of nation says honoring its fallen heroes is a violation of freedom? Where would this nation be without those heroes and their protection of our freedoms?
I truly hope we are not becoming America the Ungrateful, America the Cowardly. My husband will never toot his own horn or draw attention to the sacrifices he’s made and the sadness and loss he’s endured as a soldier for his country, but I will. I’ll do it for him and every other service member who deserves to be remembered by a nation that is hopefully not too cowardly or ungrateful to stand up and call legal B.S. what it is.
Put that cross back in its place. Anyone who’s offended by it can darn well look the other way and thank God they have the freedom to walk away and maybe go find something actually worth being offended by, like the ingratitude and selfishness of people who want to insult the memory of those who died for them.
We need some of the Brave here at home, too, and I hope there are more than a few left.
Thank you, to every man and woman who has fought and is currently fighting for our homeland. Thank you for doing everything within your power to make sure I and my children can sleep safely tonight. I love and appreciate you and I pray God’s blessing on you and your families. Godspeed, and come home soon.
Thank you, my darling, for being who you are -- a quietly brave and selfless hero. I love you so much, and I’m so honored to be your wife.
A blessed and solemn Memorial Day to all. May God continue to bless the United States of America.
23 May 2010
Sometimes there just isn’t an adequate adjective.
What is the word to describe a baby, aborted at 7 months, being placed in a box with cotton wool stuffed in his mouth and sent to the furnace of a crematory -- alive?
Horrifying? Not even close. Shocking? A paltry description. What is the word?
Evil. Depraved. Malevolent. Wicked. Those words are a good fit. This unspeakable evil took place in China’s Guangdong Province. Just as this baby was about to be thrown into the fire, the mortuary worker heard him cry. The worker was startled by the sound and stopped to open the box and discovered the baby moving, choking on the cotton stuffed in his mouth. The worker cleared his mouth and the baby breathed peacefully.
The child was rushed back to the hospital from whence he’d come earlier that day labeled as medical waste. But doctors there refused to treat him. They left him in the lobby. They confirmed hours later that he was dead (they made sure this time) and sent him right back to the funeral home to be cremated.
Those who champion abortion will say that narratives like mine here are full of hyperbole, inflammatory language and highly-charged, emotional terms. But tell me, please, how can we adequately describe the nefarious act of discarding a human being like garbage sent to the furnace?
How is it inflammatory to describe the medical “procedure” whereby a baby is stabbed at the base of the skull, her brains literally sucked out of her head, her skull crushed and then removed from the birth canal? Or the process by which she is burned with chemicals, dismembered with forceps, stabbed in the heart with a lethal injection, or forcefully sucked out of the womb?
Those are simply the facts. It sounds inflammatory only to those who are liars and killers.
The language of liars and killers is far more ambiguous. Words like “choice”, “rights”, and “reproductive health” have an empowering and clinical ring to them, while they hypnotize a self-centered, hedonistic culture. “Fetus” is uttered callously as though it means something less than a human being. To the liars and killers, this is their vernacular, and it is persuasive and deceiving.
The heartless destruction of our children is monstrous, and those who accomplish it forfeit their humanity piece by piece. A human being has an innate instinct toward compassion, toward basic kindness unless that instinct is smothered by hate. No one kills babies out of love. A person only ignores a helpless, dying baby, as the doctors in China ignored that beloved child, because he has surrendered his heart to hate and death. A person rips a baby out of the womb and inflicts death only because he himself has surrendered to the spirit of death.
There are no other ends on the road of abortion; only hate, death and the utter loss of the soul.
To the advocates and administers of abortion in America, I dare you – defend the death of this Chinese baby. Explain the correctness of his murder; justify his torture. You must. It cannot matter at all to you where, when or how this baby died. All that matters is that he is dead, finally. The means to the end are irrelevant, if “choice” is sacrosanct. You already demand the right to dismember, burn, stab, suction and decapitate “it.” You must now go the next step and demand the right to use whatever means necessary to achieve the objective of death, whether in or out of the womb.
The time has come to admit what you’re really saying, what you’re really demanding – the right to violently extinguish another human being simply because you wish it. Your rhetoric may sound clever to you, with all its vague and generic descriptions of the baby in the womb, but the truth is never disguised, and every human heart not already atrophied by hate and death knows the truth. Abortion does not terminate a pregnancy. Abortion terminates the baby.
You are not heroes of choice or bodily autonomy or freedom or women’s rights. You are cheerleaders for and distributors of death. You are pirates who plunder the womb and profit from the killing of children.
Basic human decency and compassion demanded that those Chinese doctors help to save that poor baby’s life. But to the abortion militia, compassion and decency are smote by their mythical yet inviolate “right to choose.”
America, listen up. What happened in China is the only and inevitable destination of our country as long as we embrace the evil of abortion. In fact, we know for certain that we are already arriving at that destination. Babies who have the audacity to survive their abortion in this country are left alone on instrument tables to die, or thrown away like trash. Our Born Alive Infant Protection Act (how can such an act of legislation even be needed?!?) is ignored and unenforced. Don’t think it doesn’t happen in America.
It is inevitable that more and more babies will be thrown away, having survived their murder attempt, and left to die, or put in boxes and shoved into the furnace. There is only one objective to the cause of abortion: death. Once a taste for death has been acquired, it is never satisfied. It demands more blood, and more blood, and it is never enough. There is always another restriction to be lifted, another speed bump to level so that the road of “choice” is fast, unobstructed and easily traveled.
We are living in our own age of ongoing death camps, complete with furnaces where the unwanted, the imperfect, the diseased, the powerless, the silent ones go to be eliminated.
There is only one cure and His name is Jesus. His innocent blood was shed to forgive the sins of every soul, even the depraved sin of abortion. There is mercy for us, America, if we will choose life. There is prosperity and healing and happiness and abundant grace for us if we will turn away from our sin and seek His face.
If we do not summon the courage to admit what we have done, what we continue to do, if we do not beg God’s mercy, the road we are on will surely lead to destruction. The only question is, what will it take to change our course?
Mark me, Lord, with the sign of Your true disciples and animate me in all things with Your Spirit.
Come Holy Spirit! Fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of your love!
On this solemn, magnificent feast day, I give God Praise for:
The inspirations He gives, the gentle prodding, the stirring and moving in my heart that reminds me He is there and that He loves me.
The promise of the power He brings, and that He will never leave His Church alone. No matter how dark the days, He will bring fire to light and warm us.
Those in the Church who are faithful and humble, those who serve under the pain of persecution and accusation, and especially for our Holy Father. St. Michael, defend him and all those who love the Church!
For my own awesome family! For our new home. Lord, may the transition be smooth.
For the miracle of sedation dentistry. Without it, I would not survive tomorrow.
Always, of course, for the gift of chocolate!
God bless y'all this week and may you receive a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit to enlighten your mind, ignite your heart and strengthen your faith. Thank you for sharing your Praises!
19 May 2010
I'm really not sure why this is so stuck in my craw today, but I have no patience right now for those who would perpetuate falsehood about the Catholic faith and not even be man enough to discuss it when they are confronted with their misinformation.
Why are we supposed to smile and quietly tolerate the load of crap that is bundled up by Protestants as "Catholic" beliefs? Why are we dismissed and ignored when we defend the faith and correct the erroneous statement? People put forth their ideas about Catholic faith and the errors they think it contains, but when they are challenged to discuss it, evaluate it further, or explain where/how/why they came to their misinformed conclusions, they shut down. It's cowardly.
If you're going to insist you know what my faith teaches about salvation, grace, works, faith, forgiveness of sin and eternal life, then back it up. And be prepared to listen as I explain where you're mistaken. Otherwise, you're a coward.
I'm tired of one-way respect. I do not question the salvation of fellow Christians, nor their state of grace of lack thereof. I do not question their sincerity, their relationship with Jesus, their understanding, and I do not insult them by declaring they're not even Christians.
Been a frustrating day on the blogosphere...and boy, oh boy -- the wounds in the Body of Christ run so deep. We are making bridges to close the gaps between us, but even so, sometimes it feels like the canyons between us are impassable. It's no wonder the rest of the world disdains Christianity. If I weren't one already, I'm not sure I'd be terribly impressed or inclined to "join" this group.
What a lousy job we're doing. Jesus, help us.
18 May 2010
It's possible my skin is a bit thinner than usual these days, due to home life busyness and chaos that's more ramped-up than normal, but I am so sick to death of hearing from Protestants that I'm not a Christian, or I'm not saved, or I'm lost and confused, or blah, blah, blah.
Sheesh. Give me a break already. You'd think the Bible fell out of the sky one day, leather-bound with a concordance, and landed in Luther's or Calvin's hands and prior to that, nobody had heard the word of God before. You'd think that Christian churches simply sprang up out of thin air in the year 1500 or so, and prior to that Christianity was waiting in limbo to be shared with the world.
Catholics are not the red-headed stepchild of Christianity. We are not pagans, heathens, or idolaters.
This kind of petty, ignorant, and pig-headed crap has to stop. I have never in my life presumed to tell a Protestant that they're not going to Heaven, or they don't know Jesus, or they're not saved, or blah, blah, blah. How could I possibly make such a pronouncement? What grief we must inflict on Jesus' heart with our stupid nonsense.
I could never not be Catholic. I have found it to be the fullness of the Christian faith and I will never settle for anything less. I could not live without His body and blood. I believe Jesus built His Church on the Rock of St. Peter and since then, it has continued and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
I'm sad and sorry for the splintered Christianity that exists today, and I pray that we will all be one again soon. In the meantime, I love my brothers and sisters in Christ; I learn from them and take inspiration from them; I am often so amazed and blessed by them. I just wish some of them could stop nailing their personal manifestos to the door already.
16 May 2010
"When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven." Luke 24:50-51
Praise to the Lord on this Ascension Sunday!
Today, I am Praising Him for:
A very fun and happy birthday party yesterday for my oldest. She's 9 now! Her past birthday parties have not always gone well (3 years in a row only one person came!) but thanks be to God, this party was well-attended and wonderful for her. She was very happy, and it was so sweet to see her smile and laugh and feel loved by her friends. Thank you, Jesus, for caring for a little girl's heart. And a Momma's heart, too.
Speaking of child #1, she is such a joyful kid. She has the best smile and so much positive energy. She's a real gift to me.
Hubby and I are doing the happy-dance also because we finally got orders!! Hallelujah! 'Bout time! Now we can move forward with lots of things that need doin', and plans that needs to get goin'. Lots to do...
I'm grateful once again this week for my awesome Hubby. Have I mentioned that he loves me more than I deserve?
Thank you, Father, for all You have provided us, for every need that's been met, for every want that's been satisfied, for every comfort, every unnecessary luxury we enjoy, and every day we get to be alive. We need only one thing -- grateful hearts.
For the peppermint mocha in my cup and the chocolate biscotti in my hand... yum.
God bless y'all this coming week and keep you ever in His care. His peace be with you, His joy be in you, His love fill you and flow through you. Thanks for sharing your Praises!
13 May 2010
I watched an old episode of "Touched by An Angel" last night. I loved that show. No sex or violence or nastiness or people behaving badly, etc.
This episode was called The Empty Chair, about a married couple who never discussed the abortion of their child fifteen years earlier and how it was destroying them. The wife in the story wrote this poem for her husband, and I found it to be quite powerful and revealing.
Let me break it in half and give some to you
I cannot eat it all, day after day
I swallow our sin, gagging on pieces of my grief
Conceived without hunger, delivered without grace
It is never enough to fill this empty belly
Come, sit at the table and share this terrible communion we have prepared
This is my body
This is your wine
Say the words, taste the blood
And let's finish this meal
May I please be excused to sit by the fire
And rock the invisible sorrow to sleep
Until the flames die
And the faces in the blue go away
Leaves me convinced that whoever wrote that had experienced the heartache of abortion personally.
It is May; Mary's month. The month for mothers. Lord, hasten the day when abortion will cease, and the war on the womb will end, and women will no longer carry the pain, grief, and weight of death on themselves.
11 May 2010
In the interest of honesty, I will say up front that I’m not a supporter of yours. I am a woman who deeply loves the Church you claim as your own, and I am disgusted at your most recent attempt to exert your power under the guise of Christian love. The political games you play are bad enough, but your public perversion of the Catholic faith simply cannot go unanswered.
Your platform gives you a nationwide microphone; your political authority can lead the ignorant and the gullible to think that you speak with authority on matters of faith as well. You do not. In another profession, your errant views might only go as far as your immediate friends and family, but due to your position, your error can potentially spread like a deadly virus among thousands.
You are misleading people, Ms. Pelosi, and in my opinion, you take a rather cheeky satisfaction in doing so. I read your remarks from the Catholic Community Conference on Capitol Hill last week, and the nicest way I can say it is: you sure have a lot of nerve.
You told those gathered that Catholics who opposed your version of immigration reform needed to be reminded that this is “a manifestation of our living the gospels.” You let it be known that you felt the need to instruct the bishops, cardinals and archbishops on what they should say to their congregations regarding immigration reform. You, who obstinately refuse to heed the instruction and correction of your own bishop, as well as many other bishops, regarding your public actions and statements concerning the teachings of the Church, now establish yourself as an authority on the Church’s role in matters near and dear to your heart.
You stated with shocking audacity that “We have to respect that dignity and worth of the individual and recognize that the Church has an important role to play in that.” Your hypocrisy is simply staggering! You see no obligation to recognize the dignity and worth of the preborn child in the womb – only the dignity and worth of the post-born person who can applaud and cast a vote in your favor.
Where was your conviction that we must respect the dignity and worth of the individual when you insisted, “To me it isn’t even a question.[of being a faithful Catholic while being pro-abortion] God has given us free will. We’re all responsible for our actions. If you don’t want an abortion, you don’t believe in it, then don’t have one. But don’t tell somebody else what they can do in terms of honoring their responsibilities.” (Newsweek magazine interview Oct 2006) Funny… I never knew that honoring my responsibilities meant I could kill a baby. And I certainly never knew that it was a “choice” my Church and my God would support.
In case you’ve forgotten, here was Bishop Vasa’s reply to your errant statement:
“It is categorically impossible for the same person to state that he or she believes simultaneously both what the Catholic Church teaches and that abortion is just a choice…Furthermore, it is an unjust choice which is diametrically opposed to the clear and consistent teaching of the Catholic Church as well as to the clear and consistent teaching of God Himself in the Ten Commandments. The direct, intentional taking of the life of an innocent human being is inhumane and unjust. It is not just a choice!”
Where was your conviction that we must respect the dignity and worth of the individual during the health care reform debates when the Catholic bishops spoke out in unison against the federal funding of abortion? Oh yes – your reply was denial. “No taxpayer funding of abortion in here, no sir!” No one with an ounce of common sense believed that patronizing lie. We all knew it was in there as well as you did.
But again, let’s not pretend that protecting a tiny, powerless, still-forming child is the same thing as protecting a voter. Surely even the Church must understand that as a politician, you have to have your priorities straight. It’s your survival in Washington that matters.
After all, there’s nothing to be gained personally by insisting on the dignity and worth of the person in the womb. They can’t do anything for you; they must simply be served – lovingly and without repayment. They don’t generate income for decades, and by the time they can vote, it’ll be someone else’s election. There’s nothing in it for you now, and far too much money from the abortion lobby at stake. Yeah, those babies simply cost way too much.
Time and time again, you deny the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception, deny that we have an obligation to the preborn as fellow human beings, and even try to deceive the public by claiming the Church herself is unclear about when life begins, so therefore, you are justified in defending the “right” to abortion.
You believe what serves you, when it serves you. You twist what you can to benefit your purpose and make your position stronger and sadly, you are aided by dissident Catholics like Sr. Carol Keehan, Catholics for Choice, and others who ignore or flat-out contradict Church teaching. You speak of our command to “live the gospels” and even hitch a ride on St. Francis of Assisi’s call to “Preach the gospel at all times; if necessary, use words.” Yet you routinely use your words to subvert Church teaching, to publicly disobey Church leaders, and mislead the faithful.
You’re hardly alone in this. Pathetically, Washington is full of so-called Catholics who have no interest in living an authentic Catholic faith. They are determined to write their own version of Catholicism; one that’s “tolerant” and encourages “choice.” They want a Catholic faith that has very few, if any, lines clearly drawn between what’s right and what’s wrong. They prefer a Church that stays out of the public eye and the public ear, and lowers its expectations regarding the lives of its followers. They preach a Jesus who doesn’t ask very much.
The fact is, the Church is breathtakingly clear on matters of life, marriage and sexuality, and the family as the foundation of society. Human life is sacred from conception to natural death and only God can give life or take life away. Marriage is between one man and one woman for life. Sex is good and holy and only morally right within the bonds of marriage. The family – father, mother, and child – must be protected and nourished as the true foundation for society; for as the family goes, so goes our nation.
Not the sort of rhetoric that gets you elected these days, is it? If political power is what you want, fine. Go for it. But stop trying to use the Church for cover, because your actions consistently deny the faith you claim is so dear to you. I wish you and every other self-described Catholic in Washington would make up your minds to either live the faith the Church actually teaches or live for the world’s applause and power. You can’t have it both ways.
Here is your real choice, Ms. Pelosi:
“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse – the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods…” Deuteronomy 11:26-28
“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice and hold fast to Him.” Deuteronomy 30:19-20
10 May 2010
You'll want to visit Catholic Online for an excellent special report on the flooding in Nashville. Sonja Corbitt is a resident of Tennessee, and gives a thorough accounting of all that has happened, as well as all that has not happened.
Remember the people of Tennessee in your prayers, and if possible, your budget this month, next month... they need help. I wonder if Obama will notice them at all...
09 May 2010
"My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior...from now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me -- holy is His name." Luke 1:46-49
Happy Mother's Day!
Today I give the Mighty One Praise for...
Our Blessed Mother, Mary. It's hard to even put into words what she means to us and what a rare and beautiful gift she is. I cannot wait to meet her and throw my arms around her.
My own beautiful and lovely mother. She's been a gift to me my entire life and I can only hope to be half the mother she is.
My lovely daughters who've made me a mother! How blessed I am...
My fantastic husband who loves me more than I deserve.
The long nap I intend to take today.
The chocolate cake I will eat a lot of today.
The glass(es) of wine I will enjoy today.
Did I already mention the chocolate cake? No? Well, I'm having lots of chocolate today.
I pray all of you have a restful and peaceful and joyful Mother's Day! God bless you richly.
Let the Praises ring!
07 May 2010
I felt the end of my rope just fly out of my hands. I heard screaming and crying, then a crash as something hit the wall. Something grabbed my leg and wouldn't let go. Somehow I wrestled free of whatever had attached itself to my leg, and I ran like crazy.
I knew I was mere seconds away from a total mommy meltdown, so I made a mad dash for my office and quickly locked the door behind me. It took a few moments before I could form a coherent thought in my head again, but by that time, I'd been found. Now there was pounding on the door and more crying. My ears were buzzing and I could swear I heard a ticking sound like a timer counting down... 10...9...8...7...6... soon my head would explode.
I said nothing. I made not one sound. I hoped that if I was quiet enough, maybe the creatures out there would give up and go away. Maybe they'd think I wasn't really in here.
(knock, knock, scream) “Mooooooommyyy!”
With no water or food, I know I can't stay in here forever, but I think I can tough it out for several hours. Surely I can outlast them. As long as the door holds out. I close my eyes, take some deep breaths, and then I lose the fight with my tear ducts. I plop down in a watery heap and grab a tissue for my runny nose.
“I quit! I'm done! Lord, I don't care what anyone tries to tell me, there is no way – NO WAY – that any of this is holy. As a matter of fact, what's going through my mind right now is decidedly un-holy. Got that? UN-holy! Those little people out there have just pushed me off the cliff. There I go... down... down... down... splat. Come to think of it, I'm not even sure they are little people. I think they just might be animals because they constantly spill their food on the floor (and then pick it up and eat it), they chew on books and toys, their room right now is a groundhog's heaven, and every single one of them has peed on the carpet at some point. Oh, and from down here it sounds like a herd of elephants upstairs. And let's not forget the poop, Lord. The poop just never ends around here.”
I'm tired. I'm hungry. I have a headache. And honestly, I'm not even sure I like those little people/animals right now. I want to hear what quiet sounds like. I want to hear myself think. I want a nap. Can I just lay down right here and take a nap?
“Lord, they're not going away. But I just can't go out there right now. I'm spent. I don't want to be touched anymore today. I've been grabbed and poked and yanked and clung to way too much and I am touched-out. Patience seems like the ever-elusive ice cream man around here. I can hear him down the street, but he never shows up at my house. I just don't think I can deal with them right now– I want to hide.”
(sniffle, sniffle, whimper) “Mommaaa, wh-wh-where are you?”
Ooooh, ouch – that hurt. Great – once again, I win the Lousy Mother of the Year award. Criminey.
“Lord, how exactly does this serve You or please You? How exactly is any of this holy and worthwhile again? I'm not even doing a very good job at it today. I want to... really, I do. I just need help. The house is a mess and I still have to make something for dinner. My nerves are fried and I can't decide whether to scream or cry. But those little people/animals really are precious to me and even when they're driving me crazy, I love them and I want to do right by them. Please help me. HELP!”
And then, amid my tears my heart is reminded of something. “Cultivate your own garden... do not desire to be what you are not, but rather, desire to be exactly what you are. It is in your present situation that God wishes you to act.”
I've been reading a lot of St. Francis de Sales lately and in this moment, God uses his gentle direction to lift my downcast face and nudge me up off the floor. “Each one loves according to his taste; few love according to their duty or the taste of our Lord.”
Desire to be exactly what I am... Love according to my duty, not my preference... It is in my present situation that God wishes me to act. What am I, and what is my duty? I'm a mother, and right now my duty is to those little people. Some of the particulars of my duty involve much cleaning of various and sundry messes and poop. The bulk of my frustration is not so much the normal trials of caring for children as it is my reluctance to devote myself entirely to my duty without wishing I was doing something else, somewhere else.
“Quite certainly nothing so much hinders us from reaching perfection in our own vocation as longing for another.” For me the road to intimacy with Jesus, the road to greater holiness, stronger faith, deeper love, and true happiness – yes, happiness – lies outside my office door where the crying little people are. He wants me to be obedient in doing what He has put in front of me today, right now (including the pee and the poop). “Know that God wants nothing else of you for the present but that. Don't waste time, therefore, in doing anything else.”
“Okay, I hear You. I un-quit. I'm sorry. Please give me strength to serve You in this moment in Your rather annoying crying-child disguise. No really, Lord...I love You and I love them. Help me live my vocation well today.”
Just as I'm blowing my nose and gathering my courage, the oldest one knocks on the door. “Mommy? Can you please open the door and let me in?”
“Just give me a minute, honey” I say.
“But Mommy, I really have to go to the bathroom bad! Please let me in!”
Mommy's time-out is over – if I don't open the door soon there'll be more pee on the carpet.
Happy Mother's Day to all my mommy friends! God bless you with peace, quiet, calm, serenity, and a bathroom "office" you can hide in whenever you need to. :) It's all good!
06 May 2010
Heard much about the severe flooding in Nashville? Me either.
This is horrible. Why hasn't this been in the news the way New Orleans was after Katrina? The flooding and damage looks the same to me.
Michelle Malkin has links to many organization who are providing aid and relief and how you can help.
05 May 2010
Jill Stanek's column today is simply too good not to share. It concerns the lament of the pro-aborts that there just aren't enough pro-abort men out there willing to stand up and support abortion "rights." Boo-hoo.
They hypocrisy is rich, don't you think? This is why modern feminism stinks. Women insist they don't need men for anything, can do it by themselves, make all the choices by themselves, and then turn around and wonder where the guys went!
Abortion allows men to sink to their lowest levels. It gives them permission to be neglectful jerks if they want to be. It gives them an excuse to walk away from their responsibility, leaving the burden entirely with women. This is, of course, exactly what women said they wanted, so there's no room here for whining about it now.
I still believe most men want to be decent and honorable, but sometimes they need a woman to inspire them and nudge them in the right direction. It's the way we were made to compliment each other. When we behave as men and women who depend on each other, we all rise to our best selves. We lift each other up.
Abortion sows death and reaps death in so many, many ways...
When will women finally wake up and realize that?
02 May 2010
What if you did not have to be so afraid?
With that simple yet intriguing question, a truly remarkable story begins to unfold in the pages of “Fear to Freedom.” I had the wonderful privilege of sitting down in person with author Rosemary Trible to talk about the book. Two hours later, I left the interview convinced there's not a corner of the globe that this book won't find its way into, and that everyone who reads this book will be positively impacted by its profound message.
In 1975, as a young new wife with her own local television talk show and a husband on the verge of a political career, Rosemary was viciously raped at gunpoint. A man whose face she never saw had brutally violated her body and her life, and as she says, stolen her joy. “Fear to Freedom” is her amazing story of getting that joy back – and then some.
To every person, man or woman, who has suffered the violation of sexual assault or abuse, Rosemary extends a lifeline of hope and healing. As we talked about the darkness she walked through and the barrage of negative emotions she fought with, she told me how she felt like a big, ugly cracked pot with R-A-P-E on it. Then she had an image of God placing His light down inside, and He asked her, “Where does the light shine through?” Through the cracks, of course! “That's how I want you to shine for Me,” He said.
Her goal in “Fear to Freedom” is to let each of us know – especially those who feel like damaged goods – it's okay that we're cracked! God repairs what is broken, and brings new life out of the ashes.
Don't be too quick to assume this book is only relevant to those who've suffered sexual assault. That would be a big mistake. This is not a book about rape; this is an unshakable testimony to the life-changing power of forgiveness, and the awesomeness of God's love.
If that sounds canned or phony to you, listen again. Forgiveness is talked about a lot these days from psychologists and counselors and researchers and even celebrities. It's acquired an almost chic quality in our culture. But the world's brand of forgiveness doesn't even come close to the forgiveness offered to each of us by God, through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, and it doesn't always equal the forgiveness we are called to give one another.
I was amazed as I read Rosemary's account of how she made the courageous decision to forgive her attacker. I was stopped in my tracks by what she did next. She did not simply “release him” for her own sake and remain indifferent to him. Most people would call that far more than anyone should expect of her, but on her knees before the Lord, she asked for the unthinkable – eternity with the man who'd terrorized her.
She prayed, “Lord, I forgive the man who raped me. And I will pray every day for the rest of my life that someone will tell him about Jesus and that I'll spend eternity with him.” She took a step beyond mere release into love – love for her enemy! She made her own great sacrifice of selfless love for the very person who rightfully deserved her contempt and condemnation. In doing so, she realized as never before that “forgiveness is the greatest power on earth next to love.” She said to me, “When you pray for someone every day, you just can't hate them anymore.”
The highlight of the book is Rosemary's astonishing description of what she calls her “near-life experience” after a strange car accident. While in a coma-like state, unable to speak or move at all, Rosemary was allowed to see beyond the veil. Though she warns that words are inadequate to describe what she experienced, she tells over and over again of the unspeakable love and peace that enveloped her, the light that warmed her, the absolute calm and joy that overtook her.
After being greeted and embraced by friends who had died, she suddenly found herself face to face with someone she did not recognize. “Who are you?” she asked. He replied, “I am the man who raped you. I would not be here except you forgave me and prayed that someone would tell me about Jesus and I would be set free.”
Rosemary writes that this heavenly meeting was “a great gift to my life. To be face to face with the man who had stolen my joy, and see him now at peace with God and forgiven of his past. What a merciful God to answer my prayer.”
What she learned about forgiveness is for every one of us. Next to love, forgiveness is the greatest power on earth. When we forgive, the power of God is loosed in the life of our offender, to work eternal transformations. We not only set ourselves free, but we free the one who hurt us to be changed by the force of God's perfect love. God desires that not one soul be lost, but that every soul, every soul, be reconciled to Him through Jesus. He will stop at nothing, and go to the ends of the earth to win back even the most hardened soul.
When was the last time you prayed for the good of your enemy? I think back to times I have prayed for someone who hurt me deeply or hurt someone I love, and I'm not sure I was all that interested in that person's good. I was mainly concerned with “freeing” myself from the anger I felt and getting a pat on the back for being so gracious toward a real schmuck. Which means I have missed the point of forgiveness and love entirely.
Rosemary has truly lived God's command to love your enemy, and she now radiates the light of Christ. I asked her near the end of our time together, “If you could edit your life so that the rape never happened, but without the assurance that you'd be the woman you are today, would you do it?” With barely a moment's thought, she smiled and shook her head and said, “No, I wouldn't.”
Hers is a real-life account of God's miraculous exchange of beauty for ashes. It's through those ashes, she told me, that God has taught her the power of forgiveness and how immensely great is His love for each of us. Her mission in life is to tell people about that love and say to every person who is broken and trapped by fear, “You can be free again. You can have joy again! You are loved and wanted no matter what you've done or what's been done to you.”
One thing's for certain – the cracks in her pot no longer spell r-a-p-e, but H-O-P-E. She simply shines with hope.
To order your copy of this marvelous book, visit the Fear to Freedom website (www.feartofreedomjourney.com).
01 May 2010
"A new command I give you; Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." John 13:34
Once again, there are so many reasons to Praise our God!
I am giving Him Praise for:
My family and all the joy they bring me, all the happiness and love and meaning to give to my life.
The last two years and all the time we've had to spend as a family together. Soon, my husband will return to normal Army life, and he won't be home quite so much. I've gotten spoiled having him around all the time!
The new friends that have come into my life in the last year. Some close by, and some across the world whom I've never met face to face. All of them have blessed me so. Each one is a gift to me.
Seeing the Holy Spirit work in the people I love! It's very exciting!
My journey of formation as a Daughter of St. Francis de Sales. Can't say enough about how amazing St. FdS is! Just amazing!
Mornings when I can sleep late. I love to sleep late. Really love it. And I do mean late.
And of course, for chocolate! Always chocolate! Forever chocolate!
I wish you all a joyful day and a blessed week ahead! Time to link up and share your Praises!
From St. Francis de Sales for us today:
As the day breaks we see more clearly in a mirror the spots and stains of our faces. In the same way, as the inward light of the Holy Spirit enlightens our consciences, we see more clearly and distinctly the sins, inclinations and imperfections that keep us from reaching true devotion. The same light that enables us to see such defects and imperfections inflames us with a desire to cleanse and purify ourselves of them. (INT. Part I, Ch. 22; O. III, pp. 62-63)