Sometimes, its a Challenge

I just sat down with my newest book, "Divine Mercy for Moms" and began to think about how to blog about the chapter I just read. There was so much in it that had validity. Children eating mud for meals, children wearing diapers until they truly needed a change and my world seemed rather lavish and opulent. I wondered how I could convey their message in a bite sized blog that would call on my readers to reach out a little beyond their comfort zone and do for others. To follow those Corporal Works of Mercy and "clothe the naked, feed the hungry, visit the sick and imprisoned" and just work to make a difference, today, in this world. While I thought, I remembered the struggles in our home last night. It wasn't what to feed the kids or what clothes to wear? It was with my Middle Widdle and  her "wants" and my inability to deliver. Her wants are nothing like the NEEDS of children in third world countries. They are nothing like the children shivering tonight with AIDS and no mother but still, I wondered how I could use the book to drive us both towards a place of comfort and healing as well as put our own wants aside and come together as a family to begin outreach and ministry.

I knew this wouldn't be easy, so I grabbed a glass of wine.

See, I like the secular world. I grew up truly blessed. I am adopted. Into a family that has enough. More than enough but they also give. Always. They are constantly thinking of others and while they could have anything and everything they wanted, dad saves coupons and buys at Target so he can give to those less fortunate. He donates his time weekly (without missing a week) to an outreach ministry and has developed himself into the "eviction master" meaning he is able to often get an extra week or month when a family is in need.

As I sat, and wondered just how I could explain all the blessings we had and how we were being selfish, I read it.The one thing that has made my child feel good through this change was no longer going to be the missing piece to the puzzle. The gym we recently began taking her to, would be closing in just a few weeks time. First, we take her from gymnastics. Then, we enroll her in cheer and tumbling and now, she's losing that tumbling aspect that she loves so much. I truly believe when cheer starts she will find comfort in the experience, but to a 9 year old, July seems so far away.

How can I be merciful towards her and help her to grow through this challenge which seems so petty in the big picture because right now, I feel really overwhelmed and challenged and much like a failure pulled in both directions secular and faith based.

First, I am choosing to believe. I am believing there is a plan. I believe that God has it in Him to give us grace and help me work with her to accept the new changes.

Second, I have prayer. I know that through Him all things are possible and with Him by my side it won't be easy but it will be what He wants from us.

Third, well, this is the human part of me...when I am trying to teach and reach out to others and show the corporal works of mercy to better my community I question how I will be able to share it with my family when my heart feels a bit empty and deflated?

Perhaps I should have poured a bottle of wine. This glass is going down fast.

God never insisted our life would be easy. He never said it wouldn't be without pain or that we wouldn't find disappointment in our daily life. He did however promise us to be by our sides and I have to believe he is here, giving me all he can for today and for tomorrow (should I have tomorrow). Last weekend, on retreat, my fellow moms reached out to my family and asked for pertinent information about me and my life that would make the "Footprints" Prayer personal. I am recalling this and those words spoken to me as I try to blend this disappointment with the reality of the blessings we have in each day.

Two months ago, our daughter had to leave the gym she loved for two years because we could no longer afford the financial demand on our family. I insisted I could work there, I even suggested I clean toilets but my husband,reminded me gymnastics would not get her to Heaven only God would. He loves that quote...and just changes the back end when needed for his own use. I tried to listen. While spiritually I believed it, emotionally and physically, I did not. I couldn't even begin to grasp it and today, I still struggle. Still, I looked to him as the leader of our family and trusted he was right in his words.

In the first month, it was sheer joy. I won't lie. Not driving the nearly 50 miles back and forth to practice gave us time. We had time to play cards, time to play outside and time to pray. More time to pray. I liked it. In fact, often I loved it.

Then the dreams began, more like nightmares but they woke me in the night nagging that I was not doing for my child what is best. In the day however I was able to reason that I was NOT giving her what she wanted but I was considering the entire family when choosing to ask her to leave the team. I was doing what was best for the whole not the parts. Secretly, my own dream to be a gymnast died in this loss.

Last night, the stoic, strong, 9 year old I have, crumbled. Into my arms, tears streaming down her face she told me she understood but hated that she had to leave. I questioned it yet again and wondered how I could give her what she wanted. I asked about her sharing with other that she was "fine" or "didn't miss it" and learned something very special, she only felt safe telling me. What a gift again God blessed me with but what a burden of guilt as well. As she drifted off to sleep after a long evening or prayer, I reminded her of her weekly tumbling classes and as if on cue she had a private lesson today.

Tonight I got that prayer time I love so much and watched as she begged me to pray the rosary with the children. I thought for sure that hump was just a blip and we were back on track.

Still, how conflicted I felt knowing spiritually I was being fulfilled but on this earth I felt empty and I felt empty for her. I felt and feel like I am failing her.

After a few moments of silent prayer and time in my newest book things seemed to turn around. I asked her about a 2 day a week option, she wasn't pleased. I suggested a JOGA option, that wasn't the answer and then I hoped then I asked was it that the weekly tumbling paired with Cheer would see us through would be enough? She answered. "Yes". That is when it happened.

Quietly with my wine glass in hand, and peaceful blue book by my side, ready to write tonight's blog, I read and reread the letter that noted that the gym, the space that seemed to band aid this hole in my child's heart would close. Instantly I wondered, is this REALLY God's plan or am I just a sucker for believing in following Him? Am I actually listening to his quiet whispers and being open to new beginnings or am I just a hot mess trying to make life easier and do what I "think" he wants me to do?

Here I am reading Michelle Faehnle and Emily Jaminet's book and thinking of all the ways I can help others and teach my children to reach out when it seems I can't even begin to help my own child.

Why? Why Lord is it so hard to be Catholic? To be faithful? To believe? Why is it so hard in this secular world to put faith first and believe in your Mercy.

I was elated when the Pope announced this as the Year of Divine Mercy but this YEAR has caught me struggling on so many occasions. I know His plan is good. I know His plan is best but how do I know when I am following His plan? Sometimes, its a challenge.


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