Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time, God blessed me. I didn't see or feel the blessing at the time and he began wrapping the package while I carried His daughter in my womb. Her presence in our life was not planned. It was not expected and to be truthful when we found out she was on her way it challenged me and my husband in our individual selves as well as in our marriage. This gift, this tiny little package that is still slowly being opened continues to grace us and bless us and draw us closer in a relationship to Him as well as each other for without our marriage, we couldn't do this alone. As I carefully open each corner, I realize that God isn't simply pouring out his blessings upon me but challenging me to grow as a wife, mother, woman and friend. As I continue to open the package slowly I see things through different eyes. I see my once cold heart is becoming warm. It is understanding others in ways I never dreamed possible. I see that I was judgmental and now the judgment I make is based upon that warm heart wanting to help others and make change for the future. I see that I had trouble forgiving and now I am learning that when we forgive we are not just allowing others to feel peace but peace ourselves. I am being given the chances as I carefully unwrap each layer and it all seems to be peeled away in the place I always found the most peace. Church.

Yes, at church.

Another layer was peeled away yesterday as we sat in a small parish with my sweet child yearning to go home. I was in attendance to witness the beauty of my third child's Holy Eucharist. The pastor, his homily though long had meaning and strength. His presence called upon all of us to be present and feel the gift that the day was. As I tried, brushing my child, feeding her treats, giving her chew toys and allowing her to color, I watched. I saw the eyes present in the Parish that didn't understand and instantly the word forgiveness came into my heart.

I was hurting. Terribly. I didn't want to be there in that moment changing the way they envisioned their child's first communion but I wished my communion for  my own child was different as well.

Once upon a time, I had a vision. I envisioned a family. A small one. A mother, father and only child. Today, my reality is far from my vision. I also envisioned perfect children and today I parent children with their strengths and weaknesses and pray that I can give them each what they need.

Life isn't a fairy tale. There is no "happily ever after" here on earth but in our faith we believe there is in Heaven. Perhaps my fairy tale life I envisioned wasn't getting me there so instead God blessed me with this package and is allowing me to carry a cross to draw me closer to him.

Each layer I peel off seems to send a message to my soul that if I am open and listen quietly I can grow. It began years ago with the sixth of the Seven Last Words as I stood at our pulpit and gave a talk on his sixth word as we drew into Easter. I carried Seraphina in my womb and what I didn't know was that it was not preparing my heart for Easter but instead preparing my heart for what He had planned in our life with Serrie.

It continued through Mother's Retreat as I worked to witness and bring mother's closer to God and also grew closer to God with friendships that surrounded me. Last year, I thought I was helping others making my mother attend with me and having a friend as well. It was me who doubled in pain crying as a sweet friend played through adoration allowing me to hear His words, that "yes, Seraphina has autism".

God pulled me down a path as I enrolled my children in Public School and as I felt compelled to leave the church we once felt so at home in. I left because I felt they didn't understand. That leaving, stepping away from so many that we loved and loved us allowed us to understand even more.

Once Upon A Time, I had a vision. I had a vision of who I was and who I was meant to be. My vision was all wrong. Now, I don't know how this story will end but I do know that through my faith, through my opportunities to grow and through parenting my children that my fairy tale will hopefully have a happy ending...in Heaven.

Thank You Seraphina, in three years you have taught me to be more loving. You have taught me to be more transparent and real. You have taught me to witness to others about the reality of our lives and I have learned to forgive.

My fairy tale has a new chapter and I could not have written it any better if I had planned it.

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