Tag Archives: pregnancy

What do you want of me, Lord?

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Mary and Jesus

I came to the realization recently, in my countdown to age 30, that I’ve spent a substantial amount of time these past ten years trying to figure out just what I wanted to be. Heck, I’ve spent the better part of these past two weeks deciding what exactly I wanted to write about. Indecisiveness is easily in my characterization bracket. And if I know myself well enough, I’ll probably change my mind once I start typing.
For many, the dream of being a teacher, a police officer, firefighter, doctor, lawyer, professional athlete, etc. etc., began at a really young age. The dreams happened for me, too. At age 7, I wanted to be a teacher. By 11 or so, an architect.

When I realized my senior year of high school that I could barely get through pre calculus, that idea went out the window. I almost joined the Marine Corps in early 2001.

I started nursing pre requisetes in 2002. By 2005, I was so scatterbrained that I went back to school to finish a degree. And during and after that, I’ve worked another several jobs in various fields doing various things. All with hopes that I would find clarification.

What was it that I am supposed to be?

I was confused and things were tough. I was mentally exhausted from over thinking every. little. detail. But at the same time, I knew there must be something out there that is right for me.

And so finally, I did it. I asked God. I started praying constantly,

“What do you want of me, Lord?”

Sure enough around that time, my husband entered the picture. We married in July of 2008, and assumed we would “settle” into life for a while and wish for children after we’ve had time to “enjoy” being married. (Ya know, I’m still trying to figure this one out…….)

But we all know what happens when we make plans. God laughs at them and makes his own. When I saw the faintest of faint pink line on a First Response only six weeks later, I actually cried. I remember wondering how God could possibly entrust the care of a child to me already.

But He did.

God gave us a child and made me a mother! Here I was for years trying to decide for myself but He knew me best.

He wanted me to be a mom.

I remember the worry that followed. What will I do about work, how will we afford daycare, where will I deliver? We had just spent months planning the wedding and things turned into babyland really fast. And then our son was born.

What’s crazy is I don’t quite know when it hit me. I spent so much of my pregnancy distracted by the website, Babycenter, that I kept myself in denial. Sure, we were having a baby, and of course we were happy and excited, but little did I know…

He changed everything. All of a sudden light bulbs went off. I didn’t want to go back to work. I didn’t want to leave him. I just wanted to be a mother.

And I am.

A lot has changed in three years. We now have a daughter also, and I work nights waitressing. But I feel like I’m where I need to be.

It made me realize that I had spent so much time worrying about a career that my vocation took a backseat. Because once I finally “Let Go and Let God,” He put me just where He needed me to be.

Our Blessed Mother said, “I am the Handmaid of the Lord; Let it be to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38

Prayer on Autopilot?

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One afternoon in February of this year, I left work to go to an ultrasound appointment.  Little did I know that day that it would be my last day at the office for over five months!

To make a very long story short: I was 21 weeks pregnant with twins and this routine appointment led me to be admitted to the hospital, I had surgery the following day, and was ordered to bed-rest until the babies were born.  Luckily, we made it to 36 weeks (Halleluia!!) and welcomed two healthy boys into our family.

One month ago, I went back to work.  What a strange, strange feeling!!  I had not been there in so long.  In some ways it was like I had never left and nothing had changed; in others it felt like I had been gone forever.

One of the hardest things for me was something quite silly.  I couldn’t remember all the keyboard short-cuts I had taught myself over the years.  Due to problems I had developed years earlier in my wrists, I always look for ways to stay on the keyboard and not move back and forth between the keyboard and the mouse.  I had figured out so many short-cuts on my own through trial and error as well as by accident that I hardly ever used my mouse when in certain programs.  My first couple weeks back at work I worked a bit slower than what had been my usual pace and I found myself stopping more often to contemplate the keyboard, knowing there was a better way to do … whatever it was I was trying to do.

Then just this past week I made a break-through.  I realized that I had to stop thinking.  I needed to be on autopilot.  I shut off my brain and my fingers just knew what to do.  I found myself suddenly typing weird combinations of key strokes and wondering how I knew what I was doing.  The moment I tried to think about it, there would be hesitation.  I had to just stop and allow myself to go on autopilot.

Being on autopilot was exactly what I needed to do to get my “groove” back.  That’s one of the great things about being on autopilot.  I’m sure we’ve all had those moments.  But autopilot is not always a good thing.  Unfortunately it often happens in our prayer life.  I know it does mine and I’m sure it has infected everyone’s prayer life at some point or another … or it is right now.

Time to switch it off!!  Believe me, I know that is easier said than done!

At the same time that I was having this epiphany at work, my husband and I started putting the babies in their rockers/bouncers at the kitchen table with us so they could see us while we ate.  It’s funny how the way we pray the Prayer Before Meals changed when the babies were with us.  We said it slower, more deliberately; we said the sign of the cross fully and didn’t just do it on our own at the end.  It struck me that we are usually just on autopilot because we do it all the time, at every meal.

I mentioned this to my husband and he simply replied that of course we do it better, because the babies will need to learn.  True, but why aren’t we doing it better all the time; shouldn’t we be more deliberate in our prayer regularly, regardless of if the babies are present or not?

Interesting how this autopilot thing can be a blessing in some cases, but a hinderance in others.  I feel challenged now to turn off the autopilot while I pray, to allow the words to have more meaning to me and to really, fully understand them.  Have you ever stopped to think about the words you are saying when you recite the Creed at Mass?  I stumble over the Creed a lot more when I’m thinking about the words than I do when I just allow myself to say it out of habit.  It can be so easy to get into a habit and a routine, whether you are praying a standard prayer or praying in your own words.  Even praying in our own words can have a familiar routine that can also lose its meaning.

Are you also up for the challenge?  Have you sat back and re-examined your prayer life lately?  Do you, too, need to turn autopilot off in your prayer life?

Dying to Self- A personal lesson in trust and humility

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It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. (Deuteronomy 31:8)

I was so ashamed of myself this week.

I’m a new mother and wife of only two years. I married a man who came with a lot of consumer debt. He is a teacher, a job by his own admission is a labor of love rather than a get-rich-quick job. I also have Crohns Disease so in our short married life, we have accumulated a lot of debt- house, car, medical, unexpected pregnancy two weeks into our marriage (the result being a beautiful now-18 month old son).

Taking inspiration from my parents’ trust in the intercession of St. Joseph for desperate financial situations, my husband Andrew and I have done the same. And St. Joseph and Our Lord never failed us. In every desperate situation, we have somehow pulled through. With nothing more than a few dollars in the bank, we managed to always have a fully stocked pantry and all bills paid on time. And every time we have prayed to St. Joseph, he has worked miracles. I’m talking literally with 2-3 days. We’ve had an escrow check come in at an opportune time when our vehicle needed repair. We’ve found money in a winter coat, received a “late Christmas gift” in April from a family member, had a forgotten expense check suddenly mailed to my husband. I found a small part-time work from home job that added money to our monthly salary. We have been blessed abundantly and then some.

So given God and St. Joseph’s track record, I’m ashamed to say I still had doubts.

I don’t know if it was pregnancy hormones, but I had been stressing for the last three months on how we were going to pay for our newest addition. My emotions stretched from the occasional thought of “where is the money going to come from?” to full blown “I’m going to have to give my baby up for adoption.” We were facing a potential job change, a school board threatening to lower base salaries for the first time in history in Texas, and my husband’s 10 year old debt collections starting to come in. Our baby was going to cost around $3,000 to birth- with barely enough to make bills and nothing in savings we were desperate to change expenses. We have been following Dave Ramsey’s debt-free plan but we were still at Baby Step One- saving that elusive $1k emergency fund. Another pregnancy was NOT on in the near future, at least for 3-4 years.

And then I found out I was pregnant- the ultimate test from God on our submission to His will.

But in my panic, I doubted. I was stupid enough to think we could do this on our own, and for the first time in our married life, I had a huge argument with my husband. He couldn’t believe that money was more important than embracing this new life we had been given. And he was right. I couldn’t see a way out, and, in my pride, forgot the One that kept us afloat in the first place.

But God is a God of mercy. And rather than punish my unbelief, He chose to bless us more abundantly. The next day, a refinance loan for our car was approved…after having been rejected over and over the last year for a refinance. That move alone saved us $100 a month. The school board voted to sustain salaries, so rather than the $2,000 pay cut we anticipated in our Quicken budget, we were able to add that money back. We found out our cell phone contract was expiring in a month- we would finally be able to transfer to a cheaper plan. After all was said and done with readjustments and savings, we found an extra $700 a month on my husband’s salary alone. By our projections, we will have enough for the baby and then some within a few short months. I was just stunned. I still am. And I feel incredibly stupid.

How often has God proved Himself over and over again, only to have us follow our own selfish pride and “do-it-yourself” arrogance? When I look at our human inclination to give “an eye for an eye,” how fortunate are we that God is not a mere mortal. And what a powerful testament to His Love to have Him only return to bless us more abundantly. In what ways has God pulled you through despite your unbelief?

Trust in the Lord and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security. Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him. (Psalm 37:3-5, 7a)