We went to Mass at 5 p.m. this evening. It's the youth Mass at out parish and since Jerry and I serve on the Youth Ministry Core Team, this is the Mass we usually attend during the school year. Miss courtney was in fine form, humming along with the readings and trying to help Father with his homily. Jerry took her out to the vestibule to walk her around and keep her calm. I could still hear her in the sanctuary, When my girl wants to praise God, ain't nobody gonna stop her. That's for sure.
I was struck this evening by the second reading.
It's from 2 Timothy 1: 6 - 8, 13 - 14 -
"Hence I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands;
for God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control. Do not be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel in the power of God, Follow the pattern of the sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus; Guard the truth that has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us."
This made me think deep and hard tonight...for God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control. Do not be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord...
Am I ashamed? Do I have self-control? Where is this "spirit of power" Paul speaks of? Most days I feel like I am surviving life, not fully living it nor thriving really, just simply surviving the circumstances. I have been searching my heart these last few days to try and figure out why that is and what I can do to change it.
I know that because of our daughter's disabilities and general poor health, we are limited in what we can do as individuals, as a couple and as a family. We are not ashamed to testify about what God is doing in our life, but are we really trusting Him completely with every part of our life not just our daughter?
I guess over the years we have just come to accept these little quirks and don't really think about it too much. Then Jerry was furloughed and home for several days in a row this week. Needless to say we have been talking, really talking for the first time in a long while about our hopes and dreams this week.
The one question we keep asking ourselves is why are we letting our daughter's situation decide our future? What I mean is what's truly stopping us from following those childhood dreams we once held so close? We both feel like we have gotten stuck in one place and therefore we can't do certain things. When in reality that really isn't the case.
We have chosen to stay in this place. It has nothing to do with Courtney. She is just a convenient excuse.
For example, I am overweight because I have a severely disabled daughter and am an emotional overeater. OK, so deal with it Mary and stop blaming your daughter. She doesn't lift the double-stuff Oreo to your mouth. YOU do. So stop and make a better choice in how you deal with those feelings of loneliness, sadness and overwhelming grief about missing out on a typical life with typical kids. This is the life you have...deal with it and quite double-stuffing!
For Jerry the example looks like this...I feel stuck in my job because I don't think it's a good idea to move out of the area since there are great hospitals here to handle Courtney's care. OK...guess what there are great hospitals everywhere and her care is not so critical that we won't find competent physicians to care for her if we find another job elsewhere. So what's stopping you from finding your dream job??
See what I am saying? We have been keeping ourselves in this place and not allowing God to lead us out. We have not been stopping long enough to listen to where God may be leading our family. We have just assumed that this is it and you know what my Mama always said about assuming??
Yep...time for a change in thinking. Time for a change in my prayer life. Time to let go and let God lead for once, not just with Courtney but also with Jerry and myself. Yes indeed...today was a day to listen and trust what He is whispering into my heart.
Change is good. There is nothing to fear when you know that God is leading the way. Fear has no place in my heart when I know I am doing what He has asked me to.
Today I am grateful for:
#1524 - #1545
** the gospel of Jesus Christ
** the promise of a future wether here in Virginia or elsewhere, God is with us
** my husbands and his willingness to change if God asks him to
** the beauty of the church and all it's traditions
** the rosary
** prayer time with my husband and children
** being able to offer my Mass for a mama in need
** spending time in prayer for others who are facing crisis
** youth ministry
** being able to pray everyday for our teens who need God in their lives
** being able to witness what a stable marriage looks like
** a neurology team that is always looking for out for my daughter, trying to provide her the BEST quality of life
** a basket of blankets ready to wrap my girl in warmth this winter
** canned pumpkin ready to bake with
** the promise of cooler weather to come
** sweaters...oh how I love sweaters
** cinnamon tea and scones
** a full crock pot filled with the promise of a scrumptious dinner
** my daughter and her strong-willed nature
** my sons protective heart
** my in-laws generosity
** YOU and all the JOY you bring to US!!
Labels: #1000 Gifts, 31 Days of Gratitude, caregivers, catholic family life, Courtney's Room Makeover, Courtney's World, special need parenting, special needs children