"When a soul recognises the will of God and shows a readiness to submit to it entirely, then God gives Himself to such a soul and renders it most powerful succour under all circumstances." - Rev. Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Thoughts by Jen (yeah, couldn't think of a title for this one)

I wrote this several weeks ago but for a few reasons, never posted it. And now I think it's rather appropriate that I decided to post it on Divine Mercy Sunday (totally a God thing). God's mercy is endless so we can continually strive to be the best parents and spouses we can be...since it can SO HARD :)

Once a week I teach CCD (AKA religion class) to 5th graders at my church parish. Many times I think about how big of an impact I can have on my CCD students, even in the brief time we have class. Most of the kids go to public school, and CCD is the only time they learn about their faith. It can be a bit overwhelming to think of the responsibility I have to share God's love and the Church's teachings to a bunch of 10 and 11-year olds. I mean, what if one thing I say turns them away from Catholicism forever?! (I realize some of you may think I'm weird for thinking this. I know. I think too much.)

One day as I was thinking about this and how God is hopefully using me to inspire those talkative kiddos to live lives of faith, it dawned on me - how much greater is the responsibility I have to raise Landon, my own son? To teach (and more importantly show) him how to be a kind, loving, and responsible human being...and of course to share with him the faith I know and love. Last month we visited some friends of ours who were expecting their first baby (who was actually born a few days ago!), and the expectant father said (referring to being a parent), "I just want to do it right." Amen, brother. Me too!

Since Landon is still young, it's hard to see how anything I say or do now will make much of a difference in the long run. But I know he is watching me, listening to me, and taking it all in. For his sake (and the sake of his future family, if he is called to marriage), Logan and I need to be extra aware of the environment we create in our home on a daily basis. Just like my parents had an effect on me, I will have an effect on Landon. Thankfully, my parents are awesome, and I'm realizing more and more just how well they prepared me for the real world.

Yes, I get my sarcasm from my dad, and just like my mom, I will not take any crap from anybody. But I also am conscious of how others may feel because my dad has always been like that, and thanks to my mom, I'm capable of cooking, cleaning, and maintaining a home (although I will never be as good at it as she is!). Both have showed me (through their actions, not their words) the importance of volunteering and sharing our talents in our community. They have also showed me how to live faithfully and to always be thankful for our many blessings. Even to this day, they like to point out (when I'm complaining) how it could always be worse.

The point of all this is that I want Landon to remember his mommy (that would be me!) for her silly songs (that I sing impromptu), her many hugs and kisses, and desire to grow closer to God through every daily chore (still working on this one!). I don't want Landon to remember my high level of impatience or frustration when he decides not to nap...or when he shares his food with the dog. I also don't want him to think I cared more about cooking, cleaning, and everything else than I do about spending time with him.

Most importantly, though, I want him to have fond memories of seeing his mommy and daddy hug and kiss each other. I don't want him to remember us arguing all of the time! Because if there's anything that God has been showing me lately, it's that the most important relationship (other than mine with God) is the one between husband and wife. Without that, Landon wouldn't be here. And if our marriage suffers, so will Landon.

Obviously, I know I'm not perfect, we're not perfect parents, and Logan and I don't have the perfect marriage (um, far from it!), but we are working on it. One little tiny step at a time! ;) Thankfully, God continues to shower us with his mercy and grace. We most definitely need it!
"Suffering is a great grace; through suffering the soul becomes like the Savior; in suffering love becomes crystallized; the greater the suffering, the purer the love. - St. Maria Faustina Kowalska

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