For a special February treat, read these words from St. Therese of Lisieux…
I ASSURE YOU THAT THE GOOD LORD IS MUCH KINDER THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE. HE IS SATISFIED WITH A GLANCE, WITH A SIGH OF LOVE…IN REGARD TO MYSELF, I FIND IT EASY TO PRACTICE PERFECTION, BECAUSE I HAVE LEARNED THAT THE WAY TO JESUS IS THROUGH HIS HEART. CONSIDER A SMALL CHILD WHO HAS VEXED HIS MOTHER BY A DISPLAY OF BAD TEMPER OR DISOBEDIENCE. IF THE CHILD HIDES IN A CORNER THROUGH FEAR OF PUNISHMENT, HE FEELS THAT HIS MOTHER WILL NOT FORGIVE HIM. BUT IF INSTEAD, HE EXTENDS HIS LITTLE ARMS TOWARDS HER AND WITH A SMILE CRIES OUT: ‘LOVE, KISS ME, MAMMA, I WILL NOT DO IT AGAIN,' WILL NOT HIS MOTHER PRESS THE LITTLE ONE TO HER HEART WITH TENDERNESS, AND FORGET WHAT THE CHILD HAS DONE? AND YET, THOUGH SHE KNOWS VERY WELL THAT HER DEAR LITTLE ONE WILL MISBEHAVE AGAIN AT THE FIRST OPPORTUNITY, THAT MEANS NOTHING IF THE CHILD APPEALS TO HER HEART. HE WILL NEVER BE PUNISHED… ~ST. THERESE OF LISIEUX
An appeal to the heart of God never goes unanswered. It's always met with goodness, mercy, and grace. So why do we so often behave as if God is a harsh taskmaster? The lover of our souls wants to shower us with His love, and we run in the other direction, afraid of His disapproval.
Never enough. Does that phrase ever describe how you feel? Do you wake up and think, “I didn't get enough sleep”? Do you race through the day and crawl into bed thinking, “I didn't get enough done”? Never perfect enough. Never thin enough. Never beautiful enough. Never happy enough. Never enough.
Whose voice is this? Let me tell you emphatically, it is NOT God's. God looks at you with kindness, and His heart fills with pride. This is the good kind of pride. It rejoices in the wonder of who you are. He says to you, “You have been given fullness in Christ! You are complete in Christ!” (Colossians 2:10).
So who is creating these expectations? Is it possible that we have heard what God desires from us, and then added our own expectations and those of others? Could it be that the feeling of being overwhelmed and inadequate is coming from trying to do things that God hasn't called us to do?
What means the most to God? Is it an impressive resume of volunteering, our accomplishments at work, or the cleanliness of our homes? It's none of those things. What God cares about is how we love. That's how He measures success.
When the voice whispers, “You're not enough,” speak the words, “I choose love.” I choose to stand under the shower of God's love and just soak it up.
I choose to be measured by God's love for me- and it's unconditional, limitless, and steadfast. I choose God's love instead of perfection, love instead of expectations, love instead of a never-ending rat race of busyness.
I won't get all the things done today that feel so important to me. Instead of giving into feelings of discouragement, I'll choose to be defined by love. I'll choose to return God's love by admitting that I don't have nearly as much control over things as I sometimes imagine. Then I'll confirm my love for Him by telling Him I'm glad that He's got it all under control. I don't know what's going to happen, but I'll give it all to God as an act of love. As I fill up with His love, I'll ask Him to let it overflow into the lives of those around me. On my own, I'm not enough. But “Christ in me, the hope of glory”…now that's a different story.
Praying that you experience a February full of awareness of how crazy God is about you and choose love.
This blog post originally appeared on the WWP website in February 2013.
Hello, my friend!
Today I'm welcoming back one of my favorite people to the WWP blog: Laura Phelps. One of my favorite things about Laura is the way she makes me laugh. She also shares my love for Jesus and women, and I know you'll enjoy her writing. In addition to raising her four children and loving on her husband, she works for WWP as a phenomenal Regional Area Coordinator. Laura blogs for us once a month, and once a month you'll hear from me. With love, Lisa
When my children were tiny babies, I was terrified to cut their fingernails. Absolutely terrified. Now, 17 years later, I am riding in the passenger seat of my mini van, with my teenage son at the wheel. And let me just say, that I would feel less anxiety if you were to blindfold me, force me to do a shot of tequila, hand me ten newborn babies, and a rusty nail clipper, and say, "clip away!"
Nobody tells you about this when you are thinking about having children.The loss of control, the absolute fear for their safety, how the fragility of their life can paralyze you.
You do not hear about it.
And the thing is, my kid is a good teenage driver. Confident, and careful. But still. Sitting there next to him, I have found more places in that minivan to hang onto, and have hit that imaginary brake more times than you can count. I will not even answer my phone, for fear of distracting him. Of course, when I yell, "Slow down!" grabbing the ceiling and stretching my legs out like I am about to stop us from hitting a brick wall with my incredible legs of steel, I end up completely panicking him; I become his worst distraction of all.
I am not good at this.
I have seen many a teenage driver on the side of the road, next to their smashed up car, speaking into their cell phone (calling mom and dad, no doubt) and I want to throw up. Really. I want to pull over, take their phone, say, "I see your kid in front of me and they are FINE" but excuse me now, because I am going to throw up."
They look like babies to me. I remember sitting in Driver's Ed class with my son, looking at the young faces of every student driver around me and thinking, "I do not want to be on the road with any of you!"
But time moves on and kids grow up and like it or not, it is their turn to drive.
There is no imaginary brake.
I do not have legs of steel.
I can throw up all I want.
It changes nothing.
Well, I'd be really skinny, I suppose.
But as far as the kids are concerned, it changes nothing.
Like it or not, they are ready to hit the road.
Actually, ready or not...they are going to hit the road.
It's funny, as a "former mommy blogger,” to look back on those posts that really defined my life at that time. The diapers, the women at the park with the dirty looks, the kitchen messes, the long days that had no naps, the isolation, the feeling fat, wondering what my purpose was, wondering if I was good enough. At the time, life was so hard. And yet, at the end of the day, I put my baby in pjs, that most likely had feet and an adorable animal print, rocked them and kissed them, and put them safely in bed. A bed with bars. And a tent. They could not get out.
Why don't we make beds like this for teenagers?
I decided a few weeks ago that I needed backup.
Because I can not get my teens to sleep in a crib.
Because I can not prevent them from getting in a car and driving away.
And because if I start throwing up on the side of the road, people will begin to talk about me.
And so now, when that worry starts to build up...when my mind starts to go in all the wrong, dark places that the devil hopes it will go, I call on backup.
I put together a team.
A team of Saints.
My own Super hero squad, if you will.
When the tears are too much and the anxiety sky high, I call out to them.
I give them my children.
Saint Sebastian, Saint Monica, Saint Augustine, Saint Therese, Saint Michael, Saint Paul, Saint Peter, Saint Joseph...blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati...these are just some of the ones I call on. And of course, they are all lead by their Guardian Angels and our beautiful blessed Mother Mary.
And the best part?
They always show up.
And my teenagers? They may not know it, but the Saints are there..and they are guiding them, and they are whispering to their hearts.
They think that I have finally left them alone.
They think I am no longer pushing my ideas and my ways and my crazy Jesus-talk in their faces...
but they are wrong.
I could not be any more present.
A mother who prays is a serious weapon.
You see, we have this cloud of witnesses.
They surround us.
They have shown us how to run the race. (Heb 12:1)
And our kids?
They are running a race that is faster, and more dangerous than the race you and I ran.
Their stress is higher, the world is louder, and we need to fight hard to get their attention.
We need backup!
How stupid am I to have been trying, all of these years, to help my children by my own strength?
My son takes his driver's test this week.
Most likely, he will have his driver's license by Friday.
I have asked my husband to take him, because I am too afraid.
But I can rest in peace at home, knowing that he does not ever go out on the road, or into this world, alone.
I will see to it that his car is filled.
He will be surrounded.
And no matter what.
No matter what bumps he hits and unfamiliar roads he takes.
No matter how many accidents, how many dents, how fast he goes or how lost he gets.
No matter who he drives with.
He will have backup.
He will run his race, he will persevere, and by the grace of God, he will finish well.
Regional Area Coordinator
Walking with Purpose
Read Laura's blog here: http://www.lauramaryphelps.com/