A little life update
For me, Monday, February 7 needs to get some kind of Lifetime Achievement Award for “Most Different Day from Exactly One Year Before.”
On February 7, 2021, I was a stay-at-home, homeschooling, 12-passenger van-driving Catholic Mom of Many, and I was helping my husband in the evenings with marketing the business he started when the pandemic dissolved his job.
On February 7, 2022, life felt fairly close to a 180 degree turn from a year ago.
All five of my five children now attend school five days per week.
I quit homeschooling last year to work from home for two businesses my husband and I started when his job dissolved in the pandemic.
We sold our big Ford Transit last year and downsized to a 2007 minivan…which was totaled two weeks ago in a car accident (I am doing mostly OK). I’m currently driving Michael’s truck while we look for a new vehicle.
Oh, and I started a full-time, work-outside-the-home job at a marketing firm on Monday morning that I’m loving, after not working outside the home for the past 10 years.
He gives everything, and takes nothing.
A recent Abiding Together podcast episode was on Isaiah 61, in which Christ proclaims freedom for captives, crowns for ashes, and a year of favor, among other things.
A year of favor.
Something shook me to the core as I read the passage again later in prayer.
At first, everything in me wanted to read that passage as, “God is going to fix all of my problems this year!”
But then, the still, small voice.
The past year has been a year of favor.
He has been bringing beauty from ashes, in some ways I can see now, and some in ways I don’t understand yet.
For one, He has chosen not to let me live in fear.
Each of the major changes in my life over the past year brought up many fears I would have sworn up and down I didn’t have. Having to deal with them head-on was so hard but so freeing for my soul.
It freed me to trust more deeply and live more abundantly.
Dare I say that one day, I will see that He gave me everything, and took away nothing in this past year?
I don’t [have to] have it all together
I joked with some close friends last week that the season of deep trust I continue to navigate in my life has given me lots of material for upcoming talks I’m giving.
This spring, I’m speaking several times about tackling anxiety by imitating Mary’s fiat. Her pattern of faith is something I’ve used over and over again this year in hundreds of moments of fear, doubt, and discouragement, and it’s something I’ve read over and over again in the writings of the saints.
Not to say I’m an expert at walking on clouds of Every-Little-Thing-is-Gonna-Be-Alright. Or Marian devotion, for that matter.
(If any of my closest friends are reading this, now is where I thank you publicly for your patience with all my stress texts!:)
But as my wise friend Jill told me once, we don’t have to have it all together before God can use us.
We also don’t have to pray a thousand Rosaries and Do All the Things before Our Blessed Mother takes us by the hand.
Rest, ponder, receive
These three words came to me a couple of months ago. It’s become my pattern of faith over the past year in particular. It is modeled after what I’ve found in the life and example of Our Lady.
I rest my mind in His Sacred Heart.
I ponder the situations of my life in the company of Christ with clear eyes based in Truth and reality, combined with trustful surrender to Divine Providence.
And I look at the people and situations of my life as something to actively Receive as gift from Him who weighed all my blessings and challenges carefully in His hands, and found them perfectly matched to the needs of my soul and His Plan into eternity.
“[He] will bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” -Isaiah 61:3
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to bloom where I’m planted this year. 🙂