Today, I had the pleasure of speaking at the Mom's Group at St. Theresa Parish in Ashburn. They are a fledgling group of moms who are attempting to grow in their vocation as Catholic wives and mothers, as well as, learn about their faith in the companionship of other Catholic moms.
Anyone who knows me understands the love I have in my heart for mom's groups -- in my past a mom's group was instrumental in bringing me closer to Christ in the Catholic Church. They were part of my process of reversion from cafeteria Catholic to practicing Catholic.
This morning I gave a talk called: God's Grace and the Sleep-Deprived Mom (I will post the text of the talk later for you to read.)
There was a HUGE God-incidence involved with this particular topic. When I had first spoken to Johanna about coming out to speak to her group, I offered this topic -- one I had written several years ago for another mom's group. I was thinking that at this stage of my life, I could present this topic with some level of expertise. Well, little did I know, I was about to get a refresher course!
For the past two weeks, my family has been plagued by a stomach virus, the stress of a wake and a funeral, and other health issues for the children. Sleep has been in short supply. I have been living the preparation for my talk -- as if God wanted to make sure that I was properly prepared with current information.
Well, I showed up this morning at Johanna's home to be greeted by a lovely group of women and a very happy collection of beautiful children. Nonetheless, I was exhausted! Having had little to no sleep last night or the night before -- or for several weeks now -- I was hoping that I would at least make sense.
I felt the Lord lift me. We prayed to the Holy Spirit to accept whatever He permits to happen to us, and off I went to address the topic from a very personal perspective.
We talked about choosing God over the negativity that flows from being exhausted -- about how it is as simple as saying, "God, thank you for this new day" before your feet ever touch the ground in the morning. Just that simple choice to begin your day in God's presence will change the way you look at and respond to the various situations that life will hand you. It is easy to become overwhelmed when you are tired and cranky, but remembering that God and the Blessed Mother love you and want you to succeed without sin bolsters the resolve and helps the tired mom to be peaceful and pleasant -- most of the time -- when we remember Who is really in charge.
Sometimes we let our guard down -- we talked about this, too. Satan loves to twist us up in knots when we are low and vulnerable. We have to remember that our strength is in the Lord, and that even when we fall, He loves us. We pick ourselves up and, if we can't get to Mass because we are exhausted or have sick children, we should make a Spiritual Communion, to keep in the presence of God and draw upon His grace.
We went on to discuss how to develop a habit of prayer that will become the constant reminder of our ultimate goal, to be saints, and how not to become overwhelmed by new habits when we are already exhausted as a result of our current life situation. We don't grow closer to Christ by overloading ourselves. When we do this, load too much on, the actions are developed by us, not by God in us -- usually, no habit is ever formed, no virtue is ever cultivated. That is very important to recognize. We need to allow God to work in us, know ourselves well enough to recognize and accept our limitations, and work with the materials (time, temperament, talent, etc.) that God gave us in a realistic way.
Ultimately, there was an energy in the room that woke me up. It was the electricity of those who want to know Jesus more intimately through their vocations. It was like spiritual caffeine to my exhausted body. I was moved by this group of women, and I can't wait to go and visit with them again, and with other groups, to share my love of our Catholic Faith. It is such a privilege.
If you would like to arrange for me to come and speak to your group, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment with your contact information here.
Books I mentioned:
Searching for and Maintaining Peace, Fr. Jacques Philippe
Interior Freedom, Fr. Jacques Philippe
Mothers' Manual, A. Francis Coomes S.J.
Handbook of Prayers, James Socias
Prayers I introduced or discussed:
Prayer to the Holy Spirit
O Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, I adore You.
Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, console me.
Tell me what I should do; give me Your orders.
I promise to submit myself to all that You desire of me.
and to accept all that you permit to happen to me.
Let me only know Your Will.
O my Jesus, I offer You this day all my joys, sorrows, prayers and deeds
through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for the intentions of Your Sacred Heart,
in unison with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world,
for the pope's intentions and the intentions of all his associates.
Morning Offering for Children
Good morning Dear Jesus, this day is for You.
I ask You to bless all I think, say and do.
Guardian Angel Prayer
Angel of God,
my guardian dear,
to whom God's love commits me here,
ever this day,
be at my side
to light and guard,
to rule and guide.
Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel
Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
Miraculous Medal Prayer
O Mary conceived without sin,
Pray for us who have recourse to Thee.
Act of Contrition
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee,
and I detest all my sins because of Thy just punishments,
but most of all because I offend Thee, my God
Who art all-good and deserving of all my love.
I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace,
to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.
Read more about examination of conscience and the Sacrament of Penance in my posts about confession.