Since last week felt like it turned into my own personal therapy session I'd like to touch base on what we didn't cover. The questions at the end of the chapter were wonderful and should be addressed. We'll try to post our thoughts on these questions weekly, so please feel free to participate by posting your own thoughts on one or all of the questions.
Last weeks discussion was based on Chapter 1 in "Style, Sex and Substance" by Hallie Lord. This chapter entitled 'How I Fell Out of My Minivan and Found Myself' was written by Blogger Jennifer Fulwiler. I'd like to preface that the discussion for the week was loosely based, because my poor emotions got the best of me and we didn't cover much of it. So here goes!
Reflection Questions: In what area of your life do your sins and quirks collide? How can you accept your God-given temperament in this area without rationalizing your sins?
This was a difficult task for me to think of. As I mentioned when we met last week my mind and emotions have been consumed by my daughter. Her strong willed nature and difficult temperament are exhausting. So when I tried to think of "quirks" and sins colliding they all centered on her. It feels appropriate to focus on this because we are a mother's group after all.
I would consider my quirk to be my constant envisioning of the worst. There have been several accidents/health issues involving loved ones in the past 10 years that have caused me to simply jump to the worst case scenario in my head. My husband was in a serious accident while I was pregnant with our first child and was thankfully brought back to me! This accident is one of the main reasons I always envision the worst. Where this translates into a sin is my response to this on the opposite extreme with our children. As parents we are blessed with this amazing opportunity to be responsible for another human being: safety, health, food, comfort, education, etc. For someone who envisions the worst possible outcome this is a daunting endeavor to undertake. So my sin has been to push this impulse of mine to the back of my mind. I have forced myself to let go of my fears in order to not become a helicopter parent. I've discovered however this truly has become a sinful behavior because my husband has pointed out there are activities I let my children do (nothing too major or maybe that is me just rationalizing this down again) that I really shouldn't. Quite frankly pushing aside this fear has made me a lazy parent.
Do you tend to compare yourself to other women? If so, what kind of characteristics do they have? Are these traits that you should work on adopting as well, or should you accept that that's not how God made you?
Who doesn't compare themselves to other women? Honestly, this is something we cannot help but do. What we can help ourselves with is not to compare down. Meaning to never compare to make yourself feel better by feeling as though you are above anyone else. I strive to compare up, or admire, others and their abilities. There are women who handle their families, their husbands, their situation in life with such grace that they are to be admired and compared to in strife of attaining that for ourselves.
What aspect of your personality that you may have considered a fault, but is actually a strength? How might God use that to bless others through you?
One fault is my inability for things to function out of any semblance of order or too slowly. If I'm in a situation that I feel could go better, or run more smoothly I cannot help but jump in. Lack of structure or leadership in a group setting simply drives me crazy. I must admit this taught me a few lessons in the corporate world. Learning to tame that fault took a few knocks along the way.
However this desire/ability to lead has helped Deanna with this group. In the beginning I kept asking Deanna if I was over stepping my bounds in assisting or creating new ideas for HER mother's group. I now get the impression this fault of mine has come as a blessing to her in easing the load she bares as being our group leader.
What saint has challenged your ideas about what holy are like? What did he or she do that surprised you?
This question took a bit because frankly, I'm not familiar with many saints. So I went with the first person who came to mind: Blessed Mother Teresa. She challenged me with her personal admission on a lack of intimacy with the Lord. I envision these holy men and women as perpetually living with the love of God in their hearts. To hear that this remarkable, humble, servant of the Lord didn't feel a strong connection with God is enough to shock most. I cannot say if I'd have the courage to live the difficult life she did without the intimacy of God in my life. Honestly, there are days I wonder if I'll make it through my own mundane existence with our God's help.
Take a moment to imagine the Blessed Mother looking just like you and having your exact life. What is the number one thing she'd do differently on a daily basis?
Now this one went back to my daughter. Our loving Mother would do so many things differently. She would embrace the mundane tasks of housework knowing her children would learn better, be healthier, and be safer in a cleaner environment. Or she wouldn't complain about staying up a bit later than normal to finish a task such as folding the last basket of laundry or starting the dishwasher. Shoot she'd just be thankful to have the dishes we do that require the cleaning. This means her children and family are well fed. More important that this, she would empty herself completely to her children. "Me Time" wouldn't be a concern for her. There would be no wasted time on the new show on USA or updating her "status" so everyone knew she was having a rough day with her kids or husband. She wouldn't even consider them bad days with her family. Mother Mary would view the challenges of the day as ways to grow in God's love. What lesson is God teaching me by my daughters constant challenges? Seeing the Lord ever present in her children would allow her the strength and love to thrive during each day.
Imagine the Blessed Mother with your life again. This time, consider what she would do the same as you do. This about the occasions when you've shown the love of Mary to the people around you. how did that effort influence a situation or help someone?
I feel she'd be home with her children the way I am. (Although there is much to be said about carrying of a profession outside the home. I'm just trying to relate this to my world.) Mary would make the effort go go to Mass the way I do with/without her husband. Although I will admit she'd have a much better attitude about doing so alone than I do.
So these are my responses to the thought provoking questions raised in this chapter. To relate them all back to my daily existence is difficult. Giving up my laziness in housework, and mothering skills requires work. Viewing my situations through the eyes of the Mother of God is another shift in life that will take time. However, learning to merge the two together will be the answer to overcoming the obstacles I create for myself.
I hope my candidness raises some food for thought in your own life. I know I'll spend my entire life trying to reconcile these areas in my life.