This is going to be one gigantic stretch and believe me- I can't really see how on earth I'm going to connect what I'm going to talk about, but start praying right now, as I am, and maybe we'll both see God's hand in this as I think I kind of do....
Can I drink from the cup. That was the theme of the gospel reading this past Sunday. Mark 10:35-45. I'll try to copy and paste the passage if my feeble, exhausted, brain can pull it together before I lose my train of thought.
James and John were wanting to sit at Jesus' right and left. He basically asked them if they were prepared to drink from his cup. Jesus' path was not an easy one and his followers would be on that same path if they chose to drink from his cup. Persecutions, martyrdom, and the like would take most of his disciples and James and John seemed to more concerned with having a high and mighty place to sit by Jesus instead of the focus at hand. Why Jesus was there....
Why was Jesus there? To save us of course.
To save us from damnation.
To save us from our sin!
That's not to say people chose to follow him. Or follow his teachings. As we can see, people even in biblical times found his teachings to be too difficult and walked away.
Today was a really rough day for me.
Actually, it's been a rough few months.
Ok, it's been a rough almost 9 months.
Who am I kidding.....I'm sorry, it's been a rough 18 months.....
If we look back a year in a half ago, we started on a journey that was completely unexpected. I know, there are people out there who want to believe with all their hearts that they know who we are, know what we're like, have already determined we are freaks and crazy people for being open to life. Comparing us to the Duggars (doesn't that get old for people? Cause it really gets old hearing it....I'm no where near going to reach their numbers....or prayerfully, their public life...)
We've heard all the comments, time and time again. Are you done? Will you have anymore? I can't handle the (fill in ANY number here, we've heard them all) I have!!! Can't imagine how you handle all yours....
So when lucky number 7 surprised us, I was taken aback but God was working on my heart the entire time. You can check out my past blogs and read the journey we took to the birth of our awesome little Luci and my very near death experience I had to see how amazing that journey was.
Cause it's always going.
The cup is constantly being poured out and I'm forced to either drink from it, or let it spill all over me and make a mess on myself with it. (and you KNOW I'm not a messy person....)
By forced, I don't mean God is forcing me, but He is placing these things in my life to choose one way or the other.... I can sit here, in my self pity and continue to feel like the worst mother on the planet and wait for my "worst mother of the year" award, or I can take the many trials and tribulations and learn from them and get up, ever so slowly, and probably looking more like I need one of those little walkers with the tennis balls on them, and keep plugging away in this world.
The trials seem to be more apparent to me these days and I am not sure why. From the personal crosses I've been trying to bear, to the crosses I now see my children having to bear as they get older and try to live a good and holy life.
There have been so many moments of grace with those crosses and that's what I've been trying to focus on. I started this blog about five times and each one was titled, "Focus on the Positive." Something kept stopping me from finishing each one (and mostly it was two little somethings age 2 1/2 years, and 8 months).
Today though, I had a really, really bad day.
Matter of fact, it almost made me do some completely irrational and stupid things.
I actually yelled and scared my 2 1/2 year old and then I got behind the guy and took a picture of his license plate. You know, cause I was going to create a "shame NY drivers" website (which has probably already been created) but I was angry and scared and shaking and I wanted JUSTICE. I wanted that person to know what they did was not only stupid, but incredibly dangerous and put the lives of two of my little peanuts in danger. I was furious. I wanted revenge. AN EYE FOR EYE!
Completely irrational I know...
But I was so mad and ready to move away. Right there!!
New York and all it's terrible drivers could stick it! I was done. I called my husband, a voice of reason, and even he was mad for me. It's not easy to see so many people take such unnecessary risks and put other people in danger and he has probably had more than enough as well....
He asked where I wanted to live. I said somewhere far, far away. A nice remote, isolated area where I will feel safe.... A cave. A cabin in the deep, deep, deep woods.
Anywhere but where we live.
Where are you going with this, Crazycatholic momma?
Hold on. I said it would be a stretch.
So after we decided we were moving to a deserted island, I calmed down and drove to my final destination on my errands. Hobby Lobby.
Something about that store just fills me with an amazing sense of peace. It's so lovely and full of crafts and holiday items and fun things I would love to buy, and right now? There are a billion items for Christmas. Trees, ornaments, decorations, wrapping paper, bows, lights, wreaths, you name it. They have it.
As I took the stroller down each aisle and heard my 2 1/2 year old oooooh and aaaaaahh outloud, I did the same thing inside. (ok, and outside, too. We both were ooooohing and aaaaaahhing together!)
I was taking deep breaths and feeling more and more at peace and human again. I even took a picture and sent it to my husband and told him, "I'm in my happy place..."
|My Happy Place|
As the peace came over me, my rational self came back and my irrational self slowly diminished. It's not a side of myself that I'm particularly proud of. It's rather embarrassing at times. The voice of reason gets drowned out as crazymomma goes into psycho mode....
But as the peace came back, so did the clarity of events of the past year in a half. We can say we've had some pretty tough things happen and surprises we didn't expect, or see coming. Some health issues that were a bit of shock, and an expense that we didn't plan for. A stint with some depression that probably ran one or two people out of my life. Some issues with our children that have been really tough to deal with, but nothing that we couldn't handle with God's grace.
Because you see, with every single set back, I began to notice something. There was a grace moment.
I always tell my kids that God sends these moments everyday, all day long if we just opened our eyes to them.
Nowadays, we're so bombarded with our little hand held devices, computers, TV's, busy schedules, and lack of quiet time, we don't always see those grace moments.
The moments that God shows us that yes we can drink from the cup.
I have never been so aware of how difficult it is to be a person of faith in this world as I am today. I don't just mean a 'Sunday go to church' faith person, I mean someone who clearly tries, (and fails constantly) to live their faith in this world. 'People will hate you. Know that they hated me first.'
That's from John 15:18-27. A fantastic gospel. 'If you belonged to the world, the world would love it's own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you, 'no slave is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you....'
It goes on and is really just so comforting. Jesus' words are like that. Comforting.
He later speaks in chapter 16, verse 33, 'I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.'
And thank you, Jesus, for doing just that. I take comfort in that.
When drivers drive like maniacs. People compare us to the Duggars. Friends grow distant and move away. Children struggle in their own faith lives. People disappoint us. Jesus has been here. Done that, and is waiting for us to be with him in Heaven.
When we drink from the cup, we can stand strong and have courage.
It won't be an easy path. It won't be a completely happy path. There will be tough times. There will be joyful times. There will be difficult times and almost unbearable times. We will want to quit the race, but we can't. We must persevere and keep going.
It will be God's path. And if we keep our eyes open and on Him, we will see those beautiful graces he places ever so subtly in our lives.
For example, I just got on my phone to look up the exact scripture for the John 15- all I typed in google was, 'scripture verse......'
And google finished it for me with, '.......if the world hates you.'
God moment for today?