Good morning! We are settled in here so as to live fully the week that changed the world. I need this week pretty bad right now. How about you?
I want to take you back to where I left off with my NFP journey. I’ve strayed a bit with some other writing…or lack there of…and Holy Thursday this year reminds me of a Holy Thursday three years ago…
when this one was conceived…
when this one was conceived…
|Look what I found in the garage Ma!|
I left off with this post about learning to be at home with my three daughters after being an officer in the Coast Guard for five years (a.k.a working mom). I eventually did learn to be at home and so much to the extent I felt called to home school my children as well. I had spent three and half years putting my eldest daughter into daycare only to dread the day I would have to say goodbye to her yet again as Kindergarten started. “Well,” my dear friend Janet said, “you’ll just have to do Kindergarten at home then.” I’m not equipped to write coherently on homeschooling and the WHYS and HOWS of it all, but it has been rather fulfilling and amazing so far.
So the winter of 2011, I was home, homeschooling, and I have to admit I went through a season of intense loneliness. I’m not going to dwell on this too much here, maybe for another day when it makes more sense. I remember this time very well because it started right after my dear friend Rebekah had twin boys. I missed her and her mother as they were engulfed in baby land and I was trying to find a balance between choosing family and navigating various social realms (Coast Guard wives, church friends, home school moms). And…well…there you have it…I was lonely. It was quite a dry time for me spiritually but God did pull me out of it in the spring.
I see these young moms with a cross of loneliness, it is a particular type of suffering. He walked with me as I carried that cross and I know He is with those young mothers as well.
As I came out of that spiritual winter into spring, the workings OF spring seemed to take hold in our family. Our youngest would be two in the summer and something about the spacing and what we envisioned for our family started working on us.
However, more than just feeling like the time would draw near to perhaps trust God in being open to another, with this fourth one there was a definite…NOW.
It wasn’t the word “now” in my ear, spoken in my English tongue, the call was in the language of the air and the flickering of candles around the Blessed Sacrament on Holy Thursday evening of that year.
The NOW had crept in during Mass just a few hours earlier. I watched Angela’s son, a young handsome man in his early twenties, as an alter server so reverently serve the priest in Mass. Angela’s son. I wanted a son.
I saw possibilities as I looked around the church on that holy evening, surrounded by gentlemen….grandfathers, fathers, uncles, nephews…all were each a son.
The NOW was gently imploring to me that this NOW would be a son.
Justin had stayed home with our littles so that I could go to Mass and Adoration. For Holy Thursday, our family does a “Last Supper” dinner together with flat bread and sparkling grape juice and we read from our children’s Bible with the great illustrations. Then we have a family foot washing (the LITTLES LOVE THIS). Triduum can be SO much sometimes depending on where each of your littles is at, and that 7:00 in the evening can go so many ways…so sometimes we all go…and sometimes we don’t and that particular Holy Thursday…I was by myself.
My friend Suzanne came to Adoration after Mass with me, and we stayed with Jesus. Or…as I have said before…really…He stays with us. Such great love (I wrote another post about Adoration and NFP here).
So I felt the NOW and I usually bring my journal so I was also writing while I felt the NOW…and I think the miracle is not that this was being communicated to me as if I were a saint (because…um…I’m not)…but that I was able to respond to this NOW with LOVE.
The NOW was in the beauty of the stained glass, the stillness of the day chapel, the iconography telling the history of salvation, the soft kneelers, the thin pages of the Bible, the clinking of a rosary, the lingering incense from the procession, the large cross holding the Sacred Host, holding the Axis of the Universe.
God gave Justin and I the grace to respond with LOVE and be open to life.
God's grace is liberating.
God's grace is liberating.
I was thinking…it didn’t feel like “obeying.” The Lord had brought us so far on our NFP journey that we weren’t just “obeying” Church teaching and “following rules.”
Our marriage, by practicing NFP and respecting each other and abstaining and constantly discerning His will, had become intimately familiar with this Third. We were all cooperating.
And BECAUSE bringing another child in the world is SO HUGE and MIND BLOWING…He pours His grace over us so that saying “yes” feels easy. The grace upholds and comforts and gives confidence.
Usually, oh say around half way through the first trimester when the house looks like a bomb hit it and our littles are being particularly chaotic and I am doing the “I’m exhausted I’m going to bed now” preggo dance, Justin and I will shoot each other a glance that says “And we are having another? Are we crazy????”
Looking back on those moments, it is so humbling to realize how much of the conceiving and carrying and raising the child into our world is not about OUR work, it is truly His work.
I’m so glad that God was so good to use Holy Thursday in this way. I hope you have a very blessed one as well. Thank you for reading :)