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How I Got My Prayer Life Back

October 12, 2015

Some of you joined us for this post in which I described the utter obliteration of my prayer life this past year.

Don’t get me wrong – I wanted to have a consistent prayer life but, “The spirit is willing and the flesh is weak.” My chronically sleep deprived body decided to make that it’s rally cry whenever I attempted to pray. Instead of praying, this ole bag o’ bones insisted on daily naps and Netflixing when it stole a few quite moments alone…

Surprised, right?

Due to dropping my time to connect with Jesus each day, I stayed not only physically exhausted but mentally and spiritually as well. The joy faded from my eyes and I felt empty and bored. I lost my sense of purpose and nothing seemed to make sense anymore.

It was time for a change.

Thankfully around the time I was already feeling convicted about reestablishing daily time with God, I met with a wonderful priest for spiritual direction. If you haven’t heard of that before, think of someone listening to you and then asking questions/providing spiritual guidance on how to move forward towards the Lord. Its great.

Well this particular priest is a good friend of mine and while he’s kind and gentle, he can also shoot it straight. I needed the latter and he definitely brought it that day.

We were talking about how some moms simply adopt the vague idea that, “Their day is a prayer.” That they just pray as they go about changing diapers and folding clothes instead of carving out alone time with Jesus since they don’t have time.

He said that notion was, “Bull@*$#!” That everyone, including busy moms, need set apart time for personal prayer each day. Yes, those other ways are prayer too but nothing can substitute that alone time with God.

#spirituldropkick

I agreed wholeheartedly and felt reinvigorated…but also scared. What if I failed at prayer? What if I forgot how to talk with God? What if my attention span is 17 seconds long and I get distracted or worse, bored?

With our conversation behind me and a few practical tips on how to get prayer back into my day, I made plans to change my schedule.

I am happy to say that I am now a few months into my new routine with prayer and it’s been going really well. I don’t share this to toot my own horn. Quite the opposite really, since it only shows how weak I have been this past year. I want to share with you all what’s been helping me in case it might help YOU!

Online Adoration

Everyday during Josie’s first nap of the day, I hunker down in my home office and pull up Jesus via online adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. A couple websites I have used are here and here. Physically seeing Our Lord in this way changes the feel in the room, my attitude, and commands my attention. It’s also cool to see others praying the chapel at the same time. I don’t feel alone in my efforts.

Reading Scripture

After just chatting with Jesus for a few minutes and preparing myself to receive grace, I dive into reading the bible. Sometimes I read through certain books. Other times I have followed along with the daily mass readings, since you cycle through most of the bible every three years doing this. This is usually the bulk of my time with God as I ponder over his words and try to listen to how he’s using them to speak to me in the present moment.

Spiritual Reading

I am currently reading Time For God by Jacques Phillipe and it’s rocking my socks off. Basically anything by this guy is pretty darn awesome. This is the time I’ve got set aside to read from various authors and/or saints.

The Rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet

I usually do the above prayer time altogether. Later on during the day, I would still like to intentionally mull over spiritual truths so I try and pray the rosary or divine mercy chaplet. Typically I pray these while I am walking my two babies – Josie and Wrigley. I use an app on my iphone to keep on track and focused. Yea, it’s the lazy man’s way to pray them but hey, at least it’s happening.

Daily Mass

I’ve been attempting to attend daily Mass once per week in addition to Sunday. When we’ve been traveling, we enlist the help of Masstimes.org. It’s been a challenge since Miss Josie is busier than ever and wants to eat all the pew books and crawl around but the blessings of being at Mass outweigh the difficulties. It also provides me with an extra dose of social interaction as I get to chat with others after mass too.

Intercessory Prayer

Jonathan and I have been trying to incorporate prayer as a couple together each day. It’s becoming part of our bedtime ritual to ask the other how their day went and to pray over the big things that happened – worries, joys, fears, opportunities, etc. This has kept us communicating about the big themes of each day and uniting our marriage together with God in prayer.

And that’s what’s changed in my prayer life over the past 8 weeks or so. It’s brought back so much life to my soul and I can feel the old zest and passion returning. Again, I share these things not to say, “This is the exact way to pray.” I offer it to spark inspiration and encourage you to make prayer more part of your day if it’s not already.

I would love feedback on how any of these resources help or encourage you!

Catholicism

Why I Wanted To Hate #Edel But Couldn’t

July 26, 2015

The Edel Gathering for Catholic women was July 10-11th in Charleston, SC.

That means this blog post is a bit late to the party. It’s alright to judge me a little. 😉

So who in their right mind would want to hate a conference of Catholic women?

Bitter, jealous, and infertile little old me from one year ago.

I’d heard about the first Edel Gathering and saw all the gushing blog posts that followed. last year. It seemed like in order to attend you needed to have a cool mom blog and tons of kids to blog about.

None of which applied to my life…leaving me feeling completely excluded and on the outside. It was pretty darn easy to hate Edel a year ago.

But then something happened.

God worked on my heart and freed me from former bitterness and jealousy. I became a mom through the blessing of adoption. And a dear friend from college invited me to sign up when I was delirious with an 8-day-old baby at home. 🙂

I am glad I got to go and actually experience the conference as opposed to sitting on the sidelines making judgey eyes. Below are my biggest takeaways from Edel 2015:

1. Abandonment To God’s Will Leads To Joy

Of course since I had Josephine with me I couldn’t find the ability to actually write down all the amazing quotes shared on this topic…so I can’t really share with you any quality content, just my reflections.

Whoops.

Throughout all the speakers I felt the Holy Spirit telling me LOUD. AND. CLEAR. that only in God’s will for my life is where my joy lies.

Not in someone else’s situation. Not when things are only going “well” according to my standards. Not when I reach x, y, or z state in life that I am not currently at.

His will TODAY is where my joy can be found. Accepting whatever comes with peace and trust with ungripped hands will wash away my stress, anxiety, and fear that all too often hold me captive and unable to live my vocation to the full.

2. I Am Not Alone

If I had $1 for the times I felt alone this past year I’d be a very rich woman indeed.

Staying home with Josie has been undoubtedly one of my BEST decisions but it’s the HARDEST thing I’ve personally ever done.

It was a looooong winter and the days sort of blended together. Thanks be to God I had a few other Mommas I knew going through the same stages with babies almost identical in age to Josephine.

But the loneliness still crept in on those long snowy days. I think the Devil is an expert at isolation in general but it was unreal how lonely I got those days on end where I never left the house.

Just knowing other moms are out there feeling the same thing was comforting. That I’m not a freak or weirdo for battling these feelings as a mom. I needed to know I wasn’t alone.

3. Moms Aren’t My Enemies

If I am being honest, there used to be a part of me that hated moms. Not only because I was battling infertility and was just flat-out jealous of them but because it seemed like they couldn’t talk about anything BUT their kids…which I found annoying.

Moms became an enemy and I preferred to hang with singles or other married-without-kiddos gals.

Since becoming a mom myself I’ve learned at how kind and giving other moms are. I’ve had other moms reach out to me and be some of the most supportive women I now know. And yes, talking about the kids is tempting, but moms can still talk about MUCH more than the kids if given the freedom!

And I met dozens of those women at Edel.

Moms who were my allies and friends…anything BUT my enemy. It was refreshing to meet Catholic moms from all over the country with all types of personalities and interests yet going through the same things vocationally.

It was truly refreshing. I couldn’t hate it at all. 🙂