Tag Archives: prayer

Just between us

 
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.
 
-this version is credited to Mother Teresa

 

My friend and I were talking recently about being disappointed by other people. Does this have to do with other people or with our own expectations?

Why are we continually allowing ourselves to feel let down by other’s reactions? Why are we allowing their reactions to change us?

I love the quote above because it reminds us that people will not always respond the way we want them to. But what does that have to do with our behavior? Why would we not do what is right because of someone else?

If you give love and it is not accepted, it does not make that love any less real. I picture it like a butterfly leaving us – beautiful and free and a gift. If the person it is intended for doesn’t accept it, it’s okay, that butterfly is out in the world and will land somewhere. Wherever it lands will become more beautiful, more open, gifted. It is never wrong to put love out there. It’s how we make the world more beautiful.

The worst thing that could happen is that we would hide ourselves from the world because of fear of other’s reactions. Instead of shrinking we should stand tall and firm and courageous. We have one voice to listen to and it’s the voice of God.

All the other voices are confusing but His is not. His voice leads us down the right road every time.

My friend asked me, “Don’t you wish you could ask God what you should do?”

I can ask Him. If I stay connected to Him through prayer and contemplation and reading His word, the answers will be clear to me.

When I remember it’s between Him and me, I feel safe and steady and sure.

It’s when I start worrying about everyone else’s opinion that I falter.

“I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.” – Proverbs 4:11-12

 

©2011 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved
photograph from stlukesgolden.net
 

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day!

I love to be called by that name…mother.  Actually, it’s Mom to my kids.  I love it in any form…  “Mom, I’m home” or “Mom, can you pick me up?” or “Mom, can you help me?” or the not so exciting, “Mom, I don’t feel good”.  On days when we are especially blessed we hear, “I love you, Mom” or the even more elusive, “Thanks, Mom”.

When the kids are young, it’s a physical job.  You are sleep deprived and constantly responding to an immediate need – they are hungry, thirsty, need a diaper changed.  Then when they get older, you tend to their emotional needs – they are sad, worried, or fearful.  Both of these stages are equally demanding and equally exhausting.   I can only imagine it gets more emotionally demanding as they go to college, get married, have jobs, have children of their own.  There is no ending to this job of motherhood, just different stages. 

The blessing of motherhood also carries the responsibility of motherhood.  I love that word, Responsibility.  It means the ability to respond.  I think that sums up what being a mother means…having the ability to respond to anything…literally anything that comes up. 

Physical, emotional, psychological, educational, whatever the need, we have to  be experts in that field.  It’s a daunting task but we rise to the occasion.  I remember realizing one day that if I did not advocate for my child, who would?  It was up to me.  I became a  warrior in the fight.  I became a mother lion protecting her young.  We all do.  It’s universal.  Mess with me, shame on you, mess with my kids…well, then we have a major problem. 

We all need lots of help in our role as mother…our  team may include our husband, doctors, dentists, teachers, principals, ots, pts, speech therapists, IEPs, 504 plans, optometrists, neurologists,  grandmas, friends, other moms, book clubs,  yoga teachers, neighbors, your parish, your co-workers.  You get the idea no mom can do this alone. 

I have learned so many things from my kids and one of the things I know now for sure is that I do have the ability to respond.  Sometimes it takes more than just me and I can be found consulting books and my mom and the internet and doctors and wise friends and praying constantly but I’ll respond. 

My prayer is that I will respond with love.  Because even though our children need a lot of things, there is no thing they need more than love. 

Being a mother has taught me that what they say is true…“love is the answer”, “love is all we need”, and as St. John of the Cross so famously said, “In the end, we will be judged on love.”  Because no matter what else I accomplish in life, my most important job, the role that I most cherish, is the role of mother.  I can mess up in any other arena but this role…this role is so precious to me, so important, so sacred, I want to do it well. 

You notice I didn’t say perfectly.  There is no mother that is perfect.   If we make a mistake, we apologize and move on.  Tomorrow there will be another chance to respond.  There will be another chance to act out of love.   

I want my children to understand that for all my faults, and I’m sure they’ll find many, that I loved them completely.    I want them to see my love and feel my love so they can carry it with them when I have gone.  I want them to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are my greatest blessing and my greatest joy.  That through all of the emotions family life brings…laughter, pain, fear, doubt, teasing, fighting, anger, forgiveness, joy, hope, faith, trust, hurt, disappointment, worry, safety, loyalty…that LOVE is the main ingredient. 

So tonight, when all of the mothers out there say, “I love you” and our children say back, “I love you too Mom”.  We can rest assured we’re doing our job.  We have taught them well…they too have responded with love.

©2011 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved

Lent

Lent starts today.                          

In my church, this means lots of things.  There are lists of what you should do, how you should eat, and ways you should pray.  There are times you should go to church (many!) and times you should go to reconciliation.  The entire Lenten season should revolve around Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. 

Are you tired yet?

Every year I start Lent the same way I start the New Year.  With plans, with resolutions, with thoughts of how “good” I’m going to be.  Being “good” during Lent sometimes means being somber and quiet (and hungry!).  We “give up” something and we give by performing one of the Corporal Works of Mercy which include but are not limited to feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick, and visiting the imprisoned.

These rituals and customs are beautiful.  They are steeped in history and scripture and they are a vital part of our own personal transformations.  However, I need to simplify this whole thing for myself this year. 

I read a daily reflection today that I want to share with you.  www.TheSpiritToday.com  This reflection gave me an idea. 

Maybe Jesus is asking us to let him into our desert.  We are asked to join him on his journey and he so desperately wants to be invited to join us on our journeys. 

I remember once when I was young a teacher asked me how I would behave at the dinner table if Jesus came to dinner.  What would I ask Him?  How would I act differently?  

This can be a fun, exciting question or it can instill fear in your heart!  Would He care if I can’t cook?  Would He think my kids are too messy?  Would He see the crumbs on the floor? Would He know our addictions and struggles?  Would He see all the ways we are not measuring up?  Would He see our fears and our doubts and our worries?

I can picture it now.  After the initial stage of awe and silence, He would say something funny to put us at ease.  He would tell stories and be kind to the children.  He would ask me to sit down and relax and be at peace.  We would pray together and share a meal and we would thank Him.  We would ask questions and He would guide us and forgive us. 

Doesn’t that sound nice? 

In order for us to understand Him, we join Him on his journey through the desert during Lent.  In order for Him to understand us, we ask Him to join us on our journeys, in our deserts, all the time.  

So this Lent, I’ll be inviting Him in.  Into my home (mess and noise included) and into my heart (mess and noise included).  I hope you do too…then we all will be truly transformed.