Have you ever been in the situation where life has just become so busy that it seems as if you are putting out fires every second of the day, as if you are running on autopilot, a buoy in the water bobbing up and down just trying to stay afloat with no real direction? This is exactly how I would have described my last year.
In the fall of 2014, we were blessed with the arrival of our second son, Little Bean, followed by my husband's retirement from the military. So it was time...the time of transitions!
As a family, we needed to find a direction with which to go. Do we stay in AZ, far from family, and does my husband try to find a permanent job? Or do we move back to the east coast without any job prospects to be closer to family and trust in the Lord? It was a decision my husband and I discussed and prayed about for some time. In the end, we decided, as my husband likes to say, to "take a leap of faith". So we packed up all our belongs, our 4 year old, our 2 month old, our dog and ourselves and headed east. This move also meant I had to close down the doors to my dream, my private practice. We had no home, no jobs, and no idea where we would end up. But if we trust in Him, God never disappoints. Though, they may not be the things we ask for, like any good parent, God will ALWAYS give us the things we need, things that will bring us closer to Him.
We were so very blessed during those months of transition. First we were able to stay with my family and then with my husband's family. So shelter during a terrible winter was thankfully covered. Check. We celebrated Christmas and New Years with family we hadn't been able to see in many years due to military life. Family for the holidays! Check. And after the New Year, after many sleepless nights with my newborn, and many, many, MANY prayers, the Lord shared His plan with us. My husband was offered a job in Northern Virginia. Check. We found a nice house in a family friendly neighborhood and were officially moved in by March of 2015. Check. Yet, it's only been over the last month or so that I realized how many times God answered "Yes" to my prayers this past year. You know, not just the big, life-sustaining prayers (food, shelter, water, etc.) but the "little" prayers. The ones we think are nonessential.
I prayed for us to know where to move and to get settled. Well the Lord made His plan for us very clear with this job opportunity for my husband. There was no need for an agonizing decision. THIS is where we are SUPPOSED to be!
I prayed that where ever we ended up, I hoped to find a group of strong Catholic women from which to learn and grow. Boy did He ever deliver on this one! I am so happy to be part of a wonderfully large homeschooling community with families both large and small (and by large community, I mean 90+ people on the email change!), whose mothers dedicate their lives to teaching their children this beautiful faith! I've been reintroduced to the beautiful tradition of head covering and what an AMAZING blessing this has been for me during the Mass. And I have rediscovered my love for the Eucharistic celebration and am blessed to share that love with my children on a daily basis. So many "Yes" answers to prayers for which I didn't even know I should pray.
Finally, I prayed for something very small, very insignificant. I have read about the wonderful groups of women who participant in saint peg doll swaps and I wanted to be part of one. Not just to be part of a swap as I could make the dolls on my own. No. I prayed to be part of a group of women, mothers, who understood the importance of teaching our children about the awesome saints of Mother Church. I wanted a group of women, who were on fire for Christ. Women who understand, believe and live as if this world, this life is fleeting and simply a stop along our eternal journey. I wanted women who get it, who get me! And, I'm happy to report that I have found that group. Through my church I have become part of a beautiful mom's group called the St. Anne Society, where we meet bimonthly to discuss all things in which a Catholic wife and mother would find interest. As if that was't amazing enough, randomly a few weeks ago, I was asked to participate in a saints peg doll swap with some women from my church (click on the link to see how the swap went)! Can you believe it? All these "Yes's" from God?!
My Life Lesson:
So what have I learned through this year of transition? Through taking our "leap of faith" and leaving it all up to God? Well I guess I've learned a few things. One, the old adage, "The Lord will provide", is so very true. Two, when the Lord provides, He does so with gifts even greater than our imaginations can dream. And thirdly, maybe the most important lesson of all, I discovered that our Lord will answer "YES" to all prayers He knows will bring us closer to Him! This has COMPLETELY changed my prayer life. Now before I ever pray for anything, I ask myself "Will this bring me closer to God?", "Will this build my relationship with Jesus Christ? The Holy Spirit? His mother? The saints?". If the answer is "yes" then I not only make that prayer request, I make it boldly and confidently as I know our good Father in Heaven will say "yes".
Yet, what if the prayer request may not bring myself or another closer to Christ? We find this conundrum in cases of illnesses and disease, among other things. Will the removal of my suffering or the suffering of another, bring either of us closer to Christ? Rather, can this suffering be more effectively used as an offering for reparation of sins or as a purgation of one's soul? And, if so, do I have the right to pray for it to cease? It is in these times, these cases I can pray for only one thing that the Lord's will be done and that all involved can accept that will and use it to grow closer to Him. Now this prayer, I KNOW will be answered with a resounding "yes, Yes, YES!" from Heaven!
So I guess, the lessons I've learned over the last year have taught me to be more thoughtful in my prayer requests and to always keep a soul's salvation in mind above all things. Yes, I'm cautious when it comes to prayer, but I am confident and I know-I don't just trust-I believe, I have faith, I KNOW that our prayers will be answered "Yes" when we pray to become closer to our Lord.
May all of our prayers be focused on creating relationship with Christ especially during this upcoming Advent season!
Blessings to you and yours,