My husband, Matt and I had a conversation a few minutes ago that inspired me to write this blog. Because I think people need to see the beauty of a spouse being loved by a spouse after years of failure, pain and hurt.
He held me this morning as I started to plot the turkey cooking. He hugged me from behind. Normally, I’d say, “Stop! I’ve got so much to do!” But, I let him hold me. He kissed me on the cheek and said “I’m so grateful for you, our children and this life we have built.”
Ok his mushiness...makes me uncomfortable most of the time.
But, I stayed in his embrace, closed my eyes and soaked it in.
He continued, “Sometimes, even you need these moments and I know exactly when to give them to you even when you are saying mean things to me during that time of the month.” (Oooops...I blame hormones.)
Fuck, he’s right.
I needed to be held.
I needed to hear that I am loved.
I needed to hear him saying he knows what I need.
Because he does.
He asked, “Is it weird that I’m kind of happy we don’t have to do anything today?” To which I replied, “Nope, is it weird that I’ve never been happier in one of the craziest years on our planet? Like I can’t really find a complaint about being home and not doing anything. I’m probably in the minority that is enjoying 2020.” Matt (making a high five motion towards me) - “Oh my God, YES! Thank you for saying that! I feel so guilty saying that.”
Guilty for being happy.
Have we forgotten what it’s like to have the “American Dream?” Where home was the heart and center of everything? Have we created a world where you have to feel guilty for being happy? Has it become easier to share our losses, misery, pain and failures?
I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. It’s ok to embrace and acknowledge all of that.
BUT, it’s also OK to share the wins, happiness, highs, and success.
In order to move forward, we HAVE to share the good.
Why has sadness become the norm? Guilt, misery, hurt, pain...envy...all of it.
When does this madness stop? When are we going to see this doesn’t serve us any longer?
I am not saying to shut the World and all of its problems out. But, I will say...DO NOT LET IT INTO YOUR HOME. Close the door tight. Home should be our safety. If it’s not, find a new home.
God (or whatever/whoever you believe in) has been trying to awaken us to love, faith and grace this year.
Focus on HOME. Because it starts at home.
You can toss all the bullshit excuses you want our way. Matt and I have cheated, hurt and broke each other in more ways than you can imagine. We have sinned with the best of them. We have broken all the rules. We lived together before marriage. We had a child before marriage. We broke our vows. We pushed each other away. We’ve yelled at our kids. We’ve excluded family and friends. We’ve hurt people. We did therapy. We blamed each other. We blamed others.
But, for so long, we never took responsibility for our actions.
Once we decided that we were the only ones responsible for how our lives were going, we asked for forgiveness.
We’ve given forgiveness to each other and to others.
We kept choosing each other. For better or for worse.
Why am I sharing this? Because we usually only see the highlight REEL. Whether it's just the highs or just the lows, Social Media doesn’t show you what’s REAL.
Confession doesn’t just have to happen in church. It can happen in the shower when you’re at your most vulnerable point. It can happen at the kitchen sink. It can happen in the front seat of the car.
We confess our faults to each other.
We confess our sins.
We confess our deepest fears.
We confess our LOVE.
As you sit around the table today, take a moment to soak it all in.
Ask yourself: Where have I been letting my responsibility slip away from me? How can I love those closest to me better? How can I love MYSELF better?
The only way to “fix” this world is by bettering ourselves. To steal a line from my kids’ school: “In case no-one has told you today, you are loved.” Have a great day with your family and if you're not with them, call them.
Stewardship has been a word spoken to me more in the past 3 weeks than it ever has been. When I started to think, “what does stewardship really mean?” I wasn’t sure what to write about. Is stewardship a feeling? Is it a duty? Is it something that is within you? My reflection on stewardship led me down a rabbit hole. First, I looked at what was being asked of me. Who am I to speak to people about stewardship when I don’t even know what it means to me?
So I dug a little deeper.
I started to think of stewardship as Faith. Then, I questioned, “What does Faith mean to me?” Again, I found myself struggling to answer that question. Really, what is Faith?
So I dug a little deeper.
Is stewardship a feeling? Will I know it when I feel it? Is it warm like love? Is it excitement after an achievement? I don’t think it’s a feeling.
So, I dug a little deeper.
I finally landed on purpose. What does purpose have to do with stewardship? Everything. It wasn’t until this moment that I found my answer.
Purpose is an intention. An intention is the healing process of a wound. That’s when it all clicked for me.
You see, I was born a month after my mother lost her father. She was a young mom for the second time and I was born on Father’s Day, a day in which she would not have her dad. I never put the two together. But, in some way, I know my birth made it easier for her to experience her first Father’s Day without her dad.
As I got older, lots of things happened to me. I drowned at 3 years old only to be saved by my uncle. I remember seeing a white tunnel. It is an image I still carry with me today.
When I was 8, my parents divorced and I moved to a new location. A month after that, my Godmother who was my best friend passed away. To me, that was the day my happiness ended and darkness tried to set in. But, still I kept my light.
As I approached High School, I knew I wanted to go to our local Catholic School. The second day of my freshman year, tragedy struck on 9/11. I remember thinking “Why is God allowing this?”
Then a couple months later, my 15 year old classmate and friend Joey, was a victim in a drunk driving accident that would ultimately claim his life. Again, I asked “Why is God allowing this?”
My anger and bitterness towards God started to get deeper.
Then, my Junior year of high school, I was introduced to my now husband at a memorial service for our mutual friend Joey. It was then that I saw some light. We began dating and I finally started to feel happiness again. Here was a man that was like me. We got along with everyone. We believed in God and we weren’t afraid to acknowledge Him but we just didn’t go to church, oddly enough even after we first spoke to each other in the basement of one.
As our relationship grew, we had our daughter, then got married, then had our son. We both didn’t feel right getting married in a church because we didn’t follow the normal rules. As we became parents to two beautiful children, I started to see what Faith really meant. If it wasn’t for our friend Joey’s passing, we would have never met and our children never born. To me, Faith means knowing that no matter how hard life gets, it can always get better. But, I’m not here to just talk about Faith.
We decided to Baptize both children and raise them with a Catholic upbringing even though ours at that moment wasn’t strong enough.
In 2017, I was called to attend Cursillo. At just 30 years old, I couldn’t believe I was “talked into” attending this cult like Jesus weekend. Yes, that’s how I described it to my friends. But, it was then that I started to feel God’s influence in my life again. The healing process was starting but I wasn’t aware of it.
Once our oldest reached 1st grade, I knew we had to get her into class so she could have her Communion. Little did I know that in that moment, I too was enrolled into God school. I volunteered to monitor the halls because I did not want to teach. Having her in class meant we had to go to church every Sunday.
I was about to reach my lowest point in life. One day in the shower, I heard my first message from who I now know to be from God. I was instructed to create a business. It was already on my mind for a couple years prior but, I never took the leap because I didn’t have the Faith. I didn’t fully step into the business process for about a year.
A few months later, I was grieving the loss of my grandmother, drinking alcohol heavily and working a job that I was miserable at. One day, my back completely gave out on me. I could not walk for four days and Drs could not figure out what was wrong with me. I panicked. Will I ever walk again? Will I be able to lift my children again? How are we going to support our family on one income? I remember laying in bed those four days negotiating with God. If you let me walk again, I will start that business. The next day, I was able to slowly move out of bed. I knew I couldn’t go back on my word, I’m too stubborn to do that.
So, I started that business. After about a year of basic healing, I thought I was ready to help people as a Life and Business Coach. But, God’s purpose for me was bigger than that. One night I had a dream and immediately knew we had to move, again another God moment. After finally convincing my husband last year, we bought, sold and moved into our new house in 45 days. The biggest selling point for me, next to the jacuzzi was the fact that there was a Catholic church down the road.
I remember our first experience with mass at our new church. It was warm and welcoming. They mentioned a family picnic and we decided to show up. Yes, I won the 50/50 raffle and was introduced to Anna. After about 5 minutes talking to her, I was somehow signed up to help with Faith Formation. I’m pretty sure she is gifted with the power of persuasion.
I decided to not teach the younger kids and wanted to work with the older ones especially after being asked to help with keeping them engaged...challenge accepted. Every Monday night that we had class, I showed up. There wasn’t a ton of talking at first as most of them were pre-teens so it wasn’t cool to talk. So, mostly myself and the other teachers initiated the conversations.
Once they started to get comfortable, they started to open up. It was in those moments of Stewardship, which I have concluded is defined as taking God inspired action, that I realized what was happening.
As a young child and into adulthood, I lost my relationship with God.
Through all of my ups and downs, I learned that my Faith did remain a constant.
Although at moments it was weak, there were more moments when it was stronger. But, it wasn’t just my Faith that saved me. It was the Faith my mom, aunts and grandmothers prayed over me. It was the Faith of the community I surrounded myself with in my teachers, coaches and mentors. It was the Faith my church community showered me with. It was the Stewardship of others that opened me up to God’s Amazing Grace. I’m reaching a year of true healing and sobriety by choice.
When I sat in church today listening to our Deacon’s Homily about his rebel brother, I laughed. I was him. I was the one who went against everything that was God-like but in doing so, it strengthened the Faith of those around me.
They had to pray harder and harder for me to see the Light.
I truly believe our Deacon's rebel Brother’s purpose was to make him the Steward he is today. And that’s why I define Stewardship as purpose. We all have a purpose here. Mine is with our youth and those that lost their way, speaking to them about God, praying for them, and holding space until they too can find their Light. So, I ask all of you reading this today to join me in Stewardship for our world. I’ve spent the past 2 months speaking on a Global scale about God and His Mercy but I will never forget that it starts right here in my Church.
Find your Purpose, heal yourself and you will find Stewardship.