First The Humbling Admission
As a mother, I make a lot of mistakes. It is probably what I do the most and the best of all! While that may seem a negative assessment of one’s motherhood, I consider it a fair and accurate evaluation. This assessment keeps me humble, honest and always trying to improve – but most of all it keeps me reliant on the grace of God!
I am far from a failure as a mom; I am blessed with three children who still do most of what is asked of them, come to me for advice, and (2 of the 3) still participate in our Catholic faith without bribery or threats. However, I know that this admittance of my weaknesses and natural tendencies to get lazy in some area of discipline and parental involvement, are in truth my strengths. In order to keep improving as a parent, I must first admit that there is always room for learning and growing in my vocation.
During the year of Faith in 2013, I decided to take my attitude toward parenting and applying it to my vocation as a Catholic. Over the many years of practicing my Catholic faith, I have made many mistakes. Practice, does not, as they say, always make perfect. I’ve had phases of being lazy about spiritual matters and doing the bare minimums – or less. I’ve had phases of excuse making about why I was not attending Mass regularly, was avoiding confession, and even giving up on praying. Then the pendulum would swing, and I would experience times of arrogance of faith, sure that I had overcome all earthly bonds, emerging from the confessional booth to become — (*you’ll have to add your own superhero theme music here for effect) – Super Catholic! Scripture warns not only against being a lukewarm believer, but also speaks of the dangers of self-righteousness.
There is a balance, but how would I achieve it?
To become a more skilled (or at least educated) parent, I have a many options. I can talk to more experienced moms about lessons they have learned in their own journeys of motherhood. I can pick up reading on proper parenting – such as magazines and books. I can hit cyberspace for advice, instruction, or just plain old fashioned camaraderie. Additionally, I can take my concerns, fears and present state of motherhood to God – seeking His grace, guidance and blessing, knowing His promise to never abandon or forsake me.
Yet to make any true changes, I must first admit where I weak, so that I know what information I am looking for, what questions I need answered, and most importantly, what areas I need to change. If I am unwilling or unable to admit weakness, then I will not be open to accepting guidance and I will remain stuck where I am as a parent, which for me would have meant being stuck forever with a non-sleeping, tantrum-throwing, un-potty-trained child (or 2)!
How This Relates to Matters of Faith
To grow spiritually, I have to my surprise and delight, the same options. I can talk to more experienced women (or men) of faith, and learn from their spiritual journeys. I can open up the Bible,the Catechism of the Catholic Church, or any number of wonderful Catholic books available to enlighten and teach me. In addition, a plethora of wonderful magazine and newspapers are available to aid in education of the faith.
Cyberspace and social media also provide many fantastic resources for faith discovery. However, just as when someone uses it as a Pediatrician, the Internet as a Spiritual Director, requires prudence and common sense. Nevertheless, I cannot help but marvel at how God has allowed the World Wide Web, in particular social media, to bring His Church together. Faith is meant to be lived in community – the body of Christ – interdependent and interwoven!
Lastly, I can always turn to God. When I seek his grace, guidance and blessing this reminds me how he will never abandon or forsake me. If I can humble myself before God, admitting the areas of my spiritual life that are lacking, then I am open to receive the graces God has for me to fill those missing parts. If I am not willing or able to admit weakness and not be open to accept God’s loving, merciful and gentle direction; then I could remain stuck forever as a “lukewarm, tantrum-throwing, untrained in my faith” adult! My weakness becomes my strength when I remember from where my strength comes.
Copyright 2016 Allison Gingras