God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, Courage to change the things which should be changed, and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other. (Reinhold Niebuhr)
Life is full of challenges, big ones and small ones. Never under estimate that a trial that is a mere molehill to one person, could be a massive mountain to another. When I was a young mother, I had seven children under our meager roof for many, many years. Daily mountains and molehills would pop up out of nowhere. Why was life so challenging? Each child brought their individual personalities to our shared life, and they still do. So what works for one child may never work for another. This remains the same with adult children.
What’s a mother to do? I, a mighty mom, would always come to the rescue to save the day. I did not have all the answers but I knew that my Father in heaven did. I was well aware of the fact that my job as a mother was to lead them to Him. I also knew my goal was to teach them to eventually depend on Him and not me.
One day a child was upset because his elder brother had more hair than God had given him. I asked him if he wanted me to pray and he did. So I prayed. Years later he came to me, now a teenager, and complained, “Mom, you over-prayed! I am now as hairy as Esau.” We both laughed. This humorous incident reminds me often how prayer and growing up changes many things. I adopted the adage, “This too shall pass!”
Many times, in our life or the lives of our children, there are things we must face, some trials that are not so humorous as being hairy like Esau. Trials, that no matter how hard we pray or how fervent we beg our Jesus to take it away, the problem still remains. One mom’s wise advice was, “Little people, little problems; big people, big problems.” Mother Mary said it best to St. Bernadette: “I cannot promise you happiness on this earth, but only in the next.”
Jesus instructs us, “and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.” I tell my children and the women to whom I minister, “If it wasn’t hard, it wouldn’t be called a cross!” Even Jesus prayed at Gethsemane to the Father, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.” What did the Father answer? Jesus accepted the Father’s Will. His “yes” brought salvation to the world.
I have learned through what I have suffered that some crosses are not mine to carry. Patrick and I recently moved back to Florida for my health. In the midst of our move, I broke my toe. So, there I was, mighty Ellen, packing up an entire home with a broken toe. Has anyone tried it? To top it off, my mom took sick and came to recover at our home. To say I was over the top would have been an understatement. I began to beg God, crying with real tears. What was God’s answer? He brought me back in my mind’s eye to the road to Calvary and the words he said settled in my soul. “Even I needed Simon to carry the cross with me.” What a healing took place in my heart. I, mighty Ellen, threw in my cape and exchanged it for God’s grace. I wasn’t the one called by God to take in mom at this time in my life. A weight lifted from my shoulders.
Sometimes God will ask you to carry a cross alone. Sometimes God will bring a Simon who will be asked to carry a cross with you. Sometimes it is not your cross to bear. I used to tell my friends, “I am a little person and God has given me so many crosses to carry alone.” Now I ask myself, “Did God ask me to carry these crosses, or was ‘Mighty Ellen’ coming to save the day?”
God’s plan is best for all. He loves us and wants us to be cared for. My ninety-three-year-old mom was moved to my sister’s home in Jupiter, Florida where she has been for the last year. I have been able to take some needed time to recover and regain my health. My Heavenly Father takes care of me even when I do not take care of myself.
While other moms may have adopted the theme song, “Let It Go,” from the movie Frozen, the Serenity Prayer has become my theme song in life. I sing the words loudly and off key and in a variety of life circumstances. I have had to make up my own tune, of course, which totally fits my personality and my goal of being me, fully alive in Christ. These words have seen me through a heap of suffering, and many times allowed God to change my attitude. This is how He has taught me to walk in His amazing grace!
Copyright 2019 Ellen Mongan