Stripped

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"Stripped" by Charisse Tierney (CatholicMom.com)

Image credit: Pixabay (2012), CC0 Public Domain

It happens at the end of every pregnancy. The falling apart. The crumbling. The letting go.

The aches and pains, the restless nights, the children that require any fragment of energy that I have remaining — it all leads to a giving away of pieces of myself.

I’m stripped.

Stripped until the pride, the autonomy, and the smug satisfaction with my own abilities are exposed and free to fly, leaving me vulnerable and searching for who I’m really meant to be. And I have no choice but to turn to Him.

A priest once told me in confession that, as Jesus hung on the cross, there was so much more He could have done. He could have healed more people. He could have converted more hearts. He could have proven His divinity through more miracles. He could have brought Himself down off the cross. But instead He chose the Father’s will–to hang there in humility as the world crumbled around Him. And what were His final words? It is finished.

As I ponder Jesus’ words, I think about all of the times I wish things were finished throughout my days. I wish the dishes were finished, I wish the laundry was finished, I wish the vacuuming was finished. I wish the disciplining of my children was finished. Sometimes I wish I could finish my music career I started so long ago.

But we’re not called to do what we think needs to be done. We’re called to do what God knows needs to be done. For our sanctity. And for the sanctity of others.

As I’ve had to do less and less during this pregnancy, I’ve watched my children grow in service and mercy. They’ve had to learn how to help in ways that I might not have required of them otherwise. They’ve been washing dishes, folding laundry, cleaning the house, and playing with their little sister, even on school nights when they’ve had their own work to do. I’m learning not to feel guilty when I ask them to grow and stretch in these ways. Not only are they learning valuable life skills, but they are learning the value of service and sacrifice.

They’ve had to allow themselves to be stripped, too.

It must have been agonizing for Mary to watch her Son be tortured and humiliated. She knew His heart. She knew what He was capable of. But I always picture her silently walking the Way of the Cross with Him, somehow knowing that with each piece of Him that was left behind was the promise of a redeemed and holier world.

And so I’m trying to trust. I’m trying to trust that in these last few weeks of pregnancy, my aches and pains, my worries about a healthy birth and baby, and my slowing down and accepting others’ help can be used well.

My house might be a mess and my family may feel some extra strain. Every day, I look around and see more and more that needs to be done. But I’m realizing that sometimes it’s not until we let it all go and unite our trials to the Cross that we are truly finished.

“Prayer joined to sacrifice constitutes the most powerful force in human history.” St. John Paul II


Copyright 2018 Charisse Tierney

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About Author

Charisse Tierney lives in Newton, Kansas, with her husband Rob and six children. Charisse and Rob are Natural Family Planning and Theology of the Body for Teens teachers. Charisse holds degrees in music performance and is a contributing author to The Catholic Mom's Prayer Companion. She also writes for Family Foundations magazine and blogs at Paving the Path to Purity. Find her on Facebook.

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