“Of myself, O Lord, I am not able to entertain a good thought.” — Mother Angelica
I’m a big fan of Mother Angelica. If you’ve never heard of her, try Google. She was a very accomplished woman, but what I liked about her most was her sense of humor and her very honest and conversational style in prayer. For Mother, she felt prayer was primarily an unceasing daily conversation with the Divine. She undoubtedly did it more eloquently than I do, but my prayer style is similar. In that vain, here’s a very recent text exchange between myself and a pal. In fact, I quickly considered her words divinely inspired in my day.
J: Btw, you are NOT a project. You are someone’s he’s helping just like everyone else! No more of that kind of talk outta you!
Me: Ok, fair enough. Clearly, I like to think of myself as extra special.
We were talking about a trainer I have been visiting, at her strong encouragement. He’s helping me get moving again, and the bum knee I’ve been dragging behind me for a year is already seeing some improvement. It’s a healthy and terrific choice, which Jen’s right, I should be celebrating. When I said I was “extra special”, I was really kind of making fun of myself. My terrific friend hadn’t really realized what she was doing, but she had engaged in a holy act of fraternal correction.
She called me out on my BS. She hit the hammer on the head so hard, without even knowing it, that it made me laugh aloud. We’ve all got our flaws and this is certainly chief among mine. I have this way of interiorly making any mistakes or sinful behavior on my own part THE GREATEST. In my mind, I am the champion at being terrible. Way to go, Shelly! You win!! You’re the worst ever in the history of horrible!? Ha?
Choosing to invest in me is a really, really big deal in my head and heart. It’s exceptionally difficult. I am super proud of myself for seeking out help here and going for it. Blink an eye writing a check for my high school kid to go workout with his basketball guy or to send my little man to some sports camp or whatever? Nope. I am also always genuinely thrilled for my hubby when he decides to go play a round of golf and blow off some steam. It’s so good for them. Doing the same for me? The guilt makes my stomach hurt. Even a single word from another human which might suggest selfish motivations makes me cringe and re-consider.
Seeing more clearly this week, it’s been revealed that many of my choices and thought processes have been not of God. What I feel like God IS SAYING? Get over yourself, Shelly. Write the check, and do the work, and let’s keep talking.
Sharing this lays me a little bare. Here’s the thing. I think a lot of women have this interior chatter which is similarly unhelpful. Their particular issue or need might be different from mine, but for whatever reason, we aren’t worth it, or we don’t deserve it, or we just plain stink. To God though? We are His. Simple as that. When I love His daughter as I should, I am loving Him.
The same goes for you.
Love your neighbor as yourself? The Golden Rule has long made me squeamish. I actually had a close friend tell me it should be amended to read Love yourself as your neighbor. The thing is, we can’t really do what God wants us to do with that mindset. She’s the one who made me realize I’m not the only goofball out there and it’s probably past the moment for the “challenge flag”.
Gals. You’re amazing and beloved. Mothers are always going to be a target of the king of lies. Stop listening. I can’t stop from thinking today and praying about all those young people in Manchester, England. The face of evil wants to break the hearts of their mothers with their pre-mature deaths, and he wants to keep the beautiful young people from growing up to love the next generation in the same way they were loved.
Ladies, we are raising beautiful souls. It’s the most important work in the world. The devil is real and he wants us to fail. From the middle of Indiana or the south side of Chicago or wherever we are, in our little lives, we have to understand who we are in Christ. We are His eyes, hands, heart. We have to pray with love and know we are clothed with dignity and strength.
My wise and honest friend Jen and the depressing saga on the news today have reminded me that Jesus is the Lord of the universe and evil does NOT have the last word.
Prayer for Confidence in the Future
Lord, fear of the future fills my soul and I realize how little I trust You. Your Power created the universe and Your providence takes care of the birds in the air and the fish in the sea, and the tiniest insect. How much more will You take care of me? Tell me, my dearest friend and guide, what prevents me from possessing that love which chases out what is unholy and that confidence which overcomes every obstacle? Never let me forget that I am here to do Your will and that You stand by me no matter what happens because You love me. Amen.
P.S. Lord, if you could keep me from coming to blows with the nocturnal college kid? Yeah, that would be great too. Peace out.