Working

 

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I’ve been working. 
Not at a job or a hobby but working, really working on my marriage. 
There are times when I feel so good; I really feel and believe that I’m finally getting it, finally doing things right. 
Then there are those nights where I still cry before I fall asleep – where I still feel hopeless and alone. 
How can you feel alone in a marriage? How can you feel empty when there’s always a person next to you in bed? Or who comes home to you every evening? 
It seemed impossible, but it’s true. 
Marriage can be a lonely place sometimes – and it’s in those times when my little inner monster of doubt, anger, fear and pride creeps up and whispers all sorts of nasty things into my heart. 
Telling me I’m not good enough, or holy enough or loving enough – that I will never be happy and it’s all my fault, OR it’s all his fault, but he doesn’t care about you enough to fix it. 
I hear my little monster’s voice so clearly, I recognize it, I fight against it, but slowly I start to nod my head in agreement and I keep getting sucked down into that dark pit of despair. 

Perhaps if I worked as hard to pay attentions to the inner voice of the Holy Spirit in me; maybe the little monsters voice wouldn’t be so loud, or at least, it’d be easier to ignore. 

Every day its a fight – not always with my husband. We can have good days where everything seems fine, and if truth be told, we enjoy each other’s company much more when we stick our heads in the proverbial sand and ignore our issues. 
We can have a good time, laugh be friends – but like a splinter in my mind there’s always the pain of things not being “right.” that overshadows all the good times. 

You know, the sad part is, while I know it ‘takes two to tango’ and that our issues are from faults on both sides equally – I find myself being prideful over the fact that at least I know what my “problems” are. 
How crazy is that? Being proud I can identify my own shortcomings? Like that makes me automatically more humble and willing to change? 
Or is it indefinitely worse because I know, yet do nothing? 

My little monster tells me it’s his problems. That HE’s the one who needs help, that I would be such a better wife if I wasn’t married to a person who has SUCH problems! 

But it is NOT up to me to change him, only GOD can change my husband, and in that way, all I can really do for him is PRAY.
Everything else – like respect, kindness, understanding, submission those are about ME. I need to be able to do those things regardless of whether or not I feel my husband has “Issues.” 
Because I am a child of God I respect regardless, am kind regardless, understand regardless.  It is not up to me to hold the bar high and say “I will only treat you with respect, love, submission and understanding IF you keep up your end of the deal.” 
Christ taught to love the unlovable, to forgive 70×7 and to turn the other cheek. 

My husband does not need to live up to MY expectations. 
He needs to live up to God’s – and that is a decision between him and God. As his wife, I am there to support and encourage, to pray and love him. 

I need to let go of this feeling that my husband needs to change before our marriage can heal. I need to let go of the controlling way I manipulate through guilt and shame to get him to do what I want and I need to let go of trying to change him to meet my standards. 

I need to start living up to what God wants me to do. 
How Christ taught me to live.
And what God expects from me, His Child.

My husband is a blessing and a good man. He blesses me and our child daily – when will I learn to be content and to count my blessings? 
I can be so frail and weak – my monsters so easily drowns out the Holy Spirit who keeps crying out for me to listen and learn. 

Dear Lord, help your servant, your child to listen to your voice.

“Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” 

Peace,

~ PetiteFoi

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My Holy Week and Easter

Image He Is Risen! 

This Holy Week and Easter has meant more to me than any holiday I have ever celebrated. With excitment and enticipation I looked forward to Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday!
With energy I scrubbed my house in preperation for Maundy Thursday, went to the “Walk Of The Cross” on Good Friday, following the cross around to all the different churches and reading through the Stations of the Cross. 
I also for the first time watched “The Passion Of The Christ” on Good Friday. I had been purposefully avoiding it because I knew it would just completely break my heart, but I wanted to make this holiday more real for me, and I knew while this would be difficult to watch, that didn’t mean I shouldn’t. 

After the baby had gone to bed and Hubby was out, I watched the movie solo, with a box of tissues. 
It was amazing. For the first time I feel like I actually mourned the death of Christ; I also saw it for the first time through the eyes of Mary and was touched by her strength and depth of her sorrow; and that despite it being the Son of God being hung on the Cross, it was also her child. 
I think this will be a tradition I will hold to every Good Friday. 

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The Walk Of the Cross 

Holy Saturday was celebrated at my families Sugar Shack where we make Maple Syrup all early Spring. We tap about 700 Sugar Maple Tress and boil all the sap down in our wood-burning evaporator until we get the delicious syrup! 
I also went to the Easter Vigil and loved the Candle-light service. 

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I spent some time this year also making some Easter Gifts for the people I loved. I was so full of joy over the Resurrection that I wanted to share that joy!

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I made those prayer boxes, (wood-burned, then dyed with food colouring) and gave those to the women in my family. In them was a Rosary, Medallion or Prayer Card depending on who the recipient was. 
I also made from felt a little Mother Teresa and St. Paul toy. My little niece, who is only 4 months older than my daughter received the Mother Teresa doll, while my little one received St. Paul.

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I also made these little “stain glass” crosses with my Nephews who I had the pleasure of babysitting the week before Holy Week. It was really fun and extremely easy. I think the boys (5 & 3) both had a good time making their crosses and dying eggs with their Auntie. 

Easter Sunday I went to Mass solo as Hubby was sick. Thankfully I found out that the local parish has a wonderful quiet room – one wall is all windows that show directly into the Sanctuary and it has a PA system so I didn’t miss a thing! 
My little one was happy to sit on my lap for the first 20 minutes, but at 1.5 years old, staying in one spot for longer than that is practically impossible. 
So into the quiet room we went where we enjoyed a wonderful rest of the service. 

All in all, it was a lovely Holy Week and Easter. 

Peace,

~ PetiteFoi

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For The Graces Of Motherhood

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Powerful is your intercession with God, Mary, for you are his Mother.
Tender, too, is your love for us, for you are our Mother.
Confidently then, I come to you as a child, poor and needy, to seek your aid and protection.
In every trial of motherhood, I beg your aid.
For the grace of a happy delivery, I come to you.
For your holy assistance in guarding and directing each tiny soul which God entrusts me, I call to you.
In every sorrow that comes to me in my motherhood, I confide in you.
That I may have strength to bear cheerfully all the pains and the hardships of motherhood, I lean on you.
That the sweetness of motherhood may not, through my neglect, be embittered in later years by pains of regret, I trust in you.
That the will of God may always be fulfilled in me through each act of motherhood, little and great, I beg your aid.
Never forsake me, dear Mother, my hope, my consolation, my confidence, and my trust, but ever be at my side to aid and protect me, your needy child.
Amen.
Mother of love, of sorrow and of mercy,
Pray for us!

~ A.Francis Coomes, S.J

Peace,
~ PetiteFoi

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Lent

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Lent is where my journey started.

Everything I’ve learned so far has been because I’ve felt the call to meditate on Christ’s sacrifice and feel the sorrow for our Saviour.
This is the first year I’ve ever kept a Lenten journal or read any of the Magnificat‘s publications – but I have already learned so much.
I meditated on the sorrowful mysteries, my heart aching as I watched Christ get closer to being hung on the cross.

Lent is so original unto itself. It’s not a celebration in the sense that we are happy or feasting It is a remembrance, a memorial to Christ’s sacrifice.
It’s the delicate line between joy and sorrow; it is the bittersweet season of the liturgical calender.
The “alleluia” is hidden, tucked away until we can once again rejoice Christ’s return to us.

This is the first time I’ve ever really experienced Lent to its fullest; and I regret the past years where I let it slip by unnoticed.
I’ve yet to miss a Christmas or Easter, so how did one of the most amazing, spirit-filled holidays never really register?

I made a centerpiece this year:
– A crown of thorns; to represent Christ’s suffering
– Stones to represent the Church
– A candle to represent Christ’s light to the world
– Sand to represent that from dust we came, and to dust we’ll return
– A purple candle to represent the mourning of Christ’s death and sovereignty.

 It’s small, and simple. But more thought was put into this tiny centerpiece than any Christmas tree, or Easter egg.

Yes, this is a season of mourning, reflection and meditation; but even during this time we are filled with the awe-inspiring love and mercy that God showed us; and in that we can greatly rejoice.

Peace,

~ PetiteFoi

 

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Where I’ve Come From & Where I’m Going

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The earliest memories of church I have are going into a large beautiful building.
I remember the stained-glass windows, the flickering light of candles and the smell of incense.
I would look over the statues of Christ on the cross, or at the statue of Mary; standing tall above her army of votive candles, each one flickering with an unspoken prayer.

I remember my Mother telling me I was “Catholic” – at that age, I thought the words “Catholic” and “Christian” were interchangeable. If you were a Christian, then you must also be a Catholic.

I went to a Catholic school, went to chapel with my classmates. Had my first confession, and I remember my confirmation. My aunt, also my god mother, did my hair and I wore my best dress, and stood with all the other young boys and girls, to receive the blessing from the Father. I remember expecting that my confirmation was a big deal, that it made me more grown up and would change how I lived my life.

But it didn’t.

The school, sunday school and parents taught me the basics of Christ as I grew up.
Yes, I knew about the nativity story, and the easter story – and while I never doubted that Christ was God’s Son, or that the Bible was 100% true; it never changed anything in my life.

We went to church only occasionally, mostly on the holidays when it was most expected of us; then we’d go home and everything would still be the same.

Is it any surprise that, that is all I though Catholicism was? Mass on Sundays, a manger at Christmas and Easter eggs on Easter?

When I was 13, it all changed. My parents took us to a Christian camp in the States for a week.
There I learned that Christians had different denominations, there were Christian books, and even music that sounded like the music I listened to on the radio!
Being a Christian actually meant you lived differently from everyone else – it had it’s own entire culture that I was completely unaware of!

Even though I had grown up knowing about Christ, this was the first time I actually got to know Him.
That week forever changed my life; I gave my life to Christ and unbeknownst to me, so did my entire family.

When we came home, major changes happened. We started studying the Bible together, actually praying and listening to Christian music, and talking about God like He was in our daily lives.

At that point, my parents decided to leave the Catholic church – it was the revival, and they wanted to be a part of it!
For a few years we bounced around trying to find a home – we went everywhere from Baptist churches, to Wesleyan churches, we even tried Anglican and United.
Finally we landed in the Reform Presbyterian Church, they sung psalms and devoted lots of time to teaching and theology – we stayed there as a family for 6 years until I got married and moved out of province to be with my husband.

I was now living in a tiny little prarie town with a population of 500 people. The church choices were Old Order Mennonite or Alliance.
Thankfully there was a Christian college the next town over and the majority of the young people there went to the Alliance church – so it was there we went and met many wonderful friends.

Then the Recession hit.
My husband, a welder, found himself out of work and no one hiring, we moved to a near-by city and tried to make it work there.
We missed our friends and family desperately, and still no one was hiring.

Finally we made the call to move back to my home province, which my husband also grew up in and settle near family.

That required yet another church move and once again finding a church home.
By this point I knew I didn’t want to be in the Reformed church, my issues with it were not huge, but the fact that the nearest one was a 45 minute drive into the city really made me re-evaluate local churches.

We landed in a Vineyard church, a 15 minute walk away and with a large community of young families; we have been there now for 3 years.

I love the community and the closeness, there are many wonderful things about that church – and yet every year or so, I get this tug or pulling back to the Catholic church.
I pick up my rosary again, go to a weekday mass and pretend I’m still part of that community.

Normally the feeling fades, I ignore it or become distracted with something else.
This time however, it wasn’t a tug, it was an all out shove towards the church.

It started with Lent.
I went to my folks’ for Shrove Tuesday, ate pancakes with the family and remembered that Ash Wednesday was the next day.
That tug started pulling again.
I found out what time the service was at the Catholic church down the road and went by myself (while Hubby watched over the little one) to receive the ashes and the blessing.
Then I found Lenten devotions from the Magnificat and started doing those daily.

One thing led to another, one step has now covered miles of research, conversations, prayers and meditation.

The honest truth is that I don’t know where I’m going.

I know where I’ve been, I can see what may lie ahead, but until then I’ll just keep following my feet and see where I end up.

Peace,

~ PetiteFoi

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