Peggy Writes

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Evangelization, Lead with the Beautiful

Last summer at the Downers Grove Rotary Festival, St Mary of Gostyn hosted a lively booth to celebrate our 125 Anniversary with our local community.   The Crowe Family loved having their photo taken with our Pope Francis cut-out.   It’s our mission to go out into the world and share the good news.  We are called to invite people back home to participate in God’s love. Summertime is the perfect time to share that invitation!     

 

Jesus had 12 apostles. Ponder for a moment 12 people (or 12 families) you know. What if you could get even 3 of those individuals/families to take you up on an invitation into the richness of parish life? What if just 1 person or 1 family began to know Christ in a new way because of your efforts? What if they began participating in the life of your parish and in the sacraments with renewed vigor, and then they, too, invited others? Faith could grow exponentially!

Try a few of these ideas this summer and see who responds:

  1. Start specifically praying for neighbors, people in the community and that the Holy Spirit will open their hearts.
  2. Look at the parish calendar of events and consider which specific events may have the most appeal to a specific person or family.  Perhaps he or she is a golfer or the family would enjoy attending the parish picnic.
  3. Bring home a parish bulletin, circle information about the event, and hand deliver it with a personal invitation to join you for the event.  
  4. Invite someone to Mass on a Sunday morning and then back to your home for a pancake breakfast (This was my Dad’s favorite practice).
  5. Invite someone to a Saturday or Sunday evening Mass followed by a BBQ at your home (or out for pizza at a favorite local spot).
  6. Drop off donuts and coffee at someone’s home after you attend Mass on Sunday morning, and let them know you were thinking of them.
  7. Share a copy of the parish bulletin electronically with a friend or neighbor via your smartphone.
  8. Share a direct link to your favorite free Catholic app (OneParish is loaded on my phone), explain why you like it and how you use it, and encourage someone new to download it.
  9. Share something inspiring that you read online. The OneParish Catholic app has easily  shareable content: With just a click you can share Pope Francis’ latest tweet or a video from Bishop Robert Barron.
  10. Talk openly about what you love most about your parish: the music, the preaching, the charitable works done in the community, the way the youth group has supported your teens, and/or the friends you have made through ministry groups. Genuine enthusiasm is contagious!

My dear friend always reminds me that we are called to evangelize like a butterfly and not like a bee.  When Helen Keller couldn’t see and couldn’t speak, it was a loving teacher who gently taught her sign language that opened a door for her to to connect with the world around her.  We are called to be that loving guide for others and it can be as easy as a warm and authentic invitation.  

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Educational benefits of travel for youth

This morning I sat down to begin my workday and found Grania’s final speech for her sophomore speech class, opened on the google drive.  She presented early this week on how she feels travel is a form of education.    With her approval, I thought I would share – this was her draft, her notes, subsequently added to notecards.   This wasn’t a final product/document turned in for grading, thus she nor I corrected the grammar.

Introduction

From a young age I have always loved to travel. Whether it’s going to my aunt’s lake house in Michigan for the weekend or flying across the world to China.  I love every type of travel. Traveling is such a great thing that everyone should experience. In the Bible in the book of Sirach chapter 34, verse 9-12  it says “A much-traveled person knows many things; and one with much experience speaks sense – an inexperienced person knows little, whereas with travel one adds to resourcefulness. I have seen much in my travels, and learned more than I could ever say.” Travel has always been an important thing to my family. In 1972 my grandparents moved my dad and his four other siblings to America.   After attending Notre Dame my dad and some friends backed-packed around Europe. A few years later he was lucky enough to get the opportunity to teach English in Japan for two years then in 1991 he went to Mongolia and backpacked around China. My parents both urge me to travel every opportunity I get.   This summer my mom and I will travel to Nicaragua on a mission trip to serve the poor.

 

The benefits of traveling at a young age rounds out your education, here are some supporting reasons:

  1. Traveling brings an awareness of other other cultures and appreciate for what other people value.
    1. For example – when in Japan it is respectful to take off your shoes, when you walk into someone’s home.
    2. The knowledge you gain when meeting someone from a different country, forms a cultural awareness that can be used in business, politics and even in our schools.
    3. Learn to appreciate what others value, doesn’t happen by staying in the safety of your own town/home.  Once we gain this appreciation we are supposed to  help other people like friends and family become more aware, as well.

2. Traveling brings exposure to the economics, languages and arts of other countries.

  1. Walking through Paddington Station, I heard multiple languages and learned new currency.  Who knew in some areas of the country you have to use money to use a public bathroom.  Or in other countries, they don’t use a toilet – the simply squat over a hole.
  2. Traveling helps you expand your horizons and explore things you have never seen or eaten before, such as Peking Duck or the shaving of the duck’s feet.
  3. Travel opens mind and opens your heart to cultures and their people and their views.

 

3. Americans can be very isolated on many world issues such as poverty and oppression.

  1. Of course there is violence everywhere in the world. But there are other places like third world countries that have much more violence and poverty than we do in America.
  2. We aren’t able to understand what other countries go though by looking at the T.V. every morning watching to the news.  We need to be up close and see it, we need to serve.

 

4. Travel is a form of education and adds value to our life.

  1. Travel obviously is a form of leisure and yet it holds enormous educational value.
  2. Travel develops a sense of confidence, freedom and independence.
  3. Talking to strangers and meet new people is a great life skill.
  4. Three of my cousins have studied abroad. My cousin Connor studied in Ireland for a semester and my cousin Molly did the same thing in Rome. My cousin Kaylee did a summer visit to the Orient.  Each of them had amazing experiences and they returned home with a new appreciation for other cultures.   Each of them have encouraged me to do it in the future.

 

Conclusion

Traveling at a young age has the ability to expand our minds and 1 mind, 1 person, 1 heart can change our world.  When we live in the same town our whole life and travel only inside the United States, it limits the lens for which we look at the world. The lens shapes how we see things in our everyday world.   By traveling across the seas and into different countries the lens expands, our views expand.   We start to have an open mind and start to think not just about the county we live in but the whole entire world. As Ibn Battuta once said “Traveling. It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” This quote really stands out to me. My parents have stories from traveling that i can’t even picture happening in a million years. And I hope to have stories just like that after I travel the world.

Redbook Rodan and Fields

Make Money From Home

Redbook Rodan and Fields

The November issue of Redbook Magazine featured my business with Dr. Rodan and Dr. Fields.   I run my own skincare company that leverages social commerce and lifestyle marketing as the vehicle for success.  The integrity of the products, the business model, which allows me to run a business from my phone, the leadership and training were all appealing to me when I started in January.   My initial goal was simply to help pay for the groceries, which is no small bill when feeding 7 people and a dog.   When I met that goal, I decided to dream bigger.   So what are you dreaming about?    Maybe it’s building up your retirement account or savings into a college fund, maybe its a vacation next year for your family or a plan B for a raining day.   Or maybe you have always wanted to build something of your own but didn’t know if you could do it.

Several of my partners made this youtube video of this business and it reminded me of the reason I said “yes” to something totally outside my comfort zone.    I remember telling my friend and now partner….. “I can’t sell skincare, I sell God.”  She reminded me in this business we don’t sell anything.   We simply wash our face and share our great results.    Please take a few moments to watch this video and then lets talk about how this business could be the vehicle for you to achieve your dreams.    I would love to help you dream big.

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What is Your Calling?

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Christian Women Entrepreneurs

Why in the heck would God call invite me into a business of selling skincare?   Tune in today with my interview by Christina M. Webber, MS, Speaker, Christian Women Entrepreneurs Coach, and Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist.  Christina coaches Christian Women Entrepreneurs how to confidently do God’s will by changing messages and patterns that block them from earning more money in less time while embracing their many roles in life.

Please contact me directly with any questions or to explore God’s call in your life.

Blessings,

Peggy

630-327-2213

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Lasting Impact of Childhood Abuse

Have you had a chance to see the movie Tomorrowland?  In it, the main character, a young heroine, repeats a story back to her father, in his moment of defeat, a story he told her during her childhood.  In the story there are two wolves: one is darkness and one is light. “Which one wins?” she questions him. After a pause she continues, “The one you feed the most.”

Since I was in 3rd grade, I’ve been haunted by a ghost of my past, bound up by the shackles of abuse, feeling a prisoner of the violence that was inflicted upon me.   I’ve lived bent over by the voice of shame that was whispered to me when I was only 8.  Fast forward ten years; as I was preparing for college, I sat with an administrator who was reviewing my ACT scores, and he said with a smirk on his face, “Girl, I think a monkey would score higher on this exam than you did.”   Somehow, one negative voice triggered other angry voices that had been repeated in my head — feelings of fear and having no value. Those voices were drummed up again and again over the next 30 years, by decisions I made that led to mistakes, or missteps on roads that were winding and unclear. It felt natural for me to focus on those voices of pain that led to self-doubt.  And to quiet those voices, I felt driven to strive for many things, some of which weren’t healthy.  Yet I also felt drawn toward joy, a lifeline that always seemed out of reach.  Now, however, at almost 48, I’m finally starting to shake myself of those heavy chains.  Inner strength is beginning to emerge. Feelings of finally being redeemed, and growing into the person that God intended me to be, are being fostered.

My life circumstances over the last year and my circle of influences have caused me to look at why and how I’m choosing to live my life.  In scripture Luke chapter 10 verse 27 we hear, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  This year I’ve come to realize that loving neighbor and others is tricky when you don’t love yourself.  Now I’m settling into love of self, and accepting God as the power that frees me from those heavy chains.  It’s taken many years to discover and foster that self-love and look at my authentic self.  (I’ll save those details for another blog.)

Black Crow

As I was pondering the sensitive nature of this entry, I heard the fear creeping up in me: “What might people may say or think of me?”   For me, confidence and self-love starts with acknowledging my feelings and I do that best through prayer while taking a run.   My run took me down a tree-lined street, where suddenly, an enormous black crow landed directly in front of me on a low-hanging branch.  He appeared to look right at me, and did his “caaahaaa” as if he was laughing at me.  That crow reminded me that we live in a world where good and evil are both present on every road I take.   I decided I wouldn’t let that crow intimidate me — I picked up my pace and popped in my earbuds.  The first song I heard was by the group Mercy Me.   The lyrics of “Greater” clearly state the voice that I now hear inside of me.  God’s voice in my heart is far “Greater” than those voices of my past, the naysayers in my world, and those who try to intimidate me.  Like the heroine from the movie Tomorrowland, I am choosing to feed the voice of light.

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Lilacs, Rwanda, Immaculee and Women’s Inner Strength

Have you noticed the lilac bushes are in bloom?   In the Midwest every spring in early May the streets and yards are lined with beautiful purple fragrant lilacs.   Perhaps you grew up with a Common lilac, Persian lilac, Dwarf Korean variety, Himalayan, Chinese lilac or even a lilac tree.    My sister Linda Kay Doyle had a beautiful white lilac bush that she cherished.  It was an exceptionally fragrant lilac in her yard, just off her deck.    My sister Linda died 10 years ago today, May 5 2005.   She was an avid gardener and whenever I would visit her home, we would walk arm and arm around her yard to explore what was currently in bloom.

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Linda was an educator who was very compassionate and cognizant about the surrounding world.   She was always giving me fiction and non-fiction books that would get me thinking.   We had long conversations about the underlying theme of books such as the Kite Runner and The Red Tent.   The week before she passed she urged me to watch the movie Hotel Rwanda with Don Cheadle.

Hotel Rwanda is the story of the 1994 horrific genocide that took the lives of one million people who were brutally murdered in Rwanda, Africa.   In an era of high-speed communication and round the clock news, the events went almost unnoticed by the rest of the world.   In three months, one million Tutsis; men, women and children were massacred by the hands of the Hutu marauders.   The movie shared the courage of one man who in the face of unspeakable dangers granted shelter to thousands of helpless refugees in the hotel that he managed.

I never had the chance to chat with Linda about her thoughts on the Rwanda genocide.  And yet, two years after she passed, I learned about a woman who survived that genocide and knew that I had to hear her story.  Immaculee llibagiza was a Tutsis college student, who was urged to go into hiding by her father.   Immaculee found shelter at a pastor’s home, where she and seven other women hid from the deadly rebel mob in a 3-by-4 foot bathroom for 91 days.    During those 91 days of unimaginable suffering, Immaculee found her faith, taught herself English and most incredibly, committed herself to a life of peace, hope and forgiveness.  Even for those who had murdered her family.

Last week, I was privileged to attend a luncheon entitled “Aid for Women” and the keynote speaker was again Immaculee.  She again shared her powerful life lessons from her Rwanda experience of love, forgiveness and world peace.    The organization she spoke was in support of Aid for Women, which has been instrumental in providing support for women and especially empowering women to choose life.  They provide funding to Heather’s House, a home for unwed mothers providing education, medical assistance, spiritual and housing support.  You can read more about their organization at www.helpaidforwomen.org.   You can read one of Immaculee’s several books or watch this short video about her story.

Linda placed an enormous value on the inner strength within a women and the bond of friendship between women.   Considering Linda’s own health limitations, nothing held her back and I knew she drew strength from faith, friendship and family.   Where do you draw strength to be the women God intended you to be?  How do you age gracefully and rest within the challenges of your life, the body we have been given and live within our unique giftedness?  How do the relationships in your life help you to fly?  Helping women explore these questions have become my life work.   Thank you, Linda!!!!

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Find Light In Darkness

Last night our oldest daughter received her fourth sacrament, Confirmation.  The Mass was celebrated by Abbot Austin Murphy and he reminded us that we have already received the gift of the Holy Spirit during our Baptism.  The Confirmation is another level of accepting the love that Christ gives to us.  God’s love come to us in the form of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which we have been given to be shared out into the world.  During the Liturgy the choir did an outstanding job singing “Go Light Your Candle” by Chris Rice.  I shared this song via the youtube video, as perhaps a reminder or for inspiration.  The opening lyrics begin……”There is a candle in every soul, some brightly burning, some dark and cold. There is a Spirit who brings a fire – ignites a candle and makes His Home.” and then the song goes on “So carry your candle, run to the darkness, seek out the hopeless, confused and torn……”

Grania Confirmation 2

This year I have been pondering the scripture from Jeremiah chapter 29:11 “I alone know the plans I have made for you, plans to bring about the future you hope for.”  Considering my own candle has been feeling dark and cold, this scripture is frustrating for me.  It is great that God has plans for me, I wish I knew the full details of those plans.   Yet when I heard this song it provided me a bit of comfort, knowing Christ has His Home in my heart.  I find comfort in being thankful to see the candle burning brightly in others, especially my newly confirmed daughter.

Perhaps I know God’s plan for me, at least for now, go and pick my kiddos up from the bus stop, help with homework and make dinner.   Amen.

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Embracing Joy in the Grief of Losing A Child

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My son came home from school the other day in a bad mood. He was picking on his sisters, reluctant to begin his homework, and grumpy about any after school snack I offered. I’ve learned to give him some time before trying to figure out the reason behind his irritability.  That night, when I tucked him into bed, I asked “Why such a long face?”  He said that at school that day, his teacher had asked if anyone would like to offer up a special prayer intention, and he said, “I prayed for you and Dad and for the baby you lost.”  Then he said, later that day at recess, one of his classmates told him he was always making up stories, so the boy didn’t believe we had lost a child. At that moment, my son began to cry, and my heart broke for him. At the same time, I was also taken aback by his prayer intention. My first pregnancy had ended in a miscarriage over 14 years ago, and my husband and I had only mentioned it a handful of times to our children.

A few days later, on our way to Sunday mass, my son asked me, “Mom, so why did we forget?” In the rush to get our 5 children to church and still trying to fix his sister’s hair, I responded in a hurried tone, “Forget about what?” He said, “The baby.”  I didn’t really process his question until after communion when I was kneeling down to pray. Then it hit me then like a ton of bricks.  Why had I forgotten?  As I prayed, I imagined this child in heaven with the saints and the Holy Family, and overcome with emotion, I began to weep. For the next week, this image of the little one I had lost continued to resonate in my heart and on my mind, along with the inescapable question of why had I forgotten?

During the winter of 1999, my lifelong best friend and I both found out we were expecting our first child. The babies were due in October and we were delighted not only with our little baby bumps, but to be going through this life-changing experience together. At 14 weeks, however, my pregnancy took a terrible turn. My husband was out of the country, so my girlfriend left work to join me at the ultrasound where together we saw the absence of my baby’s heartbeat. It was unspeakable, but my friend was so incredibly supportive. I have always been so grateful to her for her selfless love, for enduring that experience with me and sharing the grief with the loss of my child.  It must have been even more difficult for her as she was still expecting her own.

To someone who has miscarried, people’s genuine attempts of condolences sometimes feel more like thoughtless words: “Well it must have God’s plan,” or “The baby probably had health issues,” or “You will have others,” or “It was only 14 weeks, and it happens too many.” Unsure of how to really process this type of loss, I did what I imagine many women do: I put my grief behind me and went back to my daily routine.

The following year, I became pregnant again, and we went on to have 5 children in 7 years. Our children knew that Mom had lost 1, but there was no discussion beyond that. Being around many conservative moms over the years, and since I’ve entered the Catholic/Christian blogging world, I’ve often been struck when I’ve heard women say, “I have 6 children on this earth, and 2 in heaven.” It never occurred to me to mention the baby I lost.  I could understand how women, who were further along in their pregnancy when they lost their child, would refer to their child, the loss, their grief and even the soul.  I realized that in my mind and heart, I had convinced myself that our lost pregnancy didn’t carry much weight. I had pushed my feelings down, never allowing myself to love or know this child, not allowing this soul to be present.

I believe in God-incidences. Recently at a conference, I was introduced to a woman who shared with me (without prompting) her similar experience of suppressing her feelings following her miscarriages. She told me how she had been transformed, however, on a trip to Medjugorje, Bosnia (the location where 30 years ago the Blessed Mother appeared to 6 children, revealing messages for the world, visions that continue to this day). The woman had the opportunity to go to reconciliation while at Medjugorje, and the priest, without any prior knowledge of her situation, remarkably asked her about the babies she had lost 20 years ago. Like me, she hadn’t embraced the lives of the children she had miscarried, and told the priest she didn’t know their gender. He proceeded to guide her through a prayer of sorts, in which she imagined herself standing before the Blessed Mother and Jesus, who were holding the hands of the children; she saw one was a girl and the other, a boy. The priest told the woman that God plants information like that in our hearts, and to trust that feeling, to name the children, and to remember them. He reassured her that the children love her and are waiting until the day they are reunited with her. She described the great love she felt from the Blessed Mother and Jesus.

As this woman told her story, tears were rolling down my cheeks. She knowingly asked, “Did you lose a child?” “Yes,” I replied. She continued, “Did you name your child?” I said, “I never knew if it was a girl or boy, so no.” In my gut, however, I had always believed the baby was a boy, so on that day I named our son Riley Thomas O’Flaherty.  The woman encouraged me to pick a day as his birthday, and suggested All Souls Day, pointing out that this was one day a year that I could hold that child in my heart, but also in the community of others in the celebration of the Mass.

Over the next few days, I spent time in prayer and began to imagine this child desiring a relationship with all of us, and in a way, guiding us in our faith and life. I drew comfort in picturing this angel boy riding on the bus with my other children, and as an angel might do, providing them encouragement, comfort or solace on any given day.  My heart is warmed by the image of Riley talking with Jesus about how he wants blessings showered upon my husband, his earthly father, as he strives to launch a start-up business.  How Riley may ask the Blessed Mother to provide me a gentle spirit with my children when I am exhausted at the end of a long day and am feeling so depleted.

This women had also shared with me that through prayer, she has come to feel that God wants all women to know His love—women who have lost a child through miscarriage at week 3, 12 or 40, as well as women who have lost a child through an abortion; that He loves us all, that the children’s souls are at rest, and that the child can be remembered in a special way, regardless of how they are lost.

One morning, weeks after my encounter with this woman, I realized that I, too, felt transformed. The sensation was almost as if our family had expanded by one overnight. What a gift I have been given, to now experience that additional love, both for Riley and from him (even if it’s on a spiritual level and not a physical one). I went back to my other son and thanked him for listening to his inner voice (the Holy Spirit) and for reminding us of this gift we have in heaven. .

We will celebrate Riley’s birthday on All Souls Day each November. Another tradition I’m planning, to help keep his memory alive is to buy an ornament for our Christmas tree with his name on it, which will join those we have for our other children. And just as I’ve come to feel Riley’s presence with us here on earth, I now ask him to be an intercessor in heaven for my prayers.

Are you, or someone you know, in need of healing transformation?

  • Perhaps your parish priest can hold a private Memorial Service for families who have lost children in the womb, to facilitate healing and to honor the eternal lives of the children in heaven.
  • Naming your child and creating a special day of remembrance may be a first step.
  • Rachel’s Vineyard is “a safe place to renew, rebuild and redeem hearts broken by abortion. Weekend retreats offer you a supportive, confidential and non-judgmental environment…to help you experience God’s love and compassion on a profound level.” Retreats are held in both Catholic and nondenominational settings, in 48 states and 57 countries. www.rachelsvineyard.org

My hope is that you will share this blog with women or men who may benefit from hearing this story.

This blog is based on the personal experiences and opinions of Peggy O’Flaherty. Any reproduction of the material in this blog may be used with written consent of the author by e-mail at peggy@creatingspaceinyourlife.com.

Peggy O’Flaherty, is a certified spiritual director, public speaker, blog writer, wife and mother of five children on earth and 1 in Heaven. Her recent writing projects include “Faith In the Family, Night Time Prayers?” and “OneParish Catholic App.” She is the Founder & President of Creating Space, LLC., a ministry helping people enrich their faith. Follow Peggy at www.creatingspaceinyourlife.com.

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Faith In Our Family – Bedtime Prayers

When I was little my parents would kneel before our bed each night and we would say our nighttime prayer.

  “Angel of God my guardian dear to whom God’s love commit me here.

  Every this night be at my side to light, to guard, to rule to guide.

    God bless…….”

Then we would go through and names all the people in our family, our teachers and our friends.

Kneel Before Bed Prayers

Then when I met my husband he shared the prayer his family said at bedtime, which was virtually the same, except after the list of people they wanted God to bless they would end by saying:

 “may God bless all my friends, relatives and enemies.”

“Why do we pray for our enemies?”, would be a typical question one of our 5 children would ask.  In talking with a friend about this prayer, she suggested we drop off the enemies piece, as it wasn’t fair to have children think about enemies before bedtime.   We have found that this prayer opens our children up for sharing about their day, the interactions with children at school, on the playground or in their sports.  Our older children will often relate this to what they have seen on the news or a historical topic in school, such as civil rights.   I believe the bedtime routine is often the window into the child’s soul.   When they are cuddled up in bed, feeling safe, warm, we snuggle in close and they have our undivided attention.   They can share what is weighing on their hearts and we can listen.   This is a gift for both child and parent.

Today our school published the fall newsletter and shared this prayer.    I was struck by how blessed my children are and yet reminded of all the children in our community and world who need our prayers.

A PRAYER FOR THE CHILDREN

We pray for children who sneak ice cream before supper, who erase holes in homework assignments, who can never find their shoes.

And we pray for those who never get dessert, who have no safe blanket to drag behind them, who don’t have any rooms to clean up, whose pictures aren’t on anybody’s dresser, whose monsters are real.

We pray for children who spend their allowance before Tuesday, who throw tantrums in the grocery store, who shove dirty clothes under the bed, who never rinse out the tub, who don’t like to be kissed in front of the carpool, and who squirm in church and scream in the phone.

And we pray for those whose nightmares come in the daytime, who have never seen a dentist, who aren’t spoiled by anybody, who go to be hungry, and cry themselves to sleep.

In your eyes, gracious God, all of us are children. Help us to grow

What is your nighttime ritual of prayer?

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Back To School, Prayer

Back to school 2014

This week our five children returned to school.  Our oldest entered 8th grade and our baby, kindergarten.   The beginning of a new school year brings excitement and a return to routine in our daily life: homework, extra-curricular activities, dinner as a family at the table, and earlier bedtimes.  During the summer, when our schedules were more relaxed, I had set a personal goal of reading small bits of scripture with my children, hoping the stories would become more ingrained in their heart and mind, and that they would come to know better who Jesus was to them.  Our 4th grader was very interested in reading her children’s bible on most nights, but I wasn’t as successful as I had hoped with the others.  As parents, we establish the family values, goals and expectations; I wonder which ones will take root and still be with my children when they are grown.

Summer also brought a fall for my mom, resulting in fractures that required her to spend 7 weeks in a rehab center.  Because she would be going home with a walker, my siblings decided to de-clutter her house to make getting around easier for her.  Have you ever cleaned out your parents’ home, while they were in the hospital, or after they passed away?  It can be a rather odd experience, going through their drawers, closets, and personal belongings, finding old letters that were written to loved ones, jewelry that had been saved from a deceased relative or everyday items that were stashed in a special drawer, clues to what your mom or dad held close.  Sifting through your parents’ possessions while trying to protect their privacy and dignity can be an overwhelming, frustrating and emotional experience.  (I’m blessed that my older siblings let me “off the hook” this time, and shared this chore between them.)

My mom is turning 85 at the end of the month, and has been known for writing in a journal. She jotted down memories of us growing up in little notebooks or even scraps of paper, and documented important dates or events with a photo attached. She even recorded details of my dad’s deteriorating health last year as she cared for him up to his death.  My mom also wrote down many prayers and scripture passages over the years that were meaningful to her.  While tidying her home, my eldest sister, Debbie, found this prayer. It was typed on an old-fashioned type writer, and the paper was slightly yellowed.  It was tucked into a big stack of books in the corner of her home, and could have easily been overlooked.  My sister shared it with me, and it reminded me of my daily struggles and how I wrestle with who is in control: God or me?

 

Our Thinking versus God’s Promises

It’s impossible.

               All things are possible. (Luke 18:27)

 I’m too tired.

               I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28-30)

 Nobody really loves me.

               I love you. (John 3:16)

 I can’t go on.

               My grace is sufficient.  (11 Cor. 12:19)

 I can’t figure things out.

               I will direct your steps. (Proverbs 20:24)

 I can’t do it.

               You can do all things. (Phil 4:13)

 I’m not able.

                    I am able. (11 Co. 9:8)

 It’s not worth it.

               It will be worth it. (Rom. 8:28)

 I can’t forgive myself.

               I will supply all your needs. (Phil. 4:19)

 I’m afraid.

               I have not given you a spirit of fear. (11 Tim. 1:7)

I’m always worried and frustrated.

Cast all your cares on Me. (1 Peter 5:7)

I don’t have enough faith.

I’ve given everyone a measure of faith. (Rom. 12:8)

I’m not smart enough.

I give you wisdom. (1 Cor. 1:30)

I feel all alone.

I will never leave you or forsake you. (Heb. 13:5)

 

This prayer is a beautiful reminder that God’s promises are far better than what we come up with on our own, in our human condition. Often, we fall short when we rely on Our Thinking, but if we instead entrust ourselves to God’s Promises, our lives will be a lot easier!

This week is the one-year anniversary of my ministry, Creating Space, and my blog.  As I look back over the year, and even just this summer, I see that some things I had hoped to achieve didn’t happen; my children didn’t memorize scripture (a discipline I admire in our protestant brothers and sisters).  Yet in finding this prayer that my mom had tucked away, I can see how she relied on scripture throughout her life, and without using actual words, she taught me to do the same. Perhaps when my children are 45 they will find my old-fashion blog writings, and have a glimpse of how scripture played a part in my faith, and hopefully their own, as well.

This blog is based on the personal experiences and opinions of Peggy O’Flaherty. Any reproduction of the material in this blog may be used with written consent of the author by e-mail at peggy@creatingspaceinyourlife.com.

Peggy O’Flaherty, is a certified spiritual director, public speaker, blog writer, wife and mother of five children. Her recent writing projects include “New App For your Phone Connect your Parish, Growing the Faith, One Parish” and “Extending Compassion, Losing a Child & Evangelization” She is the Founder & President of Creating Space, LLC., a ministry helping people enrich their faith. Follow Peggy at www.creatingspaceinyourlife.com

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