Posts Tagged ‘Christian’

St Joseph, Pray for Us

June 12, 2013

Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Foster-father of the Son of God, pray for us.
Head of the Holy Family, pray for us.
Joseph most just, pray for us.
Joseph most strong, pray for us.
Joseph most obedient, pray for us.
Joseph most faithful, pray for us.
Pillar of families, pray for us.
Protector of the Holy Church, pray for us.

Tonight I have started a novena to St Joseph.  We are trying to work out what to do about our home – extend? How? Move? Where?  We have been looking for homes and losing lots of sleep.  It is all so confusing and there are so many other decisions intermingled with this one.  It is so different to be moving a family than when it was just us.

On Angels and Devils

April 13, 2013

Little Princess is 2 years 4 months

I have grown up quite comfortable with the spirit world around me, as I understand it.  I don’t believe in ghosts, but I do believe in The Communion of Saints.

I personally have, on occasion, seen angels, or had visits from dead relatives, but only on occasion.  One memorable time as a child I had an interaction with someone a whole lot less savoury.

Despite my limited personal experience I was always quite comfortable with the idea.  I believe my Dad was touched with The Gift.  He didn’t talk about it, but sometimes his guard would slip.

So I believe my children when they tell me about the people they see.  (I firmly believe that children, in their innocence and closer connection to God, can see more of His world). 

Tonight was … well, I don’t know what it was.  I am just glad that our wonderful pastor has talked to me about battles of the spirit and the insidious work of the devil.

Little Princess and I were here alone, playing on the floor near the door.  She pointed at the door, ‘Man’, she said.

At first I missed what she had said, so she did it again.
‘Is there a man there?’
‘Mmm hmm’
Then she looked at me at little unsure.  ‘Where is the man?’
‘There’
‘Is he a good man or a bad man?’
‘Bad  man’ she shuddered and snuggled into me, not scared, totally sure of her safety with me.  I blessed us both (Important to make visible signs or pray out loud for the devil can put thoughts in our heads, but is not actually in our heads).
She ran to the lounge.
‘Is the bad man still here?’
‘Yes, bad man inside’

Well that frightened me.  I was right at the door.  I pulled myself up and commanded, ‘Go back to where you belong.  Leave us alone now.  God and the Lord Jesus protect me and my family.  You do not belong here.’. It was strange.  The words came to me and I said them, but I had no feeling at all of anyone being there.

Little Princess smiled at me from the lounge. bad man gone now.’

What is so disturbing is what is the devil doing here now?  We were just playing quietly, not something fraught with temptation.  It is true and frightening that spiritual danger is everywhere.

How wonderful that my God is even so much greater.  AND He loves me personally.

Unconditional Love

April 2, 2013

Dear God,

Please help me to love my children today… not for what they might become tomorrow or in the future.  Help me to like them even if they never master a certain skill that I want them to master.  Let me love them unconditionally, never withholding my love or approval from them based on their performance.  Let me see the good in them and make me blind to their shortcomings.  Forgive me because I know that I have been forgiven so much and yet I hold my children’s failures against them.

Amen.

Possum is 6 years 10 months

Bandicoot is 4 years 8 months

Little Princess is 2 years 2 months

 

I am struggling with Possum just now.  He is, once again, very highly strung, angry and well PRICKLY.  Although, when I say angry, I realised today he isn’t really.  He is acting angry; behaving angry.  If he slips up you can see that it is a cover, that he isn’t really angry.  This continuous nastiness is just the behaviour that is working for him right now.

And work it does.  It gets him attention.  It gives him control of the family (Eldest kids! *sheesh*  DH and I are much more easy going and have spent our lives chorkling in our sleeves about such neediness.)  We know that we are being played, and that he is (currently) winning, but short of leaving him in danger (oh, he is smart about when he does it) we haven’t worked out what to do.  Yet.

*~~~*

I am reading this book:  “Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe” by Todd Wilson.  I so wish it was available as a hard copy!  It is aimed at homeschoolers, as you might have guessed, but so much of it is relevant to all of my parenting experience.  (But then, that is the thing about homeschooling, isn’t it?  It isn’t compartmentalised like sending your child to school, it is a complete lifestyle.)

After yesterday reaching the point where I really did not like Possum because of his behaviour – I mean really.  REALLY.  I got upset at DH for not driving off and leaving him behind – I stumbled upon this prayer.

I prayed it.

Twice.

And again this morning.

Help me to like them even if they never master a certain skill that I want them to master. 

Help me to like him even if he never learns to control his emotions and temper.

Let me love them unconditionally, never withholding my love or approval from them based on their performance. 

Help me NOT to make the mistakes my Mum and Dad did that hurt me so much.

Let me see the good in them and make me blind to their shortcomings.

Let me see the real little Possum, not just the angry ball of emotion.

And you know what?  Today was much better!  Oh yes, we went out and yes, he did the flip from sweet and fun kid to obnoxious toe-rag, but this time it was different.

For a start, this time it wasn’t about me.  It wasn’t about me being a failure as a Mum.  It wasn’t about me not coping or not being good enough.  It wasn’t about him being a terrible person.

This time I loved him as he is today.

Even if he never grows out of it.

Even if we don’t learn to control it.

Even if we don’t ever help him to manage it better, despite our efforts.

Ever.

I didn’t loathe him.  Or me.  I loved him; my dear, obnoxious, angry, 6 year old, struggling to find his place in the world.

Which got me thinking.  Maybe our role as parents isn’t to solve all the problems with our kids.  Maybe it isn’t to fix them.  Maybe it isn’t to make them perfect little people.  Maybe our role is not so much to lead them through it, maybe it is simply to love them through it.

Yes, it is important to be a guide, but it is more important to be their support, surely – to love them unconditionally.

I know that is all I ever craved as a kid.

And still now, when I face life’s muddles and make them worse, that is what I need.

Hit in the Face with a Fish–Part II

December 3, 2012

Possum is 6 years 7 months

Bandicoot is 4 years 6 months

Little Princess is 1 year 11 months (23 months)

 

Of course, it isn’t just my sister who needs God’s guiding hand at the moment.  I am struggling terribly, as some of my recent posts will tell, with my role ministering to my little people.

So, this morning, when I was investigating Busted Halo, I stumbled across this article <link to cool article>.

I particularly got to this line:

My friends’ lives were transformed, not by their aimless wanderings, but by something spiritually nomadic. It was the acceptance of responsibility and sacrifice they learned as they labored hours cleaning, serving and walking among the lost and forgotten souls of 5th Street in L.A.

‘Aha, aha,’ I thought.  I get it.  It is hard, it is dirty, it is relentless.  It is self-sacrificing and it hurts.  BUT – and here is the kicker – it NEEDS TO BE DONE.  Not only that, it needs to be done BY ME.

Yup.  I wanted to be a Mum.  All I have wanted since I was a preschooler was to be a Mum.  Anything else was, in my opinion, filler.  God had me wait until I was – well, a little over 21 (lol!), which I hated.  But maybe this is why.

Maybe my kids need me.  Just me.  No one else to be their Mum.

Maybe no one else can do it, at least not like me.

Maybe it is okay that I struggle, that I spend nights sitting up crying over my failure, crying on the lap of my Saviour.  Maybe it is okay that sometimes I need to walk away.

Because you know what?  I AM labouring in ministry. 

And there is God, waiting for me in the acceptance of responsibility and sacrifice as I labour cleaning, serving and walking amongst His little ones.

No Joy Without Forgiveness…

November 14, 2012

Possum is 6 years 6 months

Bandicoot is 4 years 4 months

Little Princess is 1 year 10 months (22 months)

 

41 days to Christmas

 

Christmas is coming.  I am not getting excited.

That is quite a statement as I am generally Christmas mad.  For starters, my name is “Natalie” which means “Christmas Child”.  What choice do I have?

But this year, there is something holding me back; a darkness dwelling in my soul;  a sadness.  It may have been there before now, but this year has added to it.

Ignoring is not the same as forgiving.

Ignoring does not take the hurt away.

But when it hurts, it is hard to forgive.

This year, DH and I are hosting the Christmas party for my siblings and offspring.  We may also be hosting a 12th night party for his siblings and offspring (they are still working out who is in what part of the country when.)

My heart is not in it.

Yes, there is a lot of work involved.  I am one of eight.  DH is one of five.  Don’t even get me started on the next two generations.  (Yup, two.  We are great uncle and great aunt on both sides.)  That is a lot of people to organise in this day and age.  (Aside:  I hate the way that instant communications – emails, mobile phones etc – have stopped anyone from making a commitment to anything until the last minute.  No, the last minute is not soon enough to find out.  I want things organised so I don’t keep stressing about them.)  A lot of people when you hate crowds of any size.

But that isn’t it.

It is true that DH and I still battle a bit with our different families.  Our families have different ways of doing some things.  His family is very happy living in each other’s pockets.  For example, they love to all stay in the same house for a week.  We once had 18 people in a three bedroom, two bathroom house.  As I had a 2yo and a 6mo at the time, I found it VERY difficult.  That is how they do things.  No introverts allowed.  (Not great for me!)  My family – well, I am discovering that it is a bit of a skill living with some of our customs, too.

Because of this I dread the whole Christmas/January family thing.  Every year I try to get involved.  I try to get excited.  I try to plan things.  Every year it (or I) end in tears.

But this year is worse.

This year there have been several hurtful events occur throughout the year.  Things that obviously were buried, rather than forgiven.  Things that are coming up again.  Things that make me think I don’t want some of these people to come to my home and join in our celebrations.  These people that have been some of the closest to us throughout our lives.

For example:

“I have so much to do looking after my own kids and grandkids, I can’t cope with your children, too.”  (In response to an invitation for coffee.)

“Our home is not an appropriate place for your children.”  (Which is why I have not been back to that home.  And actually, neither myself nor the kids have been invited back, only DH.)

“Just go away, Bandicoot.  You are not wanted here.”  (By a visitor in our own home.  My rather subdued response to this lead to a lot of discussion behind my back and quite a disagreement with DH.  I still don’t think it was an appropriate way for someone to behave in my, and Bandicoot’s, home, especially when he was just trying to join in.)

So what do I do?  I HURT.  I have tried to put it aside, to keep it from DH and the kids.  I don’t want to spoil their Christmas.  But it is spoiling mine.

To be honest, I don’t want to celebrate with either extended family.  I really don’t.  I just want to have a quiet time with the five of us.  I know that my kids and DH won’t like that, ‘though. 

I also know that it will not bring me peace.  Oh, it might for the day.  Maybe for a few days.  But over time it will still be there, rotting my soul.

How do I forgive?

He is Risen!! Alleluia!

April 9, 2012

He is risen, indeed!  Alleluia, Alleluia!!

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The family at the 6am Easter service…


  This post has been linked to Catholic Icing’s Easter Edition of the First Friday Link Up.

It is also linked to Catholic Cuisine‘s Celebrating Easter Link Up.

Do Not Be Afraid – Christmas 2011

December 15, 2011

 

But the Angel said, “Do not be afraid.”

Have you noticed how this is a recurring message?  Of course, having an angel suddenly appear in front of you is probably very frightening, but I think there is more to it than that.

Do not be afraid.

I think we all have a lot of fears.  I think we are insecure.  I think that this world can be a scary place.  I know I do and I am and it is for me.

Do not be afraid.

What is it that you are afraid of right now, this Christmas?  What are the angels telling you not to fear?

I know of what I am afraidI am afraid of being Bandicoot’s mother.  I am afraid that Little Princess will grow up to be like Bandicoot.  I am afraid that Possum is growing up too fast.

Do not be afraid.

I am afraid of going to stay with my in-laws for Christmas.  I am not afraid of my parents-in-law.  They love me and I love them, even if it is often hard work, if sometimes we seem like strange creatures to each other and rub each other the wrong way.

I am afraid of exposing Bandicoot to people who do not love him as much as we do, who cannot accept his uniqueness as we do.  I am afraid of the judgement that I will (and I do) receive as a parent to such a spirited child.

Poor Bandicoot.  We call him our Wild Child.  That is an affectionate term for the turmoil we often feel.  As you have heard before, he suffers from Can’t-Sit-Still, from My-Body-Seems-To-Be-Bigger-and-Stronger-Than-I-Realised, from BUT-THIS-IS-MY-QUIET-VOICE, from Oh-Were-You-Talking-To-Me?-I-Was-Busy-Doing-This-Thing-That-Now-Seems-To-Have-Made-You-Angry, from Desperate-Need-For-All-Your-Attention-All-The-Time

He is also very, very loving.

He is the kind of kid who would thrive as an only child.  If I could give him the attention he craves, he would just about always be well behaved.  At least well enough behaved that I would be able to visit people occasionally.

But he’s not.  He is sandwiched between two other kids, close in age.

And the result is a nightmare.  Disobedience, yelling, kids crying, Mummy in tears…

But now we have to take it out of the house.  Out of our safe and private space.  And not just out in public where no-one knows us.  We have to take it to functions that involve lots of people, excitement, party food, tiredness.  We have to be around people not used to such live-wires (or at least, not used to them anymore!)  We need to spend extended periods of time with people who are very uncomfortable around our kids (it is sad but true that many of our siblings are in this category). And I am afraid.

In short, we need to EXPOSE our family’s dirty little secret… we are not perfect. 

Do not be afraid.

We love, we cry, we muddle, we ARE.  And we need to be accepted by those close to us as we are, not judged, not lectured and PLEASE, do NOT take it upon yourself to SMACK our Bandicoot.

I am very frightened.

Do not be afraid.

Can you accept this gift of peace this Christmas?

First Week of Advent 2011 – Monday

November 28, 2011

Possum is 5 years 6 months

Bandicoot is 3 years 4 months

Little Princess is 10 months

 

So, what was in The Box today?

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Jig-Saw Puzzles!

This set has 6 puzzles (3 double-sided ones), but today I gave them the 12 piece set.  One side has the scene of The Visitation, the other side has Mary and Joseph (“Jophus”) travelling to Bethlehem.  It was great.  They didn’t have a picture, but they worked out the puzzles, then we got to discuss the parts of the Christmas story that they depicted.  Yay.

First Sunday of Advent 2011

November 27, 2011

Possum in 5 years 6 months

Bandicoot is 3 years 4 months

Little Princess is 10 months

 

At last Advent is really here!  Now we really can start getting into the mood.

Today our “Countdown to Christmas Box” appeared.  The idea is that this is where we will find each day’s activity.

IMG_1929 IMG_1928

Today we discovered our Advent Wreath!  Possum was so excited!  (I think that my boys are closet pyromaniacs.  Actually, I think it is part of being Catholic… )

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Yes, that little 4-tealight burner is our Advent Wreath.  I know it isn’t really a wreath, but it is remarkably sturdy (and safe on the table) and it works very well for us.

Under the Advent wreath was…

IMG_1934 STICKER BOOKS!  One each for Possum and Bandicoot.

Anyone who knows us personally will know that we have been having a hard time at Church for the last month due to inability-to-sit-silently.  Can I just say that Bandicoot LOVED this book.  He has already finished most of it.  That’s okay – that’s what it is for.

And finally, being the First Sunday of Advent, we took some goodies to Church for the Mountain of Love.  Our Church regularly supports one of the local Christian Aid Agencies, but at the beginning of Advent we do a special appeal where everyone brings Christmas goodies along.

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We took along some of our favourite party foods as well as some complete baking sets for Christmas biscuits.  My kids love baking gingerbread men, and if you are struggling to put meals on the table, wouldn’t you love a chance to treat your kids with an afternoon of baking?

Of course, we got it wrong.  This year the Mountain of Love is on the Second Sunday of Advent.  Never mind.  Better early than late – it will still go to the same people.

I needed this this morning

October 1, 2011

Last year I began reading the Bible through from Genesis to Revelation.  I was following a programme, but I found it moved too quickly for me.  There were times were I wanted to read more, but mostly, I couldn’t read that much in a day and still have pondering time.

Well, the project is still slowly underway.  Unfortunately, these days, with so many babies sleeping in our bed I don’t get much reading time (or sleeping time for that matter 😉 ) – I always find that I read best in bed.

Well, this morning, despite two littles awake and in action before 6am, I managed a pseudo lie-in (thank you Dora and Wiggles) and I also got some reading time.

I came across this wonderful passage:

“Sing praise to the Lord; tell the wonderful things he has done.  Be glad that we belong to him; let all who worship him rejoice!”  1 Chronicles 16:9-10

Well now, isn’t that just a beautiful way to start the day, and indeed, a long weekend?

But it gets better.  A bit further I found this:

“Save us, O God our Saviour; gather us together; rescue us from the nations, so that we might be thankful”   1 Chronicles 16:35

A-ha!  Now that is what I needed.  I have been really struggling, struggling, struggling lately.  Struggling with the real and imagined demands of my life as a Mum to three littles, a child with a sick Mumma myself, a sister with a sick sister, a grumpy wife to a tired DH and, well, just everything.

But I will be rescued.  I AM rescued, if I will just let it happen.  I am not made for this world, but for the next (and so are you!) so I don’t need to be bogged down, I just need to do what God has called me to do.  Now.  Today.

Excellent news!