The Church is Full of Hypocrites – & You Are the Biggest One

Open mouth

Looking for the perfect church?

How many times have you heard others say they don’t go to church because the church is full of hypocrites?

Just after he left suddenly, my husband angrily told me the church was full of hypocrites and that I was the biggest one; this hurt to the depths of my soul, in part because he was right, and I didn’t want to think that I was the one who made him turn away from his faith.

That scary thought hurt even more than his leaving!

In truth, I made a LOT of mistakes in our marriage – things I would do differently, things I learned from and had done differently over the years, but sometimes it’s not enough and there will always be things that I should have strove to do even better.

Even now, as I write about divorce recovery, I feel the traces of hypocrisy surround me from time to time.

It’s not that hard to sit here and write about what SHOULD be done in divorce recovery. It’s another thing to actually apply the Wisdom the Holy Spirit has blessed me with. For the most part, I am a very happy, loving person. I find Joy in every day things and my boys constantly keep me on my toes and give me reasons to laugh. It is impossible to stay miserable for long here. :D

But I do have darker moments, moments of sadness or fear or anxiety, moments when I long for a “normal” job or a more organized home or just a day to myself. I have moments when I miss the companionship and love of a man in my life, and, as much as I hate to admit this, I have moments when I yell at the kids or get angry or frustrated and want to just throw something (I want to – doesn’t mean I do it, but that I want to! ;) ).

Those times may be few and far between, but they are there.

And they make me think my husband was right.

I am a hypocrite.

I say, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength,” but here I am foolishly, selfishly, angrily promoting my own agenda.

I am a hypocrite.

Maybe.

Or maybe he was wrong.

Maybe I am not a hypocrite, but instead, just incredibly imperfect.

Maybe I am just human – and sometimes I say and do and think the wrong things, even bad things.

And I must ask forgiveness because, as a Child of God, I am still worth something.

But maybe, as a Child of God, my husband also has the right to choose to view me as a hypocrite

or as a fallen, imperfect Creature created by a Perfect God.

I can be momentarily saddened that he chooses to see me so negatively,

but I am not responsible for his views of me or of the world.

I am responsible for picking myself up when I fall and when I fail and for doing the best I can to reflect the church as Jesus intended it.

I am not a hypocrite, but I am imperfect.

So it becomes even more important for me to thank God for His perfection and for His loving me despite my failings.

If you are staying away from church because of the hypocrites there, ask yourself what makes one a hypocrite and if it is possible that these are just fallible human beings coming between you and fellowship in honor of the Lord. If you are in church, beware of your failings and work to do better. The Lord holds Believers to a higher standard. Be sure you failings are human failings and not hypocrisy. At the same time, don’t let others make you less than you are. You are imperfect and yet, you are Loved perfectly anyway. 

God Bless…

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10 Tips on Raising Boys (& Girls Too!)

 

 

All of us - Easter 2014

This is my crew II

When Charity over at The Wounded Dove asked us what advice we’d give to other moms with kids our kids’ ages, I groaned. How was I supposed to write about that? Which kid’s age should I choose? Should I choose all? Writing about their laundry for Charity’s link-up took two posts one about the 84 pair of socks I folded (get a life mama!) and one about all of the other stories I would write about if I wasn’t so busy actually doing laundry (who am I kidding?)

I couldn’t imagine there were too many other moms whose summer responsibilities this summer included finalizing kindergarten registration and scheduling college campus visits.

At times like this, I was glad to be the mom of all boys. At least I didn’t have to come up with words of wisdom for both genders!

But that brought me up short…

Words of Wisdom?

I really have few words of wisdom. In fact, the older I get and the more kids I have, the more I realize I have less and less actual Wisdom.

Which brings me to my

Advice to Moms of Boys (and Maybe Girls Too!)

  1. Admit you Know Nothing – your family will be pleasantly surprised when you do offer a pearl of wisdom. Pleasant surprises are much better than stormy eye rolls when things go wrong. Besides, I’ve discovered I really know nothing. No, seriously, I don’t and when I forget this, my kids are good enough to remind me of it!
  2. Laugh Whenever Possible – Don’t take life too seriously. Choose your battles. LET IT GO! Most of the stuff we nit pick about isn’t really stuff at all. It’s little things. Save your battles for big things (Like leaving the toilet seat up!)
  3. Pray Unceasingly – Pray to start the day (Ever read The Difference? You should!) Pray throughout the day. Pray on your knees. Pray as you stand at the kitchen counter to make all 11 sandwiches before school. Pray for those whose clothes you’re folding. Pray by reading the Bible. Pray even though it sounds imperfect to you. Do you love your children less when they stutter? Most importantly pray with your heart in front of your children.
  4. Payback is AWESOME – You know that rubber band trick on the kitchen sink sprayer? How many times did I fall for that one??? I haven’t come up with legal methods of payback for that one, but I’m sure AWESOME will be the least of my emotions when I finally get an idea (Feel free to send me any payback ideas you’ve got – I’m all about payback when my children’s practical jokes are concerned!)
  5. Be Human – Let your children see you make mistakes, cry, fall down, dance horribly and sing even worse, ask forgiveness, and always let them see you believe in a better tomorrow. Believe it yourself too!
  6. Stop Judging – Stop judging other moms. Stop judging other women, men, old people, young people, even the Pope for crying out loud! Stop judging your parents, your children, your husband, and yourself. Stop judging God when things don’t go your way at a time convenient for you.
  7. Stop Accepting – Totally different from stop judging. Stop accepting means stop settling for less from your children, from your loved ones, from yourself. Be careful. It doesn’t mean judge or demand. It means stop accepting less than you were made to be.
  8. Hang With Those Who Will Take You Where You Need To Be – We talk to our children about choosing wise friendships but often think we are strong enough to resist the pull of negative forces. Are you? (Not judging. Just questioning ;) )
  9. It Will Always Be There - The clothes, the laundry, the mess on the counter, the goo that you can no longer identify in the refrigerator, the weeds in the garden, the lollipop (or egg salad sandwich – true story!) under the back seat of the minivan. Let it go and relax, have fun, hug your children.
  10. You’re Gonna Miss This – No matter how much you dislike this stage (the day-night reversal, the toilet training, the mean girls, the first broken heart, the my-son-took-the-car-and-it’s-raining-and-he-should-have-been-home-by-now, the liberal college influence…), no matter how much you love this stage (the first sleepy, eyes rolling back in the head, smiles of newborn bliss, the belly laugh of a toddler, the crumpled dandelion bouquets brought to you in sweaty little fists, the “Hey Mom, I got accepted into…” the symbolic moving of the tassel from one side of the cap to the other…) No matter how good or bad life is at the time, there is a purpose. Don’t unravel the string of time too quickly. Enjoy what each step has to offer.

Laugh because there’s Joy in every moment.

Live because you only get one shot.

Love because you are Loved.

God Bless…

 

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TheWoundedDove

But, Why Do They Get It When I Can’t Have It?

wheat

God knows the wheat from the weeds and isn’t trying to even things out.

Ever listen to five boys who feel an injustice has been done to them?

Know the meaning of the word cacophony? HA It’s one of my favorite words, has bee since Sister Alice taught it to back in freshman year, but I doubt Sister Alice could have understood the meaning of cacophony quite the way I do.

Of course, Sister Alice taught at my all girls’ Catholic high school for more years than I’ve been on the planet.

Come to think of it, I may not have the monopoly on the word cacophony.

But still, ever hear those kids when they think their brother has gotten something they have not?

Cacophony.

As a Mom, that kind of complaining drives me crazy. I really do Love each of my different Boys 100%. Admiring each of their strengths and laughing at their peculiar little quirks, I try to make sure everything “evens out in the end.”

Does that mean I don’t give one kid more one day and another kid more the next?

Nope, but as my father used to say,

Fair isn’t always equal.

Well, I can’t help but think of how my boys’ complaints

He got more ice cream than I did.
He sat in the front last time.
You ALWAYS give it to him.

Blah, blah BLAH…

may kind of reflect my own complaints to my Father.

How come he has that car?
Why don’t I get a vacation like that?
When will I get a house like hers?

Blah, blah BLAH…

Which brings me to today’s Gospel reflection.

On Sunday, we heard from the Gospel of Saint Matthew

Jesus proposed another parable to the crowds, saying:
“The kingdom of heaven may be likened
to a man who sowed good seed in his field.
While everyone was asleep his enemy came
and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off.
When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well.
The slaves of the householder came to him and said,
‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field?
Where have the weeds come from?’
He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’
His slaves said to him,
‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds
you might uproot the wheat along with them.
Let them grow together until harvest;
then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters,
“First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning;
but gather the wheat into my barn.”’

Matthew 13: 24-43

And upon reading this, it occurs to me again how the Lord allows all of His children to grow together in one world. Here, we see a few things.

In the Gospel of Matthew, we see how quickly the enemy snuck in while the man was sleeping to plant seeds of destruction that would fester and grow unnoticed until they took firm root despite the man’s hard work. In the movie, Fireproof they call this outside influence parasites. What parasites are taking over your marriage? Your family? Is it the other woman who may also blinded to the fact that she is influenced by the enemy? Is it an outside force such as internet porn which pops up even when we do not invite it in making it hard for some to resist?  Check out this clip from Fireproof.

If video does not display properly, use this link http://youtu.be/t89Hsem2LkI

But something we also see in the Parable of the Weeds Among the Wheat from the Gospel of Matthew is that God does not pluck the shoots before they are grown. Although, just as a farmer knows his crop and can identify his plants from the outset in a way most of us cannot, so too can the Master can identify from the outset in a way we often cannot, the seed that will turn into weeds and who will turn into wheat.

By allowing us to grow side by side, the Father allows us to strengthen our faith as we each reach for the Light shining down.

I think back to that cacophony of complaints I hear from my children about how unfair I am and how hard I try to make sure everything is even in the here and now but don’t sweat it too much, knowing what one kid lacks now I’ll make up for tomorrow and that it wail all even out in the end.

But God doesn’t work that way.

He isn’t even a little concerned about trying to even things out now.

He doesn’t care about the big house your ex-husband has or the car that woman drives or the vacations that couple goes on that you cannot.

And He isn’t going to hope things even out in the end.

In fact, quite the contrary.

God promises things will not even out.

He promises the wheat will be collected and treasured.

And the weed will burn.

And that is why we must continue to pray for the weed.

Because no matter how ugly or strangulating that weeds seems to be, if it does not make amends with God even if not with us, it will be burned in the end. And that is something none of us would wish on anyone.

Unlike the weed seed, the weeds surrounding our lives, threatening to choke us out now have the ability to morph into wheat.

Miracles do happen.

God IS GOOD!

So, if you are one of God’s children sending up a cacophony of complaints to Him, why not learn a lesson from the farmer’s wheat seed which grew serenely closer every day to the Light shining down?

Don’t worry about how unfair things are today. Today is passing. Live for eternity.

What injustices do you see in the world around you? What Blessings can you count instead? Whisper a prayer for the weeds in your life, and speak loudly the praise and thanksgiving for the wheat around you.

photo credit

God Bless…

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What Are You Willing To Do For “Love?”

Candy Heart

What s real Love?

As a little girl I remember just wanting to be Accepted, to be Valued, to be Loved.

Was it the child abuse I suffered or the uncertainty of how to handle that abuse, was it the denial, or the get-over-it attitude that so many seemed to express even though they didn’t always use words?

What was it that made me feel less than God had intended me to be?

What was it that made me sacrifice so much of myself, to compromise my values, to put myself in positions of risk in high school, college, married life that I lost who I was, that I gave up dreams, that I believed false promises?

What was it that made me less?

I don’t blame the others. I don’t blame myself.

Sometimes I just wonder.

Today, I have a new Strength, a new Hope, a new sense of Self-Worth, of my Value, and of My capacity to Love others in the way I wanted to be Loved.

I am accepting and embracing my imperfections and what they teach me about Me.

Today, I Laugh often and find Humor even in my downfalls (well, most of the time! ;) )

Me

An imperfect, but lovely, picture of an imperfect, but Lovable, me!

But every once in a while, I see a video like the one below, and I think back to the girl I was and all the time I missed trying to please someone else…

…when I never stopped to think about pleasing Me .

…when I never stopped to think about honoring the Woman God meant for me to be when He thought me up an eternity ago.

I think of what I was willing to sacrifice, to compromise, to risk to be “loved,”

…when Love was not what I was receiving at all.

And I see so many others today sacrificing, compromising, risking who they were meant to be in the name of “love,” especially victims of abuse, abandonment, divorce, those who have forgotten or never knew their worth, the Perfect Love that is offered to them through God the Father.

My message to those still sacrificing, compromising, risking is to take a Real Risk, a worthy risk, take off your mask – the mask you wear for yourself.

Discover who you were meant to be.

You Are Beautifully and Wonderfully made.

You are Special.

You are Unique – and that’s a Good thing! :D

You are Never Alone.

You are Loved.

http://youtu.be/zFWr-CKMWGY

God made each of us with different strengths and weaknesses, but He made each of us with a plan in mind. Embrace the path He has laid out for you even when the the bumps in the road make you lose your footing and the fog hides your next resting place. Take time along the way to stoop and pick up a friend, a stranger, someone who doesn’t look like you, act like you, talk like you. Be the Good Samaritan who makes another experience God’s Perfect Love for all His imperfect People.

Take off your mask and embrace others when they do the same. Follow in the plans the Lord has laid out.

You do not have to sacrifice yourself.

You have already been Sacrificed for.

And that makes You Worthy.

Know You are Loved.

God Bless…

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The Army Comes to Visit – Literally!

Boy Scout Catholic Ceremony - Troy

Could the Army want my Boy?

It’s strange to think of the baby you once held in your arms, whose dimpled little hand you held to cross the street, whose giggling, silly antics could make his younger brother collapse in fits of laughter so great his knees grew weak, as being a man sometimes.

And yet, I look at Troy, my oldest, now 17, and am amazed by him and all that he has become. Physically, he towers over me, tall and lean, a lifeguard at a local pool, ready to begin work on his Eagle Scout project, one of only 45 students from around the country selected to participate in the Friends of the NRA Youth Education Summit in Washington DC (a program I can’t say enough good things about!), already accepted, with a scholarship for high SAT scores as a junior, into a top engineering school, could I go on???Continue Reading

Single Mom Laundry – I Have So Much Laundry!

Our playroom

The house may be clean but the laundry is never-ending!

Holy Cow! Who knew a post on laundry would take two days???

You’d think laundry was a never-ending task or something!

Umm…actually…

When you’re a single mom of five boys, laundry is a never-ending task!

In case you missed it, Charity over at The Wounded Dove, is sponsoring a link-up and this week’s topic is – laundry! So yesterday, I began talking about folding socks and the amount of laundry a single mom of five boys has to do, but I had so much laundry that I split the laundry topic into two piles, okay two posts.

Today, I share a brief rundown of other laundry stories I need to complete one day, some of which are best shared in person. Please shoot me an email if you’d like me to speak with your group as I continue to, with God’s Grace, reach out to others going through tough times to a greater faith and sense of self-worth.

But, without further ado, let me continue with what I didn’t get to yesterday …

Laundry Tales

Continue Reading

Parable of the Sower – Seed of Faith in Ex-Spouses & in Ourselves

pigeon eating seed from sidewalk cracks

And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots.

The Parable of the Sower from yesterday’s Gospel gave us several different scenarios:

[Jesus said]

A sower went out to sow. 

And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. 

Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots.

Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it.

But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”

Matthew 13: 3-8Continue Reading

Eternal Rest Grant Unto Him O Lord

Candle with flame - Holy Spirit

Rest in Peace

My heart is heavy. Tears stream down my cheeks. There is a lump in my throat that I cannot swallow as I write this. I just found out about the passing of a dear friend, a man I’ve known and loved and respected for years now.

I know I can’t do him justice here, but this man meant so much to me. He was the head of his family, a leader, a God-fearing, Lord-Loving man, in church every Sunday and always ready to greet us with a smile. When my husband left suddenly, he was one of the men who let me know that if we needed anything, ever, we could count on him. He was a retired member of the State Police and just a general, overall, good guy. He was a man who gave me hope that here are Good Men out there. He was a man I wanted my children to know as a role model. He was…Continue Reading

Come…and I will Give You Rest – But Before You Do…

meadow with flowers - peace and rest

Come, all who labor and are burdened, and I will give you peace. Matt 11:28

Monday, I spoke about Sunday’s Gospel reading from Matthew Chapter 11 and about his line in particular:

Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,

and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28

And I gave a false impression. When we look at Bible verses such as this one, it is easy to fall for the simple, feel good sound bytes.

Come…and I will give you rest.Continue Reading