Category Archives: Words of Wisdom that Might be Intuitively Obvious

How I Can Support Traditional Marriage and Not be a Hater

Anyone who follows this blog in any way, shape, or form would probably correctly assume that I am opposed to gay marriage.

More precisely, I believe in traditional marriage between a man and a woman. Why? Because marriage is an institution created by God to serve a very specific role within his creation – to procreate, and then to provide a stable, loving environment for those little beings who were procreated.

As our pastor pointed out recently, it’s pretty obvious how’s it’s supposed to work. Just look at the anatomy. A man and a woman fit together in a way that no two women or two men can. Man and woman were made for one another.noahs-ark1

When God told Noah to load the ark two by two, would the whole plan have worked if he loaded two male elephants and two female horses? I think not.

Okay. We’ve established where I stand on the subject. And now many of you have made a few judgements about me.

I’m a hater. A bigot. A close-minded, ignorant, bullying jerk.

I can handle that.

And I’ll still love you.

Go ahead. Unfriend me on Facebook. Erase my contact info from your phone if you feel you must.

After you read the rest of what I’ve got to say.

Because here’s the news flash: it is possible to disagree with someone’s actions and still love them.

Case in point:

Most of you know that I wasn’t always the Bible-loving Catholic woman that I strive to be today. In fact, in my earlier years, I “lived in sin” with my boyfriend. Of course, at the time, I joked about that whole living in sin thing. Sin wasn’t something I really took seriously. Cohabitation seemed practical and convenient, not to mention that it was what everyone else was doing, and I was in love and we planned to get married.

But I digress. What I’d actually like to examine here is my parent’s response to my lifestyle choice.

Guess what?

My parents did not approve.

I knew this without them saying a word. But, because she loved me, my mom had a very, very difficult conversation with me. One in which she had to use that three letter “s” word no mom born before the sixties wants to have to use with her daughter.

I’ll give you a hint. It ends with an “x” and has an “e” in the middle.

This had to be an incredibly difficult topic for my mom to broach. But she did it anyways. Why? Because she loved me. And, in her love for me, she did not want to stand back and let me enter into a sinful situation without doing everything she could to prevent me from making a mistake. A mistake that she knew would drive me further from God.

Did you catch that one sentence?

Because she loved me…

Imagine that.

In today’s world, people seem to think that, if we love someone, and they do something we believe to be sinful, we should keep our mouths shut.

No. Scratch that. Keeping our mouths shut is not enough.

We must actually change our value system and accept that the actions of the other are perfectly fine.

Otherwise, we’re haters, bigots, and close-minded jerks.

Thank God I got married to that live-in boyfriend. Otherwise, I’d have to feel offended by my parents, who would not have changed their views and thus, by today’s standards, must surely hate me.  I’d have to call them haters and  bigots and close-minded throwbacks.

But wait. They never did hate me. They stuck to their value structure and shared it with me.

Out of love.

Imagine that.

Let the trash talk begin. Feel free to comment below.

(Be warned that all comments are moderated. While I will attempt to respond to all respectful comments, I reserve the right to edit any inappropriate content. I also reserve the right to take a really long time to respond because it’s hard to focus with five kids running around the house. But I’ll do my best.)

Jeremiah’s Dirty Loincloth and Christian Obedience

In Jeremiah 13, God told the prophet Jeremiah to go and buy himself a linen loincloth, wear it, but don’t wash it.  So Jeremiah did.

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Michelangelo’s Jeremiah, from the Sistine Chapel, image courtesy Web Gallery of Art, www.wga.hu

Next, God told him to go to the Parath and bury the loincloth.  So Jeremiah did.

Finally, after some lengthy period of time, God told him to go retrieve the buried loincloth.  And so Jeremiah did.

Most of us would have responded to God’ first command with, “But, why?  Why do you want me to buy this loincloth?  Does it have to be linen?  I prefer silk.  And why can’t I wash it?  That’s gross.  How about if I wear it for a few days – I’ll even spring for three.  Then I’ll just put it in a bag, carefully sealed, so the stink doesn’t escape.”

To the second command, we might have responded, “The Parath is a long ways away.  I’ll go, but only if I have a horse and chariot to carry me there.  And food for the journey.  And a place to stay overnight, so I can be well rested.  As a matter of fact, isn’t it silly to go all that way, just to bury a piece of dirty cloth?  How about if I bury it in the desert, just outside the city, or – better yet – in my back yard?  Surely, that would work, Lord, right?  You don’t really want me to have to go all that way, I’m sure of it!”

And to the third, we’d likely have said, “Oh, come on!  Enough of this already!  I did what you wanted the first two times – or near enough.  Now you want me to go unearth the thing?  It’ll probably have bugs on it, it’ll be even dirtier than it was before, and I doubt I can even find it in the first place!  And if you want me to wear it afterward, you’d better believe I’m going to wash it first!”

God asks our obedience in all matters.  Obedience to God is never blind, but rather trusting, trusting that He will never lead us astray, but lead us to sanctification.  Even when we do not understand why we must do this thing or that thing, or not do this thing or that thing, we must trust that our obedience will never lead us away from God, but toward him.

In what matters do you find obedience difficult?  For many of us, it might be the Church’s teaching on contraception, marriage between a man and a woman, drunkenness, intimacy outside of marriage, divorce, or to attend Mass regularly and go to confession.

Or, perhaps, it’s obedience to that nudge of the Spirit to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, admonish the sinner, bear wrongs patiently, or to forgive willingly.

Obedience is never easy, nor is it meant to be.  It is through the trials of obedience that we draw closer to Christ, clinging to him as the Israelites failed to do in Jeremiah’s time, and as many (most?) of us fail to do in our time as well.

When Jeremiah unearthed the loincloth, he found that it had rotted.  The Lord spoke to him, saying, “So also I will allow the pride of Judah to rot… This wicked people who refuse to obey my words, who walk in the stubbornness of their hearts, and follow strange gods… shall be like this loincloth which is good for nothing.” (Jer. 13:9-10)

Does that sound to you like it could easily be an indictment of the people of our age?  In some matters, is it an indictment of you and of me?

The Lord also said to Jeremiah, “For, as close as the loincloth clings to a man’s loins, so had I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me… to be my people, my beauty.  But they did not listen.” (Jer. 13:11)

We were made to cling to God – to Christ.  We were made to be His people, His beauty.

May we listen.

 

This post was added to July’s Catholic Blogger Blitz.  For more great Catholic blogs, click the link below!

2014 Catholic Bloggers Link-Up Blitz

 

 

 

Christ’s Thirst for the Love of Souls

After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.”  – John 19:28

When we read these words, we tend to assume that Jesus’ thirst was a bodily thirst.  After all, the man had suffered terrible torture, carried a heavy burden for some distance, and hung suspended on a cross in the midday sun for several hours.  Yet, what among Christ’s life would really lead us to believe that a reference to a bodily need would be among His final words?

Indeed, Our Lord’s cry was not for wine or for water, but for the love of souls.  In crying out His thirst, He was pleading with us – with you, and with me – to know in our hearts how very much He loves us, and begging us to return that love to Him.

A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. -John 19:29

When they heard his cry, the soldiers cruelly gave him sour wine.  Yet, are you and I any better?  How much time do we spend soaking in His love for us?  How much time and effort do we spend, actively returning that love?  Do we feel it in our bones, so that the mere thought of Him brings us to our knees?

No.  Instead of giving him our very best, the finest wine from our tables, we give him our sour left overs.  We spend time in prayer… when we can.  We give to the poor… when we have a little extra money.  We offer help to one who’s struggling… when we’re not in a rush to be somewhere else.

When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. -John 19:30

And yet, Christ knew our inadequacies.  He didn’t argue with those soldiers, “No, no, I said I’m thirsty!  That sour wine isn’t going to help at all!”  He “received the sour wine,” spoke His final words, “It is finished,

and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”

He knows we are sinners, and yet he loves us.  He knows that we will offer him our leftovers, and yet he loves us.  He knows that a tragic few will strive for perfection, and yet he loves us.

Loves us so much that he died on the cross for us.  Loves us so much that his cry continues, I thirst!

He accepted the sour wine – our sour wine – knowing that it was the very reason why he had to offer Himself up.

And still he thirsts.

Cristo crucificado
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Reflection inspired by the book,  33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration, by Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, MIC (affiliate link, thanks for your support!)

Surrender for My Valentine

Surrender and Valentine’s Day?,  some might ask, incredulously.  Seriously?

Well, surrender is a funny thing.

Were I to surrender myself to the wrong thing, say sexuality, or drugs or alcohol, or the false gods of materialism and wealth, it would consume me totally. Ultimately, it would change the person I am, change my goals, change my loves, change my relationships.  It would become difficult for me to maintain relationships on more than a superficial level.

In some ways, I suppose, surrender to God is similar.  Surrender to the Lord changes me.  It changes the person I am, changes my goals, my loves, and my relationships.  Yet, our surrender to the Lord will never consume us, not in the “All used up and good for nothing else way.”  It’s an amazing thing.  Rather than being consumed – used up –  we are given more.

In fact, it is only through our total giving of ourselves to the Lord that we can totally selflessly give to others.

I’ve witnessed this first hand in these past few weeks, as my husband has grieved the tragic loss of his best friend.  I knew he needed time to grieve.  I knew that, in his grief, he needed loving arms to come home to, and caring ears to listen.  He needed the security of knowing that I was there, no matter what.

For the first few days, I was completely immersed in prayer, knowing that I could not possibly give him everything he needed without much needed support.  And, for those first few days, I must say, I was pretty spot-on.

But then I began to slip a bit.  Quite frankly, that whole self-donation thing isn’t easy, especially when the person that you’re giving, and giving, and giving to is in no shape to give anything back.  And my husband wasn’t.  In that first week, all he could do was take, and take some more, and then a bit more.  And that got hard.

We had received the news Saturday afternoon, and already, by the time I was in adoration early Tuesday, I was begging Jesus to help me overcome the anger and resentment that I was beginning to feel.  I was disappointed in myself, but I knew that I never could have gotten through the previous three days without clinging to Christ, and that I would never get through the days and weeks to come without continuing to do so, humbly aware of my own inadequacies.

And that’s when it hit me: Surrender.  I had already taken it for my “One Word 2014” two weeks prior.  At the time, I didn’t know how soon it would come into play in my life, or that my surrender would be so important to others around me.

That morning in adoration, I realized that, only by my total surrender to Christ, could I give my husband the support he needed.  Only by giving myself utterly and totally – every shred, every desire, every need- over to Christ, could I allow Him to use me as His servant in support of His precious son, Ray.  Only then could I be the hands and feet of Christ – His loving arms, His caring words, His supportive presence.

Our God is pretty awesome, isn’t He?  He’s a jealous God (Ex 34:14; Deut 6:15; et al), yet His jealousy is not like that of humans.  He doesn’t attempt to keep us for Himself, like a jealous husband or boyfriend.  Instead,  when we give ourselves to Him, He essentially multiplies us, making us more for others, and giving us back to those around us in a fullness that we can never achieve on our own.

Love and marriage are all about self-donation.  And self-donation is hard.  But we can do it, when we are surrendered to Christ.

Last Saint Valentine’s Day, I was Meek but not Milquetoast.   This Saint Valentine’s Day, I’m Surrendering to the Lord.  Perhaps not the box of chocolates or lacy lingerie that my Valentine had in mind, but I think it will serve us well in the end.

And maybe I’ll throw in some chocolate and lace just to keep him happy tomorrow as well. 🙂

Belgium Chocolates

 

Three Tips to Enjoy the Final Days of Advent

Six days left in Advent. Six days left to prepare our hearts, spending time in scripture and prayer. Six days left to relish the beauty of this season, thanking God for the crisp, white snow, the cool, clean air, the blessings of family, and of course, basking in the warmth of the coming of the greatest gift, Jesus Christ.

Or, perhaps, six days left to run around like a crazy women, trying to find the perfect gift for every person on your list, worrying about how you’re going to fit your Christmas budget into the same monthly paycheck, and freaking out over whether the gifts will arrive from Amazon on time. Six days left to stay up till the wee hours of the morning to wrap presents, frantically fill out the last of the Christmas cards, bake a gazillion cookies, and roast chestnuts over an open fire.

Be honest, now. Which one is it for you? Which one has it been for the past three weeks? Which one do you choose for the next six days? Basking in the beauty, or freaking out because everything isn’t quite. beautiful. enough.?

Like most of us, I’ve had a little bit of both, but today I choose to bask, and I would like to choose that for the next six days, not to mention the twelve days of Christmas that will follow these six days, and the many days of ordinary time after that. For now, I’ll take one day, one moment at a time.

So, here are a few tips I’ve learned from the times I’ve gotten it right, and the times I’ve gotten it wrong.

1. Learn from Past Mistakes

Last week, I read last year’s post, Christmas Do-Overs, where I lamented the fact that I lost sight of Christ-mas on Christmas Day. Now, I’m trying to think of ways to ensure this Christmas Day is a major improvement. Thus, in addition to saying our Jesus prayer in the morning, I’ll be sure to play lots of Christian carols throughout the day (gotta make my iTunes playlist!), and I’m hoping to convince the family to take a quick detour to the adoration chapel before heading to my parents’ for Christmas dinner. Learning from last year’s mistakes, I will proactively make changes that will surely heighten our experience of Christ-mas.

Take a moment to reflect on Advents and Christmases past. As we enter into these final days of craziness, what can you do differently to heighten your spirituality and growth in Christ this season?

2. Pray Preemptively

You know the times that are going to stress you out. The times that are likely to lead to your head spinning around as you bark orders at your husband, yell at your kids, and generally pull your hair out trying to keep it together, all the while falling to pieces for God and your entire family to witness.

For me, it’s decorating the Christmas tree. Boxes everywhere, packing paper strewn across every surface of the living room, bulbs dropping like flies, and identical ornaments hanging from adjacent limbs. I mean, come on! How do these kids fail to understand the aesthetics of the Christmas tree???!!!!

While I love the idea of decorating the tree as a family, the reality has, in many Christmases past, been a bit closer to The Exorcist than The Walton Family Christmas.

This year and last, knowing the dangerous territory into which I was headed, I took a moment to pray beforehand. God, this should be a joyful time. Please help me to overlook the mess, to be patient and loving throughout this process. Please let it be joyful for every one of us.

Guess what? No freak outs. In fact, this year came complete with a cup of tea enjoyed while sitting back on the couch as I watched the children hang the bulbs, all the while offering up praise and thanksgiving for these awesome kids, our beautiful tree and warm home, and the many blessings of the season.

Take a moment now to identify those areas that will create stress for you. Pray for those moments now, pray before they begin, and make a point of praying throughout. Pray that you can make it through with the same trust, peace and calm of the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph that first Advent and Christmas, and it will be provided for you. And, of course, be sure to offer up praise and thanksgiving for your answered prayers!

3. Identify areas where you can RELINQUISH CONTROL

Like many moms, I’m a bit of a control freak. I am beginning to realize, though, that my kids are getting old enough that I can let them do things for themselves, if only I am willing to relinquish control over exactly how those things should be done.

The kids desperately wanted to put a second Christmas tree up in the loft this year. Only problem? I did not have the time to do the work myself. So, I decided that I was going to let the kids run with it.

Imagine my surprise when, an hour after they started, I’d managed to vacuum and mop the floors and start dinner, while the kids had gone into the attic to find the tree base, erected the pole, complete with topper, and had a third of the limbs already beautifully fluffed! I assigned The Dude as the “Project Lead,” helped with limb fluffing and placement, as well as stringing the higher lights, but left the rest to the kids. I made suggestions. They didn’t take them. I said, “OK. It’s your tree. Have at it!” The result of the children’s work is a gloriously joyful kids tree, perfect in every way in their eyes, though we grown ups might not consider it so, especially the lights that graduate from colored, to red and green, to white. Nonetheless, it is the tree that makes me smile as I remember my children’s industriousness, ability to work together, and general can-do attitude. In fact, I think it’s my favorite Christmas tree ever.

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The Project Lead hard at work
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The Master Assistant and Chief Bannister Lighter
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The whole team doing their share

Take a look at your long list of to-do’s. What can others help you with? Where can you relinquish control? Whether it’s decorating trees, setting tables, or wrapping presents, pick one or two things, let go of your need for perfection, sit back, and enjoy the results. You may be pleasantly surprised.

What are your successes and foibles this Advent, and Advents and Christmases past? Please share in the comments section!

The Fruit of an Upbraiding

Very recently, a Sister in Christ who was once a friend said some very hurtful things to me.  It’s been a long time since such a thing has happened, but goodness knows humility’s not my strong suit, so the occasional upbraiding is probably well deserved.

Since the purpose of this blog is to write about the good, the bad, and the ugly, I am writing a post that I’d rather not write.  But perhaps it will help someone else who may have a similar experience – past, present, or future.

This person and I had developed a friendship over the past few years, but have drifted apart over the last several months.  I had my own reasons for allowing this to happen, as she – obviously – had hers.  I knew when we met recently that things were boiling under the surface, but didn’t see a point in bringing them to the light of day.  Perhaps that’s me being passive-aggressive.  Probably.

Well, my Sister in Christ is much more outspoken than I am, and I learned, through her eyes, how the distance that had grown between us has affected her and made her feel.  I learned her view of my inadequacies and shortcomings.

Its never easy to hear yourself criticized by another person. In fact, it really sucks.  It left me feeling pretty low for a while.  Knowing that my loving Father does not want me to feel this way, I searched my head for scriptures that might apply.

First, I remembered Matthew 5:44: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” And, verse 46: “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?”  And so I dropped to my knees in the middle of fixing dinner and prayed for this Sister in Christ – that she would have healing in this difficult time, that she would know Christ’s love, peace, and comfort, and that, she too would recognize the opportunity for introspection to become more conformed to the woman God made her to be.  In the midst of a lot of hurt and anger, that prayer was the singularly most healing prayer I could have prayed.

The second scripture verse that came to mind was Hebrews 12:11: “Now discipline [some versions say “chastisement”]  always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it.”

Thus, this is an opportunity for reflection.  Am I, in all my relationships, letting Christ shine through me?  Am I building others up in all I do?  Am I maintaining my integrity?  Are all my actions directed by my mission in Christ?

Of course I can’t honestly answer “yes” to all of those questions!  If you can, your a saint and I want to know you better – in hopes of soaking in some of your reflected light!  Clearly, I have work to do (as all of us do), and this has illuminated an area of opportunity for me.  And for that I am grateful.

So, I thank my Sister in Christ.  Good will come from her actions and her words.  I trust in Christ to help me identify those areas that need improvement, and her words to me have made me more conscious of an area in which I need to ask for the Spirit’s wisdom to look interiorly at my actions and my motivations.

Indeed, her upbraiding – I pray – will bear much fruit.

“…we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that afliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts.” Romans 5:3-5

 

 

Inordinate Attachments

When Lot’s wife glanced back at Sodom, and was turned to a pillar of salt, what do you think was she looking back at?

Genesis19-17

Was it her house?  Furniture?  Clothes?  Friends? Livestock?  Land?

I remember hearing the story of a saint who was very upset with herself when she realized she had become overly attached to a lovely water pitcher.  At the time I thought, “You lived in a cell with nothing beautiful around you.  Of course you liked that water pitcher!”

Then one day we had company staying with us.  One of our guests woke before I did and used my favorite coffee mug.  When I saw that she was using my mug, I did a double take. That was my mug. I was actually a little bit miffed to see someone else drinking from my mug.  Then I realized that this was my version of the saint and the water pitcher – my “inordinate attachment.”  I made a point of not using the mug for the rest of the week, so that my guest could use it, and praying that I could be generous with all of my possessions. Silly, huh?  Being so attached to a stinkin’ mug.

The Mug in Question

I guess we all have those little things – things that we care about more than we should.  I’ve gotten over the coffee mug (though its still my favorite) but I still see other things in my life that matter to me more than they should.

Whatever Lot’s wife was looking back at, her attachment led to her immediate and dramatic demise.

I’d like to make sure there’s nothing in my life I would look back at.

 

Boy Scouts: What Would Jesus Do?

Following a heated discussion of the Girls Scouts’ latest bed-fellows, the Boy Scouts briefly became the focus of conversation at book club tonight.

I’m going to say something that – I think – will be largely unpopular.

I totally agree with the change the Boy Scouts have made.

As the parent of a Boy Scout, I was encouraged to respond to the survey they issued in order to help them decide where to draw the line on the involvement of homosexuals in scouting.  As I read and prayerfully answered those questions, I realized what a difficult position the organization was in.  And it comes down to this:

What would Jesus do?

Would Jesus put people in leadership who openly professed beliefs and lifestyles that were contrary to his teachings?

No.  He clearly chose as his disciples men who would lead by example.  Men who would thwart conventions of the day to follow the convictions of their God.  Thus, I am very supportive of the Boy Scouts decision to continue to prevent openly gay adults from holding leadership roles.

Would Jesus tell a nine year old boy who openly professed homosexuality that he could not be a part of a group?

No.  In fact, he would encourage that boy to surround himself with good, Godly people, who could support and strengthen him in leading a life of sacrifice – a life in which he will be forced to deny his fleshly desires in recognition of God’s will for his life.

As a friend once told me: “I think, if Jesus were walking the Earth today, you’d be more likely to find him in a gay bar than at a Bible study.”  Jesus would go where he is most needed.  The well do not need a physician, after all.

And thus, as unpopular as my opinion may be, I do believe that young, homosexual boys should not be turned away from the Boy Scouts.  Or from youth group, or a group of friends at school, etc.  That smacks of bullying to me.  Quite frankly, it also smacks of cruelty, heartlessness, and any other number of not-so-nice things.

If you don’t like it, don’t put your son in Boy Scouts.  There are other options out there – options which, quite frankly, I myself am going to explore simply because I feel that Boy Scouts is too light on the faith and character aspect.

But I don’t think that having a gay boy in your son’s pack is going to turn your son gay.  It might raise some uncomfortable questions, but I think those questions will provide parents with valuable teaching moments.

And let’s face it. What are the chances, really, of a ten year old boy being openly gay and wanting to join Boy Scouts.  Pretty slim, I think.

 

Choices and Consequences

What a morning!  If my alarm went off, I must have turned it off without registering the fact.  So I woke up half an hour late, on a day when I had a meeting scheduled immediately after school drop off.  The two school kids didn’t want to wake up, and were still in bed at 7:15 – twenty minutes before our drop dead time to be pulling out of the garage.  The Dude said that he didn’t feel well, but appeared to be suffering nothing more than a very minor sore throat.  I insisted he get up and get ready for school and proceeded to feed the rest of the kids a carb-packed breakfast of bagels.  Time was running thin, but the dog was crying from his crate, so I ran him out to potty real quick.  Boo followed me, and wound up falling smack on her face as we were running back into the house.  I carried the battered and screaming child into the house, glanced at the stairs and saw the Dude, STILL IN HIS JAMMIES.  I looked at the clock, and it read 7:35 – yes, that would be my drop dead time to be pulling out of the garage.  Boo was still screaming, the dog was racing around the kitchen looking for stray bagels to pull off the table, and Dad entered into the fray to yell at the top of his lungs, “DUDE, GET READY FOR SCHOOL!!!!!!!!!”

AHHHHHH!!!!!

I wound up taking off with the three younger kids, getting Bonita to school several minutes late.  I was late to my meeting, of course.  Ray drove the Dude to school and I ran him up to the office, since my meeting was just across the parking lot.  He was forlorn, worrying over the fact that this is his third tardy, which means DETENTION.  Serving detention as a third grader is gonna… well, for lack of a better word, suck.  Its left me feeling sad and guilty, but he tries to play the “I don’t feel good” card all the time and today he is learning the hard way that our choices have consequences.

So there.  Finally.  I guess that’s the point of this post.  Choices have consequences, as we know all too well as adults.  As parents, we have a natural desire to shelter our children, but we also bear a responsibility to allow them to learn it the hard way.

Today, my baby’s learning the hard way.  And I really want to cry.

A Valentine’s Post – Meek but not Milquetoast

One of Bishop Coyne’s New Year’s Resolutions was

“To be meek but not milquetoast.”

It may seem odd that this is the topic for my Valentine’s Day post.  Bishop Coyne probably intended these words to be applied to our spiritual life – our willingness to be obedient to God and to stand up for what we believe in, in a loving, non-violent way.

But I find that, at this juncture in my life, where I most need work on being “meek but no milquetoast” is in my day-to-day relationship with my husband.

You see, Ray and I are both a bit bull-headed.  Both of us were the baby in our families, both accustomed to getting our way and being a little bit catered to.  We’re both strong-willed, quick to speak, and slow to back down.

And so here’s where the “meek but not milquetoast” bit has begun to sunk in with me.

Sometimes Ray says things that I don’t appreciate.  Things that make me feel undervalued, unappreciated, and more than just a little ticked off.  Once he’s said it, he’s not going to take it back, and he’s certainly not going to apologize.

I’d like to give him a piece of my mind, reminding him of all the wonderful things I do, that I work late into the night folding clothes and cleaning the house.  I want to inform him that he gets to sleep while I clean up vomit, stroke backs and hold back hair. Yet…

“A gracious wife delights her husband,
her thoughtfulness puts flesh on his bones;
A gift from the LORD is her governed speech,
And her firm virtue is of surpassing worth.”
(Sir 26:13,14)

There are times when he does things that I disagree with, or that I find annoying.  I’d like to tell him exactly what I think of his actions.  But…

“[Your adornment should] be in the imperishable beauty of a
 gentle and calm disposition,
which is precious in the sight of God.”
(1 Pet 3:4)

 

So this is when I need to be “meek but not milquetoast.”  This is when I need to bite my tongue and pick my battles.

My mom used to always ask me, “Stephanie, is that really a mountain you want to die on?”

The fact of the matter is, there aren’t really many mountains I want to die on.

That’s my gift to my Valentine this year.  A more peaceful wife, a more peaceful home… All because I can choose to be meek, though I will never be milquetoast.

“She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs at the days to come.”
(Prov 31:25)