Monthly Archives: February 2016

Serve One Another

As I cared for Katie this week, who was home from school not feeling so great, I came across scripture that spoke to me. She was having one of her days, just rocking back and forth crying inconsolably. It is so sad to watch because she is uncomfortable, but can’t tell me why. Is she hungry? Is she cold? Is her stomach hurting? So I spend the day attempting to fix all those problems to no avail. This is one of those times I just want to run and hide, but I can’t…I am her mother.

Whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many. Matthew 20:26-28

Caring for Katie has transformed my spiritual life and this message from Jesus to His apostles is a huge clue why. It’s because Andy and I serve her every day. We dress her, we bathe her, we brush her teeth, we change her diaper, we feed her, all of these things once seemed like a burden to me, but now I know they are actually my gifts from God. He calls us to serve one another, to put others needs and wants above our own, but that is difficult to do. If Katie was a healthy self-sufficient 12 year old who knows how often I would be serving others. image5 (1)But God gave me an opportunity to do it every day for the rest of her life. When I look at it that way, it is a great privilege.

I believe that once I understood this teaching my perspective on being Katie’s mommy completely changed. God blesses those who serve others and when my heart is grateful rather than disgruntled, I am open to His graces. When it’s just me and Katie I care for her out of complete love because I know she can’t say thank you. But often after a long day I want to hear the words that I’ve done good, so I seek it from others. Why? Because I’m human. I learned at an early age it feels good to hear people say nice things about you, but that’s just my ego. Jesus wants us to be humble and to do all things for God alone.

“Human recognition is passing; it doesn’t even last a lifetime. Even in heaven human recognition will be useless-our eyes will be fixed on God, not on each other or ourselves. However, we do know by faith that God will reward us in heaven according to our merits. He will exalt us for serving others, especially when we bring others to love and serve him.” Regnum Christi Feb. 24th, 2016

We are all called to serve others. Remember the parable of Lazarus and the rich man. Lazarus was a poor man who sat at the rich man’s door begging for just a morsel of food, but the rich man did nothing. When they both died Lazarus went to heaven and the rich man went to hades. Abraham told the rich man that his life of comfort was now reversed and so was Lazarus’ life of torment. We have to share our gifts with others.

We are weak when we are alone, without God in our hearts we grow weary and serving others just does not seem possible. But when we discover the supernatural power that God provides service flows so beautifully.image1 (12) We also realize it is not something we can boast about because to God be all glory. Every day I have a choice, I can grumble about the extra work I have to do or I can thank God realizing not everyone gets the chance to love another human being in such a special way.

Personal Best

I learned a new term this weekend, it’s a runner’s term so surely I had never heard it. A precious friend ran a full marathon in honor of Katie, image2 (1)after 26 miles she met up with Katie to push her across the finish line. It was truly one of the most amazing moments to watch. As we hugged afterwards one of her family members threw out the new term, they told her she had a PR. What? She made a personal record, this was her 6th marathon and the fastest she had ever run. She immediately said it was all Katie, our precious daughter had inspired her to perform better.

This made me think about how Katie has brought out PR’s in so many of us. I like to call it our Personal Best. Her life is a marathon every day. When watching her walk in her walker for just 10 minutes you see the struggle, you see the fight. When she cries out to us, trying to communicate I see the frustration and confusion. When we put food in her mouth and she sits there refusing to swallow I see the discomfort. All of these things and so much more are apart of Katie’s daily life, yet she seems so happy most of the time. I truly believe her bond with God helps her see past this life into what really matters.

Before Katie I never learned what it meant to truly push myself. I exercised pretty regularly and worked hard in my career, but looking back those were pretty basic. Today, I see that pushing toward my personal best involves a different way of thinking. It means taking my own wants and needs out of the equation. We all learn this in parenthood, but it is intensified in the special needs world.

Early on in Katie’s life I just didn’t get it, I felt so sorry for myself because I wanted her to be normal, I wanted her to be what I had always dreamed she would. Now I see so clearly that she is so much better than normal. She has taught me to push myself to live this life to the fullest, but not to rely on it for happiness because what comes after is so much better.

image3 (10)Katie brings out the best in those who take the time to know her. Family members are dedicating their careers to helping other kids like Katie. Complete strangers come up to us to tell us how just seeing Katie touches their hearts. So many people donated to our marathon fund to raise $2000 for a local Early Intervention agency. These are all beautiful examples of Katie pushing us to do more with our lives.

The most amazing transformation in my life has been my desire to be the best disciple for God I can be. If my life had gone according to my plan, I am not sure where I would be in my faith walk. My bible study group is just finishing up St. Paul’s letter to the Hebrews and a recent verse spoke loudly to me. “Endure your trials as discipline, God treats you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are without discipline, in which all have shared, you are not sons but bastards.” (Hebrews 12:7-8) Trials are not punishments from God they are lessons that teach us to be our very best. Just as a parent disciplines out of love, God sends us trials because He adores us and wants us to dig deeper. I know this because Katie was once my trial, but I now know she is my greatest teacher in life.

I have so much admiration for my friend who ran for Katie. She loves to run and enjoys pushing hIMG_0757er body to achieve more, but this marathon was different for her. She said when her training got tough she thought of Katie and focused on running because Katie can’t. The 20th mile of the marathon is always her most difficult, but with Katie on her heart she pushed through it faster and stronger than ever before. Without my friend, Katie would never cross a finish line. God pushes us all to look outside of ourselves and to focus on how we can help others reach their personal best. I’m thankful for my friend and so many others in our lives who run this race with us, because very often we need a good push.

 

Katie’s Way

When I was in college I attended a religious retreat and the one thing that has always stuck in my head came from a priest after confession. He recommended that every morning I forgo the snooze button, he suggested I rise and shine the first time the alarm sounded. If he could see me now…my husband and I push it to the limit every morning, after hitting snooze at least 3 times I always say, “just one more”. Then we jump out of bed and run like crazy stressing everyone in the house so we can get out the door on time.

As lent approaches I have been thinking a lot about the discipline this priest was trying to instill in me. Oh how I wish I had taken his advice. Not for smoother mornings, but for self-control. Lately, I have been failing miserably. I eat anything and everything in sight, I gossip when I can literally hear God in my ear saying make the right choice and I yell at my kids before searching for patience.

At the time all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it. Hebrews 12:11

I believe this because when I am weak there is little joy. During Lent, I think a lot about self-control. When Jesus was in the desert He endured 40 days and nights with no food. Sure we can say, this is Jesus we are talking about He has supernatural power, but He was in the flesh and felt the same agonizing temptations we do. In the end instead of being too weak to resist, Jesus was actually stronger.

When I allow myself free range in life and do not practice self-control I am weakening my fight against satan. I feel it especially in that last “just one more” to the snooze button. My body shows the extra pounds found in the cake I can’t resist and my children’s tears that flow from my lost temper rips me to shreds. Here’s where I mess up, my inner voice says, “You have a tough life, it’s full of sacrifices due to Katie’s impairments. You endure a lot of stress and the physical strain is plenty. You deserve to sleep a little more, you are tired…you deserve the dessert, you are stressed.” Excuses, Excuses and more excuses. I know I cannot do it alone and it is during Lent that I’m reminded of my only option.

As I was talking to my children about their Lenten sacrifice I decided it would be a good idea to take my own advice. We don’t give up the things we love to cause suffering, we do it to better ourselves. When we detach ourselves from things that take us away from God, we learn He is our only source of happiness. We don’t need the dessert to put a smile on our face, or the ipad game to bring excitement to our day, and we don’t have to be entertained 24/7. As we sacrifice we turn to our Lord for strength and suddenly we realize how easy life can be. Alone we are so very weak.

It’s also important to give of ourselves during Lent and every day. As we take the focus off of our wants and desires God guides us to others in need. Those sacrificed dinners out save money that can be used to provide basic needs for a homeless family. The time saved from turning off the Television can be spent in prayer for others.

IMG_0573 (1)I need to turn to Katie more often for guidance in this area of life. She suffers physically every day, she misses out on so much in this world, yet she lives so simply with a beautiful smile on her face. Katie just gets it, she doesn’t need material things because she is full of God. I know I have said this before in past blogs, but I find it ironic that I have prayed so hard for her to be cured, yet now I long to be more like her. So as I lay off the snooze button, the chocolate cake and search for more self-control this Lent, I will pray for my soul to be as pure as hers.