Tag Archives: Catholic

The Fire inside

I could feel the warmth of God filling my soul and an overwhelming reassurance that God was so proud for Katie to receive His body. This moment occurred on a recent Sunday as I pushed Katie in her wheelchair to receive Holy Communion. The feeling was surreal and truly difficult to put into words. As we went back to our seats the feeling became even stronger, I could see it in the eyes of my friends and people I don’t even know. After mass a dear friend came up to me and said she was so moved as she watched Katie receive communion, she felt it too, the presence of the Holy Spirit.

I haven’t always been so open with sharing Katie. When she was younger I truly just didn’t know how to handle public outings, pushing her wheelchair to the altar wasn’t something I would have even considered. At that point in my life the constant stares cut right through me and I just didn’t know how to handle that pain. But today the Holy Spirit gives me courage.

I remember the day I first received that strength. When Katie was 8 years old she started preparing for her First Holy Communion sacrament in Sunday School. This is when children learn about the true meaning of Jesus’s body being present in the Eucharist, after 9 months of preparation they receive His body for the first time.photo (3) It was a very special day, but it was the first times we pushed Katie to the altar in front of our entire church. It seems so silly now after doing it a million times, but then I wasn’t where I am now. At that moment I had to get passed some real fears, I had to stop worrying about what other people thought. I did and that day the Holy Spirit paid me a very special visit, giving me the courage and strength I needed to start sharing Katie more with others.

“When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.” Acts 2:1-4

After Jesus’ crucifixion the disciples were hiding in the upper room fearing for their lives until The Holy Spirit came upon them. They needed this gift of courage to go out and spread Gods word to the world. We also receive the Holy Spirit at Baptism for the same exact reason. It stays with us forever, but I sometimes forget. Before this moment I was like the disciples hiding Katie in the upper room fearing what would happen when we went out. But God was ready for me to image1 (8)start spreading His name through her life and as He always does, at just the right moment, He gave me what I needed.

I know it is no coincidence that these moments of beauty and strength have occurred during communion because Jesus is present and when we consume His body amazing things happen.

“Amen, Amen I say to you unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.” John 6:53-54

I have to admit as a cradle Catholic I didn’t always see the Eucharist with the clarity that I do today. It is not something that is easy to understand. I remember learning in my own First Communion preparation class that in the middle of mass when the priest holds the large round piece of bread up over his head and repeats the words that Jesus spoke at The Last Supper, that at that moment God transformed that bread into Jesus’ body. But it wasn’t until I truly became mature in my faith that I understood this magnificent gift that God offers me every day of the year.

“For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him” John 6:56

Many of Jesus’ followers left when they heard these words because it was just not something they could conceive in their minds. Some things are black and white and easy to understand. But the deeper truths that God wants us to see are not as easily believed. That is why God gives image3 (6)us faith, somethings I just have to trust.

The source of that trust comes from precious moments where I feel the Holy Spirit in a very tangible way, like this recent Sunday and the one on Katie’s First Communion. I hate to think of the times I missed the Holy Spirit earlier in life before I was paying attention. I believe God touches us all the time in ways like these, we just have to be present in the moment to recognize that it is God.  I feel so incredibly blessed to have those moments where I feel God wrapping his loving arms around us and confirming that we are on His path.

My Not so Normal Life

What is normal? To me it is typically everything that we are not…going out to eat for a family dinner, going to the movies as a family, everyone piling in our bed to watch Saturday morning cartoons. I felt like I was looking out of our window at everyone else living the life I wanted to live. I was in a much better state of mind at this point, but I grew bitter and jealous of everyone around me. The sad part was I didn’t even realize it.

At church I joined our MOMS group (ministry of mothers sharing). This group of ladies is like no other I’ve ever met. Although, people come and go, the group is so clearly led by the Holy Spirit. Before I had Lexi I attended a few meetings, but it just made me sad, in the mommy category I had nothing in common with these ladies. But once my life was more “normal” I opened my heart. And thank God I did because this ministry has changed my life.

We gather once a week and share our faith walk through book studies, outreach programs, and other fun mommy topics. I had never met a group of Catholic women who seemed so dedicated to their faith. Before MOMS group my Catholic faith was something dear to me, but I had never taken the time to really learn why we do what we do. In the Catholic faith there is ALOT to know. We have many rituals and deep beliefs that were founded by Jesus Himself. But I didn’t know all of this, it was just something I did because I always had.  No matter what your belief system is there is so much to learn, we should all know exactly why we believe every single thing we believe. It’s not enough to just go through the motions, I know that first hand because when in crisis I was completely lost.

“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion.” 2 Peter 1:5

image (15)We had a taste of normalcy with Lexi and we were ready for more…more kids. In the world of special needs parenting the most difficult of all time subjects is who will take care of my child when I’m no longer on this earth. I am her only mommy, the only one who will ever love her with a mother’s love. If I’m not here, who will make sure her hair is brushed out of her face, who will give her ‘I love you’ ear kisses at night before bed, who will make sure she is loved and knows Gods love, who will make sure she has dignity every day of her life. That is often handed down to siblings. But that is a tall order for one, so maybe Lexi needs a brother or sister? I know that may not sound like the most loving reason to bring a child into this world, and there was much more thought and prayer that went into it, but in this special needs world practicality is a must.

When an ultrasound revealed we were having a boy, I nearly fell off the table. I wanted a boy, but never thought it would happen. Andrew Paul Crook, was born 5 days after Jesus’ birthday and he loves his sister in a way only he could. image (14)He always gives her kisses and wants to make sure she’s okay. But I worry, is that too much pressure for my children, will they feel burdened? And God asks, “Do you feel burdened” (No!) “I gave them what they need”.  But still the emotions surrounding this subject always bring fear.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

This new baby brought great joy, but another child also brought great stress. And this particular boy was a wild one. I adore Drew, but he has always been a handful, for goodness sake he broke his arm before he was even 2 years old. image (13)I began to loose my footing by putting way too much pressure on myself. Katie needs more therapy, she’s not communicating or walking, it’s my fault, my kids need to eat healthy and watch less TV, Lexi needs to know all of her letters before 4K , is Andy happy?, I need to be exercising more and on and on the spiraling thoughts went. It always ended in explosion. I was yelling alot! I’m talking snow monster from the movie Frozen yelling, you know the part, “AND DON’T COME BACK!!” I was not being the mother I wanted to be, so a friend recommended an amazing therapist.

I discovered that I was stalled in a grief stage. What? Katie was 8 years old, wasn’t I over this yet? She helped me realize that each new stage in life brings new challenges and I will go through this grieving period at each new discovery…(Great!) But once I realized I was grieving over this picture of a normal family life I wanted so badly, I started to heal. She helped me see that what everyone else has is not what it appears and probably not so normal. You know, the grass is not always greener on the other side. I’ve come to know that every single one of us struggle with something and when we look at each other some of those struggles are more obvious, but just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they are not there. Ken and Barbie are not perfect! And the really cool thing is that God customizes us for our own struggles. I will keep mine thank you very much and you can have yours because that’s the way God wants it.

Next post I will talk about a very NORMAL moment in life that altered everything about me…for the better.