Tag Archives: ego

The Plan

IMG_9710Both Katie and I celebrated birthdays this past week, I turned 42 and Katie 12. These ages make me feel old and bring questions about my purpose in life. Can we say midlife crisis? I’m not currently working outside the home contributing to society or to our household piggy bank, so there are days that I wonder if God wants more from me. Surely He has bigger plans than grocery lists and family meal planning.

Last year, when I started my blog I finally felt I was doing something meaningful, after all these years I was listening to what God wanted for my life. Writing has been an absolute life changer for me, I have opened old wounds and worked to reheal them in a more God centered way. But lately I just feel lost when I try to write. I worry that my words have no direction and that my posts are more like groundhog day simply repeating the same thing over and over. I criticize what I type and think if it were better I would have a million subscribers by now. Then yesterday I was reading my daily devotional Regnum Christi.

“Christ singles out each one of us for a particular mission in life. We might think of many people around us- educated, wise, learned people- who would surely be better suited for the calling at hand, who could do a far better job than we could. However, Christ isn’t looking for the cleverest person, the one with the quickest wit, or the one with the best education. Many times He scrutinizes the corners of the globe for the soul that is innocent, open to His plan,, and willing to carry it out.”                   Regnum Christi 12/1/15

Ok, I hear you God, loud and clear! I so often get confused about God’s plan for me, I think it should be big…huge…some cure cancer mission, but that’s just my ego. I want something outrageous so I can pat myself on the back, with my million subscribers cheering me on.

“Simplicity and humility are the key words when it comes to being chosen by God to participate more actively in his plan of redemption.” Regnum Christi 12/1/15

While I’m worrying about saving the world God says simplify…work locally for now. But so often it’s difficult to know if we are on the right track. I know He knows the plans He has for me, but I haven’t received the nicely typed letter outlining my instructions.

“True Knowledge of Christ and of God is revealed to those who learn to quiet their souls in prayer.” Regnum Christi 12/1/15

So my big fat mouth gets in the way? Who knew? I talk to God alot about my plan and how I want Him to help me, but I don’t listen enough. When I look past myself and stop questioning the words God gives me to type, when I forget about me and listen to God, He always shows me a better plan.IMG_9759 (1) Just like in my struggles to be the best mommy to Katie. Acceptance of her disabilities was not easy because it wasn’t a part of MY plan. But once I stepped out of my small mindedness I saw her for who she was, God’s precious messenger.

“God asks us to be like the Old Testament Prophets, planting seeds of redemption that may not sprout for years. We, like the prophets, aren’t always given the grace to see the entire picture.”             Regnum Christi 12/1/15

Less is more, simple is better. I think God is telling me to keep doing what I’m doing because if just one person is touched by Katie’s story, it matters. He doesn’t call each of us to fame and noterity for our contributions, but He does call each of to do our part and to me that means using my gifts and my struggles to share His great love.

The Greatest of these is LOVE

How do you connect with someone who can’t talk, who can’t say I love you, who can’t even look you in the eye? And how do you love someone you can’t connect with? Before I had Katie I often asked those questions when I would meet a person who had severe disabilities. I couldn’t understand how you could build a relationship with someone who couldn’t talk. I also remember a phone conversation with my sister when Katie was a newborn, before we knew the extent of her disabilities. I said, “I can handle a lot, but I don’t think I can deal with this if she can’t talk. She has to be able to talk!!” Fast forward 11 years and Katie has never spoken a single word, but she communicates love like no one else.photo (7)

To answer these questions we have to understand what it means to truly love. On Valentine’s Day a few years ago I was listening to a homily by Father Robert Barron. He was talking about 1st Corinthians 13. You know, the one about love that you’ve heard at most every wedding you have ever been to. It was read at our wedding, but I had never taken the time to study what each verse meant.

“If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything that I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Love is the center of everything. We can have all the things this world has to offer and all the things God has to offer, but if we don’t know how to love, none of it matters. Love is to will the good of other people. When I heard that statement I instantly thought of my parents.photo (6) They love me so intensely just like that, and never expect anything in return. They taught me how to love Katie with an unconditional love. If we are kind to others just so they will like us, or bring someone dinner in hopes they will return the favor or give a gift knowing they will give us one back, we are thinking about ourselves. We have ulterior motives, not love. When we put other’s happiness in front of our own we are showing pure love.

“Love is patient, love is kind.”

I lose my patience with Katie just like with my typical kids and it’s always because I am putting myself ahead of her. I want things done on my own time frame and according to my will. This is a tough one with a special needs child because very few things happen the way I want them to. Milestones are not met, outings are cancelled because she is sick, therapy sessions are cut short because she isn’t cooperating. If I were loving as God wants, my emotions wouldn’t be a factor. If we take ourselves out of the equation and look at what the other person needs, patience comes flowing out of our love for them. And kindness is the expression of this patient love.

“It is not jealous, is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests…”

Jealousy isn’t a factor in my relationship with Katie or my other kids, but it does rear its ugly head in other relationships and it always comes from my ego. When someone else has more, does something better or just seems happier than us, we automatically feel less than. When in actuality their accomplishment has nothing to do with us at all. If you are a parent think about how good it feels to find out your child has succeeded at something. Then think about the same scenario with someone you are not as fond of, the accomplishment stings a bit. But we are called to love everyone, even those who don’t always make us smile. Jealousy usually leads to gossip, because if we can find someone to agree with us we inflate our own ego…the opposite of love.

“… it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrong doing but rejoices with the truth.”

Being Katie’s mommy requires a lot of one on one work teaching her very basic things, sometimes she does great and others not so much. At times when she has more difficulty learning I get frustrated, quick tempered…why? Because I feel like I am failing, I’m not doing enough to help her. What is that? You guessed it, my ego. It’s not about me, it’s about her and doing all things for her with love and not focusing on the results. Think about a time when someone really ticked you off. Then think about the root of that anger, it likely had something to do with your ego. But if we love properly we are not focused on our own feelings and we let insults roll off our back, because it’s not about us.

“It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

It is hard to bear other peoples struggles, sometimes I just want to leave the room when Katie is sobbing inconsolably. Sometimes I do walk out for a breather, but I try to stay by her side, bearing her pain, enduring her suffering because I love her. photo (8)When we love others we are ready to bear anything for them. When they are in pain, we endure that pain too because we are focused on helping them not on our own self-interest. I have great hope for Katie, I have no idea if she will ever speak or walk independently, but I have hope, there is always hope. We have hope for those we love, hope that they will realize that life is about growing in their love for Christ, hope that they realize staying stagnant in their faith walk is never enough for God.

“Love never fails.”

God is love and God is eternal. If we love the way we are called to by God, there is nothing in this world that will end it. That’s a bold statement because people hurt us all the time. But again love is not concerned with our hurt, it’s focused on others. God calls us to love everyone even our enemies, it is His greatest commandment.

“If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing. For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.”

Father Barron explains this passage as a comparison to our spiritual immaturity. When I was a child, obsessed with myself, with wealth and worldly pleasures I spoke only of that and did not have God as my priority. When I became a man, I put God first, I realized He is the only thing that matters. He also says this passage compares earth to heaven. We only know partially here in our flesh, but in heaven we will know fully and it will be more beautiful than we can even imagine.

“So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

cropped-lA2.jpgSo how do I love Katie when she can’t say it back? Because I LOVE her, I bear her pain, I want what’s best for her, I know it is not about me and what she can do for me. It is the essence of unconditional love. That is the beautiful gift Katie has given me, teaching me that love can be so perfect when we humble ourselves and put our own ego aside for the good and benefit of someone else.