Our Lady and St. Juan Diego

Our Lady and St. Juan Diego

Friday, September 28, 2012

Entrustment to Mary = Trusting in God's Love, Even When I Don't "Deserve" It

My older sister is a Sister in a Franciscan order.  Every three years she travels home for a 2-week visit.  This year, she spread her time out with a few days at our home, a few days at my younger sister’s house and the remainder at our family home with our parents. Our whole family was looking forward to her stay.  My kids were now at an age to appreciate their time with her, and were counting down the days until her arrival with my parents.

So, being the control freak that I am, I went into major “Martha” mode, cleaning everything, grocery shopping, trying to arrange her favorite meals and treats.  I had asked everyone to be on their best behavior (when will I ever learn and let that go?), and create a peaceful environment during her time with us. 

Needless to say, after our joyful reunion followed by my son’s baseball game AND a BBQ AND a late chat session over coffee and dessert, my kids were not in the mood to settle down and go to sleep and prepare for school the next day.  In their bunk beds, my daughters started picking and poking at each other and soon a full on catfight emerged. 

My sister was treated to a dose of our family’s reality, and the peaceful and joyful family illusion I tried to create was shattered. 

I was a bit humiliated, because I could not “control” my daughters into behaving.  They were exhausted and over-stimulated.  I came downstairs to the scene of my sister doing the dishes and cleaning up after our meal.  I told her to stop! That she was our guest!  But she stopped me, letting me know that she just wanted to be part of our everyday lives.  All she wanted out of our visit was to connect with the kids and be part of the family.  I relaxed and thanked God for reminding me once again, through my sister, that I am loved as I am; that I am loved when all is messy and loud.  I am loved even when I clean and polish the exterior tomb (“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.  You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth.  Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.”  Mt 23: 27-28). 

I love how God surprises me with the ways He loves my children.  The next day, my parents and sister did not mention the temper tantrums of the night before.  During the remainder of the visit they focused on loving my children in the present moment, loving them as they are.  They helped with homework, went on walks, treated to ice cream.  My sister organized an early birthday party for my daughter, with decorations, cake baking and my daughter’s favorite dinner.  The day she left, my sister even placed a beautiful note on my daughter’s pillow to find when she went to bed that night.  My daughter misses my sister tremendously, and I believe a lot of that has to do with feeling loved, as she is, not as she so-called “deserves”. 
Yes, God loves my children so much better than I can.  And He loves me, too.  But I have to credit Blessed Mother for accepting God’s love with me.  I am still so much caught up in thinking I have to “deserve” His love.  She helps me see, over and over and over again, that God doesn’t love in the limited way that I do.  She helps me celebrate my awareness of the ugly, as it can convince me that God’s love is beyond my imagination.  “…It is extremely important that you want to stand in truth before God.  Your Lord desires for you to acknowledge your own misery and simultaneously attempt to trust that He does not stop loving you in spite of all your evil that horrifies you.”[1]

[1] S.C. Biela, Behold, I Stand at the Door and Knock, 1st ed. (Fort Collins, CO:  IAMF, 2005), 10-11.  Used with permission.

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