Tuesday, January 8, 2013

What Following Christ has Taught Me about Being a Parent

Today I read the gospel reading for mass. It was the loaves and fishes reading out of Mark. (Mk 6:34-44) Many things struck me at once, much like a wave overcoming you and then washing over you in the ocean. "This is what I need to be doing!" It was an epiphany, perhaps in keep with Sunday's feast.

First I have to tell you a bad habit I'd gotten into. When overwhelmed I wouldn't become angry or frustrated that I had so much on my plate, I'd get frustrated that I was inadequate to handle it. I hear people say, "God never gives you more than you can handle." and this phrase makes me so angry.
1. I don't believe God causes tradgedy and thus does not "give" us heartache; and
2. Yes, sometimes life IS more than we can handle and it is God Himself who gives us the grace and the resources to work through it.
So my frustration was not so much that God allowed difficult things in my life to all hit at once, but that it seemed that God was NOT giving me the grace to work through it. I'd lose my temper at the kids and blame God, I'd get no sleep and be rude to my sick husband and blame God. Mariana wouldn't cooperate and I would feel so upset and helpless and blame God I wasn't able to be more pragmatic. 

And then I read this reading.

There are so many depth to be explored in this reading, but what struck me this morning was this; the disciples seemed really annoyed  when Jesus asked them to feed the crowd. Jesus told them to bring what they had, and from there he blessed what they did have and it was MORE THAN ENOUGH. (I also get totally distracted sometimes and wonder what they did with those 12 baskets of left overs. It's the mom in me.)

What does this have to do with me? Sometimes I realize how I'm feeling before I react. Sometimes, many times actually, I act out of frustrations even after noticing, "Uh, I'm sooo frustrated!" And it is those times, those exact times when it seems like I have 5,000 to care for, when I must stop and say, "Lord, all I have is one more minute of patience left, but here, you can have it."

What I know from experience is that 15 or 30 seconds into it I will be inspired on what to do. Sometimes I think, "I'm just going to play a bored game with these kids to get them to settle." Sometimes I think to give them each a task and a reward if they complete the task in a given time. Sometimes I realize the particularly troublesome kid woke up after breakfast and hadn't eaten yet. Yes, God just takes that last drop of patience and he extends it, inspires me on what I must focus, and gives me the grace to focus on just what is in front of me rather than the whole To Do list.

The key, of course, is to be a disciple and bring him what you do have, little and insignificant though it may be, and let Him bless it and multiply it. All you and I have to do is distribute it. I will bet we have some left over to get the rest of our tasks accomplished. 12 baskets of laundry perhaps?

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