Posts tagged ‘Prayer’

December 14, 2011

Your Rod and Staff Comfort Me

Over the past few months, we’ve heard a lot of tough news in our circles. Friends have lost a mother, a grandmother, a grandfather, and just yesterday we learned that friends of friends lost their two-year-old son. He went to sleep Sunday night and didn’t wake up Monday morning. What grief, what pain.


As we remember these families in our rosary each evening, I am struck by how fleeting life can be, how quickly it can end. Since Jacob was born, this sort of news, and the idea of our family without John or Jacob—or me—can frighten me so much I am almost paralyzed. We need to make the most of every moment. Should I have been cross with Jacob when he didn’t listen earlier? Should I have spent the afternoon working and only occasionally reading to or playing with him?  Was it really more important that dinner was made than that I gave Jacob an extra eight million hugs?


But living lodged in fear that way means not living at all. Jacob needs to be disciplined, because we have the hope of his living a long and happy life. I need to do my work, because I have been blessed with a fruitful business and it is my responsibility to help it to grow. And let’s be honest, we need to eat.


When I think of someone ill or passing, I can’t help but think of the moment that person was born and the moments that person’s children were born, if they were a parent, too. How little we can think of the end of life when it is so new, and rightfully so, of course. But when you have the perspective to look back on a whole life like that—wow. It brings you to your knees.


In considering this and reflecting on what the season of Advent means during a walk around the park yesterday, I could only think of how much more I need to live the joy in my life. Being mired in the fear of what could happen, what someday will happen, means not being truly grateful for what is before me, in my home, in my arms, in my heart.


To make that more tangible for me, the other side of the coin is making itself known in our prayer intentions as well. Our list of families who are expecting children is approaching the status of litany.  And while this is no comfort for those who have lost loved ones recently, there is a very important breed of hope embedded in there.


A couple of lines from a hymn have stuck with me this Advent: “How silent all rebellion! / How loud the angels’ praise!” In the end, there is God and there is love, and all the rest will pass away, so I’d better praise what is worth being praised every chance I get.


If you’re interested in helping out the family who lost their little boy, here’s a link to a fundraising effort through the end of the year:

September 1, 2011

Detective Mommy

Being a parent means taking on a whole lot of roles—chef, chauffeur, public relations specialist, maid, and so on.  With the diagnosis of Jacob’s allergies, we took on the role of detective as well, and so far, it’s one of my least favorites.

Although the allergist did a skin test to determine what Jacob is allergic to, there’s no test to tell how and to what degree his reactions are going to manifest themselves.  No test other than trial and error, that is.

Thankfully, we have a good pediatrician and allergist working with us to figure out how the little man’s system works.  But all the information they get essentially comes from me.  I need to know when he reacted, what might have caused the reaction, and track how effective our treatment was.  I think I should be writing down more of this than I am. In my own defense, it was overwhelming at first to consider recording every food we ate, everything he touched, every sign of dry or itchy skin.  I felt like I’d be writing down every moment of our lives, and then there was still a chance I’d miss something.

For me, this is where prayer comes in. Parenting in general, and tending to Jacob’s allergies in particular, are tasks far greater than John and I can successfully accomplish on our own.  Every day we need grace, we need strength, and we need perspective.

If I believe in the value of any daily activity—besides eating and breathing—it’s prayer.  When I’m frustrated, when I’m anxious, when I don’t think I can wrap my head around the giant responsibility on my shoulders, I can turn to Someone else.  John and I are not doing this alone, and when I take the time to admit that, to be thankful for that, I am inevitably rewarded with a humungous dose of perspective.

Dealing with Jacob’s allergies has been humbling.  There’s only so much I can know and so much I can do as a parent.  I’m not always going to have the right answer.  The best I can do is make sure I have my head on straight (i.e. don’t freak out because I can’t find wheat-free English muffins in Park Slope) and then trust, trust, trust.

I went to Confession last weekend and the priest rightly told me I needed to pray more.  “God wants to help you; He will help you,” he said. Time and again my experience has proven he’s exactly right.

Jacob’s allergies are not the end of the world, but even if they were, I know I have a help, a rock, a stronghold to see me through.


July 14, 2011

Somewhere to Lay Our Heads

One surefire way to test the limits of your faith in God is to apartment hunt in New York.

We knew we needed a new apartment five months ago, but could only really start looking the last week of June, because of the way the market works in New York.  Even then, barely anything worth seeing was listed before the Fourth of July holiday weekend.  We found something great within two days of determined searching—but it was two days of searching after five months of waiting.  Our friends commented that our search seemed short, but for me it felt like forever.

The search was a good reminder of how important it is to trust in God, how without that trust, life can easily take a downward spiraling journey to the borderlines of despair.  I was stressed and thought about virtually nothing else for a couple of weeks, all the while trying to keep in mind the same verse that came to me when I wasn’t sure my business was going anywhere:

“Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.”  Matthew 6:28-29

By God’s grace, I reminded myself to keep thinking of the lilies and know that God had gotten us this far, and He certainly isn’t going to stop helping us now. It seems that the good things in life are always the ones that come with struggles.  If that really is the case, then the anxiety suurounding this hunt meant we were in for something great.

We scoured a couple of rental search engines online for the first week of July—it’s really the only way to do it, we’ve found.  You can’t just use one realtor, because they may not have all the listings, and there’s always a chance that your dream apartment will be a no-broker’s-fee listing.  Plus, all the really good ones are snapped up in about twenty-four hours, so you need to be on your toes. If something’s posted for more than a few days, you figure there’s got to be something wrong with it.

As a token of our search, here’s a list of the apartments we saw online and didn’t even bother to view in person.

These all fell within our approximately twenty-block radius, had two or three bedrooms, and were priced within our range, which swung about $500 wide.

With these out of the running, not too much else was left.  Among what remained were the apartments we made appointments to view, only to trek there (with Jacob . . . although not at nine p.m.) and find no realtor, no phone call, no text message, no nothing.  Then there were the ones for which we didn’t even get a response to our call, or text, or email.  Frustrating!

Finally, we found it.  It wasn’t one we called about (called something like six times and texted once) because that one had an application in on it by the time we got a return call, but another unit that had just been listed.  We saw it as soon as possible—John rushed to Brooklyn from Manhattan once I told him it was a good one—and fourteen hours later (sleeping in between), with a just-baked banana bread in hand, we signed the lease.

Our new apartment is in a better location than I ever dreamed of—the good supermarket is at one end of the block; our Sunday church is at the other.  The good bagel place is right around the corner.  A fancy food market is just four blocks away, the little kid playground at the park is super close, and apparently it’s in a very desirable school district, should we still be there when we need that.  The living room and dining room feel like one wide open space, which we love, and the backyard (that’s right, backyard in Brooklyn!) is not only deeper than any other we’d seen, but it also already has a swing set assembled there.  Have I shared how much Jacob loves swings?  Almost as much as he loves beef.

Oh, and there’s room to grill, so double-win for J-money.

This week, I’m feeling like a lily.  God has cared for us, provided for us, and shown me yet again the awesome power of prayer and faith in Him.


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