I’m sure you’ve heard the news — the vocation of marriage and family is under attack! Divorce is rampant. Less people are even getting married. Addictions are at an all time high. Marital happiness is at an all time low. Scary news, yes, but what is to be done about it? What can I, little ol’ me, possibly do about that? You’ve seen the carnage of marriages around you, maybe even in your own family growing up, and it leaves you fearful.
And maybe your engaged and staring at this awesome and great calling, this awesome and great fiance and wondering, how can my future marriage avoid this crisis? Or how can I as a newly wed build a solid foundation for my vocation? Do I have what it takes to live this well?
Or maybe you’re the new mom, feeling swallowed up by the immensity of the task before you in caring for the life of this new little one. Perhaps your the momma of 3 young kids who is exhausted beyond belief, wondering if there’s more to life than diapers, sippy cups, and Goodnight, Moon. Or could you even be the mother of 5 or more who feels more like you are spinning plates to keep all the kids moving, getting everything done than living the life of joy and fulfillment you expected.
I totally get it. I’ve been there and I’m still there. Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Beth Sri. My husband Ted and I have been married for 18 years and we are parents to eight kids ages 16-1. We live near Denver, Colorado. Our life is crazy, messy, exhausting and beautiful.
For the last year, it’s been heavy on my heart to give back, to offer some small nuggets to you sisters out there who are searching for the hows, whats and whys of Catholic marriage and family. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, not even close. My thoughts, compared to other heavy-weights in the Catholic forums out there, are like kernels of corn blown by the wind. But it could be that that small kernel could be just what you or your friend or your sister might need to be fed and sustained for her part of the journey. So I humbly offer my nuggets of wisdom to you.
But I’ve wrestled with these issues time and time again. It seems that we’ve lost our play book. Many of our mothers didn’t do what we are trying to do. Our grandparents might have but boy has the culture changed since then! We have few role models to look to. Society offers little encouragement. How are we supposed to get ourselves and our husbands to heaven? How do we raise our children to be saints? If the family is in crisis and under attack, then how the heck are we supposed to fight back?
In praying about this, a certain young woman came to mind. A simple “nobody” in rural France who almost single-handedly saved her nation in the face of grave opposition. France had been losing the war and the people had been begging the Lord for a champion. As God typically does, he anointed a lowly one. Joan of Arc took her marching orders straight from God and began her unique, unrepeatable vocation to lead the French army to the defeat of the English.
Faithful to Our Lord and the Blessed mother, she gave her all. Captured by the English, she was imprisoned and eventually burned at the stake as a heretic. Her last word was the name of Jesus.
Her life was one of singular mission and yet, she did not begin by knowing how things would end. She prayed, listened and put one foot in front of the other. She trusted in her call because it came from Jesus. She banished fear because she knew HE was in charge. Radical faith and hope, yes.
Her words speak volumes: “I am not afraid. I was born to do this.” Sisters, let us echo this sentiment. Let’s live this in the here and now.
I AM NOT AFRAID.
Fear is the evil one’s way of paralyzing you. If he can make you afraid, he can keep you from what Our Lord has in mind for you, from what Jesus wants to give you. Fear is debilitating. Let’s check it at the door.
I WAS BORN TO DO THIS.
One word: BOOM! So much here. You were born. You were born here at this place, for this time, for this moment, for this struggle. YOU are anointed. You have a specific mission as a fiancee, a wife, a mom. You are the only one who can do this. You are irreplaceable. You bring a particular sparkle to the light of Christ when you are shining as He intended. You were born to do this vocation. Yes, there is no instruction manual, but there is a person with all the answers, Jesus Christ. Seek Him Out. He waits for you in prayer, in the nearest Catholic church, in the adoration chapel.
So sis, what do you say? Are you up for joining me on this adventure? Subscribe if you’re “in it to win it!” And know that I’m praying for you…