CWBN Blog Hop – Human Imperfection in the Vocation of Marriage

Happy Freezing January Y’all.

Can I just share with you that the media hyped up the invisible Snow again? It is so cold here (for Texas) and was in the 20’s this morning. But so dry and cold, we have no white stuff. BOOO. But we are in our home and getting things done – because here, if there is NOT snow, there is no point in playing outside in the cold.  Can we agree on that? LOL
I am joining up with Allison Gingras and crew for the CWBN Blog Hop. It’s a monthly, blog post geared toward a pointed topic. And it’s awesome. This month’s topic… Exploring Vocations – From the Religious Life, to Married Life, and Beyond 
I’m a convert, so I am going to attempt to do this subject justice. Here’s my post:
First of all, let’s start with the definition of Vocation as deemed so by Merriam-Webster, just to show the difference between secular definitions and that of the Catholic Church.

As Catholics, we believe that the word vocation “is the calling or destiny we have in this life and the hereafter. God has created the human person to love and serve Him; the fulfillment of this vocation is eternal happiness….” The definition continues and is on page 903 in the glossary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition. Additionally, in the CCC, there are over 30 entries in the index explaining the word Vocation and what it means to Catholics. In fact, here is roughly a third of the Index under the word Vocation (pg. 857, CCC).
I highlighted 2a above in the Mirriam-Webster dictionary, because to be honest with you, before I met my husband I had gone away from the Church in terms of regularity, and I though my vocation was Event Planner/Executive Admin, because in the secular world that was my vocation. 
When we first married, I know we loved each other and wanted to be married, and we went through counseling with the Pastor at the Lutheran church, and talked about marriage. But I don’t think we ever really got how sacred the Sacrament of Marriage was until it all almost fell apart. 
When we got married, we were Lutheran. In fact, I was going to RCIA and he didn’t want to be Catholic, so since I was Lutheran, we stayed there. He got Baptized and we got married. But neither of us knew the Vocation. Neither of us ever had Godly examples… I mean no one ever talked to me about becoming a Nun/Sister, nor did anyone talk to my husband about becoming a Priest. In my family, girls got married and didn’t have a college education (for the most part). And we certainly didn’t have examples of what a solid vocation to Marriage or Parenthood would look like. So our marriage was rough for a long while.
Don’t get me wrong, we spent plenty of time together. We were a career couple. We threw dinner parties, and worked on my fertility issues. And when we were finally able to conceive and carry to term – most of my focus switched to my child. Yes, when my husband was home (he traveled a lot, including two tours in Iraq), he was fed and cared for. But my true focus was mothering my son. I’d waited till I was 40 to have him. I’d been through miscarriages and so much disappointment…. that when I finally became a stay home mom – I took my planning and organizational skills and became Chief Home Officer – and not in a great way. HA Looking back makes me want to laugh and cry. Sigh.
We were so unhappy! Both so determined to have our own ways. Both trying to work through bad things from childhood, and him from past marriages. We put everything but each other first. God allowed us to tear it down so we could rebuild it. I’ll not go into more detail because that is not the point of this post. But when God reveals His plan to you, for you, YOU need to be open to listening. Against all odds, we are happily married, imperfect as we are, because we believe in God’s calling and His Rules for marriage.
Through so much prayer and hard work, we know that the vocation of marriage is:
  • praying with your husband when his only biological spouse dies and he feels alone because he can’t find his birth mother. Not, yelling at him because he’s short with you.
  • taking care of the home front when your husband is away in Iraq, and putting aside your fears so that you can function.
  • laughing with your spouse when your four month old child, who has reflux has vomited so violently on you that your glasses come off and there is an outline of your person on the pastel, plaid, oversized comfy chair with floral pillows, and when he comes in from running to get ice cream and finds a trail of clothes on the way to the bathroom and you and said child in the bath. The looks on all our faces! ha
  • trying a new recipe and epically failing.
  • laughing till you cry.
  • crying till you laugh.
  • a range of emotions you never knew existed.
  • praying endless prayers for each other and your children, families, friends, our world.
  • facing special needs of your child head on and not letting them tear a wedge between you.
  • overcoming the grief of infant loss, the loss of your parents and many other types of loss AND still finding time to care for one-another. 
  • tending to one-another in sickness, surgical recovery, etc.
  • mending childhood scars of your spouse.
  • raising Godly children and not letting their needs come between your needs as a man and woman.
  • knowing that no matter what transpires you are not alone and you are loved, if only by your spouse.
  • balancing everything life throws at you and knowing that God ordained this crazy mess of a life and that you will get through it as long as you stay strong.
  • …. and so much more.
We have been together almost twenty years and married for 19 this Summer. And perhaps the biggest thing we know about marriage is this:
We are called to put nothing before our Spouses, except for God. When we are true to the bonds of our vocation, which is Holy Matrimony, our divine calling from the Lord, we build marriages with God at the head of them and with NOTHING between spouses except their shared love and devotion. 

Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.”

Please don’t ask me if I am perfect. I’m not. Neither is he. But we have come a long way and we are on a holy path… it may have lots of turns or bumps, but it’s a path y’all, that we never thought we’d be blessed enough to be on. We love Jesus, and our Faith… and as Mother Angelica says:

As for the other vocations, my sister bloggers will tell you about those. In every Catholic home we talk about vocations because we know that we are all called to work for God, and increase in holiness while seeking His will for us….ultimately leading us to heaven. 
I chose to share the imperfection of humanity in my post about marriage because someone, somewhere, needs to know they aren’t alone. They need to know that just because marriage is hard, and maybe failing in some ways, that you can turn it around by changing yourself, whilst praying for your spouse. Imperfections are like clay to God, let him sculpt your marriage. Whoever you are..
Lastly, here is a great link with prayers for Vocations – USCCB Prayers for Vocations. The one I like is this one:

Loving and Generous God,it is You who call us by name and ask us to follow You. Help us to grow in the Love and Service of our Church as we experience it today.
Give us the energy and courage of Your Spirit to shape its future
Grant us faith-filled leaders who will embrace Christ’s Mission of love and justice.
Bless the Catholic Church by raising up dedicated and generous leaders from our families and friendswho will serve Your people as Sisters, Priests, Brothers, Deacons and Lay Ministers.
Inspire us to know You better and open our hearts to hear Your call.
We ask this through our Lord.

I’m excited to read the other blog posts. Please go to Allison’s blog and check out all of the other bloggers in the CWBN Blog Hop. There is so much talent! And if you like a post, leave a comment. Bloggers LOVE that!
Have a great day all, and thanks for stopping by.
Love, Hugs & Blessings,

Mother Teresa – My Friend, My Mentor, A Saint

Happy Canonization Day Sweet Saint Teresa of Calcutta.
I’m so happy for you and proud of you, you dear, sweet lady!

Your love and sweetness live on all over the world – thank you for being salt & light! Sigh!
Of all the pictures I’ve ever seen of her, these are my favorites:

I love these pictures because you can see the love. It’s a great reminder to BE THE ONE! BE THE LOVE! BE THE HOPE! BE THE SMILE! BE THE LIGHT! 

For the past week or so, everywhere we look, as Catholics people are giving the History of and listing the Quotes of Mother Teresa… which I have thoroughly enjoyed re-reading. Bloggers and artists and stores, they want us to buy the things they have depicting this great Saint… and we do… and I did!  And to tell you the truth, I had a similar post written, but I don’t want MY post to be like everyone else’s, so I want you to hear my heart on this one.

I first saw Mother Teresa, she was with Saint (then Pope) John Paul II.  I had heard of her here and there… but I was young and she was on the other side of the world, and I was still pretty non-committed to living my life FULLY the right way. Sigh. The next time I remembered seeing her was with Princess Diana. I knew a little about her, other than articles I read here and there.  Everyone was fascinated with her. She brought the plight of the poor in Calcutta to the forefront, in my opinion. And she was always smiling.

It wasn’t until I dug deeper that I learned about how scared and lost she was just like me. Not because of the same situations, but still – we have that in common. You see, God is not always OBVIOUS in our hearts and minds.  And she didn’t even know for sure He was with her. She couldn’t feel HIS presence… “not even in the Eucharist”.  She had a huge crisis of Faith and she kept on serving and giving because THAT is what she knew how to do.  None of us ever knew it. When I read this about her, I was so deeply and personally touched by that.

Can you imagine how scared she was? How lost she felt? And she persevered. We could all see God in her. We could all see Him all around her. No doubt He was there all along, but she could not feel Him. Scary! God blessed her heart though. He showed her. And I’m so happy for her.

I will share with you that I have been there. I have had crisis of faith moments, days, weeks, months… I know God is here. But I can’t feel him. I push away because I feel so very unworthy.  My life has been full of strife, abuse, etc… and there have been many times it sure was hard to even feel like there was a God. I used to say to myself, “how can you possibly really be a Christian if you doubt so much?” “Maybe you really are NOT a good enough Catholic for God to embrace  you!”  “After all, I thought I was Catholic, and practiced for decades, and I wasn’t.” “Was God angry with me that He let so many bad things happen to me?” And my sweet friend and Mentor came into my life when I needed her most.

Mother Teresa was instrumental in helping me TRULY forgive myself for having an abortion. I thought I had forgiven myself with the help of Father Henry, but it wasn’t until I read her speech on abortion that she gave in DC, where I realized no matter what I did, God still loved me. He made me… He loves me. HERE is a blog post I did where I include that speech (It’s long, look for the blue lettering).

Look at her face, how loving she is in the pictures. When I think of her, I picture her rough hands around mine, her wrinkly sweet face with the loving eyes, saying, “come with me child, walk in my steps. Don’t give up on yourself, God won’t. I won’t. It’s ok!”

If I was going to write her a letter, it would look like this:

Dear Blessed Mother Teresa,

You were a living Saint and now your day has come that you will forevermore be Saint Teresa of Calcutta. We all knew you were going to be a Saint.  I’m so sorry that you lived your life scared and in a dark place. But I’m so thankful that you share this part of your life so that people like me, who have dark periods, can be assured that God is with us.
Thank you for your example. Thank you for your love of God.  Please continue to watch over me. Pray for me and all our brothers and sisters. Congratulations!

Love you dearly, Emily

I am still a work-in-progress. I need more humility, less ego. I need more patience (ACTUAL patience, not trials to learn it)…. I need to keep busy in better ways and get things done. I need to believe God when He says he loves me and put the past behind me… boy, I have so much work to do. Sigh. But through Saints like her, I know I am not alone. They worked, they struggled, they went through everything I did and more… and they are SAINTS! It gives me so much HOPE!  She’s my friend, She’s my Mentor, She’s a SAINT! Glory be to God!

I’m so excited for today. I already have these things at home. It’s a Saint Teresa of Calcutta Back Pack Zipper Pull and Card. SaongJai is one of my favorite shops on Etsy. Anyway… The card is in my son’s room and the pull is on my Bible Cover.  YAY

Additionally, I wanted to tell ya’ll about an Instagram giveaway that Adrianna at @Mylittlefeltfriends is having with a group of Catholic Crafters.  The items are pictured below. Go visit her on FaceBook to learn how to enter at My Little Felt Friends!
Thank you for reading my post. Saint Teresa of Calcutta, PRAY FOR US! May we live our lives in love and mercy like you did, even in the dark times.
Hugs & Blessings, Dear Ones!