My Ministry of Motherhood

2016-07-23-13.17.36 I recently revealed on my Quintessential Family blog that I finally bought a copy of Sally Clarkson’s The Ministry of Motherhooda book that had long been on my wish list.

Designed as a 6-week study, which can be taken as lightly as an inspiring read or as in-depth as a graded homework assignment, I’ve challenged myself to give The Ministry of Motherhood considerable priority in my life and share my journey along the way.

Since finding what I refer to as my “God voice” [found, in part, by reading a previous book of Clarkson’s, The Mission of Motherhood], I have become an eager student, both in terms of listening for God’s call in my life and bending toward those gentle nudges that seem always to steer me  in the right direction at the right time in my life.  After years of waiting, and not always with such great patience, God gave me a perfectly designed family.  While not one in my family of six children is perfect, I truly trust God’s design in my life and believe that my family as it was given to me is in a most perfect union with God’s mission as He intends it to be.

“Act as if everything depended on you; trust as if everything depended on God.”-St. Ignatius

Speaking of God’s design, I’ve been thinking a lot about God’s purpose when he designed the role of a mother.  I mean, God certainly didn’t need a caretaker, as he was (still is) well-suited for that role himself.  What he seems to have needed foremost in a mother was a comforter, someone to serve the biggest needs of human kind — someone to carefully re-tie our unravelled heart strings and mend the broken and worn parts of our inner (and sometimes outer) selves, someone to serve and guide and give of themselves almost as completely as God himself.

It seems to me that the very act of mothering begins when women give their bodies to their growing babes before birth and does not end until, well, does it ever end?  Even for women, such as myself, who as adoptive mothers were unable to lend their bodies to their babes before birth, mothering is still an act of giving, guiding, and growing.  We are called by God to minister to the needs of our children, be it in the physical, emotional, or spiritual sense.

If our primary job is to minister to the needs of our children, then we are essentially engaged in a ministry of God’s own choosing.

Psalm 127:3,  suggests that children “are a gift from the LORD, the fruit of the womb, a reward.” And although the psalm refers to son for the simple reason that sons were a sign of prosperity in those days,  what the psalm really seems to imply is that prosperity in any form comes from God, not from man.

In my next MOM (Ministry of Motherhood) post, I’d like to explore what Proverbs 31:10-31 might look like in the modern day.  I’d also like to share some ways in which we, as mothers, can build our houses, as inspired by Proverbs 14:1.

In the meantime, keep the following GIFTS acronym in mind as you move through your “mother” of a Monday…

G is for the gift of grace. How might we, as mothers, extend God’ grace on our children?  How might we give “the kind of undeserved, but freely given love and favor that comes from God.” (Clarkson, p. 15)

I is for the gift of inspiration. How can we inspire our children to “do what God wants in their lives?”

F is for the gift of faith.  How much do we model our faith in our daily lives, fuel the faith of our children on days in which we are not surrounded by our Church community?

T is for the gift of training. How are we training our children to live?  What character traits and habits are important to us? Important to God?

S is for the gift of service. How do we minister to others in our lives? What are we doing to prepare the hearts and hands of our children for service toward others?

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Slowing Down

Slow down sign, Reed College, Portland, Oregon (2013)We recently had a new priest assigned to our parish. Amidst the changes inherent to having a new priest, I watched my three new altar-servers-in-training bravely negotiate the changes with the finesse of a ship sailing through calm sees. The biggest change is simply the emphasis on slowing down and being mindful in their service to God. It’s a task that Father Kitzhaber emphasized to all of us during his Sunday homily: Our being mindful in our adoration of the Lord, in our receiving the Eucharist, in our devotion to one another.

As members of the Church, we are called to be servants of God through our everyday interactions with one another, living, loving, and slowing down like Jesus. Slowing down to…

…be present
…take pause and reflect
…see where there is need

“Martha, Martha, you worry and fret about so many things and yet few are needed, indeed only one. It is Mary who has chosen the better part, it is not to be taken from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)

Like Martha, we can rush through life and try to get everything done. Or like Mary, we can focus on getting just one thing done right. The ONE thing done right.


On Seeing God Everyday…

“God is not demanding that I be successful on my own. He’s calling me to be faithful and to trust Him for the results, which may not look like what I was expecting.”(Sarah Mackenzie, Teaching from Rest, p. 9).

My one-minute reflection on today’s Hello Morning’s reading from the Life on Purpose bible study (Judges 13:12-18):

In the FB group that I belong to (a special-interest Hello Morning’s group), the group’s moderator asked, “How do you feel frustrated today in [losing] yourself amidst life with kids – or how can you be encouraged by the job you are doing, even when it seems no one see “who you are?”

What I captured most from today’s readings was the insight to see God’s presence in the ordinary moments of my day. If we keep in mind how much we are serving Him, I think we come face to face with our most truest identity…that of God’s faithful servant.

How many times am I (are we?) like Manoah and fail to see that we are in the presence of the Lord?  And if we could see, what would we change? About ourselves? About the way we respond to others?

Blessings for a beautiful Monday!

From Disappointment to Delight

2016-04-17 09.30.31
My smiling server (front, right)

My oldest son, who is almost 10 and in the 4th grade, became an altar server in January.  From the very beginning, his face has been so happy, so full of life when he is serving God. He’s says that it is his favorite thing to do. Of. all. time!

But, as we approached the Easter season (think, Holy Week and LOTS of masses),  I made a big, huge mom-mistake.  I signed him up for every Holy Week mass without {really} talking to him about it first.

I had originally just signed him up for the 7:30 Easter Sunday mass (the one we attend before letting kiddos get sugar-drunk). However, they put out such a call for more servers the week before – at the Palm Sunday mass – that in my desire to serve God, I completely overlooked the fact that my son might not WANT to serve.  It simply had never occurred to me.  Actually, it had yet to occur at all since he started serving.

It all came to head in the form of a melt-down on Holy Thursday afternoon.  The end result involved my taking him off of every mass save for 7:30 Easter Sunday.  Although disappointed, I quickly went into Plan B mode.  Here it is, in a nutshell:


2016-03-24 22.51.41We recreated the Last Supper, complete with hand-washing, homemade unleavened bread and cranberry-grape juice. Then, we read from the Gospel of Mark (14:12-26) by candlelight.






2016-03-25 21.35.28We ate a light meal (finger foods), after which we walked the Stations of the Cross, gave some quiet time to God (beginning at noon), and prayed the Divine Mercy Novena at 3 pm.







2016-03-26 22.53.57We dyed Easter eggs, then prepared our sacrifice boxes for delivery to Church, our hearts for a new beginning in Christ, and our clothes for the Sabbath.







2016-04-17 09.30.42We attended 7:30 a.m. mass as a family, took “dressed up” pictures, hunted for Easter eggs, and ate waaaay too much candy. Later, we enjoyed an amazing Easter meal with lots of veggies to make up for it!

It was in the waning hours of Easter Sunday that I realized – almost by surprise – that my disappointment (over my son not wanting to serve) had turned into delight as we carried out simple, yet wholly important family traditions that would have otherwise been missed.



In the end, I like to think that God understood the greater need for me to nurture my children’s hearts instead of nourishing my place within the Church community.


Easter Sunday

Resurrection of Our Lord

“When Christ arose from the grave he left the burying sheets behind; so should we at our spiritual resurrection leave in the graves the fetters of our old habits; we must break with the old life an walk in a new one; we must put off the old man and put on the new man, which is created in holiness and justice.”-St. John Marie Viand

Image source: Public Domain,