Tonight I had the rare opportunity to go to Adoration at the Historic Church with members of our Youth Group. This is our parishes original church building built in the 1850’s that survived the Civil War. It was actually a hospital that Clara Barton used to tend to the wounded at the Battle of Bull Run. The sanctuary itself is beautiful but the pews are not for the faint of heart. Hard wood, not the most comfortable for long periods of time. I guess it’s another opportunity to offer something up.
While the teens were busy eating pizza and reminiscing about the summers adventures, I got to be in the church alone for a whole 30 minutes before they descended for Holy Hour. It was so wonderful to just sit in silence with the Lord. I brought a book about John Paul II which I read for a bit. I said the rosary for all the people I am praying for, then I just stared at the tabernacle and breathed in and out.
Then teenagers descended and once they were seated there was silence again. We have taught them well. Genuflect upon entering the pew and no talking. They are there to say hello to Jesus not each other. I was kind of proud of them for bring so respectful. Our Deacon brought out Jesus from the tabernacle and we began and hour of Praise and Worship.
Now before you go thinking that Mary is just a Holy Hannah or one of those “church ladies”, know this. It has taken me almost 47 years to get to a place where I even feel worthy to look at the monstrance holding Our Lord let alone feel totally comfortable during long periods of Adoration. I don’t deserve any of it. The Cross and Jesus dying for me, who does that??
OK, well Jesus did that, for you and for me. It’s amazing really and there are moments when it’s hard to wrap my head around it all. The astounding miracle of it all. The beauty and wondrous love of it all.
Tonight I was looking at Jesus and I just started to cry quietly. What moved me so was the knowledge that Christ loved me so much, He gave me Courtney so that I could let go of my pride, my selfishness, my laziness and rely on HIM. Courtney’s birth and subsequent challenges forced me to rethink the way I was living my life, the way I was honoring my vocation as a wife and mother. It challenged me to realize what is really important. She has spent 22 years teaching me to SEE Jesus in her and through her eyes.
Courtney doesn’t need to see with her eyes because she sees with her soul. She brings love and joy to all who meet her. She brings laughter in the midst of suffering and she knows she is loved, truly loved for an eternity by the One who made her as she is.
As I sat there shaking, I was overcome with the thought of where I might be without my Courtney. I know my faults. We all have them. I know what weaknesses exist in my character and I also understand that without my daughter, I would be a totally different person. I am not so sure that would be a good thing.
God made me with a heart that wants to make people feel loved, welcomed, comforted, and special. I can’t tell you why it is, I just know that there is nothing better than to start a conversation with someone in tears and end it with both of us laughing. It’s a HUGE blessing to be able to experience this time and time again. It’s my charism if you will. Courtney has helped me hone that charism. She has been an integral part of my wall coming down and my allowing the Holy Spirit to work in my life.
I sat there tonight and praised the LIving God for the gift of this child and the gift of her Big Brother who, in his one way, has done the same thing for me. They both have taught that being vulnerable is OK. To need help sometimes is OK. To be lonely is OK. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t seek out God to fill all those dark places with light.
Before I go to bed tonight, I just want to thank Deacon Marques (and all the priests and deacons) who made it possible for this close encounter with Christ. I want to thank him (them) for the time they dedicate to the church and teaching us all to love and serve with more heart. I want to thank our Youth Minister Brian and his side kick Maddy for the gifts they share with the kids every single week. It is such a joy to watch young people fall deeper in love with Christ. God is so very good isn’t he?
Last, I want to thank God for giving me a stubborn husband who challenges me to be better and loves me no matter what. For giving me a son with a tender heart, who is loyal until death. Finally for giving me a ray of sunshine, even thought most would consider Courtney and all that accompanies her more like a plague of locusts.
She has taught me to SEE that God makes all thing beautiful, even if they come with wheelchairs and seizures.
He makes no mistakes and for that I am eternally grateful.
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