Tag Archives: Future

The Ultimate Recommendation

This week I was filling out a parent form on my daughter for the college counseling department to prepare her college counselor to assist her on her applications to college.  “List three to four adjectives that describe her.  Describe her greatest challenge and how she handled it.  How has your child developed the most?”

It did make me think, however, what if someone was filling out this same survey about me?  What would it say?  What if God himself was answering the questions about me to see whether I could make it to “the next level.”  Would I like the responses?  Would they make me cringe and wish I could do something over again?  Or would I be proud of what my Father wrote about me?

The good news is, God knows me better than I know myself.  He knows how many hairs I have on my head.  He knows my comings and my goings.  He knows the good adjectives that describe me, and the constructive ones that I know in my heart I need to change.  He knows my greatest challenges, and has even walked through them with me.  He knows the challenges that I have ahead that I cannot even envision right now, and He already knows how they will turn out.  He knows how I have developed as a Christian, and He hopes I will make good choices in the future as I continue to become the best version of myself.

Just as I look forward with a mix of joy and trepidation to the next year of college applications with my daughter, I know that the years ahead will be a mixed bag for me as well. Thankfully, my Counselor will write me the ultimate recommendation, and I just need to keep striving to make sure I make the final grade that really matters.

“No single act for God will be lost, no generous effort is meaningless, no painful endurance is wasted.” – Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel

Disciple’s Prayer

Jesus, my Lord and my brother, let me do your work for Your sake, and not for my own pride or self-satisfaction.  As long as I want what You want,  I will act prudently and safely.  If I fret at my failures, I am working for myself and not for You.  Your will is to be done, not mine.  I hope to attempt all the good within my reach, but I will not be over-anxious about the results.  If I lose my presence of mind and my peace of soul it is because I am thinking more of Your work than of Your will.  I need only do my best.  The rest depends on the people around me and Your grace.  Let me never think I am bigger or more able than You.  I now put all things into Your hands.  Amen

 

Advertisements

Those Darn Teenagers

I know this goes along with the territory of being a parent, but I worry about my teenagers.  I not only worry about my own teenagers, but I worry about their friends.  I not only worry about their friends, but I worry about teenagers I do not even know, the children who go to our school.  There is something universal about being a parent.  When one child suffers, we as parents all suffer.  When one parent despairs, we all despair.  When something unfortunate happens to a child, it could have just as easily been our child.  We are all one in these moments.  No one parent is immune to the influences of our crazy world on our dear, beloved children.

What do I worry about?  Probably the same things you worry about.  The big stuff, and the small stuff.  Their grades, their immediate futures, their long-term futures, their circle of friends, their driving to and fro.  Their stress level, their happiness, their lack of happiness.  Their faith life, and the times they question their faith.  Their temptations, their reliance on the electronic devices in their lives, their ability to say no when they need to say no.  Their ability to say yes when they need to say yes.  Will their college roommate speak to them if they continue to make mountains of dirty laundry in the middle of the room?  Did they take their multivitamin today?  Ok, whew.  One less thing to worry about.  Is it not so much harder to be a teenager today than when we were teenagers?  I feel like a 45 record in saying this (hello child of the 70’s), but it is exponentially harder to be a teenager today than it ever was for us – and we felt like we had it rough!

I would like to say that I “give it all up to God” when it comes to my children and their daily challenges.  However, I don’t.  I feel like I can fix it.  My husband feels like he can fix it.  However, as parents, we can SO not do this alone.  We need the unconditional, non-judgmental support of our friends.  If we think we are alone in our challenges, we are not.  We need our faith communities – youth group, positive and faithful adult role models, or just a great relatable priest, youth minister or religion teacher can make a huge difference to a teen.  We need the model of the Holy Family – a mother and father who lived simple lives but still had the reality of raising their child to be a functioning adult amidst normal day to day challenges.  (Did Joseph regularly grab any milk on the way home from work?)

And of course, most of all, we need prayer.  There is a line in the Marist Mother’s Prayer Group prayer that says, “whatever we may do for our children, let us never fail to pray for them.”  Our role as parents is to help them to know, love and serve God.  No short order in our current, crazy world with distractions galore.

Here are two prayers I found, one for both a boy and one for a girl. (source: http://www.lords-prayer-words.com)

Prayer for my Teenage Boy

Dear Lord,

Help me to love, without expecting anything in return.
Help me to engage, even when I don’t fully understand him.
Help me to provide, quietly and gently to give good gifts.
Help me to speak, not to sow criticism but encouragement.
Help me to say sorry, to own up when I mess up.
Help me to forgive, even when I feel hurt or ignored.
Help me to hope, to breathe out joy and vision for the future.

Help me to carry my son, through the patchwork of hopes, dreams, hurts, worries, anger and the joy of teenage years.
Help me to remain open and soft
To understand and not to judge
My brilliant son.
Amen.
Prayer for my Teenage Girl

Dear Lord,

Help me to love, when she is angry and upset.
Help me to engage, when she needs a friend and a listening ear.
Help me to provide, to accept her needs and give out when she is needy.
Help me to speak, not to sow harmful words, but encouraging ones.
Help me to say sorry, to apologize when I fail her.
Help me to forgive, each day to provide grace and a new start.
Help me to hope, to pour out love, acceptance and truth.
Help me to carry my daughter through the patchwork of hopes, dreams, hurts, worries, anger and the joy of teenage years.
Help me to remain open and soft
To understand and not to judge
My beautiful daughter.
Amen.
We are all on this journey of parenting our pre-teens, teens and young adult children together.  Let us support one another in words, deeds and mutual prayers.  The occasional knowing hug, or well-timed text message.  Let’s get all these monkeys to heaven.

 

Hoping for a Little More Hope

My daughter, husband and I just got back from our first official trip to look at colleges.  First of all, I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence.  Second, I want to go back to college.  But I digress.  Of all the things that surprised me about this trip, the thing that surprised me the most was the college students I came into contact with.  Their excitement, enthusiasm, and passion for what they were studying and what they were hoping to do with their degrees was absolutely contagious.  With all the discouraging words being shouted by talk radio and the news media about the state of our union, it was so refreshing to hear positivity and hopefulness coming from these perky tour guides and students.

Maybe you still have the enthusiasm you did when you were 21, and the world was your oyster.  Maybe you are at mid-life and are rethinking how you want to move forward with your time, energy and passions.  Maybe you are feeling really hopeful right now, or maybe you need a reminder of hope with all the uncertainty that life as an adult brings.

Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta said,

“You and I have been created for greater things.  We have not been created to just pass through this life without aim.  And that greater aim is to love and be loved.  Give yourself fully to God, who will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in his love than in your weakness.  Never think that a small action done to your neighbor is not worth much.  It is not how much we do that is pleasing to God, but how much love we put into the doing.”

So maybe we aren’t going to conquer the world like we thought we would when we were in college.  But we can still find that “greater thing” that God has created uniquely for each one of us.  And I have to keep reminding myself that the “greater thing” may not be worth talking about at a party, get reported in the Atlanta Business Chronicle or make me tons of money.

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” – Hebrews 10:23

“The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” – Psalm 121:7-8

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Today I’m just going to try and be more hopeful.  That’s a start.

 

Now Hear This!

My family and I have been praying for a special intention for more than a year now. It is fundamental to our family’s life and immediate future. We got an answer to our prayer last week, but it did not look close to what I had in my head. In fact, I was downright disappointed and discouraged about the answer. When I called my mom and shared the news, even she said, “We got the answer. It just wasn’t the answer we were looking for.”

So then of course, I start questioning myself and God. You know the swirl that can go on in your head. “Seriously?” I started to think. “This is probably the worst of both worlds!” (And by worst, I don’t really mean worst. It’s always relative of course.) I proceed to call my wise Christian friend and ask for counsel. She told me to stop calling myself a brat (which I was doing), and reminded me that I was human, and my feelings were normal. She said it was OK to feel befuddled.

She helped me to realize that my prayer now needs to change. Now I need to ask God to help me to react to this answered prayer in a way that both honors my feelings and supports my family as we proceed. I need to feel a little more gratitude, and a little less attitude. I need to live today, and ask God to trust in His plan for right now. This answer may not be a permanent answer, but God is putting this in front of us right now.

My friend said – “Now. Here. This.” God’s plan is in front of me right now. It is right here. It is this that my family will be facing and coping with. Will it change? Maybe. But it is our path at this time. Maybe God is actually using this as a way to draw me closer to Him – to rely on Him more and myself less. Maybe just working through this will help me grow and change for the better. Am I scared about the future and the changes we will be going through? Yes. Do I trust that God is so much bigger than my fears? Absolutely.

I found this great devotional passage from Sarah Young in Jesus Lives – Seeing His Love in Your Life.

The Future

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! I am a God of surprises – infinitely more creative than you can imagine. The universe displays some of My creativity, but there is more – much more. I am making a new heaven and a new earth. Moreover, I am preparing My people – all around the world – to live there with Me in endless ecstasy. Let the eternal perspective strengthen and encourage you.

As you journey along your life-path with Me, refuse to let the past define you or your expectations of what lies ahead. You may feel as if the road you are on is tiresome or even a dead end. That is because you’re projecting the past into the future. The roadblock you are straining to see up ahead is really just an allusion. The future is in My hands, and I can do surprising things with it!

Your gravest danger is giving up: ceasing to believe I can still do wondrous new things in you and your world. Your assignment is to keep moving forward in trusting dependence on Me. Stop focusing on obstacles you might encounter, and concentrate on staying in touch with Me. As you continue taking steps of trust, expect the path before you to open up in refreshing newness. I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

 

Have a blessed week as you journey through Lent!