a Gift, not a Burden!

Settling in, I feel now that I have more time to ponder life. I always felt that I got so caught up in my work and found it really hard to be present to my family, but that’s not what life is about. And I guess that is what I was most looking forward to about this change. I had a beautiful conversation with someone the other day about raising a family and the quality time that our children are in need of. It seems that society draws us into this notion of having to always be pushing so hard. But what if we could simply provide for our families basic needs, without having to worry about a payment on that car or the mortgage that’s keeping us tied down. I guess that’s the mentality in the big city, it just is what it is. But I have noticed a difference with what I see from the people who live out here; A different way of looking at things. Being out this far it’s just the lifestyle. I guess you could say a bit of freedom in a way, but we are each called to some way of life.

Family life definitely has been having it’s challenges too though. One soon realizes, when you have the only children at Mass, how out of control and distracting they can be. So here I am trying to lead the Sunday liturgy, reading a reflection, while Denise is trying to feed Aliz, Isaiah is pulling the tulips out of the vase in front of the lectern and waving them around, Gianna is running down the aisle and Kateri is having her own reflection muttering away to herself. I’m sure you can picture it. I just hope we don’t scare any of the locals off. It was reassuring to hear one of the local ladies say, “Just let them be.”
To be real though, it was a hard day. We were only able to have a prayer service, as our first Mass out here won’t be till Sept 28th.
We couldn’t help but feel our blood boil and wonder how to discipline our children so they can behave better in church. We know this is not the right spirit but it was how we were feeling yesterday. Denise’s sister, a Catholic school teacher, had some excellent advice about preparing the children so it is easy for them to feel they succeed. Walk through with the kids the expectations and have them model what walking quietly and sitting quietly looks like. Praise them in abundance when they follow through with sitting quietly and for having good listening ears. Good advice. We will try these!
I (Denise) was left all day with an anxious heart and tried my best to cast my worries and fears on the Lord.
Today while standing outside of the Nursing Station, a lady approached me and asked if I was new in town, I introduced myself and said we were the new pastoral assistants at St.Theresa’s. When she heard we have 4 kids, she was excited, she has four also. Her youngest is 6. I asked if she went to St.Theresa’s and she said she used to but she would bring her daughter who was the only child there and her daughter would make so much noise, it was embarrassing for her. I told her, “Mine too! My children make noise too! She smiled and probably wondered why I was so excited. I told her it would be so nice to have other children in the church. She smiled and said her daughter just can’t sit still for more than 15 mins. I said it’s the same with my children, but if you come we can figure it our together! She smiled and asked what time.
I walked away from our conversation filled with thankfulness. Here the day before I was feeling like my children were a burden and I was acting like they were but the Lord showed me that no, my children are gifts and gifts are meant to be shared. Perhaps it will be our children who will help to bring back some of the families in the community.
This helped us remember the words from Bishop Gary, “Your primary role is to live out your family life in the community. Be a witness by your life…Be very, very patient and remember the reason you are there…JESUS!”

3 thoughts on “a Gift, not a Burden!

  1. I used to have huge anxiety about how disruptive my children were in mass, and walk away having not heard a word of the sermon. One day we had a lady tell us that she couldn’t hear a word during Church and that our kids should stay in the crying room at the back. We were so upset and went to talk to (then) Father Gary. He said that our kids were the future of the church and they have every right to be there in the church and that God knows that we are trying our best even if we don’t hear every word! That really helped me to relax a lot. I know that it is difficult to control them when there are so many and they are little but believe me it does get better with time and age. Just keep plugging along and don’t forget to ask for help if you need it, find a Monica who loves little children and sit by her, lol. God sees you there and is smiling and you are setting a good example for your children!
    God Bless,
    Brenda Webb


  2. Denise and Josh, Chris shared your blog…. I feel overwhelmed and so excited for you and your young family on this exciting and unselfish adventure. Reading your post about your experiences in church brings back so many memories of my husband Craig and myself, as we underwent the same feelings when we brought our young family to mass years ago. Keeping your family in our prayers, as you all grow and learn in this amazing experience. God bless Elena


  3. Thank you for this beautiful reflection. We too have noisy little ones in Church…it is very humbling! I also receive comfort from the words of Jesus: “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such as these belongs the kingdom of God”.
    Loving your photos and writings…keep them coming!
    Mary, Randy, and kids


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