When I first scheduled a MissguidedMom retreat at the Immaculate Heart Community Center for Spiritual Renewal in Montecito, California I didn’t give much thought to the time—Thanksgiving weekend. How blessed I am to give thanks for all the gifts God has shown me and to celebrate the Advent among other women and a community whose desire to serve God is well demonstrated. This year is the first time I have discovered the meaning of Advent. Not once in my childhood or young adult life did I give much importance to this treasured time. Today, I will teach it to my sons so they may wait with great anticipation for the birth of Jesus Christ, when he appears in the manger to bring hope.
In my contemplation I have received hope, faith, and trust. Hope is the thread that is in me while I walk this journey with God. Through faith God will provide for all my needs and desires of the heart. Trust that God’s plans will unfold on his time. These three gifts I pass on to you during this time and all year long.
May the waiting of Jesus Christ be a contemplative journey of hope, faith, and trust in God’s will to be served in years to come.
Happy Advent, Eve!
A time of waiting, a time of longing, and a time of great hope is here again. The world is waiting to see a great light, to experience great peace, and encounter great love. This happens year after year so that we may remember the beauty of longing and expectation. Your gifts of hope, faith, and trust are priceless and thank you for sharing.
As you know, our hope in God alone comes from our great faith and trust in him. We know he is the only one to illuminate our darkness, turn our tears into dancing, and transform our sadness into joy. As Isiah 9:1-2 says:
“The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
Upon those who lived in a land of gloom
a light has shone.
You have brought them abundant joy
and great rejoicing.”
How much do we all need this? Yes, even angels need to hear this so we can renew our hope and strength. If you only focus on the events that have happened this year in the world, hope, faith, and trust seem to have disappeared. It is time to pause and wait on the Lord and I will wait with you.
But how does this waiting bring about more hope, faith, and trust? Eve, when you stop and be still, feeling your longing and expectation for something in your life, you enter into possibilities. You begin to imagine and dream again. This time creates a sacred space where a light begins to breakthrough any darkness and radiate hope. You are able to look into this space from the outside world that may be cold and harsh. When you do this, you find in any difficult time, hope, faith, and trust are buried in your heart and soul. Being still helps you surrender to God’s time and discover these gifts once again.
However, there is a secret in this time of waiting and this time of longing. We believe we are the only ones hoping, trusting, and having faith. There is something more incredible happening. If you begin to enter this time of possibilities, you will realize that you are uniting in God’s great longing for you. He is the one hoping you will stop and allow him into your daily life. He is the one with great faith that you will rely on him as your God. He is the one who is trusting that you will participate in his will to bring light, love, and joy into the world so he can touch others through you. He is the one waiting on you. This is a perfect place to end with a poem titled: “For Longing” by John O’Donohue. Enjoy and happy longing.
Blessed be the longing that brought you here
And quickens your soul with wonder.
May you have the courage to listen to the voice of desire
That disturbs you when you have settled for something safe.
May you have the wisdom to enter generously into your own unease
To discover the new direction your longing wants you to take.
May the forms of your belonging–in love, creativity, and friendship–
Be equal to the grandeur and the call of your soul.
May the one you long for long for you.
May your dreams gradually reveal the destination of your desire.
May a secret Providence guide your thought and nurture your feeling.
May your mind inhabit your life with the sureness with which
your body inhabits the world.
May your heart never be haunted by ghost-structures of old damage.
May you come to accept your longing as divine urgency.
May you know the urgency with which God longs for you.
The school year came to a close and, once again, I was scrambling to find the right summer day care for Jonathan and David. I was looking for a program that provides mental stimulation and a review of the academic year along with outdoors activities and a field trip. The cost was definitely higher than the city programs or the one the boys were in during the school year.
Getting Adam to agree on this comprehensive program that also teaches children Christian values was challenging. Even though Adam earns more money than I do, he didn’t want the additional expense. I had a deadline to submit the application to waive the registration fee so I submitted the application.
Even if I have to pay for the summer program entirely, I am at peace that they are in a day care offering exactly what I am looking for, including spiritual development. One major item checked off my to-do list for the summer.
The “To Do” List never ends! However, signing up your children in a summer camp that has the right activities is checked off. Congratulations! Now for Adam sharing in the cost, it doesn’t seem like it will be checked off as you hoped. Regardless, you didn’t allow his willingness to join in or not impact your decision in choosing the camp that reflects your values and desires for your children. You are so clear and determine to provide the best for your boys.
You and I both know that you will have more and more opportunities to share in the parenting with Adam. I’m sure it is frustrating at times as you realize the different values you both have that lead you to different decisions and more disagreements. Have you thought of how to approach these situations? Do these situations impact the way your boys see their dad or how they see you? How do you navigate and remain the mother you desire while being honest yet not saying anything inappropriate about Adam? This is not easy. It is exhausting. . . isn’t it?
I’m sure you realize that there is nothing you can do that can change Adam or any other person in your life. The only thing you can do is change yourself, your attitude, and how you interact with him. I know that there is a book called “The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian.” I read a beautiful prayer from that book that I’d like to share. I reworded it to fit your situation and I hope it helps you see and respond in a new way. Let me know what type of impact this has.
I read a beautiful prayer from the book entitled “The Power of a Praying Wife” by Stormie Omartian. I’d like to share it with you. I reworded it to fit your situation and I hope it helps you see and respond in a new way. Let me know what type of impact this has.
Help me to be a good ex-wife. I fully realize that I don’t have what it takes to be one without your help. Take my selfishness, impatience, and irritability and turn them into kindness, long-suffering, and willingness to bear all things. Take my old emotional habits, mindsets, automatic reactions, rude assumptions, and self-protective stance and make me patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self- controlled. Take the hardness of my heart and break down the walls with your gentle touch of revelation. Give me a new heart and work in me your love, peace, and joy. I am not able to rise above who I am at this moment. Only you can transform me.
Show me where I have failed in my heart, especially with regard to my ex-husband. I’m sorry for the times I’ve been unloving, critical, angry, resentful, disrespectful, or unforgiving toward him. Help me to put aside any hurt, anger or disappointment I feel and forgive him the way you do – totally and completely, no looking back. Make me a tool of reconciliation, peace, and healing in this relationship. Enable us to communicate well and rescue us from the threshold of hurtful words and actions and disrespect where the realities of not seeing him as child of God exist.
Make me my ex-husband’s prayer support. Help me to create a peaceful spirit around us. Teach me how to take care of myself and stay healthy. Grow me into a creative and confident woman who is rich in mind, soul, and spirit. Make me the kind of woman that can rise above and love my ex-husband according to your will.
I lay all my expectations at your cross. I release my ex-husband from the burdens of any expectations where I should be looking to you. Help me accept him the way he is and not try to change him. I realize that in some way he may never change, but at the same time, I release him to change in ways I never thought he could. I leave all the changing that needs to be done in your hands, fully accepting that neither of us is perfect and never will be. Only you, oh Lord, are perfect and I look to you to perfect both of us.
Teach me how to pray for my ex-husband and make my prayer a true language of your love. Create new love for him. Show me how to love him and how to communicate it in a way he can clearly perceive it. Bring unity between us so we can be in agreement as parents who love our sons dearly. May the God of patience and comfort grant us to be like-minded as parents according to your holy will. Make us loving parents not pursuing separate, competitive or independent lives but working together, overlooking each other’s faults and weakness for the greater good of our sons. Help us pursue the things which make for peace in our new type of family. May we be joined together in the same because of the love we have for you and our children.
I pray that our commitment to you and to our sons grows stronger. Show us how to be respectful with each interaction. Help me to understand things from his perspective. Reveal to me what he wants and needs and show me potential problems before they arise. Breathe your life into my ex-husband, our sons, and me.
Make me a new ex-wife. Give me a fresh perspective, a positive outlook, and a renewed relationship with my ex-husband. Help me see him with new eyes, new appreciation, new compassion, and new acceptance. Give my ex-husband a new ex-wife in me.