Monday, April 22, 2013

Marrying Up

While trolling through some Catholic ministry blogs, I came across this post.  It made me smile because my husband has often said that he "married up" & has been told this by different people on quite a few occasions over the years.  So this had me suspicious...wondering if this is an inside term all the youth ministers use to describe their spouses.  Perhaps it is supposed to help us feel better when we hear it; in that moment it helps make up for the long hours & time spent away from home.  If so, I think it's a pretty good strategy because, let's face it, we all like to feel appreciated & acknowledged from time to time!

I pride myself on being a strong support system for Jesse's ministry.  Even though I'm not at youth group, going to concerts or camping trips, I do feel like I am contributing.  When Jesse first became a youth minister, it was hard for me to deal with all the time we spent apart.  I felt very disconnected from what he was doing & almost like I was in competition for his attention.  But over time, I have matured & allowed myself to get more involved (directly & indirectly), which has helped me become more empathetic to the dedication of time & energy it takes to be a youth minister.

By taking a genuine interest in his programs, retreats, youth groups, etc, I feel more connected as a couple.  In fact, in 5 years of ministry, Jesse has never made me feel that my contributions are insignificant.  Rather, he says exactly the opposite.  Nothing makes me feel more special as a wife than when my husband tells me there is absolutely no way he could do what he does without my love & support.  He understands & appreciates the sacrifices I make so that he can do what he does.  I feel like an integral part of "our" ministry & have no doubt that we have made the right decisions to be exactly where we are right now.

However, knowing it's right in no way means it is easy!  I have to constantly stop myself from saying, "Do you really have to work tonight?" though I admittedly still say it a couple (ok, maybe more!) times a week.  But, when I am able to surrender to it, as difficult as that may be, there are always positive things that happen as a result.  I just remind myself that I married up... :)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Difficult Choices

A couple weeks ago, we began Holy Week, the season when we remember the events leading up to Jesus' crucifixion; the ultimate sacrifice made for us so that we may live with Him eternally in paradise.  It is surely an emotional season, but one that brings with it beautiful symbolism & ceremonies in the Church.  But this year was particularly difficult for me.  I have been struggling for a long time with how to handle a certain situation & unfortunately it all came to a head during the week.

I have someone who I'm very close to in my life; I'll call him "Jon" so as not to overkill using "a friend" and also to keep him anonymous, since for the purpose of this blog, I would rather focus on his choices than his identity.  For a couple years, I have been hearing second-hand that Jon is either bi-sexual or homosexual.  Several months ago, Jon & I went out to dinner & he shared with me his decision to actively pursue a relationship with a man.  In fact, he informed me that he had been dating men for quite some time & just recently entered into a relationship that made him happy.  For the first time since his struggle with same-sex attraction (SSA) began, he was feeling comfortable in his own skin.

I would like to say that I sat at that dinner table & began to express my disappointment with his decision & rattle off some theological arguments for why homosexual relationships are not approved in the Catholic Church.  However, since Jon grew up with the same Catholic values & morals as I did, he was already well aware of the Church's position.  So instead, I chose to sit there, listening to him & seeing the happiness in his face, all the while feeling my conscience tugging at my heart.

After some prayer & consideration, I chose to share this article written by Steve Gershom with Jon.  If you have anyone in your life struggling with SSA, I highly recommend reading Steve's blog.  I found an incredible amount of consolation in the fact that you can have SSA & be a full member of the Catholic Church.  And, just like with any vocation, there are struggles & sacrifices, but the overall message is that you can still be a happy, active member of your faith & continue to receive the Eucharist.

Unfortunately, Jon's response was motivated by anger at the perceived judgement of his life.  He clearly stated that living chaste was just "not for him" & he would continue to pursue his relationship whether we liked it or not.  Since Jesse & I have had countless conversations about this subject, I knew what my next move had to be.  I knew in my heart that Jon's choice goes against everything we believe & would compromise his ability to receive the Eucharist.  Because I love & care enough for Jon, Jesse & I told him that we would have no choice but to limit our contact with him.  In addition, we didn't feel our children, who are too young & impressionable to form their own opinions much less have any idea of what was happening, should be exposed to the choices Jon was making for himself.

Our choice to limit conversation with Jon has caused a lot of turmoil but we stand firm & hope that one day, Jon will open himself up to the possibility that perhaps he can live a chaste life.  I continue to pray every day for this to happen, but ultimately he has to make his own choice.  Contrary to what some might say, I love Jon with all my heart & it is because I love him so much that I had to take a stand.  I care so much that I want to see him in the eternal paradise, which is worth giving up earthly happiness for.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Lately I've been dealing with some very difficult decisions (more to come on this later).  Although I know I am making the right choices, it still doesn't make the consequences of my decisions any easier.  I have been living the adage, "If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it."  Even with that understanding, I have been searching for a sense of understanding; A sign, if you will, that I am doing the right thing.

I have always found solace in the beautiful words of the commonly known "Serenity Prayer."  The other night, I was researching the exact wording of this prayer when I stumbled upon the full length version.  Although the first few lines are most well known, it was the second half of this prayer that brought me the peace & calm that I desperately needed.

God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.