I had a birthday. Yep, not so exciting anymore, is it? On my birthdays I seem to always look inside and ask myself what I have accomplished in my years, and am I satisfied. Mark Twain once said (supposedly), “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
As I was lying in a hospital bed a little over a year ago (confined there post c-section) with my newborn sweetly sleeping with complete abandonment on my chest I was reminded of Mark Twain’s quote. Of course having just been on an exhilarating emotional roller coaster I was high on joy. What a big day for her, her debut! But I was unexpectedly struck by a profound realization that this is the reason I was born. I was born to be Mama. It was an important day for both of us and what a blessing to feel God confirming my vocation!
Shortly after her birth (my 2013 birthday) I reflected: This is it! I have my career, but my kids will be my life’s work! But something didn’t ring true, my faith is a big part of my life, but is there something more. Bl. Dorothy Day was 31 when she converted to Catholicism as a single mom and started a movement dignifying and reaching out to the poor. She has always been an inspiration, and I found myself being inspired again. I was a Catholic Worker in Houston, Texas for about a year after undergrad. It was a formative year, but even as I experienced it I knew it would be hard to maintain that intensity of spiritual exercise once I entered back into the secular world. And I was right. This reflection brought to my attention that I was putting limits on myself and my family and that I could give God more. God didn’t want me to be too content in my happy little life, but to keep central in my life’s work more intimacy with Him and the paths He paves.
I had already been involved in “40 Days for Life” with one hand in, now was the call to go ALL in. It was time to go from “if” or “when” I have time, to I will sacrifice and make time if it so pleases God. I am still trying to hear with clarity what my calling is exactly for this pro-life cause, but God has certainly used pro-life spirituality to help me unplug some of the spiritual earwax that had been building up over the years. I feel more in tune with God than ever before. The things in years past that would have stressed me out, don’t as much, not because the stress changed, but because I did.
It is hard to put into words all that I have gained by going “all in” for the unborn. One of the most important things it has taught me (or at least made some good breakthroughs) is humility. Humility is a hard thing to learn. It is easy to judge. We make conscious decisions. How can we see others make poor choices and not condemn them as irresponsible, inconsiderate, selfish, uninformed, etc. There are a lot of people who have had abortions. Sin is a trap we all fall into. But Jesus came to save not to condemn, so we must learn to humble ourselves and not look down on others that don’t think like us. God will judge, when we judge we often render our efforts ineffective. We have an important message – abortion or any other sin is not the answer, Christ is! When non-believers feel Christ’s love through Christians instead of judgment their hearts soften not harden and they begin to allow God to reveal Himself to them. Pride is the deadliest of the seven deadly sins, and humility is a most beautiful virtue. Sometimes I think it is a lost virtue reading comments on Facebook; how quickly people are to make assumptions, resort to name calling, and look down on others. Have you asked God for humility? I did and I kid you not the next day out of the blue, my husband decided to trade in our lovely little SUV for a 2003 Chevy minivan! I can’t say God doesn’t answer prayers! Ha!
In seriousness though, reconnecting with God’s almighty grace has undoubtedly made me a better person and as such has made me a better mother. So, it comes full circle that I was born “to be Mama” to my children and part of my charge is to be the best example of Christian living I can. I must teach my children to find and follow Christ or as the facebook meme says the world will teach them not to. St. Catherine of Siena said, “Be who God made you to be and you will set your world on fire.” I haven’t set the world on fire, but my 31st year rekindled a fire in my heart that I hope my 32nd year will keep ablaze.
Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.” In the face of over a million abortions per year in the US, just being born is an achievement. The pro-life generation (under 25) has shirts and slogans that say “I survived” since 1/4 of their generation has been aborted in the US*. But really, we have nothing to do with the when, where, to whom, and potential ifs of our birth. We each take our individual set of circumstances and talents and try to find and fulfill God’s purpose for our lives.
If you have not discovered the reason(s) you were born- do not despair, no matter your age or stage there is still time! I find prayer and fasting are great tools in removing the spiritual earwax that may be muffling your divine calling to receive God’s graces. ; ) For those of you that are Catholic (or those that aren’t!) Mary our spiritual mother is like a Q-tip she is a great instrument that can be used to clean out what comes between us and God : )
*I have heard the statistic 1/3 of their generation, but when I do the math of 1.43 million abortions in 1990- the highest abortion year nationally, and 4.18 million live births in 1990, I get 0.255=25% -of course abortions are under reported, etc.