Wednesday, October 15, 2014

My Fear of Ebola

Fear is not from God. I believe most Americans don't regularly experience true fear, worry maybe, but not fear. And yet, as many of us read the news this week, we are struck with our first dose of true fear. Ebola is in the United States, and those charged with protecting us from its wrath are making costly mistakes.

I live in Texas. Those of us who are proud to call Texas home are often passionate about living here. Today, though, we are in shock that such a travesty as Ebola could invade our precious "promised-land." And yes, we are scared. We are mommies and daddies who are fearful this plague will threaten our families. We are Christians afraid for those two young women who are sick. We are Americans fearful of how widespread this epidemic will be.

What do we do with that fear? Some will say it is a healthy fear, akin to fear of the Lord. If you read any details of what this virus does to the human body, it seems reasonable to be scared. I am not so sure. I think, rather, that today's headlines should inspire fear of the Lord.

Personally, what I want more than anything today is for someone to tell me that it's all going to be okay, but no one can tell me Ebola will not spread. We just don't know what the coming days and weeks and months will yield.

But what I hear in my heart is a reminder that whether I live or die, whether those I cherish are sick or healthy, whether this disease is stopped in its tracks or invades us from sea to shining sea, it's all going to be okay in the end if we stay close to God now.

So here are five things I am doing to combat my fear and take comfort in the peace of God.

  1. Repeat "Jesus, I trust in You" over and over, whenever my worry threatens to derail me.
  2. Go to Confession much more frequently. And make sure my family goes, too.
  3. Hug and enjoy my children. I am going to keep seeking to live an abundant life.
  4. Stock up on some essentials. If there is going to be mass panic, I would prefer to stay home.
  5. Boost my prayer life. Time spent in building a relationship with my Savior will ultimately lead to my sanctification.
What I am doing to conquer my fear and uncertainty is to decide to prepare (as much as possible) myself and my family for a good death, whenever that might be. We are aiming for Heaven. It is something we should all be doing all the time, and turning the energy of worry into such a productive pursuit can only bring blessings. Remember, many saints would invite the Lord to send suffering upon them, knowing the redemptive nature of suffering, hoping for more opportunities to unite their suffering to His, and desiring to be face to face with Him as soon as possible.

The Bible uses the phrase "be not afraid" 365 times. Have no fear, my friends. May God's will be done in the living and in the dying. St. Joseph, patron of a happy death, pray for us.

Lord, please bless and protect Nina, Amber, all those caring for them, and those who have had recent contact with them. Send your healing power upon their souls and their bodies, so they might give you honor and glory today and always.

Bless Your Heart!


Monday, October 13, 2014


I have all sorts of deep thoughts swimming in my head these days. Thoughts that are too deep to process and publish just yet. But I thought I would share a challenge I received in Adoration last week in hopes that it might speak to someone else.

The days are hard, right now. This season of mothering, the worries of the world outside these four walls, and the weight of daily duties wear me thin before I even get out of bed each morning, and they keep me up at night, very, very late. I try to escape in Facebook and Amazon Instant Videos, but I know I need more God.

Yet, in prayer, I recognize that He is all around me every day. I have these four beautiful, remarkable children who are healthy and happy (most days). My husband is my rock and my encourager, my best friend and my true love. There is nothing we need that we cannot obtain, and we enjoy leisure and indulgences regularly. We are blessed, and it is all from Him. Every day, as I snuggle with my toddler and chat with my tween-ager, I feel His presence, guiding me, and I acknowledge Him with gratitude and cry to Him for assistance many times every day. I have absolute faith that He is real and offers to me (and to all of us) tremendous graces every day.

Caught by my son in a rare moment actually sitting down

The 30 minutes of Adoration I was able to enjoy last week sped by so that it seemed like five minutes. Such precious time with my Savior. I want to spend a little quiet time in prayer every day, and I have wanted that for a long time. It is a reasonable goal, yes? At home, though, there is always something else I could be doing, and I am reluctant to take the time to sit and pray, to rest in His presence. There are always interruptions either from my children or my restless mind.

Gazing upon the Eucharist, I beg for his help. I desire prayer. How can I make it happen? In the past, I have had to pray for the desire to pray, so I reflect on the almost burning desire that currently pursues me. The challenge I hear in my heart is crushing: Desire is not enough. An act of my will is the only way to respond to the immense love of my Almighty God.

Not to say that my response is required for any particular graces to be poured upon me or my loved ones. No, Jesus's love is so wide and so deep that He will shower us with graces even when we do not acknowledge Him at all. Nevertheless, since I truly desire to grow in my faith, a response is demanded not by God, but by my own desire.

Jesus, I Trust in You

How will I respond to His love? That is the only question I need to answer each day. I can allow distractions to rule me, or I can conquer them with an act of love of my own. If I want to grow in relationship with my Lord, I absolutely must give back to Him the first tithe of the precious time He has given me.

In Confession a few days after this inner dialogue, I was offered advice. Father clarified that this is not my penance but instead is something he believes would make a big impact to turn from the sins I confessed and answer the challenge I heard in Adoration. He urges me to find 30 minutes a day where I can go into my room, close my door, and be with Him. This priest is wise and understands well the challenges of a homeschooling mother, but he insists that the lesson I can teach my children through requesting of them these 30 minutes of uninterrupted time is more valuable than the math or the writing lessons. I know he is right.

That was Friday. Today is Monday. I moved our recliner from the living room into my bedroom today, to give myself a place to sit and pray. Perhaps tomorrow or the next day, I will explain to my children Father's advice and take the plunge. My will is so weak. It is so hard to sit still.

The recliner with laundry symbolically and literally impeding my progress
Please pray for me, dear friends, and I will pray for you!

Bless Your Heart!