Sunday, January 24, 2010

my plan...HIS plan

I had looked forward to this time in my life forever. Marriage. I had found my Gilbert Blythe. Like most couples, we spent hours talking about our future, our family, and how we would raise our children. I had planned to have 10 little boys running around our home by the end of our first year of marriage. I was going to have fabulous, homemade meals every night, always put lipstick on right before John came home, wear an apron and possibly even heels. Our children were going to be polite, well-behaved, smart, etc., etc. More importantly, I was going to lead bible studies for women and be very involved in the Pro-Life movement. I planned to continue life as it was before children just with a baby on my hip.
Dominic was born 10 months later. I am the second oldest of ten children. Let me tell you, I thought I knew babies. Really, how different can it be? I loved my siblings as if they were my own. I couldn't wait to have my own babies to love. When Dominic was about a week old, they thought he was having seizures. Life...forever changed. Confidence...out the window. I will never forget the first time I saw him. A love I had never experienced before grabbed my heart. I truly couldn't believe it. Then, we were told he needs additional testing to check out "twitches" he had developed. I was a mess. He was completely fine, but my heart had a small wound in it.
My siblings were always very easy babies. They slept, they ate, and I don't remember them crying, ever. Well, God chose my babies to come in a different form. As wonderful as Dominic is now, he was a very, very fussy baby. He screamed everywhere for 6 months. All the while, my confidence in motherhood faded quickly. I felt as though I was surrounded by "pumpkin babies." You know, the kind that just sit there. I watched people in awe while John and I looked as if we were training for the Olympics in attempt to help this child not to cry so much. Even though he was so fussy, I still couldn't wait to have another baby. Well, Lillie was on a different level regarding intensity of crying. The first night in the hospital the nurses brought her to me and said, "She's been crying so hard for so long." I was walking around our hospital room at 3:00 in the morning trying to calm my 7 hour old baby. Oh no!
I was an even bigger mess. I brought Lillie home and wept. I wept at the time that was over with Dominic and I. I wept at having another fussy baby. On top of it, Lillie developed such serious health problems for the next 3 years. Little did I know what was down the road.
I didn't realize what God was doing with me. I was so filled with "me" that I didn't see the bigger picture. One day was particularly difficult. Lillie had vomited six times that day. I was supposed to be tracking her food intake and she had eaten nothing. I was so worried, so scared, so desperate. In the mail, my mom had sent me a beautiful letter of encouragement and a picture of Jesus sitting in a rocking chair holding a baby.
She wrote, "Lindsay, this is what I am asking you to do for me. I don't want you leading bible studies. I don't want you doing Pro-Life work. I need you to hold this sick, fussy baby." I can not be there to hold her so I am asking you to." I cried. I was holding her and I looked down and realized, "THIS is my path to heaven. THIS is what I am supposed to be doing. Nothing else."
From then on, I focused on loving her so beautifully. I knew no one would see us clean up throw up for the sixth time that day, but I will do it beautifully, patiently, and with so much love. God sees. He is always watching.
If you've not read the books With God in Russia or He Leadeth Me, go buy them right now. Fr. Walter Ciszek had BIG plans. He felt the call to the priesthood since he was a child. Additionally, he knew he was being called to convert Russia through his priesthood. Everything lined up so beautifully for him. His seminary years were wonderful and shortly after being ordained, he had the opportunity to go work in Russia. He couldn't believe it. God had guided his life so perfectly. Up to this point, his life had been pretty uneventful.
After a series of events due to the war, Fr. Ciszek spent the next 23 years doing hard labor in a prison camp. He saw many horrible things. His writings are beautiful and he too realizes that his plan was very different than God's plan for his life. He was so confused. Why did he go though seminary and feel such strong calls to the priesthood only to spend his years doing hard labor? He wasn't even able to practice his priestly duties. It was forbidden.
We prayed to Fr. Ciszek for Lillie's complete recovery. We truly believe he cured her. We will only know in heaven, but I knew he was with us everyday taking care of her. I felt his presence one night so strongly, it scared me.
What I learned through our journey with Lillie, I will never forget. First, I fell truly in love with John. I needed him. He was my calm. When you walk the road of suffering with somebody, you go to a different level of love. We sat for hours in doctor's offices together waiting, hoping, and praying. I would never trade that for anything. Secondly, we are made saints by doing our daily work beautifully. Not necessarily without tears, without frustrations, but with the resolve that God is teaching me something through this. Please open my heart. It may be a fussy baby. It may be a baby that doesn't sleep. It may be job insecurity. Whatever the issue, it is much bigger in the spiritual realm than we even know. The crosses I had picked for myself were along the lines of things outside our home. I didn't know that He was going to ask me to simply hold a fussy baby, be kind to John when I am filled with worry about a certain child, clean up vomit without complaining.
Everything that happens now I try to respond in my head, "I'm coming, Lord." I try to treat everything as if God is calling me. I see the house a mess, "I'm coming, Lord." I have a fussy baby at my leg, "I'm coming, Lord." I hear the baby crying for the eighth time in the middle of the night, "I'm coming, Lord." It is my goal.
Most of us will not die a bloody martyrdom for our faith, but we will be asked to die a dry martyrdom. Each day, one fuss at a time we can grow closer and closer to His heart. I want to be faithful in the small things. I hope at the end of my life He will say to me, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

25 comments :

  1. Oh Lindsay, I am crying now...that was beautiful and just what I needed to read today. I have so many times felt these words and it is such a great reminder. Not our plan, but HIS.

    God bless you.

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  2. Hi Lindsay - I caught your blog on facebook. I know we are not connected, but I would love to chat about kids (sick ones!) and homeschooling etc., etc. Loved your blog - I am officially stealing your mantra, "I'm coming, Lord!" Thanks.
    Susan Husband

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  3. Lindsay, this post is just beautiful. We, too, are blessed with fussy babies, and it is a comfort to think that Jesus gave them to us because we would hold them for Him. What a wonderful blessing your mother is! Thank you for speaking so often and encouraging openness to life. God Bless you and keep writing!

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  4. THANK YOU! I want to put your writings in a leather bound book by my bed!

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  5. Lovely, Lindsay! I'm crying at my computer, and it was the perfect message for my day. Thank you1

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  6. I'm so glad you started blogging! I'm thankful that you not only share your mother's wisdom through your experiences, but for sharing your heart!

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  7. Love your blog! I can totally relate to finding my own Gilbert Blythe:) There were times in my life when I was really concerned that there were none of those left in the world! Long and behold, I did find mine and, honestly, he is an even better version! God bless you and your family. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I'm not certain that we will have fussy babies, but at least I will be prepared!

    Nikki

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  8. Lindsay, this is a beautiful post. So true; thank you for the wonderful reminder of a mother's path to Heaven. It is especially important when, as Bishop Sheen says it, we are worn down by the monotony of our tasks. We'll keep our chins up and march on! :)

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  9. Wow, this post is just what I needed to hear tonight. I have to stop complaining about what I'm going through, these are all specific things God asks of me. I had to laugh when I read that you try to answer "I'm coming, Lord." About a year ago, one of the kids was calling to me, and meaning to answer, "yes, Love," I answered, "yes, Lord," as I got up to help him. I paused when I did that, realizing it wasn't just a slip!

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  10. Lindsey,

    Thank you for sharing!! You don't know this but you and John have been such an inspiration to me for over a decade. Your beautiful vocation has touched so many lives and we are blessed to have you as an example of Marriage!!!

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  11. This was just what I needed today. Thank you. <3

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  12. This was just what I needed today. Thank you. <3

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  13. We are not supposed to suffer. Stop this madness you fool.

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  14. The one liner that gripped me was from Fr Ciszek
    We are made saints by doing our daily work beautifully.
    Also, the idea
    Jesus, I am coming!
    Inspirational!!!

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  15. This was beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I've loved your blog for years. You have such a beautiful family. It's amazing how the Lord uses your blog and words to reach so many tired mothers who are tying to serve Him but get bogged down with life and messes and interrupted plans. Thank yo u for your faithfulness and for sharing your heart! I'm coming, Lord!! (I literally got to whisper that in my heart as my child came to me unable to sleep again!!)

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  16. Wow. Thank you for sharing. I needed this today.

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  17. Thank you so much for writing this and sharing it. May the Lord continue to bless you and your beautifully amazing family.

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  18. Please email me so I can write to you something about Fr Walter Csizek. We named our son Walter after him. God bless you and your family

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  19. Hi Lindsay, I'm re-reading this beautiful post. It is so inspiring! I found a lot of my story in your story...
    I was wondering...could I translate this post in my language (italian)? I'd want to share these inspiring words, so also people who only speak italian will understand them. I will obviously add where I picked these words (your blog).
    thank you
    I hop I wrote something understandable :)

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  20. Thank you for your witness. It was just what I needed to hear!

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  21. I am bawling. Thank you. Thank you.
    This was gorgeous and SO SO inspiring. I have been so down lately. We have just moved overseas for my husbands job and I feel so alone, so isolated in being so far from family and friends, and that combined with my motherly duties I feel so overwhelmed. This is not the life I had imagined, but you are perfectly right that I need to change my focus away from myself and onto God. "I'm coming, Lord!"

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  22. Thank you so much for this post. And I second the recommendation for that book!

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  23. I am dealing with severe emotional abuse. This is something I never imagined could happen to me if I followed God's plan...and this at the hands of a "devout Catholic". This is my cross. Trying to remain faithful to my vocation, yet not accepting the abuse. Take comfort in a husband who truly loves you and is on that cross with you instead of crucifying you on it.

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