Monday, January 16, 2012

Beginning With The End in Mind

P and I got home last night from our cruise.  It was such an awesome week is so many ways! 

 While I get everything back together today, I wanted to share this post written by one of my most admired mom's.  I have read Lindsay's blog, My Child, I love you, for several years.  She is a mother of 6 with another babe due in April.  She has the perfect mix of faith, humor, encouragement, and practicality.  Without knowing it, she has taught me so much about being a wife, mother, and woman. 

Without further ado, here's Lindsay!

Thank you, Jeanne for offering space on your blog to share thoughts.  In reflecting upon our gratitude for your husband and all our military and their selfless service, I cannot help but be grateful for you and your service towards your family and our country while your husband was away. That being said, you both must have "the end in mind" with your ability to serve in such a selfless manner and understand a deeper motivating love.  Thank you. 

Beginning with the end in Mind

Oddly, what motivates and drives me most days in motherhood and life in general is picturing myself on my death bed or on judgment day. I even say often when questioning a decision, "Will I be glad I did this when I am dying?"  Someone once told me this advice regarding parenting. She said you should picture the kind of adults you want and work backwards.  I tend to picture the kind of life I want to have in the end and work backwards.
I know on my death bed, I will be grateful I kept my faith.  I will be grateful for all the rosaries said, times stopped by to make a visit, hours spent in prayer instead of doing other distractions, time reading God's word, and ultimately the sufferings I either endured and offered up and even greater the sufferings through the grace of God I willingly took on myself for the greater glory of God.  As hard as suffering is AT THE TIME, I know I will leap with joy that I ENDURED and USED it to save my soul, my children's souls, and poor souls in purgatory.  I will be glad I used suffering to help others who are suffering. 
It will be like training for a marathon.  Day after day, you wake in the morning to run the allotted miles amidst all conditions i.e weather, fatigue, lack of motivation.  It will be so gratifying on race day that I trained and trained well.

I cannot recommend enough the book "Consoling the Heart of Jesus" by Michael E. Gaitley.  I am not all the way through this work, but the message is so very powerful.  He reminds us once again the purpose of our lives and the things in it be it people, children, spouses, jobs, friends.

"Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to SAVE HIS SOUL.
The OTHER THINGS on the face of the earth are created for man to help him in attaining the end for which he is created.
Hence, man is to make use of them in as far as they help him in the attainment OF HIS END, and he must rid himself of them in as far as they prove a hindrance to him.
Therefore, we must make ourselves indifferent to all created things, as far as we are allowed free choice and are not under any prohibition.  Consequently, as far as we are concerned, we should not prefer health to sickness, riches to poverty, honor to dishonor, a long life to a short life. The same holds for all other things.
Our one desire and choice should be what is more conducive to the end for which we are created."

On my death bed, I will be so grateful that I was a good wife to John and kept the promises that I made to God however many years back that I would be with him UNTO DEATH DO US PART.  I will be so glad I took care of all his needs each day because I love him, but ULTIMATELY because I love God.  The days as a wife, mother, and human in general are just routine.  We wake to laundry, food, meals, discipline, correction, food, naps, food, prayers, and bed.  At first, I think we do things out of love for ourselves for the other person.  We are trying to impress THEM to like US so we bend over backwards to win their heart.  It is not real love because OUR end goal is still being sought after.  Next, if we let our love mature, you start doings acts out of love for them and not necessarily our benefit.  You may not want to, but you press on out of love in hopes of making their life good.  Finally, you reach the final stage of love which is you do all for them out of LOVE FOR GOD.  The joy that takes over your life is immeasurable.  Even if you are married to a difficult spouse, you press on out of love for God whose love for us is constant.  John's grandfather told him this before we were married.  He said, "I will share with you a little secret.  The more you serve Lindsay out of love of God and putting aside your own desires, the more your marriage will grow and blossom."  Our ultimate hope is in the end (or should I say beginning if our real lives in HEAVEN), the wayward spouse will see God's love shining through and be moved to love God and be with Him in heaven.  You read it over and over in the lives of the saints namely St. Rita and St. Monica.  Sure, by today's standards they have every reason for annulment, BUT they stayed married out of love for God and they were made saints because of it.  What a heavenly reward for their years of suffering, sacrifice, and loneliness.  No deed given to God goes unseen.  We must remember that when enduring trials.  He sees every tear dropped out of love for Him and will remember them on our judgement day.

On my death bed, I will be glad and thankful for each child we had by God's grace.  God could have chosen any way he wanted to bring forth new life and yet he chose the way he did.  It seems so simple in my (our) minds that it be left of up to HIM who states "Before I formed you in the womb, I KNEW YOU.  Before you came to LIFE, I consecrated you."  If HE knew you before you were even formed in my womb, then it seems so funny that I would try to think I have control over the people He already knew.  For some reason, He allows us to participate in the creation of new human life.  It seems so funny that I think I control it when God is the ultimate giver of life.  He deems every person ever lived.  I believe He desires us to be like Mary, Our heavenly mother and her simple "Yes."  Imagine her circumstances. Not married.  Stoning as a punishment.  Having to tell her parents.  Confusion of knowing she was not with a man.  And she said "Yes."  So to you my Heavenly Father, I say "Yes.  Let it be done unto me according to thy will."  We say the words in the Our Father "Thy will be done."   My grandparents (2 people) had 13 children.  From that 13 children, came 70 some grandchildren.  From that 70 some grandchildren has come a hilarious number of great-grandchildren and still growing every year.  If we back it up, from those two people came hundreds and hundreds of generations of people and souls in heaven.  Two people=hundreds of generations and souls.  For me to say "No" to another child, I would have to say "No" to hundreds of generations of people. If my grandmother's parents said "No" I would not be here.  Fascinating to think about.  It is not about numbers to me.  It is about God's plan for salvation history if we listen to the words in scripture.  "Before I formed you in the womb, I KNEW YOU."  When I look at each of our children, I see generations.  I see a soul who will pray.  I see a soul who will suffer for others and bring them to heaven.  I see a soul who probably will hold their own child's hand and teach their own child about God and try to lead them to heaven.  That is why each one is so important to me.  Their life is so valuable not only to John and I, but valuable and essential to all humanity and its survival.  God has a specific plan for EACH PERSON. 

Childbearing and child rearing have no guarantees.  I do not know what God has planned for their futures.  I do not know what He has planned for their life spans.  There is much pain physically, spiritually, and emotionally involved in parenthood. I have felt the pain of miscarriage several times.  I have felt the pain of wayward siblings who were raised right and chose to turn their backs on God, BUT I do know each soul has a purpose. 

I know I will be grateful on my death bed that I gave God the dominion over my fertility to use as He sees fit for all eternity to bring forth the lives He has chosen to be with Him forever in heaven.
On my death bed, I will be glad I was home to watch my children grow everyday.  My grandmother recently told me, "I wish I would have realized how they are BIG for most of the lives and little for just a few short years.  I would have had more patience knowing that."  I will be glad for the books we read, the meals we cooked, the birthdays we celebrated, the walks we took, and the times I just sat and listened to their stories.  I will be glad I didn't miss it and somebody else saw all their firsts.  In the end, it will be all worth it.  It will be worth every financial sacrifice made for the TIME we were together.  I know I will be glad I wasn't somewhere else while they grew up everyday before me. 

To get to these points of death bed vision, I think I (we) must first understand that just because we are struggling either mentally, physically, or financially doesn't necessarily mean you are doing the wrong thing.  In the END, it is probably quite the opposite.  It is in the struggle that we are closest to Christ.  It is in the struggle that are efforts are most worthy to Him.  It is in the struggle that we are able to console Him the most.  So, I would gander to say if you are struggling you are doing just fine and right where God wants you to be.  The world will preach to you the opposite that IF you are struggling you must change something or MUST be doing the WRONG thing when really it is Christ calling you to closer union with HIM if you let HIM and know of HIS love for you.  The ultimate act of love.

Being that we aren't guaranteed a full 80 years in life, I want to live my life right now with those visions and that motivation.  I know that when I die, I will be well-satisfied that I finished strong, struggled, failed, consoled, and used all sufferings to show God how much I loved Him.  We must get to this point that we see our work as saving OUR soul.  We must get to the point that we see OUR marriages as saving our souls.  Everything we do is out of love for God.

Beginning with the end in mind, how do you care to view your short earthly life?  What do you want to say on your death bed you accomplished out of love for God? 

1 comment:

  1. Very true. I think about my deathbed a lot too (not in a morbid way, but in a way such as you say). I always like to think that in the end I will certainly want more people around my deathbed than things and that serves as an encouragement to have another child rather than buy another car (or whatever).

    Thank you for a beautiful reminder to always keep the end in mind.

    God bless!


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