This past Saturday, my husband & I were sitting on the couch just having a general day. I can’t remember what started the conversation, except that I KNOW it was him (fist pump & bump from me to the Holy Spirit). He asked about when the Church started. Since I tend to blather on & on (& on & on & on…), I concentrated on brevity. I said, “Oh, somewhere in the New Testament before Easter, Jesus told Simon Peter that ‘… on this rock I shall build my Church…'” I further added that He (Jesus) also told Simon Peter that He (Jesus) would give Simon Peter the keys to Heaven and the Church. My husband’s reply was a simple “Oh” or grunt of acknowledgement. Regardless of his response, I was tremendously pleased that he broached the subject.
Imagine my absolute SHOCK when, at Mass Sunday, the Gospel was that *very* reading. Jesus asks the disciples, “Who do the people say that I am?” followed by “Who do *you* say that I am?” Simon Peter was the only one brave enough (or lacking the edit function of his brain like me) to say, “You’re the Christ”. Then followed my above mentioned quote from that same chapter. As the reading began I looked over and was dismayed to see that our children looked to be thoroughly distracting my baptized (but not confirmed) husband. I said a silent prayer to the Holy Spirit to allow him (my husband) to hear the words of the reading AND the homily. Then I tried to divide my attention between the children, Mass, & my husband’s demeanor; therefore I completely forgot about the revelation during Mass. Later at home, amid the chaos that is life with a 3 year old & 21 month old, my husband said something about it being funny that the reading at Mass was exactly what we’d talked about. Again, I internally fist pumped & bumped the Holy Spirit, but kept my answer non-chalant & brief.
That got me to thinking. Who am I that God should listen to my all-too brief prayers? Who am I that others should look at me & find encouragement, inspiration, and happiness? Who am I that God has blessed me with the family (and friends) I have? Who am I that God has given the struggles to overcome and therefore become an inspiration to others around me. The answer is, basically, I am who God made me.
It is often bandied about that God works in mysterious ways and that if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. Well, I am the personification of the latter of these as well as the former (but mostly the latter). Too often I get caught up in the little things and forget or dismiss my prayer-life, the sacraments, or the blessings that I have been given. To be honest, sometimes the struggles God has given me are actually the biggest blessings I have. Obviously, I don’t see that at the time, but upon reflection later (sometimes MUCH MUCH MUCH later) my struggles have been times when I have developed certain traits that make me a better person. This better person God is molding is who He wants me to be. The comfortable, vague-minded, obsessive, defiant, anxious person is the anthema of God’s plan for me. It is up to me, and EVERYONE, to become the person God means us to be through His means, not our own.
Erika V. is a thirty-something mother of two (with four saints in heaven). With a degree in molecular biology, she works for her state’s police crime lab; although her dream is to stay home with her children and homeschool them. Her newly converted husband is a sometime auto mechanic and primarily a stay-at-home dad. Passionate about pro-life issues and science, she is a survivor of breast cancer while pregnant. At 20 weeks pregnant with her daughter (pregnancy number six), she was diagnosed with BRCA1 stage II breast cancer. When local doctors we stumped with the diagnosis, she traveled to MDAnderson where chemotherapy on pregnant women has been done for over twenty years. After delivering her baby girl and undergoing more chemotherapy, Erika has had a whirlwind of surgeries to combat the cancer as well as the complications of cancer treatments. Three years and eight surgeries later, she continues to be passionate about pro-life endeavors, even winning the local Right to Life group’s Life Award and serving on their working board of directors. She authors two blogs, one a mommy blog Biology Brain-Simon Says and one a breast cancer while pregnant blog Erika’s Miracle Journey. Blog posts are often filled with pro-life references, including medical journal articles supporting the pro-life position. While there isn’t often time, she also enjoys horses, reading, gardening, and KY bourbon.