Saturday, February 11, 2023

Lack of Friends

Moving is hard. If you never have, it’s not something to take lightly. I haven’t moved nearly as many times as some people, but I have lived in 6 different towns since 2006. Of those moves, my oldest has lived in three different towns in her 12 years on this planet. Three different schools. And again, some kids move more often because of their parents jobs. 

For my children, this last move wasn’t terrible. My oldest began 6th grade in her new town, and it was hard. Coming into a new school at that age, where other kids have been together 5 years already, is not easy. She was lucky to be placed in the homeroom she was, and the group of classmates there took her in. She has since made good friends that she can count on, has been included in the JV/Varsity soccer team this year (7th grade) and seems to be tracking along. The younger two kids make friends easy enough. My story is completely different…

When we first got here, I was connected to a few people by someone at my husband’s new job. Their job was solely to connect new spouses to the city. I was thrilled! I had deep connections in our precious location that I was devastated to leave. So, being introduced within two weeks to new people made me think it would all be ok. And at first, it was. Through this new connection, I met several people, all who had kids going to my kids brand new school. I got information about programs at the new school and dove head first into all the things, so I could try to make roots.

I have everything 110%. I tried so hard to fit in. But no matter how hard I tried to do all the things, I still seemed to be missing out. I started seeing groups of moms doing fun things together that I wasn’t aware of. I quickly began to realize that most of these groups have been together for the last 5+ years, and had developed their own roots or connections that were strong. Too strong to include outsiders. Most of the people here had gone to high school in the areas, and college together. So much history that I was not included in, so that means so many traditions they already have that they don’t share. 

Recently, my husband pointed out that he feels I am reaching out to help other people before helping my own family. I admitted to him that I was trying so hard to fit in, that I didn’t even realize I was letting things slip that I should care about. I have put myself out there to try and help so many things at the school, our church, and other local things just so I could find a connection here. And yet, I still see so many events with those “friends” I thought I was a part of, where I wasn’t invited or even heard of the event. I feel so much more of an outsider now than ever before, and we have been here a year and a half. 

Hard truth: I have allowed the things of this world consume me. I have let people try to fill my void where I should give up to God. So first move is to “mute” people on Facebook that always share the things I am not included in. Second is to start pulling back from events where I am giving my all to others in front of my family. I cried today because of the hurt I feel. And I am ashamed that I feel that way. I am ashamed that I allowed myself to make a space that people need to feel, when I know that only God can fully satisfy my needs. I know these things.  But, I will say, it still really hurts to not feel connected. 

Friday, February 10, 2023

Theology of the Body

Growing up, any talk of sex from my parents was more or less, “Don’t do it.” “No sex before marriage,” was the mantra. My mom told my older brother and I once (after a senior found out she was pregnant), that if we got pregnant, we were on our own. That fear of having to take off myself, regardless of another person, terrified me at age 13. So I never let myself get in situations that could lead to that in high school. 

But that’s as far as it got. It was never explained why, except that as Catholics, that is what we believe. And that idea lasted for a while on me. Not forever, unfortunately. I fell into the thoughts of being with him before marriage was fine, since we were going to be married. And lo and behold, I was nearly 5 months pregnant at our wedding.

I wish I would have had more of an idea of the why. Why should I hold myself higher? Why did God want me to wait? What was so special about that first night? 

Fast forward 12 years, and my children are being taught Theology of the Body with their religion at their Catholic School. I haven’t heard much about this until we moved here, so I wanted to get a better understanding. John Paul II wrote a series of homilies in the 1980’s that lead to these books. His homilies that developed Theology of the Body brought about so many points of why our bodies are “capable of making visible what is invisible.” (TOB 19:4)  I am starting with a beginners guide, and am only on chapter 1, but I am already thoroughly invested. 

God made us man and woman. He created us to love as he loves us. He created man and woman to be a sincere gift to each other. “For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” (Ephesians 5:31-32) Where we unite sacramentally with Christ through the Eucharist and partaking in his gift of flesh, God created male and female from the beginning to live in a holy communion with each other, to becoming one flesh in holy unity and matrimony. 

It’s so easy to say that sex is just two people’s wants and needs being met. And that is where great confusion lies. The body and sex are meant to “proclaim our union with God,” and just like anything that brings us closer to God, there is always something just as equal trying to take us apart. The devil is trying to also use our bodies to distort our view of sex. The devil wants to keep us from seeing the mystery of God in our bodies. And he is doing a great way of this! People want to have unrestricted sex without consequences, people want to have ungodly relationships with others of the same sex, people want to distort their own bodies because they don’t see God’s work as good. 

Pope JPII was not a condemning man. He didn’t bring this study of the body about to wag fingers at others. He was one of the most compassionate leaders of our church. He believed “that if what the Church teaches is objectively true, then human experience-subjective as it is- should offer confirmation of that truth.” (Pg 14, TOBFB). So we can think about our own experience and see if it agrees with what he has brought up. That is one of the most appealing things about JPII. He often reminds us of Jesus’s love and Grace, offered for our healing and redemption of our wrongdoings. 

I invite you to obtain a copy of Theology of the Body for Beginners. I got mine on Ascension Press, and it is written by Christopher West. Here is a question to ponder in the mean time from Pope John Paul II: “What is the truth about sex that sets me free to love?” and “Why did God make is male and female in the first place?”

Monday, October 31, 2022

Romans 8:35

 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? Romans 8:35

Nothing can separate us from Jesus’s loving arms. Jesus forgave sins of murderers, liars, thieves, and many more things. He dined with them. He called them, and they followed. Some became his disciples and spread his Good Word. If he can forgive those men and women, why couldn’t he forgive you? There is nothing you have done that makes you unworthy of redemption. The only thing that prevents us from healing is ourselves. If we don’t want to be forgiven, if we don’t want to acknowledge our sins, if we don’t want to walk with Jesus, then we won’t. But if we truly do, all we have to do is lay our sins at his feet and accept his mercy.

Lord thank you for allowing us to come together another time through your word. Thank you for the blessings in my life. I pray for the ladies who came on This journey with me, and those who didn’t. May they always feel your presence. 

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Psalm 40:1-2

 I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.

Psalm 40:1-2

Even when we feel we are in a hole, with no way out, if we focus ourselves on God, he will pull us out of the hole. He will put us on a much more sturdy path. We have to trust in him and be patient. 

Though I pray I don’t have to get in a rut again, it is in these times that our faith becomes stronger. Usually in the darkness is when we search for the light the most. It is sad that we call out to God more in our times of trouble than in our times of joy. But he is there for us always, waiting in the wings.

Lord, I praise your name. I trust that you know my path better than I do. I trust that when I cry out to you, you will hear me and lift me up out of despair. Thank you for all the holes you have taken me out of and the many more I will find myself in. 

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Matthew 11:28-29

 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:28-29

When the Bible was written, those who labored and burdened referred to those who were burned by the law as explained by the scribes and Pharisees. In the place of the yoke of their law, which was complicated and had many interpretations, Jesus was inviting the burdened to take the yoke of obedience to his word, under which they would find rest. 

Still to this day, nearly 2000 years later, these words are so powerful. “Come to me.” Jesus is calling me; he is calling you. Again, I think, who am I that he should want to call me to be near to him? Well, I am (we ALL are) God’s child. He made me. He did not make a mistake when he made me. He made me for a purpose. So why wouldn’t he want to call me to be closer to him? Same question for you. God made YOU. There was no mistake in your creation. So why wouldn’t he call his children to come to him?

Parents want to give rest to their children. They want to take burdens off of their children. They want their children to come rest in their lap. My 65 year old mother still tries to take things up for me, so I may have rest. My 88 year old grandmother still tries to be strong to give rest to her grown children. This is God’s intention also. Jesus is telling us to stop trying to figure out the world and the interpretations the world makes, and to allow him to be in control. If you read literally into the verse, he wants you to remove the over bearing yoke (as if we were an ox) of the world’s cart we are trying to pull, and put on his yoke as it is light. He wants us to let him be the driver of the cart, and we stop trying to pull it on our own. His cart is light, his yoke easy. 

We cannot live self-sufficiently. We cannot attempt to make our way through life alone. We were not created to be that way. Some people have chosen to make their own path and struggle alone, like the prodigal son. They just haven’t realized there is something to run back to. In our daily prayers, these are the people we should also pray for; those who don’t know there is a better way. In our day to day life, our “labors” are burdens we put upon ourselves. Things we don’t ask for help for, for whatever reason. We think we can manage alone, we don’t want to bother others. We are trying to prove something. On top of that, “burdened” is all the things others put on us. Jesus is calling us to let him take those burdens for us, and offers us an easier way.

This is not to say that we are to push off our work and tasks,  it to see that if we lean on God, our burdens will become lighter. When we realize we are not alone, it won’t feel as hard. God has put people in our lives to help us along the way. People we don’t realize are here for that special reason. Let Jesus bear your burden’s with you. Bring them to his feet.

Friday, October 28, 2022

Philippians 4:6-7

 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

Rest is not an option for all living things. We can try to stay away and keep going, but eventually our bodies will collapse. It may be after a few days, but it will happen. Even God rested on the 7th day.  Just as our bodies need rest, so do our souls. Right now, with everything going on in the world, our hearts and minds might be overwhelmed with information overload. And trying to process all the information can become very wearisome. For some of, information overload may a part of daily work, so this is nothing new.

God wants us to find rest. He wants to relieve us of these burdens. He wants us to know he is willing to guard our hearts and minds. What does rest sound like to you? My thought goes toward a nice hot bath, bubbles, soft music, a glass of wine maybe. Or watching a TV show in your comfy pajamas with no one bothering you. Finding rest can be hard for some people. New moms don’t always have an extra 10 minutes for a shower much less 30 to relax in a hot bathtub with bubbles and candles. When my husband was at school or working late, there were many showers with the baby in her seat right outside my shower. Definitely no rest in that. I only get to watch TV by myself if I wake up at 5:00in the morning and get my Bible study and work out done, or do it at 8:30 at night after the kids go to bed. I’m saying these things to show that I know sometimes finding rest is hard. We are all in different phases of life with different responsibilities. This is not a one size fits all thing. 

For some of us, if it’s hard to find actual time to rest physically, it’s hard to find times to rest spiritually. But Jesus wants us to come to him with our burdens. He wants us to take his yoke, because it is light. He wants us to know he is in control. So instead of trying to pull our cart ourselves in a road we have never been, let him be the driver. I have found that once I made time for God, it became easier to find rest. And I mean spiritual rest. With three kids I may not have physical rest until they are adults :-) And it is not just because I am a stay at home mom with no real job to go to. I have heard that thrown at me before. But that’s not a box I want to argue today. The more we desire to be closer to God, the easier it will be to see we do have time to rest in him. And once we begin that journey, we will find knots in our lives start to undo with his help, and we can feel more relaxed. 

It does take a lot of faith to depend on God. But it sure does make life seem a little bit smoother having him be the driver in this crazy world. Draw near to God and find rest in him. 


Ada LeDoux

Thursday, October 27, 2022

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

 DAY 27

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Life isn’t meant to be easy. If it was all sunshine and rainbows, it would be heaven.  But God put us on earth to endure and rise above. So we will have sufferings. From those sufferings, many things can be learned. We can learn about ourselves and our personal strength. We can learn about who are friends truly are and their roles in our lives. We can learn to feel comfort. We can also learn life is not all about us, and that others suffer, too. 
God is the father of all encouragement and compassion. He encourages us in our times of needs so that we can learn and then turn around and help others who are in similar times of need. God encourages us not only with sympathy, but encourages strength and bravery. This encouragement may include God putting someone in our lives for this purpose, to help us through this situation. Sometimes, though, we don’t receive that comfort from God through those other people, because we don’t allow ourselves to accept it. We push forward, thinking we are strong enough and can handle what life throws at us without others. And this is prideful. We need God in our lives to make it through the big things. The saying “God never gives you more than you can handle,” is only part of the story. He never gives more than you can handle without his grace.

St. Paul had many sufferings in his life, as we will read in later chapters. His sufferings were for Christ. He received lashes, beatings, stoning, imprisonments, robbers, dangers from his own city, etc. He welcomes these sufferings so that he could bring the word of God to the people. He never stopped knowing and understanding that his sufferings were the sufferings of Jesus. For those of us who stand firm in God’s name, we will have sufferings. If we ask to be used by Christ to show his work to others, we will endure sufferings. These sufferings are all for God’s name and glory. And from those sufferings, we will receive consolation from God. He will console us in our times of trouble, when we are standing firm in our faith. If we are suffering at work because we refuse to back down from Christian morals and ethics, we will be consoled by God. If we are suffering through family matters because we are holding God’s rules first, we will be consoled by God. 

As Christians, we should not get into a “my sufferings are worse than yours” battle. Because none of our sufferings are worse than what Jesus endured. Even St. Paul, with everything he went through, knew that his sufferings paled in comparison to Jesus times. Maybe compare and you might see how light our burden actually is, and that we are better off with our cross compared to that family across the street. Then we might see how we can help them through their suffering from our own learnings and consolation from God. 

Lack of Friends

Moving is hard. If you never have, it’s not something to take lightly. I haven’t moved nearly as many times as some people, but I have lived...