Inspired by Lisa Hendey's book The Grace of Yes, here's my take on the 8 Virtues of Yes in my life.
Yes, Lord...I believe
...when I don't just think it, rationalize it, learn it, suspect it or question it...but believe.
...when I receive the answer in my heart as much as my head and it means that much more.
Did you read about what happened on the double decker bus in Rome?
...when I recognize for everything I think I know...there is infinitely more that will always remain a mystery, but my renewed 'Jesus, I trust in You' acknowledges and ignites my reverence and awe for His Depth and Majesty....and my confidence in His Love for me.
Yes, Lord ...I want to pay it forward. I want to pass on not only the Catholic Faith, but love for the Catholic Faith. Our Church has such a rich and deep Tradition and Faith! Is there anything you wonder about ...that the Church Fathers, the Popes, the Catechism and our faithful priests have not addressed?
As much as I love our Church teaching and deposit of Faith....I venture that the most important truth to pass on to our loved ones...is one that I discovered as a young adult and continue to pursue. We can each have a life-giving, meaningful, intimate and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. As beautiful and rich and meaningful as our traditional devotions are, we can also step beyond the classic words or long list of petitions...and call out to Him in our own words, listening for His response in the depths of our hearts.
Part of our vocation ...is to expedite our spouse's, children's and loved ones' path to Heaven! We need to discern God's Will, sacrifice for each other and serve rather than burden. We need to live our Faith...as faithfully and diligently as possible, in case we're able to inspire others around us to do the same.
Yes, Lord....I create...
I tend to feel happiest with an idea in mind or a creative project on the go or at least in the queue. Even if I don't exactly have the time to work on it right now, I can have a gentle design process playing out while I do routine things throughout the day.
Sometimes I can feel guilty that I'm not exactly a fastidious domestic engineer with a spotless and organized house and perfectly-managed kids....or anything resembling that. Although there is plenty of room to improve and to be more disciplined in those areas, the joy and satisfaction I get from building and designing things reflect the gifts that God has given me.
To be able to present the Catechism, Prayers, Saints and Sacraments in creative ways, enticing kids to discover the Faith in fun and accessible ways...brings me joy and makes me feel like I'm on His Mission!
Yes, Lord...I want to be Faith-filled and consistent.
....I want to match my avatar.
I tend to publish the crafts that work...and sometimes the activities I hope to do or wish to do...along with the values I hope to pass on. I don't often publish the big craft fails, the chaos in the house or the family struggles. Sometimes I have to dredge up other years' crafts and activities... because we just can't keep up with all the Feast Days of the Liturgical Calendar this time around!
Life is messy. Sometimes, I clear the clutter out of the way to take a flattering photo....or I hurriedly (at best) attend to a child's need or request with not exactly the best sensitivity or attention. It's easy to get intimidated by other women, other moms and other bloggers...especially when prone to comparisons. We can give others the benefit of the doubt, while being critical of our own every move.
My blog is hopefully a balance of my crafty moments ...and reflective posts (like this one) where I try to express more of the spiritual journey. I'll be the first to admit that we have our struggles, but I aspire to be a happy, joy-filled Mom, eager to pass on our awesome Catholic Faith.
Yes, Lord....I want to remember to seek Your Will, before my own.
Beyond wearing the bathing suit my husband wanted me to wear in Curacao on our 20th Anniversary trip ...humility means recognizing and pursuing God's Will before our own. Humility means recognizing our faults and failings and admitting them out loud to a priest through the grace-filled Sacrament of Confession.
Humility is forgiveness of those who have hurt us, even when the wounds are buried deep....and forgiving ourselves, recognizing how we let our past sins detract from our self worth, even when we have long since been absolved.
Yes, Lord....I want to be open to Your Will and Jesus, I trust in You.
I get upset at things beyond my control (aren't most things?...) and I constantly have to choose to trust in Jesus, to pray as though all depends on Him while I plod along as if it all depends on me.
True vulnerability for me ... is to stumble through less than eloquent words in prayer: my words, from the heart, as beautiful as our classic prayers and devotions are.
One step further, vulnerability is praying out loud....deliberate and heartfelt, and even in front of another.
Some people are blessed with the gift of spontaneous prayer: beautiful words flow out, giving glory to God... and they sound so holy! Not me. As one who has never really enjoyed the spotlight and doesn't really like the sound of her own voice, praying out loud, unscripted and from the heart... can be daunting and humbling...
...but what a gift to connect with the Lord, express the yearning of our hearts and listen for His Love returned to us!
Yes, Lord...sometimes I have to say NO...to say YES to You!
I know that I can so easily be too attached to approval, affirmation, blog stats, creature comforts and control.
Sometimes I need to let go, walk away from the computer to serve the needs of my family; my primary vocation.
I need to recognize what is God's Will and recognize my motives behind what I spend my time on and how I prioritize what I do.
I know there are some who find a great deal of satisfaction in housework, but I am easily discouraged by the mountain of laundry, the trail of dirty dishes, the inevitable crawl of clutter ...escaping to my creative projects, where I enjoy the process as well as the work complete!
Sometimes, I necessarily have to trade the fun one for the other, to make the most of my time and to do God's Will.
...and as for outside requests:
I will be the Mom of at least one elementary-school-aged kid ... for 22 years! I have been coached by my husband, to dodge most volunteer requests...committing only to requests I can add the most value to.
I think we all have different seasons...and the focus of our work changes depending on the needs of our family. For now...I think of the free printables and other craft kits I spend hours designing kind of like volunteer work ...and I try to make them available as much as possible!
Yes, Lord...I need to be open to God's Will for me and not cling to the familiar.
I need to be willing to be uncomfortable, out of my comfort zone, doing something that doesn't come naturally... if God sees value in it for my spiritual growth or salvation or benefit to others.
The thing that makes me cringe...is the invitation to be a guest speaker! I'm okay talking to people individually or even small groups at our trade show booth, explaining our Catholic craft kits, books and quizzing cards. I have even given a handful of small workshops, leading some of the crafts in A Treasure Chest of Traditions for Catholic Families and I've been interviewed on a few TV shows, radio and podcasts. I have, however also been known to make my very outgoing husband handle talks on our behalf...including a talk on Faith Formation through Crafts at NCEA!
I still receive invitations and I'll continue to discern...if God's calling me to this particular type of Rebirth!
Which of the Eight Virtues of Generous Living are you most challenged by...in 2015!
(c) Copyright Monica McConkey, 2015
All images (c) Monica McConkey, 2014, Equipping Catholic Families. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Monica, mom of 5, blogs about Catholic crafts and family traditions at EquippingCatholicfamilies.com. She is an author and creator of Super Saints quizzing cards and over 45 Saint, Sacrament, Catechism and Prayer-packed Craft Kits to help teach the Catholic Faith. The Catholic teaching tools and gifts are available through Arma Dei, the Catholic family publishing company founded with her husband Bill.