“Lord, every time we bring the family to Confession I try to control--the kids’ behavior, my husband, even the timeline in which we see the priest. If there is something I think I can control, I try. I’m tired, Lord. I don’t want to control. If you want us to receive the sacrament, I trust you to make it happen.”When we arrived, I hustled everyone into church. We ran to secure a spot in line but it was unusually long. There’s no way we will ever make it before Mass begins, I thought. “I surrender, Lord. You know what is best for us,” I prayed. Every time I began worrying or felt the temptation to control creep in, I prayed, “I surrender, Lord.” The line moved quickly. After about 20 minutes, I realized I would be the last person to receive Confession, which meant the other members of my family would miss out. I was grateful I would get to go, but disappointed the others wouldn’t. I went to Confession and once I received absolution, I went to look for my family. I expected them to be sitting in a pew waiting for Mass to begin, but instead I noticed most of them were still in line. I looked to my left and realized another priest had unexpectedly arrived and opened a confessional. In the year we’ve attended Confession at this particular church, this had never happened. But on this particular day, one random priest appeared and heard Confessions, just because. I knelt down in the pew and wept. In a moment of grace, I realized how much energy I expend trying to control situations outside of my purview. Don’t get me wrong, I believe it’s important to do the footwork — to honor my obligation of bringing my family to the sacraments — but trying to control how my kids receive Jesus or the time it takes to go to the sacrament or any of the other factors over which I’m powerless in life is exhausting. Jesus loves my husband and my kids more than I do. While I think I know what’s best for each of them, the truth is, Jesus knows better. He wants to offer his grace and forgiveness to us, and I don’t have to live in fear nor do I have to wield a mighty sword to make it happen. Jesus has us covered and he showed me on that Saturday afternoon. I just needed to let go and trust him to make it happen. And he did.
Copyright 2018 Colleen Duggan
About the Author
Colleen Duggan is the author of Good Enough Is Good Enough: Confessions Of An Imperfect Catholic Mom, published by Ave Maria Press. She is a Catholic writer, teacher and speaker whose work has appeared in Catholic Digest, Creative Catechist, CatholicMom.com, Aleteia, and Integrated Catholic Life.