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Jennifer Thomas reflects on how we are not as alone as we feel on our faith journey. 

As I continue to grow in my motherhood and on my journey to sainthood, I've had some realizations. When I first reverted back to the Catholic faith, I felt an immense amount of pressure to do everything perfectly. I felt I had to take my trio to Mass every Sunday, celebrate every feast day, teach my children all of the rote prayers that I had learned to rely on more fervently than ever before. I even wrote about allowing myself to be content in the Little Ways that make a big difference. And yet, even after giving myself that grace, the yearning to do all the things faith related has remained.  

We recently had some work done in our backyard and my deep desire to have a Mary Garden is finally closer to being finished. I've had a vision in my head of what I wanted it to look like. Not what I thought it SHOULD look like, but how I felt like it was meant for our family. I have actually had our Mary statue for a couple of years and moved her where I wanted her to be just last year. The pavers were finally laid and the bushes were trimmed, creating a nice space for prayer and reflection.

Upon the completion of my new space, the beautiful blue bench that was purchased finally sat in front of Mary, inviting me to sit and reflect. I said a little prayer and walked back inside. My hope has always been that it would be a place where I could come to pray and just sit with Mary, a place where I could be on my own in prayer and reflection. 




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My daughter proved to me that I'm not on my own through her simple request to pray. #CatholicMom


A few days later, just before a strong storm, my daughter asked if we could go sit on the bench together. Just the two of us. Since the bench isn't one that technically can sit outside in the elements, we have been bringing it in and out. Together, we carried the bench out to the newly-completed paver patio and sat. She asked if she could say a prayer and I said, "Sure."

"Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Amen." She made up her own little prayer. She didn't rely on a rote prayer like a Hail Mary or Our Father or Glory Be; rather, she prayed what was on her heart. She asked if I wanted to say a prayer too. Improv prayer is not my preference, but I said something simple.

I honestly don't even remember what I said in my prayer. I just remember sitting there with my daughter on that bench in front of Mary. No, we weren't in a church at Mass or celebrating any sort of saintly feast day. But we were there praying together. And I realized I'm not as alone on my journey towards Christ as I sometimes feel like I am.

Even if I attend Mass on my own, I am an example to my children. I am providing them everything they need and it's not perfect. I am showing them what it means to have a relationship with their faith. My daughter proved to me that I'm not on my own through her simple request to pray. Nor are we alone in our faith. 



Copyright 2023 Jennifer Thomas
Images: (top, bottom) Canva; (center) Holy Cross Family Ministries