Moving and Homemaking

I’ve moved so many times I don’t even know where to start. When I was just a few months old my family moved to Germany and since then every year or so meant people came to put our things into boxes and transport them near or far. We’d do a purge of things we hadn’t used since the last time we moved before the movers came and then hope that nothing was broken or damaged when it arrived. Moving always meant leaving behind friends and our comfort zone for foreign places and people. Eventually we’d get settled into a new comfort zone just to leave it behind for another. 

As an adult I continued the tradition, transferring to a new college my junior year when my dad was stationed to a new post, taking a job in a new state after graduation, then marrying a man who decided to answer the call of the military. 

But moving was different as an adult than as a child, even if it was the Army still calling the shots. As a child I had no say what house we lived in or how our furniture was set up. I was only responsible for my room and my toys and my clothes. As an adult, the entire house was my room and my toys and my clothes. Or rather, our room, toys, and clothes. I had to set up house not only for myself, but my husband as well. I had become a homemaker. That was a crazy transition, and one I did not make gracefully I’m ashamed to admit.

It’s also a role that has become even more difficult now that I have kids, a smart phone, and social media. Moving has changed. It isn’t just set up the house, get rid of the boxes, and find the new comfort zone. Moving onto this new community where I know no one and finding my place isn’t quite so easy as it was in the Army, I find myself clinging to the online friendships I’ve made and the groups where I have found so much support. My comfort zone had travelled with me. However, this has left me neglecting my duties to my family and setting up the house and getting rid of boxes doesn’t feel as urgent as it would otherwise.

Once I was on a retreat and I had a private conversation with the priest who was our speaker for the weekend. I don’t remember quite what I said about being a housewife but it wasn’t very positive. I’ll never forget the way he responded, the way he said, “You’re a housewife” with such joy and admiration in his voice and face as if it were the greatest vocation anyone could have. Later that weekend someone offered the term “homemaker” and again stressed the importance of this role in the family, in the military, in society. It completely challenged the way I viewed this life.

I sometimes forget that weekend and the profound ways in which it challenged me, turning instead to social media and the people I’ve never met in real life, that comfort zone in my pocket. But then something will happen to remind me of who I am – a daughter of the King, His beloved, chosen to be Captain’s wife and the mother of Sweet Boy and Angel Face, their Homemaker. Sure, eventually I will find other titles and tasks to fill my days and I will find my place here where God has led us, but my first obligation will always be to my vocation. And that is the vocation of Homemaker. 


Come to Me

Did you listen really closely to yesterday’s Gospel? It’s what I like to call the “Come to Me” Gospel. In perhaps the first-ever Come to Jesus Meeting (led by none other than Jesus), we’re told that we are to bring our troubles to the Lord. He wants that.

From the USCCB website:

At that time Jesus exclaimed: 
“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to little ones.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father. 
No one knows the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves. 
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

Come to me.

This was exactly what I needed to hear yesterday. I’m what you could call a bit weary right now. 

We just got back from a family vacation/reunion and there was a touch of family drama that escalated, followed by an unexpected death in the family, a stomach virus that took out our whole household, a horrific autoimmune flare that is fighting really hard not to go away, plus the everyday stresses of work and family life. I have yet to catch up on sleep. 

But Jesus is saying “Come to me,  all you weary and burdened,  and I will give you rest.”

Rest sounds pretty good. But life is still happening. 

Today I have new people at work that I’m training, Little Miss turns EIGHT today, and I have a house to clean, dinner to cook, meals to plan…so how can I come to Jesus when my schedule is full? 

1. Incrementally 

I can come to Jesus throughout the day. Coffee breaks, bathroom breaks, the drive to and from work…all of this time is time I can spend with Jesus. 

2. Offering It Up

I might not be able to spend time in Adoration right now, but I can offer my weariness to Jesus in prayer.

3. Tiny Conversations 

I can be a marathon pray-er…we talkers tend to have that ability. But when the days are long and the time is short (and the alarm clock deadline looms while you’re yawning constantly), a quick chat with Jesus is still coming to him. And when you chat quickly, sometimes you can hear him in the silence.

Kristi 

FIAT: Faith in All Things Boundaries in Your Family Culture

Boundaries. What are healthy boundaries? Why even have them? That’s the topic of today’s Faith in All Things podcasts, friends. This uncomfortable, let’s-be-unhappy-with-how-things-are-going-but-just-sweep-it-under-the-rug topic: boundaries. This is Part III in a podcast series we’re doing on building your family culture. Part I discussed the importance of quality time, and Part II was about your domestic church.

Join us in this often ignored reality of married life: boundaries. Share your struggles, coping strategies, and tips in the comments.

You can download the podcast on Libsyn if the media player doesn’t load or subscribe on iTunes, where you’ll get the content a day earlier!

Guest Post! The Grief of Childless Fathers

Today we’re thrilled to bring you a new voice in the form of a guest post! Meet Caitlyn “Mrs. Andy” Anderson. Caitlyn is a blogger, fur-mama, Navy wife, and Catholic: in reverse order. She started the Mrs.Andy, Anchored By Faith blog as a way to share her Catholic beliefs and how they helped her navigate life as a military spouse. As she continued to share her experiences, this blog grew into a place for her to link everything about her life- mind, body, and soul- back to her faith in God and her relationship with Jesus Christ. Today she joins Hail Marry to talk about the grief of childless fathers.

childless fathers
Meet Caitlyn! Aren’t those eyes of hers stunning?!

There are many fathers who have lost their children before they had the chance to meet them, or at least get to know them. My husband Jacob is one of those fathers. We have three babies in heaven, all taken from us before I was even able to get an ultrasound.

I was able to experience the feelings of being pregnant and carrying life, but the only thing Jacob was really able to experience was me sharing the news that I was pregnant with him… and asking him for saltines and 7-Up. Our babies brought us so much joy- even though they were only with us for a brief time- but the ways we dealt with losing our children were very different.

I say “our” and “us” because those three wonderful souls make my husband a father just as much as they make me a mother.

I’ve noticed that- in general- society doesn’t acknowledge men’s fatherhood until the baby is born. The truth is that once conception happens and life begins, that man is a father. And, as any father can tell you, losing your child is the most heartbreaking thing a parent can go through. It doesn’t matter if that loss happens through miscarriage, stillbirth, infant death, later on in childhood, or even after they become an adult- that loss is very much real and valid.

Males and females (fathers and mothers in this case) grieve loss very differently. This is only natural given that we are wired by God to have responses characteristic to our specific sexes. Females are more open with their feelings. They outwardly express their sadness, pain, and even confusion… and sympathize with others who are suffering. Men are more likely to go into “how can I fix this” mode and focus their time and energy on consoling their wives, as they were created by God to be providers and protectors for the family. They may feel cheated out of the experience of their child, especially if the loss is due to miscarriage. They may also feel like they are not allowed to mourn because “real men don’t cry”. I know for my husband, not knowing how to express his grief made it hard for him to acknowledge that he was entitled to those feelings in the first place.

It took me three miscarriages to learn how to support my husband’s grief. Here’s what I have learned from the mistakes I made along the way:

  • Don’t assume you know how he is feeling. Like I mentioned before, men express their thoughts and emotions in an entirely different way than females. During our first miscarriage, I made the assumption that Jacob was not as disappointed and hurt as I was. I remember him asking me “why are you crying?”. I did NOT respond in a very loving manner. Instead I yelled at him for “not caring”. I later (after we had the chance to openly discuss our feelings) found out that what he had meant by the question was what can I do to comfort you? But because he was trying to comfort me while dealing with his own grief, he didn’t know how to ask.
  • Give him space and time to process.  Because I had carried our children in my womb, I already had a very strong attachment to them. This made it very easy for me to process what was happening, but Jacob barely had a chance to process the fact we were expecting before needing to process the fact we weren’t.
  • Allow him to feel vulnerable. I don’t know very many people, male or female, who are comfortable with feeling vulnerable- myself included. In order to share what he was thinking or how he was feeling, I had to create an environment where Jacob could feel vulnerable. Let me tell you… this was NOT easy when I was wrapped up in my own emotions (see story about yelling at him), but it was so healing for both of us when I put my defenses down and allowed him to express his grief.
  • Pray with him and for him. Support each other. Hold each other’s hands. Dry each other’s tears. Pray for guidance, peace, and comfort for you as a couple during this difficult time. Never underestimate the power of prayer, or how much your husband may need it, no matter how much pain you are experiencing yourself.
  • Love him unconditionally. When emotions are running high, we- as humans- want to put the blame on somebody, anybody else. It’s a defense mechanism. DON’T DO THAT TO YOUR HUSBAND. That was the biggest mistake I have ever made during our grieving process. I said that the stress that he brought into my life was the reason why I miscarried. I don’t think I have ever been so cruel. The truth of the matter is that there was no specific reason why I miscarried. It was just God’s plan to bring that little soul back to His Kingdom sooner than we expected. What I should have done- and strive to do now- is show Jacob unconditional love, no matter how I am feeling.

Receiving unconditional love from their wives is essential for grieving fathers. This is the number one, single most important thing to remember about men’s reaction to tragic situations: if they can’t fix it, they will feel like it is all their fault. Show them that is not the case.

Pope Francis said about men, “All of us, to exist, to become complete, in order to be mature, we need to feel the joy of fatherhood…” Love, comfort, and support your husband during his time of grief so he may experience the joy of being a father of an angel and hold that joy in his heart.  

Leave Caitlyn some love below in the comments! You can find more of Caitlyn’s thoughts at her blog or on Facebook and Tumblr.

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day! We’re a day early, we know, but we’re excited to celebrate! Happy birthday, America!

Whether you’re hanging out in your new home with your veteran husband and sons, at a family reunion, or celebrating your dad’s birthday (or something else entirely!), we hope that you have an amazing day with your family and friends, celebrating our freedom.

Don’t forget to pray for those who serve (and have served) to maintain that freedom we’re all enjoying. If you missed Friday’s Faith in All Things, check it out here as we talk about our traditions for the fourth.

Enjoy your time!

~The Hail Marry team~