It felt like a “dejà vu”. Everything was shutting down again. “2 weeks” they say. “One more week” they repeat… and then the hit: an uncertain lockdown.
I remember watching that press conference in shock. All of the sudden the sinking feeling you felt in your heart last year came back quickly… it was a familiar feeling of despair. “Oh, not this again!”.
Churches were closed… and everything else too. The stress started to pile up quickly, the frustration, the fears, the anger…
Conversations were all around the lockdowns and the vaccines.
Social Media became so toxic that everytime I logged in, anxiety kick in. Then I logged out and family stress kicked in. No break… 24/7: breakfast, kids, housework, kids, lunch, snacks, dinner, showers, bedtime routine… Repeat next day…
So, I disconnected. Mentally. As much as I could.
How can we make a decision with so many Social Media warriors shooting this monumental amount of information that my brain is unable to process while I try to convince my 4 years old daughter that we ran out of her favourite snack and we need to wait for 6 days delivery timeframe?
No, I cannot do this by myself.
So I humbled myself. I stopped watching my phone, I refused to see any more videos, read anymore posts, I skipped all Instagram stories, scrolled very quickly any post that had any mention of the “not-mentionable” subject…
I also made a resolution -and encouraged by my husband- I decided to leave the kids at home with him, get my headphones, open up my Rosary App, put my mask on and go for a walk around the block. I started doing that and while I gave my body that needed excersise, I also gave my soul that nurturing nectar of prayer letting Our Lady speak to my anxious heart.
Days kept passing. Numbers climbing.
I kept hearing in my head the voice of a Priest who, between many things, said to me: “whatever decision, make sure you and your husband agree to it together.” I knew deep down that prayer was the answer so that it’s how my husband and I decided to pray a Novena for making a difficult decision remembering that old lovely friend of mine who loves to give flowers as a sign that she heard you: Saint Therese of Lisieux.
We prayed the Novena Rose Prayer and her intercession was abundant. It was only Day 3 of praying when suddenly the decision was made and the peace filled our hearts.
No one gave us a direct answer of what we should do. Wouldn’t that be just easy? I wish sometimes someone else could make decisions for me like my own parents used to do before I became a parent myself. But no, this decision is on me. No one will “rescue me” from my choice because it is my choice.
After a few days from starting The Novena Rose to St Therese and while I was in my car about to head out for a stressful appointment, all of the sudden I see my eldest daughter waving me from the backyard running towards me while my husband gives me a sign to wait for her. She approached my car window and told me “I have a surprise for you. Here”… and it was a cute purple flower from our grass.
Oh St Therese, St Therese!! You are talking to me! I can hear you.
When I came back home she told me excited that she wanted to show me her “collection”. I asked her what collection she was talking about and she told me that it was a surprise. She guided me all the way to where our Altar is and to the Statue of Our Lady. She usually offers any flower she finds to Our Lady. Generally one or two daily since the lockdowns started, so I didn’t think much when she was taking me towards Her until I saw like 20 or more of small purple flowers. My daughter was proud and excited to show me her “collection” and all I could think of was a quote of St Therese: “I will send down a shower of roses from the heavens”… I truly felt this was a shower special for me… not roses, I know, but St Therese does know that my favourite colour is purple… so I’ll take it as a sign to keep peace in my heart.
I truly believe that whatever decision we make in life we need and should always ask God first. But the one thing I feel sure off is that we won’t hear God’s voice if we direct our prayer to God with our own will.
I remember, when I was younger, I used to pray for things that I wanted with specifications, demanding the result that I already wanted even though technically I was asking Him to do His Will. But God sees into the deepst of our hearts and sometimes His silence it’s just a message from Him to wait in Him and to truly surrender to His will.
Any prayer we pray He will hear it and He will act on it. He assured us this: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find” Matthew 7:7
But He also added a condition: “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” Matthew 21:22.
“IF YOU HAVE FAITH” said the Lord. Oh my God! How many times we prayed tired and hopeless with no faith in His Power nor Surrending truly and wholeheartly to His Will!
“You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly” James 4:3
“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” James 1:6.
Faith is hard. Let us ask God with all our heart for peace and understanding, for guidance and for LOVE, because the political situations around us are things that are NOT in our hands. Only HE can make a change by the prayers of our hearts.
The power of God can wipe anything that might damage us. The Eucharist is our medicine, the Rosary our weapon, but our love as Catholics followers of Christ is what makes us sons and daughters of God and THAT is what every non-believer should see in us: the Love of God reflected in our actions and in our words as brothers and sisters in Christ.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:11
Whatever you decide. Whatever you do, ask God first.
And once you make your decision, with no fear nor anger, whatever it is, if you have peace in your heart, the peace that comes from God, then you can sleep well knowing you’ve done right by your conscience.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4: 6-7
God bless you.
Liza, a Maronite Mum