For those going through infertility, there is a lot of talk about spiritual motherhood. If you're lucky, you have good friends that will remind you of the family God has given you and those souls he has allowed you to spiritually parent. It doesn't take away the pain of not having physical children, but it certainly does serve as a reminder that we are mothers and fathers to more than just the flesh of our flesh. God has an incredible way allowing us to minister to others even when we might not realize we are doing so. Think of your own life. Who have been the spiritual mothers or fathers in your life? Who has been a role model in the faith to you? Who has helped you out along your journey? Who has called you to greater holiness? For me, it's far easier to think of who my spiritual mothers and fathers are, and a bit more difficult to recognize those that I have spiritually mothered. But occasionally, one of them writes or calls to touch base and let me know how they are doing, and it is at those times, that I am really amazed at God's goodness in allowing me to be a spiritual mother to them and in the small role that I am privileged to play in their pursuit of holiness...and I begin to glimpse how big my spiritual family really is.
In the past few months, when I have struggled greatly with the lack of physical motherhood, God, in His love, has sent an influx of support from these spiritual children. I share their comments here not to toot my own horn in any way, but to simply share how lives were changed and brought closer to God just by me allowing Him to work through me to minister to them. It has nothing to do with me...everything to do with Him. (with the exception of the two students, who gave me permission to share their identity, names have been withheld)
A former student from the Franciscan University Gaming program who is now at St. John's Seminary preparing for the priesthood:
"A big thank you from one of your austria children, and lots of prayers being sent your way from out here at St. John's Seminary. Thanks for writing this blog!"
A former student from the Franciscan University Gaming program:
"I just wanted to say hello and tell you I am thinking of you. Also, thank you for your blog posts, for writing, for sharing...I don't have words to describe what I am thinking or feeling because maybe I don't quite know what I'm thinking or feeling, but I do want to say, thank you! Thank you for your witness, for your generosity in sharing your suffering with us, thank you for teaching us....Thank you for the example and gift of your spiritual motherhood inoffering up all of your sufferings as you await the gift of physical motherhood. This cross is winning you so many children.(I am happy and awed to be included. The Mystical Body of Christ is such a great and awesome mystery...) And so, thank you! Thank you for generously sharing the spiritual treasures you are gaining from all these sufferings.We are in such need of prayer, of your prayers. I don't know if these words are express my thoughts. (I feel as if Imyself need time to process the gift and example of what you areteaching). All I wanted to say was thank you. "
From a girl who was in a small Sciprture study I led during my year of grad school at IU:
"I wanted to say thank you. I recently graduated from Purdue (made it in 4 years- yay!), and so in the past few weeks I've been thinking about all that has happened during my years in college. Looking back, I can see that I changed a lot, and for the better. I have grown so much, and a big part of my transformation began with your friendship and our Lexia Novena group. When I met you I was struggling so much. I was so unhappy at IU. My faith (thanks be to God) was still alive, but it wasn't on fire. But God blessed me by sending me you and J, and it was during that time that I began to let go of the grip I had always had on controlling my own life. In reading the Bible for the group and through our conversations together, I began to feel like God was really present in my life, like he was speaking to me. It was a total act of faith that brought me to Purdue, even though I was accepted at Notre Dame, and my time at Purdue was the best 3 years of my life. I met so many wonderful people, and was able to do so many things that I never expected. I have been able to travel to 6 other countries just in the past year. The most recent, and most moving, happened just last month, when Father Patrick from St. Tom's selected me to travel to Bolivia with 5 other students for a mission trip. That experience was such an incredible blessing that changed my heart and opened my eyes to all I can do to be the face of Christ for others. It has inspired me to try to be an answer to someone's prayers each and every day and to do all things with love. So thank you, Suzy. Whether you realized it or not, God used you to bring me closer to Him, and I am so grateful. God bless!
And a recent article about my spiritual twins who have both received a call to religious vocations. I was blessed to get to know them while I was a grad student at IU. Since I was the one with the car, I was usually the driver out to the Mother of the Redemeer Farm and on road trips to Steubenville. They transfered to FUS after their freshman year at IU, and well...read the link below for the rest of the story.
God is so good! We may not have it all together, we certainly have our own struggles, and we might not feel strong enough to help others, but if we are willing, and offer ourselves to the service of God ("Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." Luke 1:39) it is amazing how he can transform the lives of others and transform us in the process. It is humbling.
One final thought and suggestion if I may...Who have been the spiritual mothers and fathers in your life? May I suggest that you send them a small note of thanks? Let's continue to encourage each other along our way to the heaven. :)
Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, as indeed you do.
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:11