Sunday, December 17, 2006

Giving our Worries to God

"Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God" Philippians 4:6

At our last monthly meeting, my spiritual director asked me if I ever just turn over my worries to God and then try to forget about them, trusting that they are in God's hands. Me? Not stress? Not worry? That's almost unthinkable! No, I'm more like the widow in scripture who kept beating on the judge's door until he answered her petition. I keep praying when I have a problem, for years sometimes, waiting for answers to reveal themselves. Sometimes, truly, the silence is deafening, and yet, I trust that God hears my prayers and will answer in His time, not mine. As someone once told me, God has three answers to prayer: "Yes," "Not yet," and "Actually, I have a better idea!"

Yet, St. Paul tells us to give our worries to God. While I willingly give my concerns to God, I tend to hold on to part of them. I trust God but I still worry, mostly that I am going to screw things up. I know God has this great plan for our lives, but I feel like I'm going to miss the signs telling me which way to go. "Letting Go and Letting God" is not my strong point.

I think that moms, especially, are prone to worry. After all, we are not only responsible for our own lives, but also for the children whom God has entrusted to our care. That is some pretty awesome responsibility. As this is the Christmas season, I was thinking of Mary and the birth of Jesus. I wonder if Mary worried as she made the difficult journey to Bethlehem. I wonder if she was concerned about their being "no room at the inn," or felt afraid at the thought of giving birth among the animals in a stable. I wonder if she had the usual mother's concerns, about the way Jesus was growing and developing and whether she was preparing him well for the role he would play in human history. I wonder if there were times she just sat down and wanted to cry out of frustration and exhaustion. I like to think so. I think that Mary understands our every emotion as mothers, even our worries. But I also think that she was good at handing her concerns over to God. She accepted God's will in all things and trusted that all was for God's glory, even as her son was dying on the cross and she was the mother of a criminal. I need to follow her example.

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