(I love Willow Tree and this angel is perfect for this post!)
So I've been a little busy lately. We started homeschooling this past week, though today we are taking a little bit of a break. It's not so much because we need to be away from schooling, but because I need to take a "mental health" break. Not only have we started school but I have started something on my own. I am in the process of training at a crisis pregnancy center to become a volunteer counselor. I am very excited. But I know that it is going to be a battle with Satan, as I have already experienced in the four weeks since I made the decision to sign up.
It's going to take buckets of courage to travel this road. I have always been pro-life. Even when I found myself in a very difficult situation: pregnant and unmarried at a relatively young age (mentally I was younger), I still knew with absolute certainty that all life is to be protected. Of course I thought about how much my life would change and how much I'd have to give up to even bring her into the world, let alone parent her. Some even believe it "ruins" your life to have a baby when you're not ready. But as Mother Teresa so eloquently said, "It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you please." I didn't want to live as I pleased if it meant my baby could not live at all. I rescinded my life to choose life for her.
And now, I hope to help others choose life for their babies as they find themselves in similar - or even more difficult - situations as I was in almost 8 years ago. I am acutely aware of the fact that I will not always succeed in this aspect of the mission. But God has called me to a higher purpose than just trying to help them to believe in the sanctity of human life. He has called me to show these broken women His perfect love, regardless of their choice. It is going to be difficult. Even the training has had its moments of difficulty. Last night we learned about abortion, which I already knew a lot about anyway but it never gets easier to hear about. We also had to watch a movie that was graphic and sickening and informative and raw. I had a hard time and I was afraid. But it was necessary, despite how painful and scary it was to endure.
The unsurprising thing about this whole process is that Satan has been right on my heels the whole time. From the moment I discerned that volunteering at the center was what God was calling me to do, I felt Satan slink in ever closer. He planted so much in my head that first day of training. I was irrationally fearful of the drive to the center. It was one I had never taken before but was in reality very easy. I even talked to Joe about maybe driving me even though it was a ridiculous request because of the kids and the time-frame. And then I thought about not going at all. Then, my wonderful husband said, "didn't you drive to Florida all by yourself when you were younger?" Ah, yes I did, honey. Yes I did. I did it when I was even more shy, scared of the world, and had a huge lack of self confidence. So that was the boost I needed. Strike one for Satan.
And from there, a slew of other lies and misunderstandings of situations which have caused me to question what I'm doing have descended upon me like a thick heavy cloud. Last night I left that very difficult training session completely drained. There were other factors in that state of emotional stress that in a round-about way linked to this battle I'm fighting, and I felt suffocated as I mentally dissected each particle contributing to my angst. I prayed a million Hail Mary's as I drove home, and rested in the knowledge that I was going to be guarded with all the forces of God if I would only remember to ask Him.
But that Satan is a sly one.
I went to sleep very very late last night; the last thoughts in my heart being a prayer to God to help me to not have nightmares of what I saw on the movie we watched. And He was faithful. But as soon as I awoke, images from the movie floated into my head, stabbing my mind into a state of paralysis. It didn't help that it's gray and raining outside or that I was still dealing with other factors that make me question my abilities to spread God's truth. I spent the first few hours of the morning not getting up and launching into my routine with prayer, exercise, breakfast, homeschool, but snuggled with my hubby, hunkered down in our bed with the children who filed in one by one, watching cartoons and praying for peace.
I realize that I have joined this war in a more definitive role than I have ever played before. And that comes at a price. Satan has me on his radar, even more honed in than he's been my whole life. And he will use whatever means, and whoever he can (even if they're unaware of the fact that he's using them), to plant even the tiniest seed of doubt and fear in my heart. I will be ridiculed, I will be called wrong, an idiot, opinionated, biased, close-minded, and worse... There will be attempts at knocking me on my butt like I have been today. In this world we live in, where anything goes, every one's thoughts are considered mere opinion and there is little regard to God's truth, I will be fighting the fight to protect human life. At times I will lose. At times I will feel alone and depressed much like today. But I am the daughter of a sovereign God, a God Who is unmoved by the lowly attempts and puppets of Satan, and He is protecting me as I serve Him in my role.
Today's reflection on the daily Mass readings from myCatholic.com was exactly what I needed to feel secure in the above knowledge once again. As I seek to spread God's truth in the world - a task He asks of all Christians - He will protect me, guide me, lift me up, and reward me. He is the source from which I draw my courage and strength and therefore, I too will be unmoved.