Monday, July 23, 2018

3 Ways Grace Helps Marriage

Greetings! Birgit here, hoping you have reached out to my new blog at Catholic Life In Our Times. If you haven't gotten the memo yet, here's your chance to jump in. Just follow the digest links below and you'll have arrived.

In an attempt to walk with you on the journey of a godly life, I write to share some experiences you might find familiar, with the hope of shedding some light on faith-filled insight and possibly a solution or two.

Thank you for reading and God bless!

1. My Mother’s Illicit Marriage Strengthened My Faith
"As the first teachers of our children, parents face an important obligation. Not only their words, but their very actions dictate how children receive and live the gift of faith. Even mistakes, made and corrected, can be a shining beacon of hope for everlasting joy with God in Heaven."

The Catechism of the Catholic Church upholds the biblical directive that parents are the first (and most important) teachers of their children. What we often fail to realize is that what we do can have much more effect on our children than what we say or how we instruct. Who has not seen one of their less than desirable actions or words mimicked by a child and felt a sudden blush of guilt? Sometimes, though, a child learns an important lesson from the mistakes in a parent’s life, and how they rise to the occasion. That was the case for me; my mother's illicit marriage actually helped to strengthen my faith. (continue)

Rings, Jewellery, Wedding, Gold, Marry

2. Marriage: God First, Spouse Second, Children Third

"We're told to look out for #1, but as Catholic Christians we know that position belongs to God. His order of priorities for in marriage may surprise you too."

Marriage is a hot button topic these days. The definition of marriage is challenged all around us, and the nuclear family is attacked by the secularized world. As the Humanae Vitae 2018 Symposium, held at the University of America, recently confirmed the nuclear family is in danger. Yet, it is vitally important to the common good of society. The prevalent use of contraception has had a disastrous effect on families and society as a whole. Instead of reducing the number of abortions, which was the stated intent, abortions have actually increased during the upswing of contraception. The cheapening of sex, and the decline of respect for the procreative aspect of the marriage bed, has much to do with this. Leaving God, and His command to 'go forth and multiply', has largely been abandoned as well, leaving us with up-side-down values. (continue)

Rings, Jewellery, Wedding, Gold, Marry

3. Grace In Marriage:Reflections From a 17-Year-Old Bride

"What can a 17-year-old bride tell us about grace in marriage? You might be surprised to find that experience comes in all forms and from all ages."
Witnessing the constant attacks against the institution of marriage leaves us gasping for a moral resolution. Surely punishment similar to Sodom and Gomorrah is waiting in the wings for our fallen world. It isn't even necessary to list the many abhorrent sins against Holy Matrimony of our modern times. Unless you're hiding under a rock your are at least marginally aware. As Catholic Christians it's our duty to 'do something', but what?
What we need is a return to grace in marriage because God's grace is the only resolution. We all know that marriage isn't easy. As the two, who have become one, live past the ceremony and reception, they experience the reality of life. What holds the bond together for eternity is an influx of God's grace in marriage. (continue)

What sorts of stories can you tell about grace in marriage? Share your thoughts in the comment boxes of the links above.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Designs by Birgit is Moving

Hi all! I wanted to let you know that I am packing up my posts and moving over to a new WordPress site by the same name. My goal is to make my musings more viewer friendly and to add more free content for sharing.

Some of the changes you will see:
  • The Pro-life memes I create and share on Facebook will be available for free download and sharing or using for your parishes, pages, or blogs.
  • Content will feel more accessible and user friendly (I hope).
What won't change is my dedication to share messages of faith, life, and creativity. 

Go check it out - I've added a few things already and will be working on getting settled in as quickly as possible. I hope you'll join me at the new Designs by Birgit location and consider sharing with your friends. 

Thanks and God bless!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Sometimes Sharing Your Ordeal Blesses Other Victims

Sharing a heart-wrenching ordeal can become a matter of rejoicing when it witnesses victory over evil. Not just survival, but a of a flourishing outcome makes a profound statement . By looking closely at every obstacle, struggle, and eventual victory in their lives, people have the ability to discover hope. Such examinations of the past can be an aid to hope for a fruitful future. Most victims who share this kind of witness are in no way attempting to find fame or fortune. Nor are they seeking attention – their fifteen minutes in the spotlight. Contrarily, the dredging up of the past brings tears, pain, and sometimes even nightmares. Yet the experience begs to be shared as a beacon of hope to those experiencing similar ordeals.
"God gives each one of us sufficient grace ever to know his holy will, and to do it fully." -St. Ignatius of Loyola

After the Ordeal

I was an inexperienced fourteen-year-old teen when my life was forever changed in a horrific eye-opening ordeal. The cute boy down the street had a violent side and I was his naïve young victim. That I was not the only one affected goes without saying. Our family dynamic would never be the same. A new child was conceived.

The 1970’s were not like current times, with relaxed moral views and blasé reactions. Unwed motherhood was taboo and our family, Catholic and pro-life, hunkered down to await the new arrival. It was decided that the child, a boy, would be adopted by my parents and become a special sibling to us.

Life Moves On

After the new addition arrived we continued our small town American life. Returning to school was unnerving but college was in my future, necessitating the prerequisite grades. Aside from a few hushed whispers, our tiny community continued on without much ado.

My parents stipulated that dating begin promptly at sixteen. Remarkably I met a young man who won approval from my parents almost immediately. Something I now recognize as Divine Providence. We dated throughout high school and married during my senior year. My husband and I tried unsuccessfully to persuade my mother to allow us to adopt my brother (son) but the mother-child connection they had developed was too strong. My mother simply couldn’t give up the three-year-old son she now called her own.

College-bound after completion of high school, four years later found me as a married college graduate with a one-year-old son. Life had successfully and beautifully moved on. The scholarship I had been denied (because I was married), the teen ordeal and subsequent birth, as well as the youthful marriage, had not marred my future. If anything, these life circumstances had enhanced my ability to cope with responsibility and the unexpected. The graces flowing from our sacramental marriage allowed us to weather any storm and remain committed to loving each other.

Career Blessings

As unhindered as my education was, my career likewise flourished. The experience of my youth strengthened my drive to become a pro-life advocate. The BA acquired enhanced creative endeavors toward that goal. Tempered by the fire of the punitive ordeal, my organizational skills were finely honed as well. Life lessons had prepared me for numerous employment experiences including: Executive Director of pro-life groups, art teacher, and Field Representative for a pro-life U.S. Congressman.

Vocational Choice

In the end, my strong vocation for a traditional family won out. My preeminent career move was achieved. Stay at home mother became the most rewarding career choice for me. First, as the mother of three children attending Catholic schools and then as a home educator.

Now that my own children are grown and parents in their own right, I continue to relish home life by having grandchildren around me as much as possible. The life I have lived, the life I am living was not hindered in any way by my adolescent ordeal. In some ways the experiences I endured prepared me for who I want to be today.

There were myriad options along the way – but the choices were mine to make. In the end, an early pregnancy did not prevent the achievement of becoming who God called me to be. I became exactly who I was meant to be: A woman with many choices, armed with strength and faith and endless possibilities.

Don’t Believe the Abortion Hype

The telling of my experiences is in no way intended as a long list of self-congratulatory achievements. On the contrary, my hope is to inspire those who are thrust into similar circumstances. Never forget that Planned Parenthood and their ilk exist as money-making businesses whose success depends on taking the lives of helpless unborn babies by seducing their mothers by abortion promoting hype.

As with people who grow up in poverty, broken homes, and abuse, success is dependent on grace, a strong will, and faith in the human person who was created by an almighty God. He has endowed all people, from conception, with a right to life and an undeniable ability to achieve. To use an unexpected pregnancy as an excuse not to achieve is a morally bankrupt denial of the human will.

Abortion Hurts Society

In my pro-life work, I have been privileged to know many women who pulled themselves up out of their post-abortion desolation. Without fail, their regret is profound but their conviction for life is greater. Many of these women unselfishly relive the most painful experience in their lives in an effort to help others. They speak and write and volunteer in their vocation as pro-life advocates. Their pain is unspeakable and lingering guilt drives them to a profoundly selfless love of others. Although forgiven, a passionate resolve to bring something positive out of past flawed choices makes them insightful ambassadors for life.

Let us all do as much as we can to promote a Culture of Life. Even if the conception occurred under duress. After all, the child is simply another,living victim of this ordeal and has a God-given right to life. There can be no excuses to negate the fact that these children are as much of gift of God as the planned child. Furthermore, we no longer live in a time of scientific ignorance – even secular science confirms life begins at fertilization. Likewise, our faith in God confirms that all people are conceived as equals – each life is important, no matter its origin. Educate yourself, speak out, and pray to end abortion.

And if you are a sister survivor, please consider sharing your story - no matter the circumstances or which choice you made. The goal in doing God's work is to work in His vineyard. How many women and their babies might He save as a result of your witness?
“God doesn’t require us to succeed; he only requires that you try.” Saint Teresa of Calcutta