Sunday, January 31

I was just going to do a job

So this past weekend I was "working" a confirmation retreat at my church. 120 high school Juniors, some wanted to be there some did not. I was really excited because I had never done a retreat before and went through RCIA so my experience was a little different than that of a "cradle Catholic." I got there around 6 to help set up and go over some things and the students began arriving at 8pm. We began with a talk about Confirmation and some small group time where the kids took these cloth bands and wrote one word to describe what was keeping them from getting closer to God. Then we told the kids to get there coats and we had them take a candle and walk through the stations of the cross and into the was 30 degrees outside and the kids were cold but very respectful and they did it. We got into the church and placed our candles on the alter and heard my good friend Kim Cooper give a talk about Mary. Then we all picked a spot on the pew and watched scenes from "The Passion." I was brought to my knees in awe and gratitude as we watched Jesus make the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. I continued on my knees watching this movie and being ever so thankful to Jesus and I just felt like I could relate to Mary wanting to embrace her Son while he was being beaten and spit on.
After the movie we told the kids that we would be sleeping in the Church, in the pews. We had them sign up at various times for Adoration throughout the night and it was a very quiet peaceful time. The next morning we woke up had breakfast and the kids we all talking about their experience of the night before. We then had various speakers throughout the day and they were all great. We had a couple of involved me in a major role and one had me rapping about serving God!!!
We all went to 5pm mass as a group and then headed back to the hall for dinner. After that we went back to the Church and had reconciliation and Adoration. Now here's where it gets powerful. The kids were coming out of confession, seeing the Body of Christ right there on the alter. Having just let go of all their sins and been forgiven, their hearts were open and we gave them letters of love that their family members had written for them. The kids then cut their "sin bands" and left them at the cross that they then signed. They returned to their pew, read their letters and most wept not with sadness but with relief. One student described her tears as her sins being released from her body. Most kids came to the alter to adore Jesus and thank him for his forgiveness. I was able to pray for and with students, talk to them and listen. It was life changing, I will always be connected with them as we all shared something amazing. After everyone was done we all gathered at the alter and sang as Mark played the guitar. As our night ended everyone seemed to be "on fire" with their faith. (by the way, this process took three hours!) We had a Priest from a different church say that he had the most heartfelt confessions he had ever seen. He said the kids were letting go and that whatever we were doing as a leaders to keep it up because it is working.
For me, and I am sure a lot of the Mom's and Dad's, it's very hard to be way from my kids. At times I feel like they are losing out on having me as a mom around as much as possible. I am sure people look at me and think maybe I should be home more and yes maybe sometimes I should. But this weekend I left something at the alter. I left anger and to my kids and my family that will be worth me being gone for the weekend. What I am trying to say is I don't have to justify it God is working through me to help minister to kids and that is in turn making me a better wife and mother. I "get it" now. I am becoming closer to God and that is bringing me close to my family. So while the time I spend at home may be a little less now its all for his glory and we are better for it. Thank you God for allowing me to say "it's OK to miss my kids and enjoy what I do away from them" I LOVE MY "JOB" this is my ministry this is my life's work.

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