The miracle of teen friendships and football families and wearing a scapular
Our children and their activities bring many people of different backgrounds and faiths together. We are often VERY involved in whatever our kids’ interests are. My teens meet so many people and often evangelize so naturally by simply inviting others to join them at various activities. I am in awe of how naturally this comes to them, and sometimes, I think they have NO IDEA how this all plays out for the glory of God! I was introduced to a very special family through my kids and time spent on the sidelines of football games, working concessions, and helping with dances. My first glance at what God was orchestrating was in the bathroom at a football game when my scapular was showing through a cut out of my football shirt, and the wife of this family asked what that was sticking out. After explaining, she mentioned that she should have known that because her mother-in-law was Catholic, and her husband was raised Catholic. Then…we just continued on with the busy-ness of the game, but I had a feeling the Holy Spirit was doing something there…
The miracle of being uncomfortable
I was recently told by the wife, when she was introducing me to a dear friend of hers of nearly 15 years, that she used to be scared of her friend although uncomfortable is the word I prefer to use. However, over the years, this friend has become like a sister to her and a second mother to her son. Then, she turned to me and said she was scared of me at first too! I can’t get that out of my mind because I think God used that. Reflecting on this, my best friends, my sister and my sisters in Christ OFTEN make me feel uncomfortable because I know they want Heaven for me and will tell me and do for me what I NEED – not necessarily what I want or what is easy and comfortable! Is it the same with you?
The miracle of an invitation and timing and fellowship
As time with this family progressed and the teen son was being invited to more and more Catholic events and accepting those invitations. I did my own inviting. We began seeing this family at Mass- every week! We began understanding their desire to learn about the Faith and the Catholic community they were experiencing with such joy. I invited the wife to join me at a Mom’s Night Out. That night went so well, the group of mom’s made her feel so loved that she left AFTER I did! As I was leaving, she asked me to be her RCIA sponsor! I was giddy as if a cute boy had asked me to the prom! It was official— she’s stuck with me now forever! Lol! How God works through invitations, fellowship and — His timing – it all just blows me away!
Another miracle of invitation
Mutual friends of ours had a birthday celebration at their home, and extended the invitation to this family and ours and one other Catholic family. The night was as if we had all known each other our whole lives. Learning of mutual friendships and schools and how lives had intertwined even before this night. The wife mentioned afterwards how her husband had such a great time laughing and telling stories and planning a guy’s night. A side note here – wives take it upon yourself, if your hubby doesn’t do it on his own, to encourage these types of nights and friendships among Catholic families. One mom called it a mandate (man date, lol! I love that!). Anyway, this invitation to a casual gathering was a blessing to this family.
A miracle of being present and listening to stories
For my family to make it to morning Mass is a MIRACLE- every time. One Sunday was a RCIA sponsor meeting after the morning Mass. Because of logistics, this family offered to bring me home afterwards, but because I was present, I was able to meet the husband’s sponsor and the son’s instructor. Both were a blessing, but especially the husband’s sponsor. I was able to get to know the husband in a new deeper way just from visiting with his sponsor and listening to him speak about his friend. Want to know someone more deeply? Listen to others’ stories of them, their shenanigans, their faith journey. No wonder Jesus told so many parables… we learn through stories!
Another miracle of timing
My birthday was the next day. As such, I planned nothing that day. I had a leisurely morning and treated myself to an early Rosary. I usually pray it at night, but it was my birthday, and I just felt I should say it early. During my rosary, I found myself wondering how this family was doing- especially the husband (he had had an asthma attack on the Sunday morning before Mass and RCIA). So, when I finished my rosary, I group-texted the wife and son asking how he was doing. I got a return phone call from the son saying EMTs were at the house doing chest compressions! Timing… the son asked that I say a rosary – DONE! So I blew the trumpet by contacting my prayer warriors as I prayed more Hail Marys- pray, pray NOW- can’t give details – just pray! GOD’S ARMY OF PRAYER WARRIORS RESPONDED IMMEDIATELY STORMING HEAVEN AS MY FRIEND WAS DYING(I would find this timing out later). God’s timing… it amazes me – every time!
The miracle of being uncomfortable
I got a FaceTime call from the son minutes later saying they took dad to the hospital and mom was on her way. He stayed home and was cleaning up and getting things together. My momma’s heart just could not stand the thought of him alone. I asked if I could go help, and then he could have me there if he needed a ride for any reason. Without makeup, I passed a toothbrush and hairbrush quickly and put on the necessary garments to be out in public (remember my birthday gift to myself was a comfortable leisurely day !) and headed to their home. Thank God I have older kids capable of helping and allowing me to be available – that is such a gift! When I arrived there, this teenage boy had tidied the house, taken care of pets and packed his parents’ bags of drinks, snacks, etc. In my house, that’s a miracle – it may be the norm in theirs… He asked me to drive him to the hospital. I did. Walking into the hospital was UNCOMFORTABLE. Being escorted to the family consult room was UNCOMFORTABLE. Opening the door to see my friend in tears with her dear friends whom I did not know was UNCOMFORTABLE. Realizing at just that moment that the mom may not have wanted her son there was UNCOMFORTABLE. Knowing I couldn’t undo what I just did without thinking was UNCOMFORTABLE. Learning our friend had passed was UNCOMFORTABLE. Yet, I could not get the sense out of me that I was supposed to be there. You see, being uncomfortable means something is about to happen. And it did. The chaplain of the hospital introduced himself to me and said “she’s been asking for a Catholic priest since she got here, and we have none on call on Mondays”. As the chaplain said these words, the wife handed me a card from the hubby’s wallet. I AM CATHOLIC, IN AN EMERGENCY CALL A PRIEST. Y’all – the husband was a bonafide CARD-CARRYING CATHOLIC! Even at times like this – my humor … It must be a Cajun thing. Anyway, that’s why God had gotten me here- to get a priest. I called Sacred Heart, they promised to get right on it and have someone call me back. After 30 minutes or so, we didn’t get a call. So I sounded the trumpet again – the response was AMAZING! While I’m getting messages from my wonderful Catholic community, Father Joseph, the family’s favorite priest from Sacred Heart parish, called to say he was on the way! Their FAVORITE priest. When Father arrived, he was able to visit with the wife and bring her so much comfort and let her know how miraculous the timing of his passing was! He was able to lead us in prayer in the room of the dearly departed.
There are so many more friends and God loving people involved in this story – there are so many more parts to this story, but I believe I’ve touched on the parts I’ve been called to and those that will prompt those who read it to PRAISE GOD! HE IS SO GOOD ! I thank Him for even the gift of being UNCOMFORTABLE ! I think it’s a gift that reminds us to be humble and open, and He can work so easily through those that are humble and open!
So, I challenge you… in times when you are uncomfortable – pray through it, be humble and open. You never know what miracles are about to unfold. And don’t forget – SHARE! VISIT! Don’t keep what God is doing in your life to yourself! Jesus taught with stories … we must too!
Author: Monica Hebert