Trauma, Healing, and Fertility Awareness

This week we have a guest post from Rebecca Menning. Rebecca is a wife, stay at home mom, natural family planning instructor, and owner of Wellspring Fertility Education ( She is enchanted by the beautiful design of human fertility, and loves to share her knowledge with others. Her driving passion, however, is her unwavering belief in the inherent and immeasurable value of every human life. A homeschool graduate, Rebecca has a love of learning and non-traditional education. Her other interests include coffee, tea, classical music, science fiction, natural childbirth, the outdoors, and getting lost in a good book. When she is not spending time with her wonderful family, you can find her working and volunteering at the local domestic violence shelter and crisis pregnancy medical clinic.


Trauma is something none of us likes to think about, but is tragically common. The road to healing can be long and winding, and as unique as the person walking it. The following is not a prescription for everyone, it is simply my story.

As an abuse survivor, I have had a complicated relationship with my body from an early age. See, besides the hurt, shame, and fear that the abuse caused, it also sent me some pretty clear messages.

Abuse told me:

My body is not my own.
My body exists to be used and abused by others.
My feelings don’t matter.
My body has betrayed me before, and will betray me again.
My body is a tool used to hurt me.
I am voiceless.
Some of these messages were easily identifiable; others are subtle and have taken me years to chip away. They are messages deeply ingrained and seemingly confirmed by repeated experiences. I have lived these lies. They have shaped me. It makes sense that truth must be experienced in a similar way before it begins to make an impact on a wounded heart and psyche.

Engaging in healthy relationships has been one way I’ve experienced healing and truth. Participating in support groups and having an active prayer life are others. But perhaps the most unexpected balm of healing on my journey has been practicing natural family planning.

Sound strange? Stay with me, I’ll explain.

Natural family planning is the practice of avoiding or achieving pregnancy using knowledge of a woman’s cycle. It involves learning to observe and chart a woman’s signs of fertility in order to identify the short window of time in each month when it’s possible for pregnancy to occur. A couple can then use this knowledge to either abstain or come together during the fertile time, depending on their family planning intention. NFP is quite simple, but it’s not always easy. It requires communication, unity, cooperation, trust, self-control, delayed gratification, teamwork, and a desire to honor the other person.

Contrary to abuse, the practice of natural family planning has taught me:

My body is my own, a gift to lovingly give and a means to lovingly receive.
My body exists to honor God, myself and others.
My feelings are of vital importance.
My body is trustworthy.
My body is beautiful, a vessel of life and love, and a part of my being.
I have a voice, and my voice is both heard and respected.

NFP has gently guided me as I learn to appreciate my body. Now when I give of myself, I feel empowered and loving, not used and depleted. I feel connected with my created design. This has spread to areas of my life beyond sexuality, as I learn to speak my heart with confidence, and to tenderly and gladly serve others.

Healing is a journey, and probably one that will never be complete in this lifetime. But I am deeply grateful to have come this far. Other than healthy relationships and deep faith, I think that natural family planning has helped me more than anything else. I share this in hopes that someone will find NFP to be the graceful balm and patient teacher that it has been to me.

photo credit: fellowapeman monarch cocoon via photopin (license)

When Marriage Feels Like Treading Water

This week we have a guest post from Shannon Evans. Shannon believes that we all belong to each other. A wife and mother of three boys through birth and adoption, she enjoys scrubbing sticky furniture, hosing mud off children, and rushing to the ER to have nails extracted from small intestines. Shannon blogs about faith, motherhood, and the beauty of humanity at We,  A Great Parade.

treading 1

Marriage came easy to us for years.

There were no first year cliches, no dramatic tearful fights, no significant growing pains at all. Not that we didn’t have arguments, of course we did, but they never rocked the boat too much and were quickly forgotten soon after.

treading 2

We went through ministry training, we moved to Indonesia, we celebrated our third anniversary in Bali and our fourth in Sydney, we adopted a son whom we loved but couldn’t for the life of us understand.

You already know that story.  How parenthood broke us down, crushed us under it’s feet, and asked us to build life again out of the fragments of our dry bones.  And we’ve somehow done that, and it’s been beautiful, but there is yet much of the story that you don’t know, too.

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As we began parenting this fascinatingly complex child whose person we were just beginning to learn, Eric was finishing his undergraduate degree and applying to graduate schools (which is all but a requirement in the field of music composition).  By the time he started his first Master’s class, we were overwhelmed, discouraged, guilt-wrecked, and confused by the reality that mainstream parenting practices were failing our son.  (Did you know I was a Child and Family Studies major?  Can you guess how much I thought I knew about parenting?  Hmm Mmm. More.)

treading 4

We had been living in a state of stress, both internally and externally, for too long already.  But in the fall of 2012, Eric’s first semester of graduate school, we hit the kind of rock bottom that leaves your bum sore for years.

You don’t need to know the details of our pain any more than we need to know the details of yours for us to all to look at each other with eyebrows raised and say “aah! you too?”.  Every marriage will have that season at least once, I’m sure of it.

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We couldn’t take each other’s pain away and we couldn’t figure out how to heal our own.  We swam in our grief and hurt and shame until our limbs would ache from the dog paddling and we’d just flat out quit for awhile.  Isn’t it weird how sinking can feel so good that you forget it’s going to kill you?

But eventually your lungs start to rage and you have to choose: come up or go down.  And I don’t know how, but there always seemed to be just enough skinny grace to take a deep breath and start kicking again.  Sometimes that’s all you can possibly do, but miraculously, it’s enough.

treading 6

Did you know that in the liturgical church calendar the new year starts in December, with Advent?  The new year came for us right on time, ushered in by a child and family trauma therapist whom I am still not convinced is not actually an angelic being.  The spring semester came knocking and found Eric shaking his head.  He would go part time so that we could focus on healing our family.  It sounds seamless and simple but I can assure you we are deeply emotional people and I am shockingly stubborn and though it felt peaceful, it was anything but easy.

treading 7

We got more help and we signed up for a group training on parenting kids like Aly, and in doing so we signed up to be reminded that we were never alone.  We licked our wounds and we counted our losses and we started to swim.  Together.

In the two years since the emotional, financial, and practical stress of graduate school has continued to lord itself over us, but still we have healed in community.  The community of our marriage, the community of our family, the community of our friends, the community of therapy.  We could never have stayed afloat otherwise, and we will forever seek to be such a lighthouse for others.

And so it’s with a little bit of pride but a heck of a lot more gratitude that I get to tell you about this:

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There is no one I would rather have almost killed and stayed married to.  No one.

This post was originally published here. It has been reprinted with permission. 

More on HOW to Pray


Yes, you’re right: we should know how to pray! Most of us have been praying since we were children. We grew up with, and continue to teach our children, the Angel of God prayer, the Our Father and Hail Mary, and many other prayers as well. However, living on Cream of Wheat isn’t all the diet that we need. We can only survive on something more “meaty!”

Today let’s learn a bit more about How to Intercede, especially since we at Elizabeth Ministry and RECLAiM Sexual Health really do depend on your intercessory support!

There is much discussion about the many types/kinds/forms of prayer. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (Please do follow and read this link! It’s very interesting and worthwhile!) lists five kinds of prayer: Blessing and Adoration, Petition, Intercession, Thanksgiving, and Praise. (So “Petition” is not the same as “Intercession”!) We know that Intercession is first of all praying for someone else, but also—and here is the important difference: praying for someone else as Jesus! [CCC ¶ 2634ff, “Intercession is a prayer of petition which leads us to pray as Jesus did. He is the one intercessor with the Father on behalf of all men, especially sinners. He is “able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” The Holy Spirit “himself intercedes for us . . . and intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” referencing Hebrews 7:25, Rom 8:26-27, Phil 2:4; 2 Cor 9:14, Eph 6:18-20; Col 4:3-4; 1 Thess 5:25. 2 Thess 1:11; Col 1:3; Phil 1:3-4].

In Exodus chapter 17, we see Moses on a hilltop with his arms raised in prayer that his troops might win the battle against their enemy, the Amalekites. As Moses’ arms grew heavy, his aides, Aaron and Hur, supported them. In this way, Aaron and Hur joined Moses in interceding before the Lord.

In the 17th chapter of the gospel of John (titled The Prayer of Jesus), Jesus tells us, “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world.” Jesus is praying “for them,” that is, for us, his disciples. Later in the same chapter (verse 20), Jesus does add, “I pray not only for them [that is, for us, his disciples], but also for those who will believe in me through their word.”

Saint Paul, in his letter to Timothy (1 Timothy 2), with no distinction made at that time between prayer and intercession, tells us: “First of all, then, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity. This is good and pleasing to God our savior, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth. For there is one God. There is also one mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself as ransom for all.” [my emphases]

So this is Paul’s main point: When we intercede, we do so as Jesus, that others might believe in him through our word. Jesus is the one mediator with the Father. I don’t know about you, but sin often raises its ugly head in my life! How can I myself or you yourself intercede for a need in someone else’s life when a beam of sin(Matthew 7:5) still hangs over our lives? It was rather Jesus, the one mediator and redeemer, who gave his life, not only for us (the “good guys,” hopefully), but for the “Amalekites” as well. [Note: A “mediator” is one who brings two sides together, not one who “meditates.” Intercession is certainly not meditation; rather it is very active and often demanding!]

As Jesus, we are called to pray especially for the “Amalekites,” in our lives, for those difficult-to-love, for those with whom we disagree, and especially for perpetrators and those who seek to harm us, that they might also “come to the knowledge of the truth.” However, it is important to note that it is only Jesus Who has triumphed over sin and death. You or I certainly have no power over sin and death. As a matter of fact, when it’s you or I, by ourselves, attempting to counteract the power of Satan, the Prince of Darkness, we put our own spiritual health at risk. However, the Lord Jesus made it very clear: “Anything you ask in my name, I will do!” (John 14:13-14)

As an interesting aside, let’s go back to the Gospel of John: Count up the number of times the word “world” is used in his 17th chapter. I counted that word 18 times! And this is John’s final chapter before Jesus is arrested in Chapter 18. It seems to me that John is trying to tell us that “the world” is extremely important to Jesus!!

So let’s look at “the world” and for what—or whom—we might choose to intercede. The EM Prayer Ministry occasionally receives deeply personal requests for prayer. Some are very brief and anonymous requests, such as “intercession to change behavior.” (Yes, that is what RECLAiM is about.) Some are more detailed and include heartfelt grief, regret and confusion that result from the use of porn and its resulting behaviors. There are many real individuals who rely on our prayer. We could say, “What would Jesus do?” He would reach out in compassion. He would touch discouraged souls who cry out for direction and hope. He would enclose them in his arms and reassure them of his deep love. He would give them the hope that their lives could change and that they might “sin no more.” It is this work of intercession that is primarily our work: to be praying for the world and loving the world, as Jesus did, as he would, and as He does, through you and me!

Sometimes intercessors are called to weep for the sorrow that our brothers and sisters experience. Sometimes one physically feels the heaviness of their hearts and the pain of their helplessness. Even Jesus wept!

Intercession is not for wimps. It requires dedication, reliability and discipline, objectivity and empathy, humility and love. Elizabeth Ministry and RECLAiM Sexual Health need intercessors. We need YOU. Please consider the call!

May the Lord Jesus bless and multiply our efforts in behalf of others!

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Intercessory Needs for October, 2016

Lord Jesus, we come before you with needs that only You can provide. Have mercy, and hear our prayer:

+for Jeannie and Bruce Hannemann, founders of EM, for her eyesight’s improvement following the stroke she suffered, the ability to continue her writing and speaking opportunities, for Bruce’s health needs and those of their parents and family.

+for the financial health of EM/RECLAiM, for donors and staff members’ needs.

+for decision-making regarding updates to the RECLAiM format.

+for the physical health of EM ambassadors and staff in their travels.

+for RECLAiM students, especially those who have asked for our prayers: “Joe,” “Sam,” and “Lisa,” their healing, and their social and family relationships.

+for all those who are fighting drug, alcohol or pornography addictions, anorexia, or mental illness, that they might find healing and mercy.

+for Kendra, age 16, with aggressively spreading bone cancer.

+for married couples using NFP, and for those who are turning away from artificial contraception.

+ for couples who are currently hoping to conceive a child, and for those who have suffered miscarriages.

+for those couples undergoing difficult pregnancies, those who are new parents with babies, and those challenged by the choices and decisions of their teens, that all might seek help and wisdom from Christian couples around them.

+for the continued healing of baby Aneal following his successful surgeries; for healing of all premature babies.

+for all who grieve and have lost hope, especially refugees and those who could help them.
+for national, state and local leaders, doctors and legal counsel, that LIFE might always be protected from conception until natural death.

+for the needs of all who have asked us to pray, and for those who are praying for us.

photo credit: Filip Chudoba Performance. Prayer via photopin (license)

The Fountain of Youth

15651412945_345963fee3He gently caressed her beautifully curved back as she sat patiently awaiting her lunch that he so devotedly cooked. She looked up at his face when she felt his soft touch as he passed, shuffling his sore feet, to sit next to her.

“I love you.” she said truthfully, to her husband of almost 60 years.

“Well give me some sugar, I need some’n sweet!” says he, always trying to get her warm smile to shine on him.

They kiss, and then they thank the Lord for their food and for each other. The sound of their spoons tinging against the bowls begin to fill the air.

The fountain of youth is sometimes believed to be an actual body of water. I believe, however, the “fountain of youth” is love.

How often do you feel like a little child when someone tells you they love you, just because? How low do we feel when we are not loved by someone? I believe that the love we bestow to one another is just a splinter of how cherished we are by Jesus.

To be a child of God, to know that we are loved by Him, and to truly become a child in spirit, these are elements of the proverbial fountain of youth.

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. ~ Gal 3:26-27

The Bible consistently tells us we must become like children to enter heaven. God wants us to learn this valuable lesson…to love everyone, to be like a child – and love unconditionally.

…Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. ~ Mark 10:14-15

If we read further in this gospel, Jesus explains that we all must become children of God by following the Commandments and ridding ourselves of worldly treasures. (Mark 10:17-23).

Witnessing true love can give us a glimpse of heaven. Have you ever seen a newlywed couple and how in love they are? Imagine that “honeymoon phase” in our older years. We all should be so blessed to have childlike joy in our lives until we meet Jesus in heaven no matter if we have the vocation of marriage, holy orders, or single life.

“He’s my man!”, she says with a proud smile as she drapes her lovely arms around him.

He smiles and asks, “I am?!”, as he knows how to get her to laugh. He likes to keep them both young at heart. He adores his bride just as Jesus cherishes the Church.

They begin to sing “You are My Sunshine” to one another as they smile and gaze into each other’s ardent eyes. They hold hands and kiss once more. ‘I love you’ echoes within the walls of the home.

Is this fountain obtainable for all of us? How is this possible? I contemplate these questions as I strive to love my husband better daily, and we aim to raise our children to hold onto unconditional love to spread to others. The Bible has all the answers if we trust and obey.

Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night. They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all they do, they prosper. ~ Psalms 1:1-3

This explains that we must keep at the foot of the cross. We must obey His Commandments, love thy neighbor, and do not fall into temptation to be unloving to Christ. Love is our fountain. We are those trees planted, and it is up to each of us to yield our fruit, through the gifts of the Holy Spirit, at the appointed time for God’s greater glory.

It may take years of contemplation, prayer, trust and obedience to achieve the fountain of youth. We can ask the saints and spiritual directors to intercede and pray for us. We can enlighten our minds by reading pieces that open us up to understanding. Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, was a priest in the 20th century who had a deep spirituality and sense of justice.  He was an expert at spiritual exercise after all he had endured.

Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in Love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazed you with joy and gratitude. Fall in Love, stay in love, and it will decide everything. ~ Fall in Love – Attributed to Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ (1907-1991)

He shuffles into the living room after taking a moment for himself, possibly in silent prayer, “What’cha doin’ hun?”, as he sees his beautiful wife.

“Well I’m lookin’ at you now!” she chuckles as she admires her groom.

He bends slightly and pats her head of satiny white hair. She smiles softly, knowing how loved she is. He sits himself down across from her, so as to gaze upon her natural beauty. Love fills these walls. Love is their fountain of youth. Let it be yours’ too.

All glory be to God; let us run to Him as His child.

photo credit: Senior couple – Stock via photopin (license)

I don’t deserve a baby.



I never would have thought it during the time that the grief was so bleeding raw and crippling. In the days and months after our miscarriage, I felt angry and sad and shocked and despairing.  Losing our baby ripped my world apart and it felt like it would never, ever be quite right again.  In the years since I’ve realized that while the grief lessened and the wound healed, the life – and loss – of that baby changed me forever.  Losing a baby taught me things that I don’t think I could ever have understood otherwise.  Perhaps greater and more important than all of these lessons, though, is this:

I don’t deserve a baby.  No one does.

While mourning that baby was good and right, that baby did not ultimately belong to me.  A baby is not something to which I have a right and should never be treated as anything other than the undeserved gift that he or she is, however short the time it is given.  This is the lesson that crept into my heart and has grown with each subsequent pregnancy.

The Christian worldview is different from so many others throughout history – and still today – in that it sees in each and every human being the image of God.  It unequivocally expects its followers to treat every person as such.  Each and every human being is a separate and unique person with equal dignity, their worth never to be found in their ability, their usefulness, their attachment to another, their heritage, any personal character trait, their sex, color, or size.  This is why slavery is an abomination.  This is why we see the disabled as precious and equal in worth to anyone else.  This is why women are to always be treated as equal in dignity to men.  This is why racism is abhorrent.  This is why a child is not considered the property of its parents.  A child should always and every time be a gift.

And this is one of the reasons why Christians cannot accept procedures and rituals that treat a baby as something one can create at will or that someone has the right to have.  No one has the right to a baby because no one has the right to another human being.  Husband and wife open themselves up in their love to the gift of a child but it is never something that can be demanded or expected or earned.  A child is entrusted to its parents and the parents receive the gift of caring for this irreplaceable and unique new image of God, not because they’ve somehow shown how much they deserve it but because God willed to give it.  It should always and every time be freely bestowed, not demanded or manipulated.  We do what we can to make sure our bodies are working according to the way He designed, that they are healthy and functional and working properly, yes.  But the ultimate gift of a new life placed in that body is His to give.

Babies and children are to be treated with equal dignity and worth as any adult.  Care and teaching and guidance are needed, of course, and they are not equal in intelligence or ability or usefulness.  But that is of no matter to the Christian.  Their inherent dignity is always equal to any other human being, from the moment, nay, even before the moment, that they exist. While natural and divine law give the husband and wife authority to welcome the gift of a child and the rights to make decisions in the care and wellbeing of that child, they are never to be seen as somehow earning or owning the child.  They must be treated with respect and love and their dignity never violated.  Likewise, their worth can never be attached to how much they were wanted or planned, sick or well, convenient or not.

The gift from that child we lost to his or her younger siblings was a mother who knows well she doesn’t deserve them, a mother with new eyes to see the fragility and profundity of the gift.  With each new life we have since been given (and with each subsequent year as I come face to face with the extent of my own limitations and failures as a mother), this knowledge and conviction grows stronger.  I am weak.  I am undeserving.  I am not at all worthy.  There are certainly other women out there struggling with infertility who seem so much more suited to the task than I am.  But His ways are not our ways.  Every new life given is only and every time a gift from Him.  God help me if I take that for granted or treat them as anything other than the beautiful images of God that they are.  God help us to create a world where every child is seen only as an undeserved and beautiful gift.

“A child is not something owed to one, but is a gift.”  Catechism of the Catholic Church 2378

Come Away and Rest

“This culture places too much pressure on new mothers to jump right back into everything right away when it should be encouraging others to take care of her so she can rest,” I’ve said to more than a few persons. “A menstruating woman isn’t supposed to be doing; she’s supposed to be being. It’s her time to rest and reflect. Her time for doing will come later,” I say to all my Natural Family Planning clients, and well, to anyone who will listen. It seems a lot of my work is encouraging people to take breaks. I finally decided to listen to my own advice. I gave birth about two months ago for the fourth time. My midwife gave strict orders for me to rest. For the first week I should be primarily lying or sitting, she said.

My husband and I at home showing Mateo to his older sisters on the day of his birth.

My husband and I at home showing Mateo to his older sisters on the day of his birth. 

So that’s what I did. Unlike with the births of my daughters, where I know I did too much too soon, this time I stayed lying or sitting, and I slept a lot. I noticed how much sooner my body was healing this time around. One day, while I was lying in my bed, just awake from my nap with my son and now nursing him, I thought about rest.

It’s really hard to rest — at least it is for me, and I suspect it is for many people. There’s always so many volunteer opportunities for some very worthy causes. There’s work, appointments, bills, housework, meals, kids, and on and on. It seems there’s more to do than any of us has time for. After having just given birth, however, there were all the same things to do, but I knew that it wasn’t my job to do them. My job was to rest. It struck me as an odd thing. It was obvious to me that God’s will for me at that moment was not to do, but to be. In fact, if I had jumped out of bed at that moment and started trying to do a bunch of housework, pay bills, answer emails, and the like, I knew I would be going against God’s will.

Why has that never struck me before? In fact, every Sunday God calls me to rest, yet how often do I do instead? It seems like such a loving command from such a loving God. To realize that God doesn’t want me to run myself ragged into the ground with accomplishing so many things, to think that God doesn’t want me to be stressed or frantic with finishing the maximum amount of tasks in the most efficient way possible, but instead He says to me, “Come away by yourself to a deserted place and rest awhile.”

It seems to me that to rest is an act of humility. I must be humble enough to know that everything does not depend on me. Others are capable too. I must avoid the temptation to become indispensable in order to empower others to do the work so that I can rest when needed. Resting is an act of trust. I must trust in God that the necessary things will get done, and again, that all does not depend on me. Finally, to rest is to affirm our own dignity. Unlike the gods of the ancients, the God of Abraham did not create people to be His slaves. We are created in the image and likeness of God, created with dignity, and therefore we must rest. We do not earn our worth by our accomplishments. Our worth is a free gift, and to rest is to live according to the dignity that is ours.

And now it is September. A frenetic month of back to doing for many people. Last year’s homeschooling was for me a year of anxiety. Were my children learning enough? Was I doing enough? Surely we needed to do more and learn more, and do it quicker and learn faster! I even looked into the possibility of sending my children to school for this year. Although I had felt when my oldest was five that God was calling us to follow the unschooling approach for our children’s education, I wondered if God was calling us to now abandon it. The school that would have been a good fit for us was already full however. That fact seemed like one instance among many that reaffirmed this path that we are on. Even though I always said that it didn’t matter when children learn to read as long as they do eventually learn it, I secretly worried about my ten-year-old. Last year she was reading slowly and not on “grade level”. Then, seemingly overnight, she was suddenly reading adolescent chapter books with ease. I guess I could’ve relaxed.

In my household responsibilities too, I keep hearing the whispers to let go and to trust. “My yoke is easy and my burden is light,” says Jesus. I need to listen and to learn this message, like when I let the messy living room or kitchen ruin my peace. I need to remember this message when I look at my to-do list and see that there are many things to get done, more than I have the time to do. I’ve been doing better at living in the present moment and being at peace with whatever task is before me, practicing peace when I snuggle with my baby while the laundry stays piled up, or even when dinner is late to the table. I keep telling myself that God will give me the time to do that which He wills me to do. Slowly, slowly I am learning that there is a way to go about my tasks that is rushed and full of anxiety, and there is a way of being that is calm and even restful in the midst of doing.

“Be still, and know that I am God.” Ps 46:10





Today, Ladies and Gentlemen, we’re talking about neither mamas nor babies, pregnancy nor miscarriage. Today we’re talking about the other half of Elizabeth Ministry, RECLAiM Sexual Health™ and the effect that pornography has on our culture and the future of families. That’s basically mamas and papas, and all the kids as well!


The effect is huge. Critical. Your help is needed!

You probably watched the Olympics over the past month. Most of it was wonderful, full of glitz, guts and glory. But did you happen to see the burger-chain ad? (Maybe there was more than one; I’m just an old prude, but the one I saw on prime-time TV certainly raised my eyebrows!) I was embarrassed for the sake of parents whose children happened to be watching at the time. How has it happened that a company whose goal is to sell food uses pornography to sell it? (But, no, we’re not going there!)

Once upon a time, we had the “Legion of Decency.” Now someone (undoubtedly Satan!) has told us that we have the right to be indecent! Certainly God made man and woman and called them good, but that goodness came from the sacredness of man’s and woman’s sexuality. Something of great value is made to be protected and cherished. What we value is not meant to be paraded through mud or trampled by swine. (Matthew 7:6)

There are many websites and blogs, miles of statistics and acres of articles pointing out the direction of our culture. We know where it’s going! What can we do about it?

First of all we can pray!

At the beginning of each month you’ve noticed that this blog includes a list of prayer needs. Did you know that there is a (confidential) list of individuals who have agreed to pray consistently for the needs of Elizabeth Ministry, and more specifically, for RECLAiM Sexual Health? Some of these prayer ministers came through the RECLAiM website. Some of those individuals may be students of RECLAiM who are themselves fighting a porn habit and need to know that someone is praying for them and, in many cases, for the healing of their marriages. Some of our prayer ministers are monks and nuns who have taken a vow of celibacy. Some prayer ministers are EM chapter leaders and support personnel. If you would also agree to join us in consistent prayer, please sign up by emailing Provide your name, an email address, and a simple statement of intent to pray with us. This prayer initiative does include, of course, the “mother and child” needs of EM, but is primarily a means of opposing Satan’s attempt to destroy families and relationships through pornography. Occasionally an “Immediate Need” email is sent out during the month, but the list of needs is generally identical to those that are posted with this first-of-the-month blog entry. So, sign up by emailing and let us know that you’re joining us in prayer.

Our second “to-do” is to educate ourselves about RECLAiM. For this, let me call upon my confrere in the next office to share with us some information:

Basically, what is RECLAiM?

RECLAiM is a fully Catholic, online subscription program [link] designed to help individuals acknowledge and rid themselves of a pornography habit and/or other unhealthy sexual behaviors. Each individual enlisting in the program chooses a screen name to maintain his/her anonymity.

What are the components of RECLAiM?

RECLAiM consists of 20-plus hours of teaching on the brain chemistry basis of porn habits, along with a set of exercises clinically demonstrated to help people break out of those habits. The daily exercises are supported by a tracking system to aid the individual in monitoring his or her progress. Each individual is assigned an online coach to answer questions and provide support and accountability. Members are also invited to join an online forum where they support one another in the practical steps toward freedom. The RECLAiM program is reinforced throughout with Catholic moral teaching, Scripture, Theology of the Body, and recommendations for the Sacraments.

About how many members are there?

The RECLAiM program has helped more than 2000 individuals. Several hundred are currently enrolled.

What can we ordinary people do to be “mini-ambassadors” of RECLAiM?

Go to the RECLAiM website to learn more about this approach to purity and freedom. At the website, order flyers for your parish and “Confession Cards” for your pastor to inform others of this path to freedom. Contact your diocesan “Family Life Office” and tell them about RECLAiM Sexual Health. And of course, donations are necessary to keep the program financially healthy.

And from there we go back to the beginning: PRAY! Please do join us! Every family, every parent and every child needs your help, and most of all, we need the help of our Almighty Lord, Jesus Christ.


of Elizabeth Ministry/RECLAiM

Faithful Lord, Jesus Christ, we are so blest to be calling on your Name and presenting these needs to Your Father and ours:

+ for the spread and success of the RECLAiM Sexual Health™ program in dealing with pornography addictions throughout the world.

+for individuals who are enrolled in the RECLAiM program, for their determination and success in breaking their addiction to pornography.

+for healthy marriages and families, and for those experiencing tension and crisis.

+for the healing and reconciliation of previously unhealthy parent/child relationships.

+ for greater respect for the authority of parents, governmental officials and law officers.

+for the legal protection of all human life, from natural conception to natural death.

+for those who live in physical, mental, moral or spiritual danger, that they might experience God’s protective power.

+ for the continued healing of premature baby boy, Aneal (“ah-nah-yel”), who will be undergoing additional surgery in mid-September to complete his undeveloped digestive system, and for his parents.

+Thank you, Lord Jesus, that premature baby, Lilly, is finally home with her twin sister, Brooke, and her family!

+for couples who experience infertility, those undergoing difficult pregnancies, and those who grieve the death of their children, that they may receive support and comfort.

+for refugees and those affected by or involved in human trafficking, that they may know God’s love and mercy, and receive the help they need.

+for EM volunteers, members, and all those with physical needs, especially for Gerrie, Judy, Sue, and Sue’s son who has bone issues, that they may experience the Lord’s healing presence.

+for the financial needs of Elizabeth Ministry, and for generous donors and volunteers.

+for the needs of those who join us in prayer.
……….and again, Lord Jesus, Thank You for the privilege of knowing, loving and serving You in this world, and looking forward to Your Presence in eternal Life! Amen!!

photo credit: Prayer is vital at SMBC via photopin (license)