This week’s post comes from writer and speaker, Ellen Mongan.
“The most important person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral, a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby’s body. The angels have not been with such grace. They cannot share in God’s miracle to bring new saints to Heaven. Only a new mother can. Mothers are closer to God, the Creator, than any other creature. God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation. What on God’s earth is more glorious than this, to be a mother?” – Cardinal Mindszenty
When I was a young woman, I was not a candidate for motherhood. If I were to have tried out for the role of motherhood, like I did for cheerleading in high school, I would not have made the mommy squad. I, a former Air Florida flight attendant, married my man Dr. Patrick F. Mongan at age twenty. I was a babe myself. Never did I dream that I, a bride who was dealing with anorexia, would conceive on the honeymoon, and neither did my spouse. Surprise, Surprise! Boy was our first child an unplanned surprise, but a blessing in disguise. I had never babysat, diapered a child, nor looked beyond myself. I do not think I even liked children. I, a free-spirited kind of gal was more concerned about the latest fashion styles or hairdo fad than in nurturing a newborn. I was more about my world than the world of babies.
What was my life as a bride like before baby? This may give you some insight, I hired a maid the first month of our marriage. Dressed in my hottest bikini, I would meander down to the pool at our honeymoon apartment, and lay on my little blue raft as I enjoyed the view of the Florida sky. I just suntanned my days away. No, I was not the domestic type, not even in my dreams; I would never have won the title Proverbs 31 Woman of the Year. I thought that I was living the Good Life.
After a month-long honeymoon of romancing our way through the west; our life was altered forever. Once home I was to discover that the nausea, that I thought was car sickness, was a different kind of nausea after all. I had become a mother and I did not even know it. Life changed quickly and my heart slowly followed. Being a mother of a quiver full has taught me that “Nothing is impossible with God.” I believe that my God can do anything; because He changed me completely. When He grew inside me a mother’s heart, it was the greatest miracle God has wrought in my life. I am convinced that the greatest miracles happen on the inside, in the heart, where God alone sees. He seems to work in private. We are unaware, until we look back on a forty-year-long journey, and realize with delight, “How Great Is Our God!” All I can do is praise Him for His goodness.
Motherhood was God’s idea in the first place. The first mother Eve said in Genesis, “I have made a manchild with the help of God.” I can so relate. Never did I need God more in my life more than the day I became a Mother. For me, the birthing process began the journey, however the laying down of my life daily for my children is what made me more like Christ. As I took the time to teach and train my children, I found God was doing the same for me. As I tried to form character in my children, my heavenly Father was forming character in me. I must have needed a lot of character growth because God gave me eight children. A mother’s heart is grown by God. No, God does not wave a magic wand that makes us grow into the character of Jesus. It is daily life experiences we go through that changes us forever. Life-experiences build character.
For every woman, as you give your daily “Yes,“ whether God has given you many children, a few, or none at all, take strong hold of that nail-scarred hand of your Savior. We never know where journeying with God will lead us. As a wife of forty years to Deacon Patrick F. Mongan M.D., and as a mother of eight, and a grandmother of eleven, I can only say I am glad I am not journeying alone. I have journeyed to mountaintops of great joy, into valleys of tears and sadness, and through deserts of loneliness, waiting until God parts the Red Sea. I have learned that it in the crucible of suffering; you get to know God for yourself. He alone will teach you how to walk on the water, if you keep your eyes on Him. When you begin to sink, he will send a lifeboat in the form of other committed followers. No one can walk the journey alone. I wake up every morning to pray and seek the face of Jesus. I ask Him, “How I can serve you today?” I try to attend Mass daily, and confession frequently; that is where the grace is. I know I need Him. In him alone, I place my trust. I am grateful that He is filling my quiver. My Heavenly Father knows best. I want Him to be my everything!