If motherhood is an adventure, Catholic motherhood takes the prize. It’s a transformative journey, a once-in-a-liftetime experience. Military wife and blogger Amy Thomas tells us how to do it right.
My life is full of adventure.
For one, I’m married to a military man, so I move all over and get to explore different places all the time.
For two, I’m a mom and as any parent will tell you, parenthood is quite the adventure.
Third, I’m Catholic: a Catholic pilgrim on a journey through life striving to reach Heaven.
Following Christ is the adventure of a lifetime and teaching my kids about our faith is one of my greatest joys.
There are plenty of books with advice about motherhood, but there is no book that can teach you how to raise your unique children. From the moment the doctor puts them into your arms, the adventure starts. Here is this truly beautiful, uniquely created human that is dependent on you. Even though children may have the same mom and dad, they do not come out as replicas of their other siblings.
As soon as my oldest child entered the world, she was determined to move. She had to be on the floor struggling to roll over, sit up, or crawl. She wasn’t content to take calm walks in her stroller; no, we had to strap on rollerblades and zoom around for her to be satisfied. That determination has not left her.
My middle child was and still is my snuggler. She has a tender heart with a keen sense of other’s emotional states. She still loves to hold my hand, even at thirteen.
My 4-year old son, well, he is a rough-and-tumble boy. Everything is a weapon. He is constantly fighting imaginary bad guys. He climbs up everything and jumps off of everything. His energy knows no limits.
As a mom, you learn that what works for one kid doesn’t necessarily work for another kid. All your children will need your love, care, and guidance. Where the adventure comes in, is learning how to make sure each child has what it takes to help them succeed. This will definitely look different for each child and, as a mom, it’s so important not to adopt a “one size fits all” mentality with our kids’ growth and development.
I wasn’t raised Catholic. I come from a Protestant background and grew up disliking the Catholic Faith. As God would have it, though, I married a Catholic man and eight years into our marriage, I converted. Once I discovered the treasure that is the Catholic Church given to us by Christ, I never looked back. It would be an understatement to say that I love being Catholic. I am infinitely thankful to God for opening my eyes and chipping away at my hardened heart.
We’ve got the saints and their incredible lives.
We’ve got the history that we can trace all the way back to Christ.
We’ve got countless stories and miracles to inspire us.
These are all the things I want to show and teach my kids. I want them to know that they are a part of a Church that strives to call them to sainthood. They are connected around the world to millions upon millions of other Catholics from all walks of life. In 2015, our family attended the World Meeting of Families in Philidelphia. It was a fantastic pilgrimage where we were surrounded by our brothers and sisters in Christ–millions of them. It was an exhilarating week.
The military life affords us the opportunity to travel frequently. Our Catholic Faith is all around us and I want my kids to realize that wherever they go, there is something Catholic to see. Whether it be the California Missions founded by Fr. Junipero Serra on the West Coast or the Basilica of the National Shrine on the East Coast, I want them to seek out these places.
I want them to be pilgrims, not tourists because pilgrims truly seek adventure. Pilgrims see travel as a chance to grow, learn, and share life with their brothers and sisters from around the world. Traveling isn’t about just checking a destination off of a bucket list. It’s about openness to what God can show us and how we can become better people. Our faith comes alive when we touch, see, smell, and experience the places built and created by Catholics that came before us. We are reminded that we are apart of the Body of Christ and that we belong to something bigger than ourselves.
Most important of all, though, is teaching my kids about the adventure of discovering who God meant them to be. All children are here for a reason. The world needs who they are and what they can give. I fail my kids if I don’t help them to understand that they are here for a purpose and that God created them to bring light and love into the world.
Following Christ will challenge them, require sacrifice, and will probably entail suffering of some kind along the way, but there is no better way to live this life than as a pilgrim journeying with Christ. It is the ultimate adventure and the only adventure I know of that will bring joy, peace, and fulfillment to my children.
As a Catholic mother, their adventure is my adventure, too, and I’m blessed to be part of it.
Amy Thomas hails from the great state of Kansas, though she’s lived the last 16 years away from the “Land of Oz” traveling the country with her Air Force Airman. She graduated from Kansas State University in 2001 and married her love, Dustin, that same year. She has three amazing kiddos–two daughters and a son. Amy runs the website Catholic Pilgrim and loves to write about the incredible journey of living a genuine, authentic Catholic life. You can connect with Amy on Facebook and Instagram.
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