Chosen, not Qualified

Our base parish has been so thankful these past two weeks. Last April, our active duty priest assigned to our base retired and we have been without an assigned priest since then. A very kind priest from town has been coming to help fill in, but has to basically fly in, say Mass and then zoom straight back to his parish to make the times work. We were grateful for the gift of the Sacrament, but there wasn’t much time for pastoral care. After much prayer, a civilian priest volunteered to come fill the void and his homilies the past two weeks have been very, very good.

His main point this week was so good, I had to take a minute and share it with you all. He asked us a question at the start: “In all our readings today, there was a man before God. Was he chosen, though unqualified for the work? Or was he qualified, and then chosen?” The answer, of course, is that Isaiah, Paul and Peter were all chosen by God for extraordinary work, but at the time of their calling they were unqualified, unworthy or unclean in some way. They did not have perfect track records (remember Paul’s persecution of the early Christians). They were not holy men (Isaiah said he was a man of unclean lips living among people with unclean lips). They were not righteous men, living ascetic lives in the desert (Peter calls himself a sinful man and works as a lowly fisherman).

What makes these men great is their engagement in their call. Each one was called, and though knowingly unworthy, each responded in some way. Their response is what propels them along the path of grace which God had laid out for them. It changed them, moulded them into individuals uniquely qualified for the role God had called them too.

Isaiah’s lips were purified with the burning coal so that he could be a prophet to a people desperate for God’s presence. Paul credits his complete 180 to the grace working in and through him. Peter hear’s Jesus command to lower the nets and even in his doubt he is obedient. Through that obedience, a catch so large nearly capsized his boat.

What does it mean for you and I? It means that we all have been chosen for some work in this world. It also means that we probably aren’t qualified fully for it. None of us are perfect, we all have places of brokenness, fear, doubt, anger, etc. But those are exactly the places that God wants to work on, to improve, to qualify, so that we can fulfill His mission for us. We are each a unique chosen son and daughter of the Almighty, and nothing can take that away.

I, personally, see this especially in parenthood. These children that have been placed in my lap were chosen for my husband and I to raise. More often than not we feel hugely unqualified for this position. Books upon books upon blogs upon podcasts will try to tell you that you are qualified, that you’ve read all the answers, and it’s just not true. Because your children were not handed to you and your spouse unattached. They belong to God, and He is raising them right along with you. He chose you for them, unqualified though you are. When we lean into the grace He provides we discover the way forward which we couldn’t have found on our own.

So on the days you are feeling less than qualified for the work God has placed at your feet, take comfort and inspiration from Isaiah, Paul and Peter. They may not have been qualified, but they were willing. Are you willing to take the next step into your calling as a chosen son or daughter of the Father?

Ingrained

We were walking out of a Tiger Scouts meeting when Ben stopped us so we could look at a “cool cloud formation.” Ben, to remind you, is a pilot in the Air Force. He has been fascinated with space and flight since he was a small child. That fascination is so ingrained in him that I don’t think he even thinks about it anymore. Whenever he goes outside, he looks up. It’s like the reflexes that are built into our muscles.

ingrainedI quickly snapped a picture of those clouds, because they were cool. Ben makes me smile when he draws our attention to the sky. There is always a touch of wonder in his voice. He is sharing with me, and with our kids, a small piece of everything he has experienced in his 7+ years flying. It’s as if he’s saying “Look, just look at how incredible this space is. I can’t always take you with me, but I can share this piece with you. Look!”

Ben has been in love with the sky for so long, yet its lure remains. It hasn’t gone stale, he hasn’t moved on to other things. Not every day is easy, but I haven’t known him to have a day that he didn’t want to go fly.

As a Catholic, I want to capture the joy and enthusiasm that Ben has for flight and infuse it into my day. Imagine what my day, your day, could be like if we felt a similar level of enthusiasm for the liturgy or adoration? What if the thing that got me out of bed was the opportunity to read my Bible? What if every time I walked outside the beauty of creation was the first thing that captured my attention?

As a parent, I want to instill this kind of joy and enthusiasm for God in my children. I want them to wake up every day and reflexively thank God for the gift of life. I want them to know so deep in their hearts that God loves them unconditionally. I desire for them to seek out the sacraments, recognizing the overabundance of grace and mercy God wants to share with them. I hope that the foundation of love in our home ingrains within them the desire to know, love and serve God all the days of their life.

Today is Ash Wednesday. It is a day to remember that we are broken, we are flawed, and we are desperately in need.  It is also the first day of Lent, a day full of commitment and promise as we embark on our Lenten journey. For these next 40 days, where are you lacking in enthusiasm and joy for your faith? What are things you can do that can encourage you to deepen your love of God? I challenge all of you, just as I am challenging myself, to rediscover the wonder and beauty of Catholicism. Find a new book, memorize some Scripture passages, commit to an extra Mass or time in adoration. Don’t forget about the free 2018 Lent Lectio Journal. Lent is a more somber liturgical season, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be bursting with insights, discoveries and love.

Announcements, Changes and Updates

Hello dear readers,

You may have noticed that there has been a bit of a lag in posts as of late. I had intended to write up a quick post about the transitions our family is in the midst of, but even that proved beyond my capacity. Now that we are settling into our new “normal” I found myself with an afternoon of USA Women’s soccer, a steaming cup of tea and absolutely no children about, the perfect time to sit back and reflect on what has happened the past few weeks (and then I got way too in the weeds with this story and decided not to edit anything for a few more weeks, so now the Olympics are over, my tea is long cold, but I’ve finally gotten around to finishing what I started).

I may have mentioned, though perhaps not since I am trying to be both honest and open, yet still mindful of the potential dangers the internet offers to those who share too much information, that we are moving!

For the past year or so we have been hoping and praying for our next assignment in the Air Force. There are some many things to consider – location, career progression for Ben, proximity to family, opportunities for the kids, etc. Taking all things into consideration and with lots of prayer we decided to ask for an assignment to pilot training in Texas. Our prayers were answered when Ben returned from his last deployment in April when he was told that yes, we would be moving at the end of the summer to Laughlin AFB in Del Rio, TX, which is about 2-3 hours west of San Antonio. Ben will be teaching brand new Air Force 2nd Lieutenants (the first rank for officers) on their first aircraft, the T-6 Texan II.

We asked for some extra time off between the assignments, so in early August we packed up our trailer and started a long trek to Illinois. We drove for 5 days with our minivan loaded with rooftop carrier, bikes, and 3 kids, plus our Durango hauling the trailer and the dog. We are so blessed to have wonderful families who are generous with their vacation time. My dad and one of my brothers flew out to California and helped us drive back to Chicago. We were able to spend 3 weeks with my parents and are presently in the middle of 3 weeks with Ben’s family in Ohio. What a blessing for our family, especially our kids. They have never been to the Midwest in the summertime!

This will be a bit of a unique move because it is actually 2 moves in 1. Before Ben can go teach new pilots how to fly the T-6, he has to re-learn it himself as well as receive training on how to be an instructor and trainer. We will be in San Antonio until early March when we will move again to Laughlin AFB in Del Rio, TX. We will only be 2.5-3 hours from some of Ben’s family in San Antonio which is incredible and we are so excited to be close to them.

On the topic of incredible, God’s timing couldn’t be more perfect. Even though we are moving twice in less than 9 months, we are also happy to share that we are expecting our 4th “gift from God” as John says. Yes, we are pregnant! But God is so good. Remember that big drive to Illinois – probably not the greatest, most fun idea to do when you’re pregnant. But God timed it just right – I was through with morning sickness completely, didn’t get carsick once, and was still only 15 weeks and wasn’t feeling overly large or awkward. Plus, and maybe even better, we are due at the end of January so we will have the baby while still solidly in San Antonio, surrounded by family and well before we will be moving. It truly is a miracle. I’m craving McDonald’s cheeseburgers and asiago bagels (oh I just got super hungry!) and no, we aren’t finding out who this little miracle is until they are born. The kids are having lots of fun trying to decided if they think “Peanut” is a boy or a girl.

So that’s pretty much where we are right now. Lots of transition, lots of new places, lots of please oh please just take a nap (but not too long of one so you go to sleep tonight in another new place).

We appreciate your prayers as we continue with this move. I hope that you all are having a good wind-down to your summer months and are ready to dive into the school year. Next on my list of things to do are a few book reviews I’ve been sitting on and work on putting together a better “teacher’s binder” for our homeschool year. We won’t be starting until we are settled in San Antonio so I’ve got some time yet.

Here are some pictures from our travels so far =)

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Some OH pictures. We celebrated Rosie’s 4th birthday, got to play with Uncle Peter’s new dog, try out stilts and go to a neighbor’s pool. Copyright Kate Taliaferro 2016

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Enjoying some train time in OH. Copyright Kate Taliaferro 2016

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Snuggles in Nana and Papa’s bed in IL. Copyright Kate Taliaferro 2016

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Some IL pictures. Going fishing, helping Grandma J water, planting, boat rides with Clare’s Godmother Auntie Rita and carousel at the zoo. Copyright Kate Taliaferro 2016