Our 18-month-old granddaughter stands ready to run, grinning over her shoulder as if to say, “you can’t get me, Grandma … but please try!” When I start toward her she squeals and runs laughing into my arms. Bliss!
Children are such a gift. When our kids were her age, though, I never imagined the deep joy it would bring one day to watch them raising their own kids, or making adult decisions about vocations and careers. If you’re a parent, you can relate — you say the same things over and over and sometimes you think it will never sink in. Then one day there they are, standing over you and giving back the advice you’d aimed at them. It is a beautiful thing.
Recently I found myself getting anxious and fretting over the things I had to get done and my son Clay stopped me mid-complaint. “Ma: what was that verse you told me to learn?” He wasn’t asking, he was reminding. I knew perfectly well what he meant, but I had forgotten. It’s from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians:
This has been somewhat of a ‘life verse’ to me, as I learn to trust the Lord with the details of my life. In the margin of my Bible, I’ve written about that word “keep” that it’s a military term that means “guard. “If we pray instead of worry,” I wrote, “God will place a guard around our hearts and minds, protect us from doubts, disturbances.” Again and again, I’ve found that to be true. And apparently I made a point of passing that on to my kids, because Clay remembers it still and he was able to encourage me with it. He began to tell me what it meant to him and I asked if I could pass it on to you. Here’s what he said:
I’m new at this Jesus thing. I love it, all of it. Catholicism, the Saints, the Theology of the Body, everything. And I want it. I want to be in union with Christ. I want to be madly in love with Him. But I am scared. There’s a lot of fear and uncertainty that’s ever on my mind. When these fears strike and I begin to be overcome with anxiety, I think about this verse from Scripture.
My mom had me memorize it like ten years ago and it has become my refuge. My God is a God of peace and since this verse has become a part of my mind, God uses it to talk to my heart. He lets me know He is present. He lets me know that He’s got this. He will draw me close, He will heal me, He will love me, and He will help me love Him in return.
It’s a wonderful thing to see my son grow up: to watch him make the leap from hearing his parents tell him things, to listening himself for the voice of God. Pope Benedict has written of the importance of becoming “fruitful soil … people who in the depth of prayer, longing, and faith give the Word room to grow.”
That is what I long for! To be fruitful soil for the Word, we must be people of prayer but we also must receive the Word in our hearts, plant it and allow it to speak to our lives. Clay joins me today in inviting you to “Come into the Word.” Seek out those seeds of truth, receive them, and let them grow!
© 2017 Sarah Christmyer
 Mary: the Church at the Source, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger and Hans Urs Von Balthasar (Ignatius Press, 2005), p. 17.
You may also like these posts if you are anxious:
- Why Pray, if it Doesn’t Always Work?
- Make the Most of the R.E.S.T. of the Summer
- How Long, O Lord, How Long?
- God Hears Our Prayers
or these on becoming fruitful soil for the Word:
- A Tree Grows in Jaffa: Are You (Spiritually) a “Potted Plant”?
- Flourishing in Drought Part 1: The Secret of the Tree
Blessings on you as you read his Word!
Genevieve Kowalski says
Seems like every aspect life now has anxiety. Perfect reading for me today to get right focus.
Karen Pyne says
Perfect message for all of us who live in this troubled world filled with uncertainty and anxiety. Thank you Sarah and Clay for bringing me back to the Word and God’s promise of peace.