It was a beautiful day. My husband and I were filled with extravagant ideas on how to celebrate the 18th birthday of our daughter. We wanted it to be the most awesome birthday ever.
Well, with the best intentions, our Lord had a different plan.
A Benedictine priest was eager to come to our house to celebrate Holy Mass. Is that normal? No, it is not. At my age, no priest had ever come to our home to celebrate Holy Mass for me. My jaw dropped. Wow. This is amazing.
We took the lead of the Holy Spirit and cancelled our plans. With the best of intentions, we carried out God’s plans and not our plans. Is that a super idea?
It is, but only if, you will recognize it as such. It made me realize that if we are not willing to set aside our individual plans for God’s plans, we won’t be happy with the results.
The actual birthday was a teaching moment for me. Jesus taught me that I do not have any power on how to make my children happy after they reach adulthood. I can try but it will only be to the extent that He will allow it.
It never occurred to me that parents can be helpless in this way. But, this is what the Lord did. He tied our hands so His plans will be evident at the end of the night.
The Holy Mass was very beautiful. It was very personal. I have no doubt that our Lord visited our house through this holy priest. His presence is enough for the day.
My daughter decided to have another birthday party at another day with her Catholic friends. She planned it to the tiniest details. She planned for a Disney princess party. Most of her friends were eager about the idea and looked forward to it. They gave her extravagant gifts. Their thoughtfulness and presence made her feel very loved.
She was tired at the end of the night but she was happy. Her best friend was out of the country and her other close friend could not make it. Yet, the other friends showed her the love that she missed out with her old friends. It was an eye opener. It did not make her love her old friends less but the new friends enriched her life. She felt happier knowing that God gave her new friends while her best friend was out of the country.
The amazing revelation is my daughter blossomed to a woman with grace.
What does a woman of grace look like?
It is a woman who is beautiful not only in the physical sense, but most importantly, in her soul.
As I was getting jittery about the whole mess when guests were supposed to be arriving, I witnessed how each of his siblings helped her out. They were more than willing to assist her in the food that she will serve for the party. I saw her father help with the cooking. Even our youngest 7 year old son helped in sweeping the hallway and the dining area.
It was beautiful to witness her handle an anxiety-filled moment with so much grace. We have all the reason in the world to get upset when things do not go as planned. But, she took the last minute preparations with composure. She might be getting anxious inside but she knew the importance of staying calm.
When the guests arrived, she was in her work clothes. The 3rd floor in our home, where she was planning to hold the event, did not have any party decorations yet. Her 5 girlfriends were so willing to help her get ready. They decorated the room with smiles and laughter. One friend did her hair. The rest of the siblings cleaned the kitchen downstairs and assisted her with whatever last minute stuff that needs to be done.
Though, I would have preferred it to be with my planning prowess, I watched at the bottom line. It was not perfect. But, the perfection of the moment was not if expectations were met. The perfection was when she handled everything with grace.
Thus, I let go. I forgave the chaos and mess and the part assigned to us. I forgave her for committing us to pick up two friends 30 minutes away in a van without air conditioning in the humidity-filled heat of the Carolinas. I forgave her for not making the house perfectly clean for this event. I forgave her for inviting last minute guests that require us to entertain the parents while they wait. Actual blessings came from that forgiving. Each second was worth it. The letting go and remaining calm about it were the test.
The day was ending. I lived my vocation that day as a mother. I was a witness to the wonderful transition of a woman from a girl to a woman, not fond of cupcakes anymore but with a whole plethora of girly stuff that changes as the breeze.
This is the world of a young adult. They are on fire to setting their dreams to reality. The blessing is just not to watch them beam with happiness and pride with their success but to see them grow in grace. I count that as a blessing that I can see her grow up each day. I watch her fail sometimes but I see her pick it up and continue to grow with so much hope. She is not stuck in her life to some old wounds. She is determined to be free but only within the boundaries of the will of her Savior. And, that is a beautiful thing to watch and ponder.
The best realization is knowing that her blossoming has little to do with me but a lot with the graces that our Lord had given her. For it was due to me, she will be a mess. Not out of false humility, I have to give credit where credit is due. All glory to you Lord.