Sometimes, pregnancy can bring out the worst in me.
Let me preface this by saying that I am one of those women that LOVES being pregnant. Seriously, I love it. As soon as that baby belly pops out I am given this super human strength and confidence unlike any I have while I am not pregnant. I become assertive and speak my mind. I know what I want and I don't mind asking people to get it for me. Never am I more comfortable in my own skin than when I am pregnant.
However, with this assertiveness, strength and confidence comes an ugly side. A part of me that loses patience more easily, snaps at the slightest teasing comment or just completely loses control of emotions rises to the surface. Oh is it ugly. Unfortunately, its the people that I love the most that receive this ugly side.
The other day I snapped at my beautiful daughter. Like, seriously snapped. So much that it stopped her in her tracks and she looked at me with this look I have never seen before. I believe it was a mixture of fear and confusion. She had no idea why I would speak to her like I had. I immediately felt guilty and apologized.
My sweet, patient, loving husband gets it too. And when I think about it...really think about it, I feel awful. How can I treat the ones I love with such impatience and disrespect? What is wrong here? What am I missing?
As I went to confession this last week, these incidents were weighing heavily on my mind. As I confessed my sins to Christ and my Father I immediately felt the weight lifted and my eyes were opened to what was missing. "How can you expect to be patient and kind," my Priest asked "if you forget God?"
And there it was. I forget God.
Sure, I could blame the pregnancy hormones on my mood swings and my impatience. That would be easy. That wouldn't require any change of me.
But it's more than that. I have neglected prayer. I have not asked God to help me to love unceasingly. I have forgotten Him entirely.
I will end with a quote from Saint John of Kronstadt, taken from a booklet entitled Children in the Church Today. I will shorten the passage, since it is quite lengthy, but encourage you to read the entire passage if you can get a hold of it.
In everything and at every time strive to please God and think of the salvation of your soul from sin and from the Devil, and its adoption by God. On rising from your bed, make the sign of the Cross and say: "In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit," and also, "Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin and teach me to do Thy will." While washing, either at home or at the baths, say: "Purge me with hyssop, Lord, and I shall be clean; wash me and I shall be whiter than snow." When putting on your linen, think of the cleanliness of the heart, and ask the Lord for a clean heart: "Create in me a clean heart, O God!" If you have made new clothes and are putting them on, think of the renewal of the spirit and say: "Renew a right spirit within me"; laying aside old clothes, and disdaining them, think with still greater disdain of laying aside the old man, the sinful, passionate, carnal man. Tasting the sweetness of bread, think of the true bread, which gives eternal life to the soul--the Body and Blood of Christ--and hunger after this bread--that is, long to communicate of it oftener. Drinking water, tea, sweet-tasting mead or any other drink, think of the true drink that quenches the thirst of the soul inflamed by passions--of the most pure and life-giving Blood of the Saviour. Resting during the day, think of the eternal rest, prepared for those who wrestle and struggle against sin, against the subcelestial spirits of evil, against human injustice or rudeness or ignorance.....
St. John of Kronstadt continues on with many other times of day and actions we take in our daily lives. Even if all I do is begin my day like he suggests, I have a feeling I would be less impatient, less snippy and more loving.
Lord, have mercy!