Can we just talk about this picture?

Hi, friends! Yes, there’s been a little radio silence from this blog, and I know, I know. You’ve just been waiting on pins and needles for what I’ve been about to share, right? “Oh please, Kaitlyn, I need more things to read online, please keep writing!” I get those emails every day. 😉

But life has settled into a new routine over at the Mason house, so here’s to a fresh start writing again!

And… can we just talk about this picture?

One of the themes I’ve been mulling over in the past few weeks and months and years, is this idea of serving the world through your home. Mother Teresa is the one who told us that if you want world peace, go home and love your family.

Here she is in this picture doing exactly that – being at home, loving her family. Her home was the streets of Calcutta. Her family was the whole world.

And those she felt called to embrace? The dying, the destitute, the diseased, the impoverished. Mother Teresa said it herself, “Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.”

“I see Jesus in every human being,” she said. “I say to myself, this is hungry Jesus, I must feed him. This is sick Jesus. This one has leprosy or gangrene; I must wash him and tend to him. I serve because I love Jesus.”

So let us not be ashamed now in our time. Let us not be slow to do the humble work set before us.

Go home and love your family. See Christ in every person you encounter there. But remember that your home is not just your 4 walls and a roof. Your family is not just those to whom you are related by blood or by adoption or by the covenant of marriage.

Our home is the whole world. Our family is every person on this earth.

And we are merely pilgrims passing through this life. So let us be bold now and go to serve the Christ Child however we can.

When You Feel Discouraged as a Parent… read this

Once during the building of a giant cathedral, an artist high on the scaffolding intricately carved a bird into the stone of the structure.

A man down below looked up at him, and questioned why he was spending so much time there. “They’re about to cover that part up,” he said. “No one’s ever going to see that bird.”

“But God will see,” said the artist.

And so he went on creating.

Why do we spend so much time in the quiet of our homes, intricately preparing little souls to comprehend the great mysteries of creation?

Why do we spend so much time folding the laundry just so, wiping little noses (when our children allow it), drying the dishes, and sending children back into the time out corner until they finally apologize?

Dear mother, dear father, you are an artist. You are creating a masterpiece.

Sometimes it is messy. Often times you will feel unknown. Maybe the work isn’t turning out as you expected. Or you’re waiting for a child, or waiting for instructions about what you’re supposed to do when you feel called to create and when the painting seems to crumble. Perhaps the painting isn’t ready to be unveiled yet.

But in the midst of your work, you are known. You are loved beyond measure.

And God sees.

And every moment that you spend carving out time for your family, crafting memories, whittling away at imperfections, blending together virtues – every moment that you spend creating the masterpiece of your family in the darkness when no one seems to notice…

It will all be worth it. There is no greater work of art than to create a family.

Just look up at the beauty right in front of you. Look at the art God is creating with you, right before your eyes. That’s what really matters tonight.

*One last thing! I’d love to serve you with a tiny email on Fridays, full of tips for sharing love & mercy with the world. Sign up here so I’ll know where to send it.

3 Little Ways to Open Your Home this Season

What is it about this time of year that makes our hearts ache? That makes us yearn for something more?

Is it a loved one you’re missing? An old friend? An old place you used to visit?

Is there a memory on your heart this year, in this season, that you keep revisiting? Why might that particular memory or person or place be on your heart this year?

There are so many people out there who are hurting, who are aching, and who are yearning for something more.

And in this Advent season, in this time of great waiting, when the whole world is in one giant crescendo leading up to that big day when Christ finally enters into the world… we know that there is something more.

In just a few short days, Christmas will come and go.

Will we be left with the same ache and yearning on the days that follow Christmas Day? Or will we find our heart’s desire in the Christmas manger, and be finally satisfied of our hunger?

One thing is guaranteed. It’s easier to hold on to Christ’s presence when we share the present of Christ with another.

Every one of us carries something weighing heavily on our hearts in this season of waiting. The question is – will we carry Christ to every one? Will we be Christ to every one?

Because if we choose to do this, if we choose to live with our homes and hearts wide open in this Advent and in the coming Christmas season, then we can help each other to know and to understand that there is truly something more. And it is Christ.

So how do we do this? How can we open our homes and hearts this season?

Here are three little ways that can have a big impact:

1. Ask & listen.

When you ask people what they’re going to be doing for Christmas and New Years, listen to their reply. Do they have family nearby? Would they appreciate an invitation to your family’s table?

2. Look up.

When we look up from our phones, and look out at the people surrounding us, we can take notice of little things.

Is there an elderly person who’s coming to church alone? Is there a neighbor whose car is rarely leaving the driveway? How can we serve those who are lonely?

Well, first we have to take notice, and then extend an invitation. Invite the person over for tea. (Seriously – or coffee or wine or whatever, but invite them over!) See if your family could come over to read stories together at their home sometime. Look up and see who might be lonely, and find a creative way to bring them into your life.

3. Keep events open.

Encourage your guests to all bring a friend to your home when they visit.

Invite people to join you who might not often be invited to dinners and events. Invite those who are new to town, and those who are poor and may be unable to repay you.

By keeping an attitude of “the more, the merrier,” we can extend Christ’s love to many without ever having to say a word.

Then he said to the host who invited him, “When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (Luke 14:12-14)

It’s easier to hold on to Christ’s presence when we share the present of Christ with another.

Let’s not miss Christ this Christmas.

*Are you getting my tiny Friday emails full of tips for sharing love & mercy with the world? Sign up here so I’ll know where to send them!

Giving Yourself Permission to Rest

Take a breath. In and out.

This is a busy time of year, yes. But it’s also a beautiful time of year.

A time of anticipation. A time of joy-filled wonder, and icing-covered cookies.

A time of cold, starry nights and warm, tightly-stitched quilts.

A time when the wood stove is filled with crackling logs, and when mugs are filled with piping hot cider.

And have we given ourselves permission yet to rest?

Today our school day consisted of snuggling up under a blanket and reading our family read aloud book together. And it was lovely.

Granted, the baby was toddling around and playing on the floor with her klip klop horse princesses, and two children were climbing all over the furniture. So please don’t think of a Hallmark card when I tell you that we read a book together.

If you’ve been caught up in the black Fridays and green Mondays, and yellow Tuesdays of the frenzied hulabaloo of the season, perhaps you’ve been secretly waiting for a little invitation to pause. To savor. To sip. To flip through the pages of a great book. To cozy up on the couch and just sit. And ponder. And reflect on God’s goodness, and on the blessings all around us.

It only takes a moment to go from thankful at Thanksgiving to rushing through the motions of the Christmas countdown.

Consider this your invitation to take the slow route – all the way to Christmas morning.

I promise you that Christmas will arrive just the same.

But if you rest in this season of Advent, and really take some time to look around you, to light a candle, to whisper a prayer, and to watch the horizon for the coming of Christmas morn, we can come away from this season refreshed and rejuvenated for the surprises of a beautiful year ahead, just waiting to be unwrapped.

We are confident each day that the sun will rise in the morning. Let us be equally confident that the Son will rise in his own time, and may he find us watching and awaiting his return, with peaceful and joy-filled hearts, resting in the confidence of His forever love.

*Are you getting my little Friday notes in your inbox? Here, you can sign up here so I’ll know where to send it, along with your free copy of 5 Keys to Moving from Fear to Freedom. Don’t miss it – it’s everything I wish someone had told me about anxiety years ago!

How to be Kind and Merciful to Yourself in 5 Steps

Someone recently published a little poll, asking people what they thought about the words “self-care.” I think this is a dangerous word in our world today. While we certainly need to take care of ourselves, far too often, I think we are quick as a society to justify comfort and luxury items in the name of “self-care.”

What does it mean then to take care of ourselves? In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus reminds us to “love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31)

But what does this even mean if we don’t have self-respect and if we don’t have an understanding of our own self-worth? If we don’t love ourselves or respect ourselves first, then it isn’t asking very much of us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, is it?

We have to understand our worth and our dignity before we can help others to see their own worth and dignity. We have to treat ourselves with kindness and mercy first.

In other words, we can’t give from what we don’t have in the first place. It’s like the old analogy that in an airplane, you have to put the oxygen mask on yourself first before helping anyone else with their mask. Otherwise, you’re going down. And you’re certainly not going to be breathing well enough to help others.

Now, if you know me well, you probably know that I’m pretty hard on myself. From this, flows the fact that I can be pretty hard on others, too. Guys, we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. It’s just a matter of fact. So, we have to be patient with ourselves and with each other. We have to pray for ourselves and for each other.

Here are a few little reminders that have been on my heart. These are little ways that I often forget to be kind and merciful to myself. I’m sharing them here just in case someone else can benefit from this little reminder tonight. And also so I can refer back to this as needed in the future. You can call it spiritual self-care, you can call it kindness and mercy – call it whatever you’d like. But remember… (ahem… I’m talking to you, Kaitlyn Clare Mason…)

  • Don’t forget to pray for yourself. You need grace, and you need to grow in virtue. So don’t forget to ask for help with this continually.
  • When you mess up, forgive yourself. Don’t withhold forgiveness from yourself. It just gives the devil a foothold, and it’s not going to do you any favors. Give yourself space to make mistakes. Then, when you do, forgive yourself, (go to Confession if you’ve really messed up), and then just move on. Otherwise, this is what you’re doing to yourself…
  • Allow yourself every possible opportunity to read Scripture, to pray the rosary, to visit the sacraments. Remember the words of the great Father Kauth, that “you are never shirking your motherhood responsibilities by taking your children to Mass.” Don’t be hard on yourself if you can’t get to all of this every day, but make a sincere effort to stay close to the Word of God every day – in all the ways you can.
  • Be patient with yourself. Remember that you are learning how to be kind and merciful. You’re not at the finish line. You’re only at mile-marker 32. Stay strong. Stay in the race. Be patient. Pace yourself.
  • Don’t look back, keep your eyes fixed on Christ. Remember that looking back didn’t work out very well for Lot’s wife. “But Lot’s wife looked back, and she was turned into a pillar of salt.” (Genesis 19:26). Eyes fixed on Christ!

God loves you and He is Merciful! So love yourself and be merciful to yourself! And then pass it on…

5 Quick Ways to Kick Anxiety to the Curb (without chocolate…)

We are currently potty training with our 3-year old, and I keep heading to the pantry to eat some of the m&m reward candy, so I’m writing this as a reminder for myself today just as much as for anyone else!

Anxiety is no joke. Sometimes we don’t even realize how tense and uptight we are until it’s too late. We might snap or respond to someone in a way that’s less than loving, start to arrive late, miss appointments or bills, or we may even begin to feel the physical affects of pent up discomfort.

Regular tasks can become extremely difficult when we’re feeling anxious. I remember one day when I was struggling with post-partum anxiety, I found it extremely difficult to even make a sandwich. But I called someone. On that day, I called my Dad. I found my strength, and pressed on through the monotony. And you can, too.

Here are five quick ways to kick anxiety to the curb and keep moving forward when you’re struggling:

1. Phone a friend.

Not a text, not an email, not a Facebook message. Pick up the phone and call someone. If they don’t answer, you will likely hear their voice on the recording, and the sound of the voice of another kind person who you love will be soothing and helpful, too. Or if they do answer, have a conversation and find out what’s going on in their world. Talking to someone in real time is incredibly helpful. Fear hates friendship.

2. Offer a prayer.

You may know by now that my “go to” prayer is, “For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” When feeling anxious, you can say these words out loud, in a whisper, or in your head. Or say another little prayer like, “Lord have mercy…” “Come Holy Spirit…” or just share what’s troubling you and what’s on your heart. Take a deep breath and remember that you are not in control, and that is a good thing.

3. Pour yourself a cup of tea, pick up a book, and sit down for at least 5 minutes.

Maybe you prefer coffee or hot apple cider, and that’s just fine. But don’t rush rest time, and be sure to schedule it in… When I was reading about Mother Teresa’s schedule for her Sisters of Charity in a book recently, it struck me that she had tea at 3:15pm every afternoon. There’s something very calming about sitting down with a cup of tea. Even Mother Teresa made time to sit down to tea each day! Give yourself a minute to read, reflect, and get out of your own head for a minute. And do this on a regular basis. My days go a lot better when I remember that I’m here to serve others, and that I need to take time to serve myself so I have strength to heed that calling.

4. Step outside & if you can, stay outside.

Modern housework and desk jobs tend to keep us cooped up inside a lot, but I find that it’s easier to be at peace outside in the breeze. Get outside, take a walk, and get some fresh air.

5. Light a candle.

A candle serves as a visible reminder that we are continually in the presence of God.

And yes, I think sitting down to tea is a healthier and more relaxing habit than pantry m&ms… agreed? What helps you kick anxiety to the curb?

If you’d like to learn more about kicking anxiety to the curb, click here to receive your free copy of 5 Keys to Moving from Fear to Freedom, based on my own journey of overcoming anxiety. Many people are finding this helpful, and I’d love for it to help you, too!

5 Reasons to Say No & 1 Reason to Say Yes

Life is full of decisions. New situations and opportunities present themselves constantly, requiring us to continually examine where and how we should devote our time and attention. And our primary focus of course should always be on keeping our priorities straight – serving God, serving our spouse, and serving our family, in that order.

But how do we know when it’s a good idea to say yes to a new opportunity? And when is it prudent to say no? I would say it’s always good to take it to prayer! But I’ve come up with 5 potential good reasons for saying no, and 1 great reason to say yes.

Here they are… It might be a good idea to say no to a new opportunity if:

  1. The time commitment will make it difficult for you to make time for regular prayer and family time.
  2. It doesn’t feel like the timing is right. Would it make more sense to make this change or addition at a later date? Why or why not?
  3. Your heart isn’t in it, or if it’s not an area of passion for you.
  4. You’re struggling to keep up with your current schedule and committments. However, if the new opportunity is going to clear up your current schedule and make things easier on your family, that might be something to take into consideration.
  5. It’s going to cost a significant amount of money or if it will burden your family in a way that is beyond what is feasible or responsible. Will this new opportunity pull you away from your family or will it provide a creative outlet that may be healthy for you & the wellbeing of your family?

And finally, here’s one great reason to say yes to a new opportunity… If you feel like God is leading you to this opportunity, and if you feel like He may be asking you to take a leap of faith and trust Him with the outcome, it might be a good time to say yes.

Will it be scary? Sure, it might be scary. Will it be exciting? Likely. But will it be do-able? Absolutely. All things are possible with Christ. Knowing when to say yes may take some time, but it is life-giving. So pray, assess, pray a little more, and then dive into your decision with confidence.

3 Ways to Snap Yourself Out of Negative Self-Talk

Our pastor Father Winslow once told a story once about the time his friend visited a monastery. The man had been discerning a vocation as a monk, so he went to live with the monks for awhile. It reminds me of P.J. Funnybunny who decided to be a bear, so he went to live with the bears. And then he decided to be a skunk, so he went to live with the skunks.

Well, when the man returned home, Fr. Winslow asked him about his visit. He said that he enjoyed the experience and one thing really struck him in particular. “What was that?” asked Fr. Winslow. “Well,” said the man, “there was a mirror in the bathroom over the sink. But covering the mirror was a piece of paper, so that every time you wanted to see yourself in the mirror, you had to lift the paper to see your image.”

On the paper were the words from 1 Samuel 16:7 – “For the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

The monks at this monastery knew that we are tempted to pride when we look good, and that we are tempted to despair when we don’t look the way we think we should look. Neither of these things are from God. But if positive self-talk can lead us to pride, and negative self-talk can lead us to despair, what should we do?

Now, these words and this story are dear to my heart these days, as cystic acne, redness, and scarring often cover my face. But it got me thinking about how we really are our own worst critic sometimes.

In fact, no one actually talks to me to my face as inconsiderately as the awful voice in my head. Is it my nemesis? My alter ego? The devil himself? I know this much: negative self-talk can be silenced.

How do I know? Because I’ve learned how to turn it off. And you deserve peace of mind and freedom from this voice, too. So keep reading.

Here are 3 ways to snap yourself out of negative self talk:

1. Cover your mirrors and give your worldly image to God.

Okay, so I’m saying cover your mirrors as a metaphor here. You don’t have to go cover the mirrors in your home (though you could!). What I mean is, cover the worldly mirrors that bounce your own image back to you in your heart.

In other words, when people insult you, or when you perceive they insult you, give it directly to God. When people compliment you, or when you think highly of yourself, give it directly to God. When you see your own image in the mirror staring back at you, give it to God.

There is nothing wrong with acknowledging your weaknesses and there’s also nothing wrong with acknowledging your strengths, talents, beauty, and gifts! But when we give all of the criticism and all of the praise we receive to God, we can “cover the mirrors” showing us the world’s image of who we are. And we can then ask God to show us our true reflection. We can ask God to show us the truth of who we are as His son or daughter. And we can ask God to make us into a reflection of Him.

The real beauty here is that we are created in His image. So the more we truly seek to align our view of ourselves with God’s view of us, and the more we ask Him to make us into a reflection of Him, the more we will radiate His love into the world.

2. Shift your focus outward.

Whenever I start hearing the “woe is me” monologue go off in my head, it’s a good idea to direct my focus outward. Who can I serve right in front of me? What people and needs are near me at that moment that I can meet with kindness and compassion?

By being intentional about shifting my focus to serving my husband, children, or friends, I distract the evil narration in my mind and move on to something healthier.

Take a moment to listen to others, look them in the eye, and let them know they are loved.

3. Gratefulness – to infinity and beyond!

And finally, guys, the BEST way to snap yourself out of negative self-talk is to be grateful for absolutely everything you do have in life!

Grab a journal or the notes app on your phone. Make a list of all your needs starting with food, water, and shelter. Then check off every need that is currently being met. Then create your litany of gratefulness: “I am grateful for X, and Y, and Z!”

What else do you do to snap yourself out of negative self-talk? I’d love to know!

3 Valuable Insights You Can Learn from Your Fears

My luggage was packed, and my fiancee stood with his family at the bottom of the stairs. We were newly engaged, and our families had spent the weekend getting to know one another at my parent’s home near Chicago. They were supposed to be my ride back to Kentucky that day, but a flood of tears kept me from going back with them to my college.

I had just finished my first semester of pharmacy school with flying colors, but it just wasn’t going to work out. My fiancee Benjamin and I were doing great! (In fact, we will be married 10 YEARS later this month!) But my career plans needed to shift.

Benjamin and I had been talking a lot – which is good, you know, when you’re about to spend forever together. It was important to both of us to make it possible, if at all possible, for me to stay home with our children once we were married. That is to say, if we were blessed with children.

So far we have been blessed with four wonderful children in the past 6 years, and no kind sir at the grocery store today, there are no twins in there (though I’m all for fewer pregnancies & more kids!).

So I burst out crying right before the drive back to Kentucky for my second semester of pharmacy school, and long story short, I didn’t go back with them that day. Instead, I took some time to process my life, and switched back into an undergraduate program to finish my biology degree.

I went on to become a teacher, which meant significantly lower school loans that could be paid off quickly, and a career with an easy transition in and out of becoming a stay-at-home mother.

But guys, I was terrified of walking away from that career as a pharmacist. Mostly because I had set my mind on it for so long. And if you don’t know me well yet, I’m pretty determined and stubborn about doing what I feel called to do. But in times of transition in life, fear can creep in and complicate things. (Anyone else agree??)

In walking away from one dream to pursue another – in my case – greater dream, I found peace. And I’ve learned that when we listen to our fears, we can learn so much about ourselves.

Here are three valuable insights you can learn from your fears:

1.What’s most important to you right now?

We should pay attention to what we fear, because our fears can indicate what we truly desire. For example, if we fear illness or death, we may be desiring health & longevity. If we fear long term infertility, our hearts may truly be desiring the gift of children. If we fear failure about something in particular, this may indicate an area where we long to succeed.

We fear rejection because we long to be accepted. We fear being forgotten because we long to be known. We fear being disliked and excluded because we long to be loved.

By allowing ourselves to feel afraid and experience a certain fear, we may be able to articulate and pinpoint the source of that fear. In my situation, I was afraid of giving up a dream and being seen as a failure. I wanted to be successful, and I learned that being successful doesn’t only come in a career-sized package. So, our fears can indicate what’s most important to us right now – what we’re hoping to receive and experience in life. The reverse of our fear is often one of our deepest desires.

2. Where might you need to take action?

If you’re severely afraid of something, or if you have a recurring fear, it may indicate an area where you need to take action. Are you doing everything you can in a certain area to ensure your success? Are you focusing your attention in the right areas and in appropriate proportion to your desires & your mission in life?

I felt restless during my entire first semester of pharmacy school because I slowly realized it was not the right career for my future family. I feared becoming a pharmacist (I wanted to eventually be at home with children), and I feared making a change (I wanted to be “successful”). All of this fear was an indication that I needed to take action. Something had to give. Something was not aligning here.

Where might things not be aligning properly in your own life? Where might you need to take action and make adjustments and course corrections to find peace and to fulfill your personal calling? What is it exactly that’s tugging on your heart strings and causing you to fear?

3. Where might you need to increase your trust?

There’s a lot of comfort that comes from having a cushy 6-figure salary and benefit package, and it’s wise to be prudent and cautious when making decisions about how we live and how we act. But if we find that we are excessively fearful about losing something in particular, this may indicate an area where we can grow in trust.

God is the one in control. We receive all of our blessings through Him and because of Him – no matter how much we think we’re just earning things based on our own merit. His providence and grace is what gives me the ability to type these words out for you, and it’s what gives you the ability to read them. Without Him, we are nothing. So, if we turn our fears over to Him, and ask Him to increase our trust in these areas where we are afraid, He will.

As Jesus told Saint Faustina, “Tell souls that from this fount of mercy souls draw graces solely with the vessel of trust. If their trust is great, there is no limit to My generosity.” (Diary, 1602) So we really can’t go wrong when we turn our fears over to God and increase our trust in Him.

If this article has been helpful to you, click here to join my email list and you’ll get instant access to your free copy of 5 Keys to Moving From Fear to Freedom, based on my journey overcoming anxiety. Peace!

Why Chastity Talks Are Not Enough

*Some names and details have been changed to protect privacy.

She sat in a chair facing us and smiled nervously. We asked each person at youth group that night to share about something in particular, though I cannot for the life of me recall what they were supposed to share. Mikaela chose to speak about something different when it was her turn. I’m not even sure she knew things were going to come out the way they did.

She smiled and talked about her experiences as a new college student based on the prompt we gave, when suddenly, her face became solemn. “And then I had an abortion,” she said. And words began to pour out. Her voice became rushed and she spoke through tears.

She told the whole story. How she hadn’t told anyone she was pregnant except her boyfriend, how he was abusive and threatening, how she was terrified and didn’t know where to go, and how she ultimately decided on an abortion. She was so sorry for her choice, and she explained that she was grieving the loss of her child.

All of a sudden, this ordinary night at youth group felt the full weight of the confessional, but the more Mikaela talked, the more you could see this sense of relief wash over her tiny figure.

She had finally told someone her secret. She had an abortion. And this public sharing, however unscripted and surprising, ended up being the first step on her journey toward healing and peace.

But what struck me the most, was that up until this moment, she had kept her pregnancy and subsequent abortion a complete secret from almost everyone in her life. At that time, we were pretty close. I knew Mikaela and her mother well and had spent a lot of time with their family. And my heart just broke for her.

I had been one of the people speaking into Mikaela’s life about social justice, charity, chastity, and forgiveness. These words were not enough. We can talk all we want, guys, but if our youth do not see the Church as a safe place to run when things don’t turn out how they expect, they’ll find somewhere else to go. And they do. They do all the time.

All children need to know about chastity, but they also need to know that if they choose differently, we will still love them. We will not excommunicate them from the Church or force them to wear a scarlet letter. Instead, we will be there to catch them, to love them, and to show them Christ’s mercy through it all. No one should ever feel they need to turn to an abortion out of fear or shame.

And guys, that’s partly on us as the Church. If people perceive that we don’t care and that we’re just here to cast judgment, then honestly, we’re not doing a very good job at being Christ in this world.

This also means that we need to respect the difficulty of an unexpected pregnancy. How can we sit here and say, “Oh, just choose adoption,” without acknowledging that in this, we are asking women to do something heart wrenching and difficult? How can we sit here and say, “Oh, just have your baby,” without acknowledging that we may be asking her to bring a child into an abusive relationship? And by the way, shouldn’t we help her out of that abuse? Isn’t a desire for abortion at least sometimes an indicator of something seriously unhealthy in a person’s environment?

So, it’s not enough to just talk about chastity and charity. Our youth need to visibly see that we will treat everyone with compassion and respect. Perhaps if Mikaela had the privilege of seeing the Church reaching out to young women in crisis pregnancies, or if she had attended a baby shower at her parish for a friend facing an unexpected pregnancy, she might have known a little more about Christ’s compassion for everyone. And maybe – just maybe – she could have trusted that same compassion would be there for her as well.

Our chastity talks are not enough – they are all talk. Our youth deserve the opportunity to see charity in action. Will you help them see?

*If you’d like more information about starting a chapter of Mary Garden Showers at your parish, please reach out to us at, and we will send you our Manual. Mary Garden Showers is an apostolate serving women and families in crisis pregnancies through baby showers for women choosing to directly parent, and blessing showers for women choosing to place a child for adoption.

*And if you haven’t requested your free copy of 5 Keys to Moving from Fear to Freedom, you can do so here! I created this resource for you based on my own experiences battling anxiety. And I’d love to share it with you (or your friend or loved one) to help you move from fear to freedom in your life!