The Descent of the Holy Spirit
Fruit of the Mystery: Wisdom
See Everything with the Eyes of God
by Monica Ortega
I sat upright, awkwardly stiff, doe-eyed, hopeful, terrified, and shame-ridden as I waited to hear the results. I had just taken a written assessment as a part of my intake interview. Lovingly, Dr. Lock began, “You have codependency. You change how you behave to fit in. You will sacrifice your own will, preference, and even right judgement in order to try to please others and avoid confrontation…” His voice trailed off and became background noise as the last several months replayed in my head. This new lens changed the way I viewed the events that had led me to therapy in the first place.
I’d like to think of this day as a Pentecost. It was clear to me, from the moment that I walked into his office that God had molded this man for counseling. And therapy was where God asked me to be. As my caring Catholic psychologist shared his diagnosis with me, I was given the Holy Spirit’s gift of wisdom. Pope Francis, in his General Audience on April 19, 2014, defined the gift of wisdom as “the grace of being able to see everything with the eyes of God.” It was as if the Holy Spirit had descended into the room and suddenly everything began to make sense. I could now see my life clearly.
I was two and a half years into motherhood when I began therapy. My sense of shame and self-loathing had reached a tipping point. I had been struggling to feel adequate as both a wife and mother. My family history, my habit of comparison, and the poor coping strategies I had developed, left me feeling helpless.
Thanks to a prayer, in the form of a cry for help, and a supportive husband, we found therapy. With a willing heart and the Holy Spirit, I was quickly able to recognize the toxicity that had enveloped my identity as a mom and accept the need to change.
Through the Holy Spirit’s movement in our sessions, therapy imparted wisdom into the broken areas of my life. Grace helped me to see past events and current relationships “with the eyes of God”. The Holy Spirit spoke love into areas that I had previously felt embarrassment, anger, and even hatred. The Spirit motivated me to embrace my vocation with hope because I was a beloved daughter.
I began to restore relationships with family members through healthy boundaries and repair my marriage through honesty and compassion. I became confident in my ability to mother my young children.
It started in admitting that I had been desperately trying to compare myself to others. I felt that I was always falling short of the unattainable image of a “good mom” that I saw on social media, in my memory of my own mother, and even in my dearest friends. I didn’t share the same talents that they did. I wasn’t able to keep up with the demands of working, mothering and caring for a home the way that they all appeared to balance successfully. The self-deprecation resulted in bitterness and withdrawal.
But now, I could begin to change my perspective because I was able to see the truth clearly, through God’s eyes. I could see myself as He sees me. He saw my goodness, my gifts, and my efforts, and so did I. And, through the gift of therapy, I learned strategies to help remind myself of this in times of doubt.
I began to face the day-to-day challenges of motherhood with positivity. My efforts were to serve my family. If something did not get done or if appearances were not as hoped, I was still successful so long as my service was done in love. I knew that the kind of mother I was meant to be for my children was unique to my family because I was made especially for them. I could look at social media, my own mother, and my friends with admiration for the mothers that they were for their families, and not see our differences as a negative reflection on myself.
In realizing my value, I felt a strong resolve to impart this newfound gift of wisdom to my children as well. I began to speak the truth of their goodness aloud to them. I reframe their shortcomings as opportunities for growth. I explicitly share forgiveness. I remind them that they are loved because they are my child and not because of what they do or do not do. I teach them that they are loved by their Heavenly Father. I hope that they, too, can see themselves through “the eyes of God.”
In turn, I’ve had the privilege of watching my children impart this wisdom to each other and even back to me. They freely share unconditional love amongst each other in the form of praise, support, and empathy. They practice positive self-talk when they face challenges. And they frequently remind each other that God loves them dearly. Simple and precious.
I know, now, that God had been guiding my path this entire time. In this experience of the descent of the Holy Spirit, I could now clearly see, with “the eyes of God”, the path that He had laid out before me. Healing, restoration, and redemption, just as the Apostles had experienced. I had newfound courage to face motherhood, a vocation I had previously feared.
About Monica: Monica Ortega is married to her high-school sweetheart, Renzo. Together they have five beautiful children. They also co-founded Two Become Family, a ministry to accompany families through the challenges of life. Monica also works part-time as an athletic director and volunteers for her parish’s youth ministry program. In her free time, she likes to watch crime shows and eat cookie dough. Find more from Monica here: @twobecomefamily twobecomefamily.com