Fruit of the Mystery: Humility
Things I Never Would Have Chosen
by Cait Winters
Motherhood has humbled me.
Not only in the body changes, the naked birthing, the being-covered-in-who-knows-what while putting everyone’s needs before my own, but in my expectations.
My motherhood journey started off on a dark and winding path: as a single teen mother trying my best to build a life for my daughter and I through a haze of heartbreak and post-traumatic stress.
With everything to lose and even more to prove, I dedicated myself to a stable path studying and working in the medical field. I loved my job, worked well with the physicians, and enjoyed helping others. I wanted security, benefits, and all of the things necessary to provide. I didn’t realize it at the time, but choosing a career that required responsibility and projected professionalism was an attempt to build up others’ confidence in me.
A young mother has much to live up to.
Every move I made felt highly scrutinized. I was shunned by most of the moms at school and Saturday morning dance class and my friends just couldn’t relate. But I was blessed early on with my incredible husband and soon after felt the Holy Spirit drawing me back to faith.
It took some time to get down the road, but once Jesus took the wheel, I knew we’d end up where God wanted us to go. We got engaged, got married, and had two babies in two years. We all grew up together, grew in faith, and grew as a family.
It was a beautiful time, but it held its challenges. The most difficult and enduring of these challenges involved my oldest daughter and negatively impacted her emotional well being. For the first time in my motherhood journey, I was dealing with problems too big to kiss away. It was painful to watch my daughter suffer and not be able to fix it for her.
I bartered with God. We had come so far, finally on the straight and narrow path. Why would God allow this sweetest time to be shadowed by stress, worry, and pain? Why would He let our best-laid plans be overturned by psychological suffering and a worldwide pandemic?
This was my second chance!
I was following the path God brought me to. I wasn’t perfect but I was doing my best to live right. I understood the difficulties I had the first time around, but I was far removed from the sins of my past. I had cultivated a lifestyle I could only dream of as a full-time-working single mom. Staying home with my babies, serving my family and finding God amongst the pots and pans.
A cross had been placed upon my shoulders at a time when all I wanted to do was bask in my undeserved blessings. I learned that the crosses mothers carry for their children are the heaviest because they’re saturated in tears.
It was desperation that led me to adopt a regimen of prayer that included a daily Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet. It was then I began to relate to Mary in a deeper way. She knew what it was to watch her child suffer, and to grieve every stripe, thorn, and fall.
But there was always hope to light the way.
Motherhood has taught me humility. Not only in my life, but in my expectations.
I no longer think “I only want to be happy.” or “That couldn’t happen to me.”
Instead of thinking “Why me?” I think “Why not?”
Why Jesus? Why Mary?
I no longer let false humility hinder my prayers. I no longer try to earn the love of God.
For all is gift.
We often forget that following Jesus means following Him to the cross.
Where we nail our wants and desires. Where we pray in Gethsemane through blood, sweat, and tears, for God’s will to become our own.
I’ve learned that suffering is a gift. That we don’t change God when we pray; instead, He changes us.
Though there are still ups and downs, I’m happy to say that things have gotten much better. God keeps blessing us, keeps delivering on His promises, and always abides.
The thing about crosses is that they always lead to resurrection. Through grace, the instrument of our torture becomes the ladder we can use to climb to Heaven.
God brought beauty out of the ashes of that time. A richer prayer life, a Confirmation, a marriage proven strong enough to weather any storm.
And He brought me, you (yes, you!) and all the women who so boldly share their stories here.
Motherhood Through the Mysteries was inspired through that daily Rosary I took up, fueled by the hard things in my life. The things I never would have chosen.
Jesus and Mary showed me how to walk the hills and valleys of the human experience with virtue and grace. They taught me that humility has a lot to do with trust in God and His plans for us.
That no matter how heavy our cross on earth, a crown of glory outweighs it in Heaven.
Let us strive in hope, Sisters, to one day claim them, so that we may lay them at the feet of Christ, our King.
About Cait: Cait Winters is the founder of Motherhood Through the Mysteries, the host of the Motherhood Through the Mysteries Podcast as well as a writer, blogger and aspiring author. She is a wife and mother of three children (from little to teen!) living the small-town life in Massachusetts and finding God in the midst of everyday moments. Her writing covers all things motherhood, womanhood and faith through relatable and inspiring short stories filled with humor and heart.