grapes on the vineIn the streets they cry out for lack of wine; all joy has grown dim, cheer is exiled from the land. Isaiah 24:11

Have you ever ‘cried out for lack of wine’. Perhaps you felt like you weren’t being fed in your parish, that you didn’t have a place or a program that fit your needs? I’ve been there, and some words of wisdom from an older mom changed my perspective completely.
Years ago, I was a young mom of an 8 month old girl. I had just quit my job to stay at home, was new to my parish, and was feeling a little lost and friendless. Through the grace of God, I met another young mom, Laura Sobiech, and we became friends.
One day, I’m ashamed to admit, we fell to complaining about our parish. Why didn’t our parish didn’t offer young moms anything? We wanted companionship, we wanted the support of other Catholic women who were raising babies and toddlers. Why wasn’t the church serving us? We were crying out for lack of wine.
That’s when Laura’s mom, Nancy, stepped in with words I’ll never forget. “You have it backwards,” she explained. “You want the church to serve you. But it’s you girls who need to serve the church.”
We looked at each other. We needed to serve?
Nancy went on in her no-nonsense way, “If you want a group for young mothers, start one. You are the Church and the Church needs you.”
Of course, Nancy was right. We got right on it, even though we didn’t know what we were doing. The response was amazing. Within two weeks, we had signed up over 30 women, mostly in their 20s, all with babies and toddlers, all who had been looking for the same thing we were.
We started meeting in homes and parks, letting the kids play while we moms gave each other support and much-needed encouragement. Soon we were serving the Church by providing mass activity bags for parents of toddlers, making meals for families welcoming new babies, and visiting nursing homes with our children in tow. In the past 20 years, this same group has continued to grow and serve by heading fund raisers, providing meals for priests, and doing service project with our teens and tweens.
If you’ve been crying out for lack of wine—wondering when you’ll be served by your parish—perhaps you should be asking how you can serve the Church with your own gifts. One way might be to be a WINE enthusiast and bring WINE – scripture study, discipleship, and fun to the women of your parish.

Stephanie Landsem-106
Stephanie Landsem is a wife, mother, lifelong Catholic, and author of authentic biblical fiction. The Living Water series (The Well, The Thief, and The Tomb, A Novel of Martha) published by Simon & Schuster, is based on encounters with Jesus in the Gospel of John.