Today is my son’s birthday, my first-born, named Matthew, which means gift from God. He turned 15, and just completed his freshman year in high school. He’s a good kid. Typical teen. Works hard, plays hard and has a great sense of humor. The thought of having him home with us for just three more years gives me heart palpitations, if I had to be totally honest.
Celebrating his birthday allows me to reflect on the beautiful gift of motherhood. I recall when the kids were babies; the worries – oh, they seemed so big – focused on survival needs such as making sure they ate enough, slept enough, and played enough. The mere emergence of a fever gave way to mama bear instincts to protect and heal.
As the kids developed and entered their teens, the worries became bigger. No longer are they centered on survival but rather on the soul. Raising a teen can sometimes feel like the “violent squall” of waves mentioned in today’s Gospel “breaking over the boat filling it up.” (cf. Mark 4:37) It’s overwhelming…sometimes even heart-wrenching.
The thoughts that race through a mother’s mind can be all-consuming and even terrifying at times: Is he praying? Is he happy? Will he make the right decisions? As moms isn’t it true that we so often just need to “ponder these things in our heart”? (cf. Luke 2:19)
Thankfully God gave women motherly instincts, and the gift of His word. In today’s Gospel, Jesus says, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” (cf. Mark 4:40) That very question allows our Lord’s peace to settle in a very deep way.
Margie Mandli has spent 25 years in marketing communications both in the corporate sector and now as a small business owner of GEM Communications and Consulting, LLC. She left the corporate world five years ago to follow what she considered a calling from God to use her gifts to help the Church in the New Evangelization. She has led a variety of communications efforts, including a lead marketing role for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Synod, which took place in June 2014; and currently sits on the Archdiocesan Synod Implementation Commission. Her most recent labor of love was serving as executive producer for the video “Mass: The Heart of the Matter,” a new piece intended to promote the Mass and Evangelization across the archdiocese. She led the marketing for the formation of a new regional school model, All Saints Catholic School of Kenosha. She is a 2011 Vatican II award recipient. As a parishioner of St. Anne Catholic Church, she is the Chair for the Evangelization Commission. Her greatest joy is her husband, Mark, and three children. Her favorite scripture is: “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:6