Exciting News!

I’m excited to announce I just became an Ambassador for Living Faith! It’s an inspiring and uplifting daily devotional with some of my most favorite authors (Sr. Bridget Hasse, Melanie Rigney, Kristen Armstrong, etc.). My even bigger news is I begin contributing to this amazing booklet this fall. I have 20 free booklets to give away. If you’re interested, email me at clairemcgarrywrites@gmail.com and I’ll send one along. If you then want to subscribe, I can get you 25% off the $15 a year subscription rate.

Making the Connection

Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” John 4:53

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.com

I recently did the Kendrick Brothers’ Bible study, The Battle Plan for Prayer. In it, they talk about being very strategic and specific about our prayer requests. They recommend using a Prayer Journal to list and date each prayer, being as detailed as possible in our petitions. Their point is: Our God is a Mighty God who wants us to go big with our requests. At the same time, He also cares deeply about the minutia in our lives.

As important as praying and listing our requests is, reviewing them is just as important. It takes doings so to actually recognize God’s hand at work.

Continue reading

Broken Promises

Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” John 13:37

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.com

We are in the tween and teen years in my household. It’s no surprise that my kids care more about the outside world and its influences than they do about what I think and require. It’s all part of adolescence, and I’m trying not to take it personally. Yet, I still struggle with broken promises.

When my kids looked me in the eye and made a pledge, I always thought I knew them well enough to gauge whether they meant it, or were just placating me. But lately, even the promises that seem to be made with sincerity are being broken. I’m at my wit’s end. Then I read John 13:37.

Continue reading

Perfectly Paired

Published on CatholicMom.com

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Photo Courtesy of Pexels.com

My fourteen-year-old son, Mason, surprised us all last fall when he announced he wanted to play Rec. soccer. He hadn’t kicked a ball since he was six. I soon learned the idea came from three of his good friends who were all on the same team. Apparently, if they didn’t recruit a few more kids, they wouldn’t have enough players for the season.

Of course, we wanted to support Mason and sign him up. But the protective side of me didn’t want him to feel badly about himself when he went out on the field with kids who’d been playing, year-round, since they were four.

I reached out to the coach to test the waters. Turns out, Mason’s coach was our neighbor a few streets over. In my relief, I shared the whole back-story, and my concern that Mason’s skill level was basically at a baseline of zero. As soon as he responded, I knew God had perfectly paired this coach with Mason.

Continue reading

Garden-of-Eden Innocence

Published on CatholicMom.com

“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:5

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.com

At ten years of age, my daughter, Jocelyn, was desperate to be independent. She wanted to go out for a walk, going as far as she pleased, all by herself. She wanted to hop on her bike and pedal through neighborhood after neighborhood, all alone.

I kept telling her it wasn’t safe. It was a vague response, but that was on purpose. I didn’t want to describe, in detail, what could happen if someone snatched her into a van and drove off. She’s still so young. I wanted to preserve her innocence.

Instead, I kept telling her she needed to trust my judgment and believe my rules were about protecting her. She pushed and pushed, nonetheless. Finally, I felt I had no choice. I didn’t get too graphic, but I told her enough for her to wish she’d never learned about the evil out there in the world.

Jocelyn’s not alone in her desire to challenge the limits. It seems humankind has been pushing the boundaries since Adam and Eve.

Continue reading

Preaching to the Choir

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. Luke 15:1

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.com

Jocelyn and I were having fun playing a game the other night. After she did something she shouldn’t have, and I corrected her, she got quiet and withdrawn. I asked her why. She said that when she makes a mistake, I go on and on about it, and she absolutely hates that.

My immediate reaction was to defend myself, and explain that that was my job as her mom: to teach her a better way to react when she’s made a mistake. But I bit my tongue, apologized, and said I’d work on keeping the message short and sweet.

In that “perfect timing” way of His, the very next morning, God helped me better understand what Jocelyn meant.

Continue reading

Lacking as a Shepherd

Give a shepherd’s care to the flock of God that is entrusted to you: watch over it, not simply as a duty but gladly, as God wants… Do not lord it over the group which is in your charge, but be an example for the flock. 1 Peter 5:2-3

Photo Courtesy of Pexels.com

The Friday before February school vacation was a sunup to sundown day of packing for me. We were headed to Florida for the week. My husband had gone ahead to spend more time with his parents who snowbird there. I was left behind to prep our house for our absence, and pack for my three kids and me. Looming over it all was the 4 a.m., scheduled wake-up the next day to make our flight.

As all moms know, packing is overwhelming, especially if you’re a control freak like me. I tend to pack everything but the kitchen sink. I feel compelled to anticipate everyone’s needs, and have all the necessaries on hand to be the hero saving the day. But being a super-hero packer is endless work, and pretty much a thankless job. By evening, I was growing resentful.

So I called a Family Meeting that night, under the guise of reviewing the plan for the next day.

Continue reading

The First Move

Published on CatholicMom.com

This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:10

Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com

I’m not quite sure what’s going on with me lately, but my kids have been hurting my feelings a lot.

I don’t think it’s them. Their behavior hasn’t really changed much. They are teens and a tween, after all. Obviously, they lash out as an attempt to separate from me, and to grow more independent. Throw in the sarcastic culture of our family, and the stinging comments and sharp barbs are almost common place. I do draw a hard line at disrespect, though, and they haven’t been crossing that.

I think the problem lies with me. Maybe it’s all this time spent together as a family due to the pandemic. Even wonderful things can get old when there’s not enough variety.

In my hyper-sensitive state, I find myself regressing. I’m becoming a moody teenager myself: holding grudges, withdrawing into myself, wallowing in the muck of feeling misunderstood and under-appreciated.

The response that grows out of this isn’t very Christ-like at all: I want to knock my kids’ heads together, and storm out the door. What I wouldn’t give to get in my car, drive to the airport, and fly away to some tropical resort all.by.myself.

Then there’s 1 John 4:10 to put me in my place.

Continue reading

The Only Way

Published on CatholicMom.com

“The Son of Man must… be killed and on the third day be raised.” Luke 9:22

When we had our first child, my husband and I refused to give up our old life. It was too fun and exciting. Instead, we’d load up the diaper bag and drag our infant to bars and parties, as if nothing had changed. It didn’t take long for reality to hit: Everything had changed, and there was no going back.

So began the life of declining social invitations, and adjusting to the chaos of parenthood. No matter how we tried to plan our days, they got hijacked and derailed by exploding diapers, naptime changes, and countless other unexpecteds.

Continue reading

Wall or Walkway?

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.com.

During the Super Bowl on Sunday, my husband had us all play a betting game where we claimed numbered squares on a grid. At the end of each quarter, the person whose square came closest to the score at that time, won a treat. That inspired my son, Mason, to want to bet money on the entire outcome of the game. When his brother, Zack, declined, my husband took him up on it.

Along with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, we all ended up winning something, either treat or money, except for Zack. He lamented, “I never win! If I had bet on the Buccaneers, they would have lost because that’s how it works with me. I always lose.”

It was all in fun, but it got me thinking.

Continue reading