Ann Cereghino
A mom basks in the glow of the Catholic Women Rejoice retreat. Will it last? What will come next?
Ann Cereghino
A mom basks in the glow of the Catholic Women Rejoice retreat. Will it last? What will come next?
So, there you are, minding your own business, basking in the Holy Spirit-induced glow of your latest retreat, conference, or super-godly gathering, and BAM — real life hits you square in the nose. And then the jaw. And then the gut. A few times. And a big stomp on the baby toe just for good measure. Just to ensure that not only are you really down for the count, but you’re humiliated, too, because it was the baby toe of all things.

Case in point: I returned home from the Catholic Women Rejoice women’s conference on a late Sunday afternoon. There were so many amazing Godincidences and Holy Spirit moments sprinkled throughout the weekend that one day soon I’ll have to write a whole other column to testify to all the glory.

Today is not that day.

I arrived home to see several children bum-rushing my car to greet me. Aw, how sweet! I thought. They missed me! Precisely one nanosecond later I realized that they weren't really yearning to embrace me so much as competing to see who would be the first to share the shocking news that their brother›s thumb was horribly smashed in the (very heavy) front door just two short minutes ago by an overzealous sibling who should have known better.

Honey, I’m hooooome! I called past the raucous hubub of my “welcome” wagon. Perhaps my enlightened spouse would embrace me and observe how truly radiantly sanctified I appeared.

All the nope.

My husband, understandably so, was beside himself, simultaneously attempting to wrangle the children (the tattling ones, the offending yet defensive thumb-smashing one, the howling and grievously blood-drenched wounded one) while cooking and serving dinner because he’s thoughtful like that. Let’s just say, however, because of the circumstances, his first words to me were not laden with thoughtfulness, charm or love.

Because of my new-found state of grace, however, I was able to brush away the brusque greeting, the screeching, the yelling, the squawking, and the I’ll-never-be-able-to-hold-a-Lego-again-ing. Ah, yes — I proficiently greeted, placated, soothed, discreetly ignored, re-bandaged, hugged and assisted everyone’s needs with supernatural grace and calm. For about 10 minutes.

And then the gnawing resentments started to creep in, my internal dialogue whipping up quite a frenzy. Here’s a sample:

Who ARE these people? Why are they so CRAZY?? Don’t they realize that I’m HOLY now? All this — this — REAL LIFE is erasing the shine from my soul!

It’s just not right! It’s just not fair! Why can’t all these good, holy feelings hang around indefinitely after an incredible mountaintop experience?

I bet the disciples didn’t have to deal with this level of malarkey after they witnessed the Transfiguration!

Put it to you this way, friends: Had I allowed myself to continue to play these records of resentment in my brain, my very head would most probably begun spinning like a top, straight-up Exorcist style.

Not very Christ-like, I grant you.

And, as is my slower-than-molasses nature, I eventually realized what I was doing. And I shut the negative thoughts down. I remembered that, while my time away was a huge gift, my family is a pretty amazing gift, too. I love God most, but I love them super lots. God allowed me the grace of this time away to pray and renew my soul so that I would be better-prepared for the life he’s given me — my real life. The kind of life that is utterly exhausting yet exhilarating. The kind of life that makes me both beg for mercy and beg for more. The kind of life that he called me to have so that I could become more like his divine son.

And wouldn’t I be, in a way, smacking God in the face if I squandered the experience he afforded me by deciding to horde those graces for myself? Wouldn’t the gift be more fully realized, more greatly appreciated, if I chose to share it — not just today, but every day — with those He entrusted to my care?

So, back to my real life — the moment of reckoning on Sunday night passed, and the next pocket of peace happened, followed by the next cupful of crisis, followed by the next thimbleful of peace. And so it went until present day.

And so it goes every day. I pray for the grace to restrain myself from smacking a person when he or she throws shade upon my Jesus shine. Because it’s still there, friends. I know it’s there. It’s always there. So long as I choose to show it.


Ever have someone try to throw shade on your Jesus shine — especially after you’ve been away at an amazing encounter with Our Lord? Trying praying The Catholic Moms’ “Drop-Kicked Into Reality” Prayer. It helps me every time.

Dear Lord Jesus, King of rowdy, stubborn children,
Redeemer of questionable smells and short tempers,
Savior of misplaced shoes, boo boos, messy kitchens, blowout diapers, endless dishes (and laundry and more laundry), double-booked activities, practices and lessons, burned food, cold coffee, clogged toilets, and uniquely depleted Moms, I earnestly pray that the grace received through my recent conference/ retreat/amazing spiritual experience sustains me as I build my domestic cathedral in the hidden recesses of my home.
May I reach out to my sisters in Christ for unconditional support and encouragement because, after all, they know.
May I please, dear Jesus, not allow my sister to drown in plain sight when I sense she is in need.
But most importantly, Lord, may I seek you, before and above all else because, when everything is said and done (or necessarily left undone), YOU got this, Lord — you’ve got me, my family, and allllll the beautiful messiness that is my life in the palm of your hand because you love me as if I were your one and only.
I offer all I say and do for your glory through the intercession of the best Mom around, our Blessed Mother Mary.
In Jesus’ name — Amen!

God bless y’all.

The writer is a wife and mother of five living in the wilds of suburban Portland.