Crossing to the Other Side

Megan Smillie // Scripture: A Mother's Lens


June 20  

There have been many times in my parenting journey when I have been forced off the path of what I had expected Catholic motherhood to look like. My husband and I—intelligent, committed, and devout Catholics—simply assumed that our children would grow up to be the same. Of course, we expected a few *small* deviations from the path we had taken, but the story that has unfolded before us is, at times, heartbreakingly different from anything we had ever imagined. 

A wayward son, four children (and myself) in therapy, with three on medication (along with a myriad of other issues not written here because of privacy) is certainly not how I expected the “young adult” years would go. It’s been a time of intense pain as well as growth. And while I can see and appreciate the growth, I could very well do without the waves of grief and the fear and shock of each new approaching storm we have been made to weather. 

“Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Let us cross to the other side.’ Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was” (Mk 4:35-36).

This “crossing to the other side,” so to speak, in our parenting journey has been just that—a CROSS-ing. Filled with peril and confusion, leaving the crowd of so many seemingly “normal” Catholic families, and striking out on the unique path laid out just for us, I sometimes forget that we do have Jesus, just as he was/is. And that is our comfort

“They cried to the Lord in their distress; from their straits he rescued them, He hushed the storm to a gentle breeze, and the billows of the sea were stilled” (Ps 107:28-29).

As the waves crash against us, and the threatening storm-clouds gather in every direction, sometimes it’s all I can do to grip the edge of our family boat and fix my gaze firmly on Christbecause this “crossing to the other side” has not been easy. There have been judgments issued, spoken and not, and eyes filled with righteous indignation at our choices. But I have learned much in the process. Christ alone matters. His voice, his face, his eyes nodding assent to my blundering ways. He alone knows my heart, knows the reasoning behind every decisionevery. single. heart-wrenching. decision that we’ve had to make as parents. He alone blesses us. And when all other avenues of affirmation have gone cold, in him alone is our strength and hope and, yes, even peace. 

“So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Cor 5:17).

Clinging firmly to our own boats, may we truly see that Jesus is enough—for you, for me, and for all of us—as we weather our own crossings.

Proclaim the Genius & Share!
  • This is powerful and timely, Megan. I think the vast majority of Catholic mothers today would agree with you—it’s not going like we imagined. Thank you for naming it, and re-orienting our focus on Christ. I’m grateful for you!

  • Megan, thank you so much for exposing your personal vulnerability and struggles. You give us all a lot of hope. Thank God.

  • Thank you so much for your authenticity and vulnerability, Megan, which are such rare and beautiful treasures. Your post speaks words of encouragement . God is especially in those situations that hurt tremendously and when we feel most alone. Thank you for testifying that His ways are not our ways and of His Great Love and Mercy.

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