Grace-Filled Moments Disguised as Stress

cross pendant and stones

The three o’clock hour arrived. The rooms were ready for the children. Packets of Holy Week coloring pages were counted out.

Then the first text came in: “The sitter is not coming. I cannot teach this afternoon.” Then the second text: “So sorry, I forgot about an appointment; I cannot teach this afternoon.” Yikes!

Now came the stress. But being experienced, my overdrive kicked in, and I gathered my wits and combined groups, shuffled some chairs, and just ran around getting things done.

The five o’clock hour arrived. The sessions ended, and I, still frazzled, waited for the last children to be picked up, and then I locked the door. What happened today? Did I smile at all? Was there any need not met?

I took a deep breath (or two or more) and then collapsed into my high-backed desk chair. The afternoon played back in my head like a movie on a fast rewind. As I reviewed, the more I realized that the stress was the Holy Spirit moving me more quickly into the actions that needed to get done.

I also recognized the Spirit in the people who helped me through the afternoon. A calm reaction from a catechist that, “It will play out fine,” gave me comfort. Another catechist offered to bring in the traffic cones, even though her ride was waiting. And the children! We came together 20 minutes before sessions ended. The children sat on a large gold rug; the lights were turned down; and we read the Stations of the Cross. The once raucous group settled into a reverential gathering of God’s beloved children who attentively heard the story of Jesus’ long, agonizing walk to his Crucifixion. As I began to read, my frenzied demeanor was calmed by looking into the children’s eyes of wonder, concern, and sweet prayer.

What blessings are poured out when we need them the most! Thank you, Lord!

Where have you noticed blessings disguised as stress?

About Margie Copeland 8 Articles
Margie Copeland has been involved in parish ministry for over 30 years, starting with her certification in youth ministry. This progressed to directorship of a full faith formation program for several parishes. Margie is presently Director of Faith Formation at St. Joseph Parish in Fairhaven, MA. She holds a bachelor’s in education from Bridgewater State University, Bridgewater, MA, and several certificates in spiritual leadership. She has directed days of reflection and retreats for adults and youth for the last 20 years. Margie lives in Assonet, MA, with her husband of 40+ years.

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