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Home > Support > Mothering > Is there a difference between serving one's family and being used?
Question: Can you tell me what are signs of disrespect for a mother, and if a mother feels disrespected, how is the best way to handle that? I feel I have lost control—perhaps never had it in the first place. I have been feeling all along that it is my duty as a Catholic woman to be a servant to her family, but now I feel like I am being taken advantage of.

Dear Mom,

Bless your heart. I feel the confusion in your situation through your words and your desire to get to the root of the challenge. Let's tackle this together. I can give you my opinions and you can sort through them and see if there is something there that might help.

One sentence in your letter was powerful to me and I would like to repeat it. "I felt that my duty as a Catholic woman was to be a servant to my family". How do you feel about this statement? When you read these words what do they mean to you? Think for a moment and define in your heart what you think this statement means to you and what you would like it to mean to your family.

It is my feeling that the two meanings are very different. I think it is safe to say that your servanthood to your family is meant to mean (in your heart) that you are a loving, open helpmate for your children and husband, you nurture them through illness and the realities of life, you are ready to be sympathetic and empathetic during times of sorrow and burden, and you are eager to care for your dear family's physical needs. You want to be Jesus' hands as you lovingly teach, care for and spend time with your family. Is this right?

However now you feel that you are not the servant that you feel you were anointed to be. You are treated with a level of disrespect that is not only unholy, but makes you feel cheapened in the eyes of your family. The Tempter has used this great sorrow to his unholy advantage. He has convinced you that your desire to serve means that you should accept disrespect. Jesus on the other hand wants to lift you up and bring you up from this bowed down burden to a level of holiness that is accorded all of the Lord's children. Jesus knows that you are hurting and there is a struggle within your life. You are worthy in the Lord's eyes and your holiness is beautiful because you are holy from the Lord.

Think about what I have just said. Quietly pray about the hurt feelings in your heart and the sorrow you are feeling because your children are not appreciative of your worth as is afforded you because you are the Lord's little one. Ask the sweet and tender Jesus to reconcile the feelings in your heart. Accept His hand of encouragement and allow Him to lift you up.

Pray for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to work through the challenges that are presented in the issues that you are finding are a conflict. Moms know the difference between normal child clutter and true disrespect. Women know the difference between being a servant in imitation of the Lord's great love for us and being 'used' for unholiness. You have raised issues that will require time to address. Talk with your husband. Pour out your concerns. Communicate and work through a plan of action. Rely on the great graces that are your gift from the Lord. The graces of Matrimony and Parenthood are powerful. Many, many of us do not fully appreciate the power of these graces and often times we just barely tap the power of this deep well of goodness. Go forward.

You are such a powerful witness to me this morning. I am feeling a bit 'used' today. The house is a wreck and the children are getting excited about their older brothers and sisters arriving for the holydays ahead. They do not understand that in order for all of us to have a peaceful holyday we must all work together. However I am going to reread your letter and pray that I can be a worthy servant to my family. Today that means that I am going to have to have a 'talk' with everyone and get us all on the right track. Thank you for sharing your letter with me. It came at a perfect time. Jesus knew what I needed. I am inspired at this moment to share with you the story of the centurion's servant. Matthew 8:5-14. I believe that Jesus wants us to realize how very much he loves the servant and how very much the servant was loved by the earthly people whom he served. Let us read this scripture today and strive to be worthy servants to the ones the Lord has entrusted to our care. We praise You, dear Jesus, and long to serve You worthily. Amen.

Sending out a prayer,
Rita Munn

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