I’ve been struggling over the past few days with some inner demons. Maybe it’s the baby blues; maybe it’s my own obsessions coming home to roost; maybe it’s my reluctance to conform to the changes in my life. Whatever it is, I’ve been finding myself low, and since I’m my own worst enemy in situations of criticism, I haven’t been that nice to myself about it.

“You stinking idiot. Lots of people have this exact situation. Why can’t you deal with this gracefully?”

“Just exactly what were you thinking your life would be like? And what’s wrong with this?”

“No one really needs you around, and it would probably be better if you left/died/etc anyway.”

The loudest voices were the most discouraging ones, and with Bob working late hours at his new job, I’ve been facing them without the benefits of his logic and calmness, for the most part. (He offers encouragement as he can, when he’s home and when I tell him just what’s going on, of course.)

It’s as though the tempters in my life (at times like this, I’m sure I have been assigned more than one – just as I’m sure at times that I have more than one guardian angel!) know I’m at a weak point. I haven’t been going to my Adoration hour since the baby was born (really, I just don’t know what hour will work out, and there hasn’t so much been a time when I could sneak away in the middle of the night – sleep is a must right now!), and as we juggle an extra kid, we’ve been getting to weekend Masses late (not that we’re so good at being early anyway). In fact, I’m sure the tempters know I’m a good target.

And that’s why I’m so very appreciative for the phone (and for email, for that matter) and for that handful of women who have been ministering to me, though I haven’t said anything to them (yet) about what an important role they’ve played in this battle. It has reminded me that help is just a phone call – or an email – away.

The help I’ve needed has been of the encouragement and reassurance kind, the sort of help that lifts me up and shows me the forest and the beautiful lay of the land. I’ve been craving the girlfriend chats and the “been there, done that” advice that only a certain group of women could provide.

And they have.

It occurred to me this morning, as I became human again in the shower, that even as I’ve struggled with my prayers and current difficulties in my life, God is only a prayer away. I don’t have to wait for an hour alone with him in Adoration, and I don’t have to wait to start a rosary until I have time for the whole thing. In fact, I don’t have to pray in any set way – I can just send out a plea to Daddy and he’ll send out a hug.

And he has, in the form of phone calls and emails – completely unsolicited – from the amazing women in my life.

So as I consider what I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving – and the list is long indeed! – I have to start the list with an overwhelming gratitude to my Heavenly Father for taking care of me like he does.