Starting this week, each Friday I want to bring to you a little light and encouragement from other Catholic couples and families.
I love witnessing how other families are following Christ and am constantly inspired by them. My goal with Friday Feature is to bring you a breath of fresh air and some community by sharing their stories.
Enjoy, laugh, be inspired, and pray for all those you see on here. We’re in this together!
FRIDAY FEATURE: Kristen & Jonathan
Kristen and Jonathan are some of our most treasured friends. They have witnessed Gospel joy to us more times than I can count and it’s always by their powerful example of living a truly Christian life. As I edited the post and pasted their answers I was yet again on the receiving end of their Christ-like love. Enjoy the one hilarious part as well 😉
Angie (A): Tell me a little about yourself and your family.
Kristen & Jon (K/J): We met in Mexico in 2009 serving as lay Catholic missionaries with Family Missions Company. After an 18 month courtship that took us on mission to Rome, Spain, back to Mexico and then stateside, we married in 2011. God then called us youth ministry in the great state of Texas for a few years before bringing us back to FMC to work in the office supporting the missionaries around the globe. Most recently, He has moved us to south Alabama where Jonathan works for 4PM Media, making Catholic films. We currently have three kids under four which keeps us busy but so very blessed!
A: You’ve served as missionaries all over the globe both when single and as a family. How has that impacted your vocation?
K/J: It has seriously changed everything! It has transformed the way we live and our basic priorities. God has taken us across the globe to see some of the most beautiful places and people on earth. Our years in foreign missions has gifted us with a completely different worldview. To be able to live and work with the poorest of the poor whether that be spiritually or physically has given us new eyes to see Christ in others and the desire to make Him known and loved. It constantly fills us with a renewed gratitude and a desire to live simply and frugally in solidarity with the poor throughout the world. we could go on for hours though about all that it has done for our marriage and family life.
A: What’s your most embarrassing moment as a couple?
K/J: Actually it happened at your apartment. Your oldest son who was 18 months at the time went through our luggage and paraded his newfound treasure around the house. (It was a small bottle of matter for married intimacy). We all laughed hysterically but not before turning quite red in the faces.
(Note by Angie: I totally remember this and it was as hilarious as it sounds. My little guy snuck in to their room and came toddling out with the bottle of lube. We were all rolling with laughter. Straight up best story we have of guests staying with us.)
A: Do you feel like your family has a certain charism? How did you discern that?
K/J: Hospitality, definitely hospitality. We love meeting new people, making friends with others from all walks of life and having people over for a meal or to play board games. Food is a great way to evangelize. And we constantly find ourselves being evangelized as we dialogue with others. Having real and honest conversations with the people seated at your table or on your couch. We have an open door policy at our house. Everyone is welcome no matter the time or day, and there is always a tea kettle ready to whistle.
A: How do you stay focused on the everyday duties of life as a parent in a world that tells us more money/power/prestige is what makes our worth?
K/J: Well, we don’t have a T.V. for one and we have rules about our devices. It’s so easy get sucked into that little black box and then all of a sudden you are in “need” of like 100 things. We also try to live super simply and on a budget. We have everything we need and God often surprises us and meets our wants as well. We are daily reminded of the call to live willful asceticism. It keeps us close to Jesus and really happy. We hate junk and clutter, in our hearts and in our home! Also we really want our kids to know whats important and that’s Jesus, we need to be a good role models of that.
A: What is your daily prayer routine as a couple?
K: This is something we have been struggling with for years. It often gets put aside so we can have personal prayer time. Lately though we have been trying to do it first thing in the morning before our feet hit the floor. To snuggle and read the Gospel together. You gotta start somewhere, and as a mom of 3 littles I just can’t keep my eyes open to do it at night.
A: What is your daily prayer routine as a family?
K/J: Mass each Sunday, we have an alarm set and pray the Angelus at noon everyday. Night prayers with our kids. Also any time someone asks us for prayers, we make the kids stop what they are doing so we can all say a prayer. On Saturday we do family prayer with songs in the morning. We tried saying the Rosary as a family, but anyone who has little kids knows it’s like wraseling little pigs, and has not been very fruitful in this season of our family life.
A: Have you ever had a really difficult season in your marriage? How did you get through it?
K/J: Our first year of marriage was really tough. And last year when we were living in the Philippines God was testing us through fire and we just clung to Him. What else could we do? I think this has been our best year yet though. We both have very strong personalities so its been challenging and life giving to let God work through our struggles and to find unity and communion in our differences and complementarities. God is so good!
A: What is something that has been an unexpected blessing in your life together?
K/J: Being called away from working with Family Missions Company to working with 4PM Media. We never saw ourselves leaving foreign missions but God’s plans are better than our own. This has been a dream come true for Jonathan to work full time in filmmaking for awesome Catholic clients and has been really great for us as a family too.
A: If you could give young families any advice in just 10 words, what would you say?
K/J: “Extend mercy. Ask for forgiveness. You never have the right to be unloving.”