When Heather Anderson Renshaw began rapping about her life as a minivan-driving momma to five rambunctious kids, the crowd of over 120 women at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Media began to roar with laughter.
Renshaw, a Catholic author and speaker, is just like all moms who struggle with juggling the many demands of daily life. She recently published her book “Death by Minivan” and periodically travels around the country speaking about motherhood, marriage and living out the Catholic faith in what can be a difficult world.
Her talk on March 25, the solemnity of the Annunciation, was hosted by mothers’ groups from three Delaware County parishes: St. Pius X in Broomall; St. Joseph in Aston and St. Mary Magdalen. Women traveled from across the region and as far away as New Jersey for the event.
Dana Westby, a long-time parishioner of St. Mary Magdalen who also coordinates the mom’s group at St. Joseph’s in Aston, co-hosted this event. She is passionate about gathering women together to share their faith.
Westby said she is grateful for the women in her life who have been by her side throughout the various challenges she has faced, and now she wants to share this with other women. She handed out flyers to women in the crowd to consider joining an area moms’ group.
The title of Renshaw’s talk was “Happy, happy, joy, joy: When the rubber hits the road.” Renshaw told the women that she knows how challenging it can be to experience joy in the midst of daily suffering or difficulties, but if we begin to clothe ourselves in joy, we radiate love to those around us.
She talked about Mary’s fiat or yes to the Lord and how we can say yes in the midst of our own trials. “We have to think with the eyes of God because he will use everything for our good,” Renshaw said.
Renshaw calls herself a Catholic revert who left the church for a time and was pulled back as a young adult. At one point in her life she “was far away from God and his church and I had a come-to-Jesus moment,” she said. “Once you really begin to believe, how can you go anywhere else?”
Once she found herself saying yes to God over and over again, she knew her life would never be the same. After getting married and having five children she knew that the only way she could live her life would be with God at the wheel.
Now Renshaw is called to share the joy of Christ with the women that she meets throughout the country. She wants women to see their worth and to know that no matter what happens, joy comes from knowing who God is and who you are.
“We all have a mission to share the love of God,” she told her audience, and if we ignore this call, “we are ignoring God.”
She gave everyone practical tips on how to keep joy in one’s life. These include reading Scripture, frequently attending the sacraments and looking to the cloud of witnesses, or the saints, for support. If we keep ourselves grounded in Scripture, the sacraments and the saints we won’t let anybody steal our joy or peace, Renshaw suggested.
Following her talk Renshaw signed copies of her laugh-out-loud book, “Death by Minivan,” which was published by Our Sunday Visitor last fall. Women waited in line for over half an hour to meet Renshaw and have their books personalized.
Renshaw left the women feeling uplifted and encouraged to always “be emboldened with joy!”
Learn more about Heather Anderson Renshaw at www.RealCatholicMom.com or on Twitter and Instagram @RealCatholicMom.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: Help needed to keep pro-life sign in view on Pa. Turnpike
NEXT: Past Lent’s halfway point, it’s not too late to discern God’s love
Share this story