I’ve been reading Kimberly Hahn’s Graced and Gifted lately. (I’ve had it on loan for a shamefully long time from my friend Lucy).
I love it! This book has been another special tool God has used to inspire, encourage and affirm me in motherhood and family life.
As you may have noticed from some of my posts over the last few months, the everyday work of managing a home and family (on top of a part-time job, in my case) is often a source of stress for me. Stress lived, I hope, in perspective, but stress all the same.
One thing that has made an enormous difference for me in coping with that stress has been the addition over the past year of personal prayer and Scripture meditation first thing each morning. As Kimberly often points out in the book, the Bible is simply full of advice on starting your day in prayer:
“Let me hear in the morning of your merciful love; for in you I put my trust. Teach me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” -Psalm 143:
Granted, morning sickness over the past three weeks probably qualifies as a Good Excuse. It’s about all I can do to get through the Hail Mary while my body is trying to dry heave my guts out in the bathroom! And that’s OK. There will always be seasons in life (illness, pregnancy, new babies, etc.) in which a regular morning prayer routine just isn’t possible for a period of time.
When I’m not sick, nursing, or turning green with nausea in the mornings, though, I feel ashamed as I write this to admit that morning sleepiness is such an obstacle for me.
Kimberly includes some helpful (but challenging!) quotes on spiritual discipline from St. Josemaria Escriva and the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
“Conquer yourself each day from the very first moment, getting up on the dot, at a set time, without granting a single minute to laziness. If, with the help of God, you conquer yourself in that moment, you’ll have accomplished a great deal for the rest of the day.” -St. Josemaria Escriva
“One does not undertake contemplative prayer only when one has the time. One makes time for the Lord, with the firm determination not to give up, no matter what trials and dryness we may encounter.” -Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 2710
I think that a lot of Christians believe that only those God calls to consecrated or pastoral life are called to profound holiness and intimacy with God. I also think that a lot of people believe that only those God calls to consecrated or pastoral life are called to grow their relationship with God in a purposeful, disciplined way.
Not so! If we “Average Joe” lay persons believe that, we’re believing a wildly popular lie from the devil. We’re also missing out on becoming the person God created us to be.
Back to my stress with managing a home and family while working part-time. Kimberly has a personal daily quote she uses to stay focused on God amid all the activities and duties of motherhood and family life.
“There is all the time I need today to do God’s will today.”
What a simple, perfectly stated way to look at all the tasks of your day in the light of keeping God at the center of your life and your home.
For me, this little mantra takes me back to my time with God in the morning, a time in which I give him what’s on my heart’s to-do list, and learn a little more every day how to take on what’s on His.