I’m a stay-at-home mom with three children under five years old. It’s me versus three most of the time: always a blessing, often lots of adorable fun, and sometimes absolutely exhausting. I’m in the trenches too with some special crosses and big changes and (don’t you know it) marriage too.
In all of that, I desire so much to know how to navigate every hour of my day to the glory and pleasure of the Lord. I want to learn how to better raise my children in a Godly manner. I want to learn how to truly forgive and to truly love selflessly. I want to cultivate a better attitude about doing the daily work of my vocation. I want to stop getting upset about small stuff. I want to learn how to trust Jesus with all my heart and with all my hopes and fears.
Where I personally am in life right now, I don’t do a lot of spiritual reading and I don’t have personal prayer time at the same time every day. It’s a combination of my life being busy and full right now, and me just not making the faithful prayer time happen. I know that God should be my Number One Priority, and that I should ideally schedule everything else around prayer and the sacraments. But that just isn’t happening to the extent that it needs to happen. Don’t get me wrong–I pray quite a bit during the day, most days, small prayers of thanksgiving and (maaaaaybe a little more often:) pleas for help throughout the day. To be honest, I feel like those times that I was consistent in prayer and regular spiritual reading were times of great spiritual growth for me. I miss it. But at the same time, I realize that I probably have a tendency to idealize those times in my life and then feel a little overly disenchanted with my current season in life. I also realize that the power of God’s grace is such that we have no idea how or when God works in our souls.
In mass this past Sunday, I was praying hard in the minutes leading up to consecration. I told Jesus that I wanted so badly to live a holy life for Him, but that I was frustrated because I couldn’t keep up with faithful time–not to mention energy–for spiritual reading and X, Y, and Z to improve myself. I told him that I felt discouraged by struggling so often in the little situations and conversations of each day; yelling at my kids, being mad at my husband, dwelling on some cross of mine, or saying something unnecessary in conversations with friends.
During the consecration, I really felt a tug in my heart remind me quietly about the Gospel reading for that day: the Road to Emmaus. The two disciples on the road realize after Jesus leaves them, “Were not our hearts burning within us as he opened the Scriptures to us?” Later, the passage says that “he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.”
My thoughts and prayers just kind of quieted down all of a sudden. Scripture and the Mass. Start there.
Back to the basics. Of course.
“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding–indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. -Proverbs 2:1-8
“A renewed impetus in Christian living passes through the Eucharist.” -St. Pope John Paul II
Scripture and the Mass really are perfect places “to start” when I’m in a place where I am back to the bare basics in my faith. For a Catholic, both are so important and also so beautifully intertwined. Everything flows from them. I have also done a consecration to Our Lady for a couple of years now, which has taught me much and has also helped me to realize how much Mary can and wants to help me to know her Son.
During the day, I also do now by habit a Morning Offering before my feet even touch the floor–just a very short, heartfelt prayer asking for the grace to give my fiat to God in everything that happens that day. The Closing Prayer to the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, the rosary (especially when I’m in the car), the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, the Angelus, and just praying with my children every night before bed are all things I do–thought certainly not all of them every day. Maybe a lot of having a relationship with God is responding to that tugging of the Lord to connect with him, even just briefly, in the little moments of the day.
I also want to add that confession is very important to keep up with. Even if I can’t go monthly, that’s my goal even now. Michael and I recently discussed holding each other accountable as a couple to going to confession once per month, and we even decided on a specific way to make that happen by having the other one plan to babysit while we were gone for that time.
I think it’s okay to be a little child in His arms sometimes. I love the beautiful picture of Jesus and the little child that I found for this post. Sometimes when life is hard, all I want is to jump up into His arms and bury my head in His shoulder. I think he probably likes when we run to him like that, though (just like my husband, who is my stand-in when I need a hug from Jesus, and who has really nice, big, muscly shoulders and likes when I run into his arms:). Didn’t He tell us that we all have to come to him “as little children?” Perhaps that is where we should be counting ourselves blessed to suffer a little or a lot–to have things in our lives that make us run into his arms. Such nice-sounding words–right?–that “suffering is a blessing.” Hard to hear more for many of you than for me, God bless you! But spiritually-speaking, suffering is the stuff of life, of growth, and of a deeper union with God. Even though I talked earlier about not having a lot of time for spiritual reading, I have to confess that there is a little book that every single one of you should buy and read. It’s called Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence. It has really helped me learn how to look at suffering and how to live and love God’s will for my life.
May God’s peace be with you!
**Note: I did go back and significantly edit this post from when I originally posted it. Sometimes writing late at night makes for slightly weird writing, poor flow, and bad word choices! I had been feeling uncomfortable about some things I wrote in the post, so I decided to just go in and take them out altogether. When in doubt, edit it out. 🙂