I'll admit that when I have a question about motherhood and homemaking, the first place I turn is to Pinterest. That's great for inspiration, but when you really need to soak up wisdom, nothing beats a great book. These are my top recommendations for moms who want depth, meaning, great stories, and great advice.
I believe that motherhood is a ministry as well. Don’t I? I believe that God called me out of teaching to be fully present to my husband and children, to attend to their needs and joys with the fullness of God’s tenderness. So why am I still asking myself if this is enough?
The checklist is so tempting not because it is bad to accomplish the things the Lord has entrusted to us; that is its very allure. Even the most good and beautiful and holy work becomes idolatrous when it eclipses what is greater. My checklist is useful. And really, that is all. It is a reminder of what I'd like to do, not an indicator of how well I am doing.
As I approach the milestone of turning 30, I am struck by how differently my life has turned out than how I anticipated. I am beginning to realize how deeply I’ve bought the lie that true “living” is where the glamour is, where the cross doesn’t accompany me—that it’s somewhere over there, somewhere I am…
The more I encounter the liminal space of waiting, the more I am able to accept that waiting has a purpose. God works in the waiting. Looking back, I can recognize God’s handiwork in many of the waiting periods of my life. At times, I’ve waited with the patient trust I had as I anticipated receiving the Eucharist (it helps when God gives you an end date). Others, such as the final trimester of my last pregnancy, have felt supernaturally long. Even in retrospect, I don’t always see God’s purpose in the waiting. But sometimes, God offers me glimpses of what he is doing. Just enough, I suppose, to encourage me to have faith for the next long wait.
I’ve never known a Catholic Church that wasn’t part of the sexual abuse crisis. When it first began, I was a child, a non-Catholic student in a Catholic school, and the news held little meaning for me beyond its significance as another tragic headline. When I became Catholic in college years later, the crisis seemed…
If I stop to slow down and pay attention, I do hear God's call, right in the middle of the clatter of dishes going back into the cupboards (when my husband puts them away, because, yet again, I was too tired). The mission to love in this vocation is a series of simple choices, and hearing God's call is as easy as taking a moment to breathe in awareness of the purpose in my actions. Each small choice to care for our home and my family is the choice of love. Each time I choose to set aside my own weariness to play with my baby or encourage my husband, in a small way, I mimic Christ's self-sacrifice on the cross. And when I take the time to offer myself as gift to my loved ones, I enjoy the gift of love, of life fully lived. Resurrection dawns in my heart, and the beauty of this vocation outshines its difficulties.
Sometimes we sugarcoat the reality of vocation. We want all the deep joy and the passion with none of the sacrifice. In reality, the vocation we are called to is the role that’s most apt to refine us, to shape us into to the being God envisions us to be. This means our joy and our fulfillment are both tied to sacrifice.
Still, waiting for something joyous can be painful. Imagine (or remember) the loneliness and anxiety of years spent single, waiting for someone with whom to share your life. Think of the struggle of infertility, waiting for God to turn a couple into a family, arms aching to hold your little one. Or, as new parent waiting simply to sleep again, pushing past exhaustion to find one more ounce of patience.