As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Step in Time

I am so grateful for the work God has been doing in me over the past year.  Through different readings that I've been working on and friendships I've been journeying in, God has patiently been teaching me about His divine will in the moment.  For the past several months I have wrestled with the question of how to meet God in the small moments of my life.  And I really feel like He's broken open a whole treasure trove of things for me to discover.  Everything I thought I knew about being a wife and mother, about walking in faith, has suddenly given way to reveal so much more depth that I have only begun to scratch the surface of.

For me, it all hinges on the present moment.  I am so, so very bad for living in the future.  Where I think I should be, what I think I should be doing now in order to accomplish that.  It's so constraining, and I think the root of a lot of the frustrations I experience in my daily life.  As a mother for example, wanting to have a clean and orderly house is such a good thing, but can easily become a barrier to what is put right in front of me, say a little one who has bumped her head for the tenth time jumping on the couch, which you have been tell her not to do for her whole entire life!  It's so, so very easy to let things like that get to you, to get frustrated and miss the opportunity to love and console, because you are too focused on a moment (the end of the day with the clean house) that has not even come to be yet.

I am mostly back to normal after minor abdominal surgery, and am slowly starting to figure out routines again.  It was too overwhelming at first to dive right back into a routine because I didn't even know how much I could push myself, and I didn't want to re-injure myself.  The surgery made it easy for me to not have any plans, to just take one moment at a time.  And I'm finding that when I approach my day that way, things still get done (mostly).  And they get done with a lot less stress on my part.

I'm not saying big picture goals are a bad thing.  But I let them rule me.  I want so bad to be that Mom that has everything together, that makes having six kids look good so that someone doesn't pop in to visit and see my disaster of a house and think, "wow, I'm never doing that!"  Whenever I'm in a "good groove", I tend to think of how well I'm doing things.  "I've finally got it figured out," I'll muse.  "If I just do it like this every day, I'll stay on top of things."  But I'm starting to realize that the best routine is having no routine.  Because the fact is that my life is always changing around me - there is always something (a new baby, summer, school, a surgery, an illness) that calls me to re-evaluate what I'm doing, that forces me to be a little flexible.  And if I fight that tooth and nail, or if I try to take that in without being willing to give way in what I expect of myself, eventually I will crack.  And I do it to myself.

Being pulled in a million different directions isn't unique to parenthood.  I think that's the call on everyone's life.  But I do think that's the reason God has blessed me with such a full household.  Some people are really good at figuring out this stuff on their own, at being attentive to their life around them, and seeking the Lord above all their own comforts.  Me, I need a constant reminder.  I need the gentle but persistent and unrelenting reality pushing me out of my comfort zone every single day.  Because without it, I fear I lack the discipline and awareness to ever get beyond it on my own.  These children, my husband, they draw me deeper into the mystery of life.  They journey with me as we walk together along this path the Lord has laid before us.  When I think of how I think it should be, how far along I wish I was, and look at how far away that is from where I am right now, it can be so overwhelming. But when I slow down and just concentrate on the step before me, suddenly it doesn't seem so far out of reach.  Which is I think what the Lord intends family life to be.  A journey together.  Pointing each other to Him, attentive to His will in each and every moment.  One step at a time.

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