The past couple weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. I’ve felt as though most days I haven’t known if I’ve been coming or going.
A couple months ago, my penance for Confession was to, “Stop talking about putting your family first, and actually do something about it.” Pretty tall order, and yet, I couldn’t argue. It was high time I began “doing something about it.”
I closed my personal Facebook page shortly after that; and, my blogging began scaling back. My Facebook page has taken a hit in terms of my posting and engaging with readers. But, I’ve been trying to be more intentional with my family, instead – attempting to put their needs first. In the spirit of honesty, some days are better than others.
Which kind of goes against the grain of today’s modern society.
Everywhere I turn, I am reminded that I need to “take time for me,” I need to put my needs first, and I need to focus on “me, me, me.” Even as a wife, and even as a mother.
There is a saying, “That person who is most difficult to deal with sanctifies me.” It’s a nod to difficult relationships in our lives, and how being merciful, kind, just, and loving – even to the most difficult person – will hopefully bring us closer to God. By acting as Christ toward a difficult person or situation, we are being put to the test, but also becoming holier. This does not mean we put up with abuse, or seek to be the victim; yet, it’s a nod to the inevitable conflict which will arise with the various personality types in our world, and to the situations which don’t go as planned.
One of my dear blogging friends, Ginny from Not So Formulaic, has written a few times about how parenting sanctifies parents, especially on her social media platforms. And, every time it crosses my feeds, I am reminded of turning my inevitable frustration, my anger, my exhaustion toward a greater purpose – toward my (hopeful) sanctification. Which brings me to my gratitude thoughts for last week.
Simply, last week, I was most grateful for being a parent.
Parenting is not easy, it is not simple, and it doesn’t go according to plan!
However, the journey of parenting is sanctifying me. This journey is bringing me closer to Christ. The struggles I may face, whether day in and day out, or on an ongoing basis, are giving me an opportunity to unite that with Christ and His Sacrifice on the Cross.
I recognize my struggles pale in comparison to Christ’s. But, I am given the awesome responsibility to lead little souls – to raise them – knowing God’s love and goodness for all of His creation.
I find the moments of frustration, anger, disappointment, and exhaustion to be far outweighed by the little moments of joy, happiness, love, and laughter I hear coming from the mouths of my little ones.
I find the tediousness of never-ending housework, laundry, and cooking to be far outweighed by the little slobbery kisses, the high-fives, and the snuggles of little heads burrowing into my neck at the end of the day.
I find the worry of parenting – worry for my children’s future, and the future of all their peers – to be far outweighed by the closeness with which I find myself drawing to Our Lord, asking Him to take my fears and protect my children.
Parenting has been teaching this most-reluctant learner the art of dying to self. I’m no longer content with preaching the “Mommy me-time” I once found indispensable as a clinician. Instead, I want to encourage parents to find the little moments in their life, even with their children in tow, and to recognize that beauty!
Parenting is messy. But, it is a beautiful, glorious, sanctifying mess – if we embrace the curveballs, the difficulties, the worries!
And, last week, through a series of numerous events, I was reminded of the beauty, the glory, and the sanctifying graces.
I was reminded to be grateful for this most amazing vocation – secondary only to my marriage.
What about you? For what were you most grateful last week?
Until later this week, dear reader…
2 thoughts on “The Gratitude Project: Week 23”
I commend you, Anni for putting your penance to action.
Years ago, I watched a episode of Wive Swap. One of the wives would leave in the morning, go get her nails down, go to the gym, have lunch with friends, then stop by the house for a brief few to see the kids with the nanny and then she preceded to get ready for dinner with her very wealthy husband. They always ate out and the kids at with the nanny. As I watched it, I was just floored by the selfishness. Her kids’ faces looked so crushed every time she walked away. I was so thankful for the gift of my kids and that I’m around to be witness to their lives. There is no amount of “me” time that ever feels as good as spending time with my kids.
Beautiful thoughts as always. 🙂
I have loved watching Wife Swap in the past – until I realized they picked the extreme of the extremes. There was never any middle ground.
But, you are correct – there is way too much selfishness that can take root in “me time.”