Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Heart of The Family

The world weighs heavy on my heart these days. With everything going on in the news and seeing people's responses to the world right now, I feel that we are in a huge boiling pot that is about to explode.

I have talked to other stay at home moms with a struggle I deal with often. The struggle to want to do more. To take our children out into the world and convert the nations. I daydream sometimes about standing on a podium like Martin Luther King Jr. and giving a speech that will change hearts and save lives. I look back on the days when I was able teach confirmation, work with Rachel's Vineyard and pray on the sidewalks at the abortion mill. The days when saying the rosary was easy and going to daily mass was a habit. The days when I could lay down at the end of the day and feel good about what I did.

Here is where the voice of Satan comes in to tell me that being a mom isn't enough. That I should still be doing all the things I used to at the cost of raising my children. But the voice of God whispers in my heart, "Being a mom is enough. Raise the future and do it well." As as stay at home mom, we don't always get to reap the benefits of our work at the end of each day. Some days (most days?), I go to bed feeling inadequate for this job and wondering if all the naps, snacks, endless questions and endless mess really matters. I don't think Mother's really reap their rewards until her children are safe with them in heaven, which requires a lot of patience, self-sacrifice and focus on one's vocation.

But how do I get there? How do I raise a future of saints? If my children hear me talk of self-control often, but then see me down a quart of ice cream in one sitting, what is that teaching them? If I try and teach them to be kind to one another, but myself yell at them several times a day, will they trust what I am saying is even important? In parenting, talk is cheap and I do a lot of talking. If I want my kids to be virtuous I must first live these virtues in our home. As a mom, it's really easy to make excuses. Excuses about why I am not being the best mother I could. Excuses about why I lose my temper or can't get anything done. And while it is true that being a stay at home mom to 3 littles is very challenging, most of the excuses I come up with are a result of my laziness or my lack of focus on the goal; namely heaven. It is only when I give my day completely to God and rely solely on his grace to help me be a good mom that I can lay down at the end of the day and be proud of what was accomplished.

I have seen in recent weeks a huge trend in my family. If I am calm and kind, my children are calm and kind (and my husband too). If I am short-tempered, tired and grumpy the kids go nuts and my husband's temper is shortened as well. It is said that the mother is the heart of the family. If the heart is restless the entire body reacts. If the hearts beats slowly, predictably and in the rhythm God created it to, life and peace will flow from it.

I don't want to regret my children's young years. I don't want to look back and wish I had been nicer and wish I had done something differently. Every day matters because every day is a gift from God. I pray for the grace to be the woman and the mother that He created me to be and to live each day to the fullest.

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