Mums! Top of the morning to you!
My absences from the blog have been very, very long. I am indeed sorry for them. But I am also certain that this trend will not be changing in the near future. Rest assured that I think of you often as I keep up with the posts that my fellow mama-bloggers are writing – and most importantly that I take to heart the things that are being written. I am delighted to have the taking-of-things-to-heart in common with you.
I have been trying to focus and narrow what I want to write about…and to (maybe!) possibly…perhaps try and write a shorter post for once. Maybe. So I tried to look past the moments and experiences and all that we have had going on in life to find the common thread that is weaving through all these things. I found it! It’s mercy.
There is and has been SO MUCH GOING ON this year… last year….so much that I had to yell that just now and cover my ears while yelling it to you. There has been the moving across the country, selling and buying of houses, fixing of these houses, mystery illnesses, school starting, hip replacements for me (one down, one to go), raising of dog with mystery illnesses, work and jobs that keep us apart more than I would like in family life, dangerous situations in our neighborhood, wonderful neighbors and new friends in our neighborhood, long and extended travel for work, travel for fun, funerals, weddings, baptisms, birthdays, enough sleep at times and way not enough sleep most other times. When I think about all that life has been, my eyelids start to get heavy and my memory starts to fuzz. I don’t have the brain space for all of this. And I don’t even have a newborn or an infant that I can point at to say, “this little fat and lovely bundle is why I have gone all fuzzy upstairs!”. Nope. It’s just life for right now.
Are we okay? Absolutely. Is it drudgery? Certainly not. Is it hard and difficult and overwhelming? A thousand times YES! How are we pressing on? Well, it’s certainly not by our own devices. It’s Mercy.
Fr. Hyacinth Woronieki wrote that “…the world owes its very existence to mercy” because “…the act of calling something in being out of non-being is the first and most fundamental act of God’s mercy upon which all his other acts are based.” Therefore, he says, “…mercy exercises a constant vigil over creatures, preserves their being and makes up for their wants; heals their wounds, and supplies new strength.”
Haven’t I struggled enough? Wasn’t last year hard enough? I was surely hoping that this year would be a bit lighter. How can the Lord ask so much of me? Of our family? All these questions and more have passed through my mind at one point or another. Along the way I have realized how unhelpful they are because as my grandmother’s close friend used to say, “Life is struggle”. If I continue to pine after a time where hardship finally lifts then I’m sorely missing out on the Lord and the mercy that he is just waiting to wash over me.
Mercy leads us to wonder – like Mary did at the greeting of the angel. I have found it far less painful and far more helpful to wonder at what the Lord is doing in each situation. Because “the Lord’s plan is wonderful, and it takes far less energy to wonder than to criticize.” ~Pat Gangi
Back to the title of this post. What does this have to do with being a good mum? (is ‘mum’ a cool word or what? I love it. Love.it.) I don’t think I have to stretch your imaginations too far for you to feel what I mean when I say everything we have been going through hits me in my Mum-gut. All the challenges… all the experiences… all of it impacts our daily family life, and in addition to being my husband’s wife, I am my kiddlet’s mum. The challenges in life have been challenging my mothering (probably a better term than mummering….though one could say I have been found to mummer through mothering at times….). And when my motherhood feels challenged, it can be hard for me to actually turn to the Lord and actively rely on his mercy.
Six months ago, thanks to my friend and seasoned mum Beth (thanks Beth!), I encountered the book My Practices of Mothering by Sarah Bessey. Sarah has a chapter in her 60 page book of delight (I seriously love this book) called The Practice of Speaking Life where she talks about how very much our words matter. The words we speak about ourselves, ours husbands, our children. The words we speak to those very special people in our lives. They matter. She is careful to point out that we can still speak about hard things in a genuine manner – even hard things concerning ourselves and these lovely people in our lives, but we must not label ourselves or them as such. And furthermore, the part that struck me, she calls herself a good mother.
“Often as mothers, we will tell you everything wonderful about our tinies but ourselves? No way. We think we aren’t good at this… We’re quick to see our failings, slow to see our victories… I believe I have these tinies on purpose. They have been given to me – on loan – to raise up to love God and love people. So clearly, I have some spiritual authority here and I am learning to walk that out…I am their mother and therefor the best mother for them. So I can turn to God to cry out for wisdom, for understanding, listening intently to my own instincts and honouring my gut feelings…I can need a break and admit when I screwed up…but it doesn’t change the core truth that I have settled in my heart of hearts: I am a good mum.”
So when life gets
tough and challenging wonderful….and stays wonderful….and you are navigating by mercy and you start to question how the challenges are impacting you and your kiddlets and how you relate to those sweet little ones…Join me in speaking life and knowing that you are a good mother. Go ahead, say it to yourself right now. I just did 🙂
And for fun, have a listen to this here song.
Until we meet again,
PS-down the line I would like to think and write about joy. You see, I really can’t seem to wrap my mind around joy. I get happiness…but I can’t seem to grasp joy, especially amidst suffering. Recently I’ve read things about joy that got me to thinking. I don’t even have written down who said the following quote, but it ties in well with mercy. “Mercy is an expression of God’s love and…only love can make sacrifice easy and perfect love makes it joy.” I’m also suspicious that joy has something (or a lot) to do with suffering well, which is another thing I would like to dig into down the road.