When you have small children, going anywhere can seem like more trouble than it is worth. Church is no exception: carrying out the same childcare tasks in a less conducive environment. I long to be present, focused, and engaged. But reality encourages me to adapt and embrace my own self-compassion that sometimes showing up is enough in God’s eyes.
This past summer, I was particularly moved when I heard two homilies in a row welcoming families. My associate pastor said, “When I hear the kids cry, I find it as a good sign that the Church is still alive and these children are the future.” The following week, my pastor placed emphasis on valuing the treasures in our lives and mentioned how he could see me swaying and rocking my daughter towards the back pews of the Church. Tears immediately rolled down my face. I have not known that I felt invisible until I felt seen. I have not realized how thankless the ceaseless sacrifices of motherhood felt until my pastor pointed me to its honor and value. In that moment, I was enveloped in God’s understanding and tenderness of sometimes feeling spread too thin, not matching up, or my heart wanting to do more than my hands can manage. He showed me how much I matter to Him as much as He matters to me.
Before becoming a mother, embracing the spiritual practices of meditation, prayer, simplicity, solitude, and service was more readily accessible. However, within this past year as a new mom, I realized how God was inviting me to put my prayer life to the test and look spiritually inward to possibly see something deeper and greater than what has worked for me prior. Letting go of the spiritual tool belt that served me before, I surrendered to learning a new path where motherhood and spirituality can be closely intertwined into a more tangible, hands-on, physical, and real experience. It challenged my beliefs that I can only find Him in the peaceful and silent moments and how spirituality has only to do with matters of the heart and nothing to do with my small daily tasks.
By inviting Him into the smallness of my day, He revealed how much He desired for me to live my days consciously, knowing that I place motherhood at the forefront, but to also follow the pursuits which make me feel alive, utilize my gifts, and do my best to make choices allowing me to live with greater clarity, purpose, and a sense of calmness to my days. He wanted me to give a ‘deep yes’ to things that really matter. He helped me understand how I am not performing great spiritual deeds before a great audience, but I am demonstrating daily acts of love and service before Him, my husband and daughter, all those around me, and myself.
These days I am choosing to show up whenever I can and hanging on to hope that this season of pouring out is nurturing something in myself if I continue to awaken to it. Surrendering myself and giving God the permission to lead me, it has transformed the way I look at the world, deepened my empathy for others, refined my sensitivities, and altered the way I experience life. I am allowing love to seep into the spaces often filled with busyness and distraction and discovering the overwhelming love buried in the small moments that propels me to keep going and going.