Our Lent started off with first a sputter and then a bang. The sputter was me, trying to start Lent off with a bang. The bang was God, doing that sacramental grace-filled thing that He does so perfectly. I can tell that even if I'm not maturing at a rapid rate, I'm at least gaining life experience... because I'm no longer thrown out of whack by the sputtering (usually). I'm always sputtering. Because I'm not God. And I'm cool with that more often then I used to be.
What I didn't do well yesterday (Ash Wednesday):
I didn't do all of the spiritually rich activities/prayers I had planned for the kids during the day.
I didn't make the pink St. Valentine cookies I had planned on making for them.
I didn't manage to get through the day without raising my voice.
I didn't make the time to help Cookie with her meal planning (to accommodate her Lenten sacrifice).
I didn't get the laundry folded.
I fell asleep without doing the examen I had prepared.
What I did do well:
I did do several of the Lenten activities/prayers I had planned with the kids.
I did observe and honor my physical limits with regard to my pregnant need for rest.
I did not raise my voice more than usual.
I did give Cookie an Ash Wednesday dispensation from her Lenten sacrifice (since she needed my help to fulfill it) and gave her guidance for today.
I did manage to find a clean pair of socks for the Chief to wear to work (for which he was grateful).
I attended Holy Mass with my family.
Whether it is maturity or just "getting used to it," I don't know... But I have stopped expecting things to get easier. I have stopped wondering when the crosses will pass me by and stopped waiting for life to give me a breather (not that I don't love them when they come). And consequently, I have stopped fighting so hard against the challenges of my vocation.
It's analogous in some ways to having a newborn. With my first babies, every diaper blowout and crying fit was a crisis. I would get emotional and overwhelmed. Now? Oh Bummer, a blowout. But it's no longer a crisis (usually). And a screaming infant? I have learned (usually) to separate my freak-out mechanism from the moment and just breathe and love them through it. Sometimes I cry, too, but that's okay.
In a similar way, every new day is like that newborn/mama moment. I can live in a perpetual freak out mode... or learn to embrace the imperfection as being perfectly suited to my road to sanctity. There are many painful moments in the mothering vocation. Some days I shed a lot of tears. But it is not a crisis. By that I mean that the crosses we carry are not separate from God's beautiful plan for our lives. They are one and the same. And as such, a perfect blessing.
My kids won't get their pink cookies but I'm pretty confident there will be pink cookies for Easter. I'm stubborn like that. But if there are no pink cookies for Easter, I pray to still praise and thank God for the opportunity to mother my kids as best I can.
I had the opportunity to gather with another homeschooling mother recently whose kids are grown. She told me that I was doing a great job and that my kids were wonderful. Thank you, I said, but you know that it's not me... anything good you see is all by the grace of God. Yes, she knew exactly. And we thanked and praised God together for His abundant graces and mercies.