Tuesday, March 16, 2010

God’s Grace and the Sleep Deprived Mom

This is the text of the talk I gave to the St. Theresa's Mom's Group.

The alarm rings. It’s 6:30 a.m. and the day is about to begin, regardless of whether I have slept less than two hours or not. Three out of the six children were up with fevers and nightmares. One wet the bed, another needed a hug and one was in desperate need of Motrin and a breathing treatment. In the early hours of the morning, you don’t seem to consider how this might affect the next day. It’s a matter of love and, so, you do what you need to do.

As I rub my bleary eyes and stretch my weary muscles, trying to motivate my tired body to start another day, there is a choice that needs to be made. It’s a moment of grace if one remembers to perceive it as such. I could start this day in the condition I am in, tired and cranky. Or, I could acknowledge the grace that flows from the simple act of rising to a new day. For that matter, I could reflect on the grace that was given all through the night to sustain me and bring me to this new day and say, “Thank You.” The question is, will I?

Today, it is all too common for us to want to choose the easy path to temporal happiness. The value of sacrifice in what we do each day is lost on a world that desires temporal pleasure and immediate gratification. It is easier to have a small family. Is it really? It is easier to allow someone else watch my children while I work to support a lifestyle that makes me “happy” or provides all the comforts and pleasures that I desire. Should I? It is easier to have no moral code, no sense of honor, no one to tell me, “NO!” At what price? It is easier to do what I please, rationalizing that the choices I make only affect me and not those around me. Sure, I can rationalize all that happens to me and take away the burden of responsibility that belongs to who I am and what I do. What will I gain without accountability and consequences?

Our decisions in life matter. They have an impact on who we are and what we do. For instance, I am woman, not lacking a personal identity. It’s important that I sleep and take care of myself. I am a wife and mother with people who depend on me. For this reason, it is essential to recognize that what I do has a much higher calling than simply serving my own personal desires and requires self-sacrifice. Most importantly, I am a child of God who is sustained by His love through His free and benevolent gift of grace. Without this awareness, I am likely to try and live my life doing my own will, which will inevitably lack fruitfulness and joy without God’s grace.

How many times have I said no to His gift of grace? There are too many times to count, I am certain. I feel embarrassed by that fact, and yet, more loved by God than ever because He says through the Sacraments, “I love you and I want you with Me.” Even though I am sinful, He offers forgiveness and the promise of another chance to do things well. There is always hope and an abundance of grace waiting for me by following the example of Our Blessed Mother in saying yes to God in all things. Then will I carry my cross with great joy and peace understanding with even greater conviction the words of my Savior in the Garden of Gethsemane before his Passion: “…My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!” (Mt 26:42).

No matter the circumstances, be it lack of sleep or even things far more serious, God’s grace is the key to peaceful acceptance of our vocation as wife and mother.

© KLV -- 2009

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