Published on CatholicMom.com
You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. Song of Songs 4:7
A new family came into church the other day. It was just the mom and her three young children. My best guess is the kids were one, three, and five-years-old.
The layout of our church is almost theatre-in-the-round. When the mom chose a bench opposite ours, I had a direct view of this family for the entire Mass.
Her kids were dressed immaculately, right down to the completely straight part that divided the 3-year-old’s pigtails. But that’s where the “immaculate” part ended.
The mom looked a wreck. Her hair was thrown into a lopsided ponytail that was falling out. Her clothes were leggings and a long, rumpled t-shirt that may have been slept in.
She was too far away for me to see her facial expressions, but her body language said it all. Exhaustion and exasperation exuded from her as, time after time, she got up and down and in and out of the pew to grab her kids. Either they were climbing over the bench or running up and down the aisles for practically the whole Mass.
As I knelt at the Consecration, and glanced left and right to be sure my own kids were kneeling and praying for that miraculous moment, I finally understood why I was so fixated with this young family: We were them, and I was her years ago …
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I love this piece especially how God sees Mothers as radiant even though we don’t feel it when we are struggling.
Honestly, Alese, I think that’s when we shine the most in His eyes. It’s that reverse-thinking thing: This world views being on top of our game as success; God views us struggling under the weight of it all, leaning on Him in the process, as success. Whenever we’re leaning towards Him, not only does He straighten us up, He lifts us up!
Another great blog! Sure she was happy to hear that…wish someone at church told me this when my kids were little…LOL!!!…it would have been such an encourager.
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Thanks, Karen. The things is, I never got to tell her face-to-face! Clearly I talked too much after church, because when I tried to find her in the gathering space after, she was gone. I hope she telepathically got my message!
This one made me cry! God bless all the exhausted Moms who are struggling to set a right path for their kids. They truly must have a special place in God’s heart! xoxo
I imagine you must have shone like a beacon, Mom, dragging all seven of us to church! Holy smokes, how did you do it?!!! Wherever you got your energy from, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. 🙂
Your “Biggest Fan” is one of my favorite beacons. Every day I strive to be half as good a mom as her. Some days I succeed, most days I go to bed asking God to help me to do better tomorrow. We have all been that Mom at Mass and the Mom sitting close by trying to give a reassuring smile that “this too shall pass”.
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How our Loving Father could rely on you, Claire, to be the Heart of Christ, filled with compassion and understanding for that beautiful young mother. In your genuine humility and honesty, you could so empathize with that frazzled mom in that moment, with her overly active children. And like Christ, instead of giving in to criticism, you honored her for wanting her children to experience the Eucharist, even at the cost of herself, more than likely, being the object of criticism. A touching reminder to all of us who are quick to judge a situation like the one you described here.
Thanks for yet another beautiful response, Jackie! It reminds me that I need to withhold judgement in other areas of my life too. There’s so much we don’t know about other people’s journeys and motivations. Since I typically don’t know either, I need to bless not judge. 🙂