Acts of Faith, Hope, and Love
I want to remind you that what you do all day, everyday, has deep spiritual significance for both you and your child?
Each and every act of maternal care is an act of faith, hope and love. Through all those moments of love and service we moms, aided by God's grace, express assent to some truth of God, acknowledging that we and our children are created in God’s image, worthy of love and care. What we do moment by moment is not just tasks, chores, or drudgery, but instead a deep cooperation with God in forming souls - our children’s and our own.
In a world where information is a click away, products can be delivered to our door the next day (or sooner), and microwaves honestly seem to take forever, the repetitive acts of motherhood can often lead us to question their worth.
In other areas of our lives one can ask, “What did you do today?” and there is likely an answer that expresses accomplishment. For example, “I closed a deal.”, “I finished the plans for the fundraiser.”, “ I finished editing the video for social media.” Whatever the answer, we state what we accomplished, receive some kind of positive feedback, and then the conversation continues leaving us feeling like we justified our existence for another day.
But when it comes to the things we do in our role as moms it’s harder to have that experience. If you ask a mom what she did today she will probably grasp for any other talking point before she would say something like, “I held my baby for five and a half hours straight because that’s what he needed today.” or “ I spent the whole evening going over the 3 times tables because my child is really struggling with them.” or “I listened to my teenager go on and on about her recent heartbreak because she really needed me to listen without distraction.”
Because there is no immediate conversational payoff, nor are we likely to get that look of approval from the person asking the question, we tend to devalue that hard work, and the commitment and perseverance it took. We even sometimes devalue ourselves a bit.
But what we are deeming unworthy because of a lack of immediate payoff, is actually the most significant, beneficial, and spiritual work we ever do. We are planting seeds of worth, love, tenderness, perseverance, and trust in our children’s hearts and brains.
I was thinking about this a few days ago after I finished planting daffodil and tulip bulbs in 8 containers and placing them to overwinter in my garage. It’s a habit I got into several years ago knowing there would be a big gathering at my house the following spring. I’m blessed that the wooded surroundings of my home look naturally beautiful in summer, autumn and snowy winter. But in the early rainy spring (when most parties for sacraments and college graduations occur) it is muddy and bleak.
Hoping to create a beautiful, festive greeting for our guests, I planted an array of bulbs in containers and hoped for the best.
Six and a half months later, as I prepared for the party, I checked in the containers that I had hardly thought about all winter. They were all bursting with green and about to bloom into gorgeous riots of color. I kept them protected until two days before the party and then brought them outside where, touched by the sun, they burst into bloom. They gave everyone who saw them such joy and hope as nothing on the trees had even started to bud yet. I’ve done the same thing every year since.
This year I snapped a picture of a couple of the pots just after I finished planting the bulbs because I was thinking of how much the acts of faith, hope, and love we do as mothers often look like this to our hearts. Just plain dirt. Nothing beautiful to show off.
But when we see what we do in that that way, we must look beyond the surface and remind ourselves that providing nourishment (physical, spiritual and emotional) and a proper, supportive environment, and exercising A LOT of patience is life giving! Just as the soil and shelter is to the bulbs. And not just to our children’s bodies, but to their hearts and souls, and ours as well as we go through the spiritual exercises of loving and serving and growing in the virtues we need while we parent our children.