A New Year's Resolution for the Weary Mama

Weary Mama

Image via Pixabay (2015), CC0 Public Domain.

Dear weary mama, still reeling from the challenges of 2015, wondering what 2016 holds:

I am right there with you. Last year was a tough year, one of the hardest I can remember. As I write this, January is almost over and I find myself cringing at the thought that 2016 is already flying by.

Do you ever feel that you’re not ready to be done with 2015? Maybe there are still so many plans left undone, so many regrets that haunt you.

Or perhaps you couldn’t wait to kick 2015 to the curb and ring in the New Year — good riddance to the past 12 months of trials and failures, and welcome to the next 12 that might bring better circumstances.

Maybe, like me, your heart holds both anticipation and regret, hope and fear, and you didn’t know whether to celebrate on New Year’s Eve, or to cry.

How can I face another year? you ask yourself. I am just too tired. I’m just too afraid. I’m just too overwhelmed. I’m just too much of a failure. I’m just too…

These thoughts crowd my mind, too.

But here’s the thing, beautiful, weary mama: Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. And He holds 2016 in His loving hands, just as He has held every year before it.

And He can make 2016 into an incredible year; a year of amazing graces and spiritual blossoming; a year of triumph.

All He is asking is for you and me to take everything, everything — the fears, the regrets, the failures, the doubts, the hope, the anticipation, the deepest longings of our weary hearts — and give it all to Him.

One of my favorite quotes of all time is from St. Edith Stein {Teresa Benedicta of the Cross}:

When night comes and retrospect shows that everything was patchwork, and much that one had planned was left undone, when so many things rouse shame and regret, then take all as is, lay it in God’s hands, and offer it up to Him. In this way, we will be able to rest in Him, actually to rest, and to begin the new day like a new life.”

Edith Stein quote printable

Photo copyright 2016 Lydia Borja. All rights reserved.

Why is this so hard for us to do?

We all crave peace; we all long, so intensely in this modern rat-race of a life, for rest. It’s what we were created for, after all.

And yet, when Jesus offers us His peace that passes all understanding, so seldom do we actually accept it.

Because His precious peace comes at a steep price for ussurrender. The utter relinquishing of our plans, our children, our marriages, our jobs, our fears and joys and hopes and sufferings and failures and triumphs, our very life and death — back to the only One who truly holds the reins in the first place.

This amazing feat of giving God complete control is known by the Saints as the virtue of abandonment {it was St. Zelie Martin’s most outstanding virtue, and here are my thoughts on that}.

Abandonment is a virtue I fear, and one that I’ve run from all of my adult life. Mostly because, deep down, I have this ridiculous idea that if I can just stay in the driver’s seat then I can avoid suffering; I can work out my plans in my own time; I can seek holiness on my own terms, without stretching beyond my comfort zone.

Does this resonate at all with you? {Please tell me I’m not the only one with this crazy need to control everything about my life!}

The truth is, this attitude has cost me my peace. I’m not happy being in control. Instead, I’m anxious, worried, cranky — and worse, I’m distrustful of God.

There is no peace, there is no rest, there is no contentment, there is no true joy, without surrender. Even when there’s suffering, even when our plans fall through, even when everything we desire seems out of reach — abandonment will bring peace. {I don’t know this from experience, only from the lives of the Saints; but maybe I will know it personally this year.}

Consider this, from one of my most beloved spiritual authors, Fr. Jean CJ d’Elbeé, as he writes in his masterpiece, I Believe in Love:

To live with abandonment is to rediscover a perfect harmony in God; for, after all…it is Jesus who writes all the lines, all the words, and all the letters of our lives. It is striking to see how the sanctity of all the saints is consummated in total abandonment.

Jesus always has His the victory when He has your abandonment. He needs nothing more than that to bring about the divine wonders that His Heart has prepared for you from all eternity.”

What would it look like if we were to let Jesus have the victory in us in 2016?

Can we resolve this year to give everything to Jesus, to abandon ourselves to His loving Heart, to receive His “divine wonders”? What would this total surrender look like on a practical level?

First, abandonment means seeing Jesus in the circumstances of every moment. We know that God never directly wills evil and suffering. But often He allows it {this is what the Saints call His permissive will} in our lives in order to bring about our salvation and sanctification — even if He turns His face away, as St. Therese says, because it breaks His Heart to see us suffer.

Fr. d’Elbeé says it this way:

Abandonment, rightly understood, includes everything. … It requires an immense faith, confidence every moment, to tear open the veil of secondary causes…. [Jesus] governs everything, since nothing — nothing — happens without His having willed or permitted it.”

Easy, right? Not so much.

To really practice abandonment, we absolutely have to be confident in the depths of our souls that God loves us. The Saints were sure of this, which is why they could suffer well, and praise God in every circumstance.

If you need a reminder of just how much His Heart longs for you with the love of a Father and a Bridegroom, go back and read the Passion narratives or the book of Hosea. He loves you, He loves me, beyond all telling.

And so we trust Him, even when our human nature revolts at suffering, even when the tears fall, even when our hearts ache. We choose to trust Him, even when we can’t see or understand Him.

Secondly, abandonment means gratitude in everything. Oh this is such a hard one, too — seriously, I don’t know if I will ever master it — but  if we are always ungrateful and grumbling, we will be unhappy. It’s not so hard to understand if we remember how Jesus praised His Father at the Last Supper before His Passion — He didn’t complain or shout out at what He knew was coming — and in the Garden, His prayer was, “Not My will but Yours be done.”

The baby poops in his bed during nap time. Thank You, Jesus, for teaching me patience.

The kids are sick for the fifth time this season. Thank You, Jesus. I trust You to give us healing.

Our finances are tight. Thank You, Jesus. I know You will take care of us. 

My husband lost his job. Thank You, Jesus. You know what You’re doing.

A loved one received a terminal diagnosis. Thank You, Jesus. Please see us through this darkness.

This is such a different response from {my usual way of} fighting against inconvenience and suffering. But do you see the peace that can be found in surrender?

This doesn’t mean we can’t experience our very natural and human emotions of anger, grief, frustration, or fear. It only means that we make the active choice with our God-given will to thank Him in everything, rather than to curse Him or the situation.

And when life is just too dark and hope seems almost gone and there is nothing you can think of to be thankful for? You muster all your courage, and you thank and praise God simply for Himself.

Think of St. Zelie Martin, the mother of the Little Flower. She lost four of her nine children in their early childhood. Her mother’s heart was broken, and yet she said with great conviction, “Whatever He does is well done.” Zelie made the choice — and it was undoubtedly a heroic choice — to praise the Lord in her grief, to trust His loving faithfulness in all things.

And St. Zelie was at peace. Was her life easy? No. Did she always feel thankful? Probably not. Did she choose abandonment and gratitude? Yes, every day, every moment. And that’s what made her a Saint.

The take away from all this?

Peace and rest are within your grasp, tired mama. Come unto Me, all you who are weary, and I will give you rest.” 

Let’s make rest our “one word” for 2016.

My sisters, let’s resolve this year to accept Christ’s peace, to abandon ourselves to Him anew, and to begin this new year like a new life.


Copyright 2016 Lydia Borja


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  1. Lovely piece, Lydia. May I offer some encouragement? Start small. Job loss and financial strain and sick children: you have to let The Lord build up your peace in much, much smaller ways. I have to stop and get gas. The meeting is running late. I over cooked dinner. Jesus loves these tiny battles. Be patient. The Lord will grant you peace in good time.

    • Thank you, Kiernan! You are absolutely right — peace begins in the smallest parts of life. I do have some big things coming down the pike this year, so my mind has been on those. But I need to work at the everyday moments, too.

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