Small Success: Rendering unto God what is God's


There’s a temptation when you’re a parent to fill the hours with on-task activity. It’s especially true for me. I can think of at least sixteen things I could be doing, even if I’m already doing something I like. It creates a perpetual predisposition to be discouraged and dissatisfied with one’s self and the world.

Case in point: It’s the weekend before the Halloween weekend. I could be decorating, searching for costumes, brainstorming with others about theirs. What am I doing? Folding clothes. Clearly, I’d lost my mind.

My husband, sensing my stress, invited me to play cards with him and the kids. I did, but I fretted over the time off task in my head. After the game, I started work on Sunday dinner. That fretful, anxious tone crept back into my voice. My husband took the two youngest outside to carve pumpkins. I worked harder, still trying to get the house somehow where it should be, and being frustrated at how much it wasn’t.

We had CCD this evening for Paul. I’d missed the first two classes, one to being out of town, the other to my not writing it down. Writing things down keeps me from forgetting everything, but it also keeps me from being spontaneous because there’s a magic list indicating all the things I could or should be doing. I live by the list and struggle with having to be beholden to it.

I didn’t realize how hyper-not-choosing-the-better-portion I’d become until I made it to Saint Rose of Lima and discovered classes are every other week, so I’ll be back at the Church on Sunday, October 29th at 5:00. I found the classroom. The quiet walking about the grounds and having my son crank the radio and dance in his seat the whole ride back helped reset my perspective.

With ten children, there is a lot to do, but it isn’t necessary to do everything all the time. I’d been being governed by what we need to do, and here a whole hour spent in futility somehow freed up the rest of the day. I sang Billy Joel songs with Paul all the drive home, snacked on some mac and cheese, and watched football. It felt like a rediscovery of the Sunday. We’d been to Mass. We played. We rested. I researched costumes and carved a pumpkin. It wasn’t that I didn’t need to tidy up or grocery shop, but they no longer dominated my perspective — my family did.

When we render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, it’s the work we obligate ourselves to do in order to satisfy responsibility and ethics in our job, and the respect due a government which prevents anarchy. When we render unto God what is God’s, it’s everything else, because what we’re to render is ourselves.

We’re made in the image and likeness of God, so the time we give to those around us, that’s rendered unto God. The time we spend with each other in the pleasure of each other’s company, whether working, playing, praying, eating, or driving back from a non-errand — that’s what we render unto God. The nice thing is, the more we render God, the more He returns to us the gift with interest.

So my small success this past week was to be not-organized enough to read my calendar such that I ran a worthless errand, which helped reset my perspective.

What small successes are you celebrating this week?

Copyright 2017 Sherry Antonetti


About Author

Sherry Antonetti is a mother of ten children, published author of The Book of Helen and a freelance writer of humor and family life columns. You can read additional pieces from her blog,

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