Have you discovered, as I have, that since you became a mother, your faith is growing stronger? I’ve experienced such beautiful moments with my two daughters, when they unknowingly show me slices of heaven and the way to more peace and joy in my life.
On Ash Wednesday this Lenten season, I missed morning Mass with my third-grader. I enjoy attending services with my daughter’s school and on this occasion, she was reading the opening prayer. She didn’t tell me this until the night before, and I had a medical appointment that I couldn’t change.
To make up for my absence, I told her she could practice the reading as many times as she wanted for me. Delaney recited the piece so many times, including on the way to school, that I had it memorized. It diminished most of the mom guilt I felt about not listening to her in person.
Also on this Ash Wednesday morning, my eighth-grader felt sick enough to stay home from school. In my world as a mom, normal situations like missing a performance (even a brief reading) and having a sick child begin to cause me stress, because it’s not what I planned on and I don’t feel in control. When I became a mother, I slowly started to learn about turning over my day over to the Lord. He will take me and my family safely through each hour, step by step. It’s not my day but His day. Many times He needs to remind me more about slowing down and trusting Him along the way. This was one of those days.
After returning home from my appointment, I checked on my sleeping daughter, squeezed in some writing, and then returned to the clinic with my sick child. Between long waits, including results for two unexpected tests and a trip to the pharmacy, the appointment took much longer than I anticipated. Although I was relieved my daughter had a treatable sinus infection and not something more serious, I needed to surrender any thoughts of getting more writing done.
Before I knew it, it was time to pick up my youngest from school (who told me she did a good job with the reading when I asked her about it.) On the way to dance class, she surprised me when she said she wanted to attend church again with me that night. She grew upset when I responded “no”: She should do homework and rest so she didn’t get sick like her big sister.
After dance lessons, I made dinner for the family. This sounds like a pretty typical day for any mom, right? I admit that I feel guilty when I think about how I complained to my husband that I wanted to stay home from the service. My youngest overheard and adamantly told me, “Mom, you have no excuse! The only one who can miss it is Rachel because she’s really sick!”
I’m embarrassed now that I tried to talk my way out of it with my 9-year-old. “But, you won’t be blessed,” she said, adding with even more vigor, “And I’m going with you.” She motivated me out the door again – into the cold and dark winter night, I might add.
I was glad I was there with my daughter, who was as fresh as she was at the morning service, I bet. She sang and prayed with enthusiasm for her faith like she always does. At the end, I thanked her for “taking me to church.” She smiled as she said, “I knew you would like it. You had to be there, Mom.”
My teen-ager is more reserved about her faith than her sister, but she has motivated me in so many ways to be a better person, mom and wife. Rachel may be quiet about her faith, but I know it’s loud within her. I see the respect she shows on the altar when she’s a server at Mass. At her baptism, I was struck by the priest’s words that we as her parents hold the responsibility for her soul. I felt overwhelmed with this huge duty as I thought about it.
I reflected more deeply about it four years later at our second daughter’s baptism. I was reminded that I would be held accountable for her soul. But in so many ways over the years, I’ve learned that she and her sister are saving me as well.
Copyright 2012 Kim Seidel