Updated: Dec 2, 2022
It's a crazy day today. Our oldest daughter has her "special friend" stop by; the house is a mess and I am ashamed.
It's a loud, boisterous, crazy, whirlwind of activity and I'm desperately trying to hang onto my sanity as my second son comes in the door to have a quick bite for lunch lunch before he heads back to the university for his afternoon classes. I'm trying to explain the constant acceleration of objects during free-fall to my high school girls...a physics lesson...while he's home, and mentally its like trying to sweep the porch during a hurricane. Although he's old enough to know better, he's interrupting the lesson to tell his sisters some jokes and anecdotes which aren't helpful or welcome at all and, of course, I scold him for it. He tells me that he's just having fun and enjoying our company for a little while before he has to go back to school...what's the matter with that? I think about that...
Nothing, Son; nothing is wrong with that at all.
I give up. I grab a chair and surrender to the mess that is my home and the squirrels that are my babies...my not-so-little babies.
My husband always reminds me that someday soon it will be silent around here. We caught a glimpse of that last night at dinner. All five of our children were out and it was only him and me at the table. How strange it was! How quiet!
I mentioned this to my friend, Angela just this morning when I saw a link she had posted to an article that discussed mothers who were brave enough, or crazy enough, bring their little armies of saints with them to weekday liturgy on a regular basis. She lamented that she longed for this, but was too scared to try it with number six on the way...been there, done that. Sometimes it feels like the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and other days it's pure crucifixion, and you never know which day will be which until you get there; it usually becomes crystal clear during consecration...or the sermon. Yep. What's a mother to do? Angela has twins who are only a few years old and three older children too, just like me.
Often, when I see her, I remember what my life was like then with five children all under seven years old...it was pure chaos but I loved every minute of it and would go back in a split second if the Lord would only permit it. When the twins were born our oldest daughter would wake up during the night when she heard the babies cry and sleepily toddle into the nursery asking me if I needed help. How sweet that was! She'd offer to hold one while I nursed her sister, then we'd switch and she'd burp the first one while I fed the second twin. Then we'd rock them, and change them, and put them back into their beds together. At seven years old, she had her own little rocker in the nursery! I felt guilty allowing her to do that, but she loved the babies and I loved her company, so it became a nightly ritual. Needless to say, we were both exhausted most of the time, but deliriously happy.
On those rare nights when she didn't join me I used to spend those dark, silent hours nursing the babies in conversation with Jesus. It was the perfect time to do so because it was the only time that it was quiet long enough for me to think straight. Before the children came I loved to go to the church to pray before the tabernacle, and to attend as many services as I could. I would spend hours in prayer whenever I pleased and I missed that. I remember during my prayers one night as I nursed someone...can't remember exactly who... on a night that was especially dark and I was especially tired, I lamented to Jesus that I particularly missed sitting before His presence in prayer and wondered when I might be able to do that regularly again. Just as my little one had fallen asleep in my arms I heard within the depths of my soul the distinct words,
"This IS adoration! Adore my presence in the heart of your child",
and I came to understand that what Christ expected of me was very different now. He had entrusted me with the next generation of believers, and it was up to me to care for them, educate them, and instill in them a love for Him that would give up "self" entirely as He had done for us. I was no longer able to worry about satisfying my own desires for all the sensory the consolations that I had enjoyed before when I was but one soul. These prayerful exercises taught me about the depth of love that God has for us all and planted a desire within me to know and love Him even more. Now it was clear that these things weren't granted to me for my sake alone. It was now my obligation to suffer the lack of such spiritual gifts, having been already transformed by them, for the sake of the new little souls that He had formed within me and would use to further His kingdom on earth.
THIS is my new form of adoration.
THIS is first.
All else is secondary because by doing this, by teaching, forming and convicting these new little souls about the love I had seen and been transformed by during my days of solitary but uninterrupted worship, I would be fulfilling the very task for which I was born. This would definitely be most pleasing to God.
So Angela, don't worry. You are praying! You are offering Him worship just by being their mom! Do what is required, yes; but have no fear about displeasing Him by not doing what is above and beyond that. You are already transformed and its now your job to transmit that love to the next generation of believers. Take care of that first. Soon, we'll be alone at the table again and then, then we can go back there and reap the harvest of the consolations that we are busy planting now! What a harvest that will be!!