This is the 3rd post of the series, Women of God. I met Anna through the wonderful world of blogging and have read over her beautiful posts about life, faith, motherhood and everything in between. Through Instagram, we found each other and realized that we both go to the same church and live right by each other! Other fun facts: Her father-in-law was my pediatrician growing up and her husband and I recently learned that we both performed in the same voice recital a couple of years ago. How crazy is that?! God is so good and puts people in our lives for a reason! Anna is such a beautiful wife & mother and it is a joy to know her and my husband and I are so grateful to her and her beautiful family for sharing their life with us and inviting us into community with them. God is so awesome!
“Life is monotony, but our hearts are continually being made new.” My priest said this to me recently in one of our spiritual direction meetings and I can’t seem to get the idea out of my head.
My life is very monotonous right now. Each day I get up at 6:00 am. I chug a cup a coffee, get ready for the day and see my husband out the door for work. I get my kids up, if they’re not up already, and get my son ready for school. At 8:00 I load him and my 17 month old daughter into the car and we’re off. After school drop-off I take care of household matters, never-ending laundry piles, crushed cereal on the floor that needs to be swept up, nap time, school pick-up, making dinner, changing diapers, giving baths, and reading books (I should say book. The same book, over and over and over). Standing at the kitchen sink each night, packing lunches for the next day and getting the last of the dishes cleaned up and put away, I get a strong sense of deja vu. Wasn’t I just doing this? And won’t I be doing this exact thing 24 hours from now?
Life is monotony. I’m 30 years old. The exciting years of my life, the challenges and discoveries of college, entering adulthood, falling in love, becoming a bride, are long since past. I’m settling into what the next 10? 15? 20? years of my life will look like. I don’t doubt my calling to be a wife and mother. But to be completely honest, the monotony of this vocation scares me. Not only is it the same work day in and day out, but it’s hard work that often goes unnoticed by anyone at all.
And we, as a culture are into being noticed.
You need only spend ten seconds on social media to realize that. I don’t mean to get down on social media – after all, I love my Instagram. But sometimes it feels like a competition to see who has the most exciting life. Every day I see images of what people wore, where they ate, what kind of vacation they went on, what new great thing they’re up to. And me? I just changed 5 diapers in one hour.
So glamorous, much excitement.
My life may not be the envy of the internet, my work is kind of boring (and at times really disgusting), but it is sanctifying. That is, it is making me holy. When we offer our work to the Lord, He makes it holy. And by doing that work we can grow in holiness, no matter how hidden and humdrum that work may be.
St. Teresa of Calcutta, undoubtedly one of the holiest women of the recent past, famously said “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” Mother Teresa became a saint by doing many of the same small and simple tasks that I do everyday – picking people up, cleaning them off, feeding them, and giving them a safe place to rest. So what’s the difference between Mother Teresa and me? Why is she a saint and I’m, well….I still need some work?
She performed her work with selfless love for God and His children. And she offered everything to God for His glory. This is the stuff of holiness.
So what is making you holy? Maybe it’s getting into a cold car every morning for a long commute to a job you don’t like. But you do it to provide for the needs of your family. That is holy work. Maybe it’s applying yourself in a grad school program, even though it’s hard and seems to stretch on forever. But you’re doing it so that you can be equipped to carry out the call God has laid on your heart. That is holy work. Maybe it’s putting up with difficult coworkers, or caring for an elderly relative, or treating your students with respect and dignity, even though they’re annoying. In loving them you are loving God, who is their Creator and Father, and who has written His Divine Image onto their souls. That is holy work.
“Life is monotony, but our hearts are continually being made new”. When I allow my heart to be made new and my monotony to be made holy I am able to love my family more. In loving them I am catching a small glimpse of just how much God the Father loves me, His child. In pouring out my life for them, day after day after day, I see a reflection, be it a rather poor one, of Jesus pouring out His own life for me.
This is hard work, it’s hidden work, it’s monotonous work. But this is holy work.
Anna is a St. Paul native, wife, mother, and convert to the Catholic faith. When not chasing her two young children you can probably find her teaching piano lessons, knitting, tripping over wooden train tracks, and blogging at The Hearts Overflow.