I recently pulled together a group of beautiful women into what I am calling "The Mommies' Club." After having "one of those days" with my kids, I was inspired to create a group to meet every other week, read and discuss, encourage and spend time, share prayer intentions and struggles and just be together. As a mom I am realizing more and more the importance of community.
The book we are reading is called "The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers" written by Meg Meeker, a Catholic pediatrician. It has opened my eyes to many things already and the conversation was awesome.
At our last meeting we discussed what makes us valuable as a mother, as an individual, as a child of God. What gives us value? What are we good at? What do we hope for? In the midst of chasing little people around, trying to feed them, dress them, bath them, discipline them, spend quality time with them, get them in the fresh air, potty train them, and get to and from places with them in tow, we hardly have the time to sit down, let alone remember what we are good at or why we are valuable. First, we had to recall the love of God for us... that it is real, it is present in our lives, and present in our children. Next, we had to remember what gifts we were given by our Heavenly Father. That was a tough one. What am I good at? And lastly, we had to accept with humility that we are good at things and we need to use those things as moms, as wives, as individuals to give him glory.
So, I write tonight to encourage you in whatever vocation you are in... to recall in all humility what you are good at and what gifts He has bestowed upon you... because they are for good. For the good of your children, your spouse, your community, the Church.
I remembered recently with the help of my wonderful husband and with the help of some friends and through prayer what I am good at.
In all humility I share with you that I am a good cook. It may not be super gourmet, but I cook healthy, good food for my family and I work really hard each week on planning our meals and making sure we get enough nutrition in our diets and I make sure I pack a good lunch with fruits and vegetables for Patrick, and I try shop organic in the cheapest possible way. So I am happy to say that I now consider myself a good and healthy cook... this is one way I take care of my family and I thank God for giving me the grace to know how important nutrition is, how important alternative medicine is (although I am not anti medicine), and how important continuing research on it is.
I am also good at planning parties, events, and retreats. I love for people to be together in community to have a good time, to uplift one another and most importantly to grow closer to Christ. I may not have had the highest GPA, but I can surely organize! And I love it. And I've seen the fruits God has grown through it.
I am also a good listener. I feel like I do well at listening to others and I feel I do the very best I can to listen to the Holy Spirit to guide them... or make the best decisions possible for my own life. At least, this is what I am told... and after thinking about it, I am starting to believe it, in all humility. (I will forever be the lady standing in the middle of the grocery store listening the someone tell me their life story... for about 20 minutes... after only smiling at them... that's just me).
And lastly, something I found to be critically important in our conversation and for me personally, was to make sure I am aware of others gifts... and to actually point them out. While sitting there with some friends, I told them what I thought they were good at and what I appreciated about their friendship... and they almost seemed shocked in a sense. One of the women couldn't think of much she was good at and when asking her husband the evening before, he had a very long list... and she was completely flattered to be reminded. I am sure he had told her before, but it wasn't every day at the dinner table that he pointed out how great she was at constructing arguments and what delicious food she made. People don't hear it enough. It is good to build one another up. With compliments. With encouragement. With reminders of how God's loved has worked through them straight to us. (And many times as women, our pride, our vanity and even our selfishness will keep us from offering even the smallest compliment where it is due). So, the point is, point it out.
I encourage all those mamas (or peeps) out there to make a list of the gifts God has given to you. What are you good at? As part of the Body of Christ you are responsible to use those gifts. I think Lent is a good time to rediscover how we can give (ALMS!) We need you. So, in all humility, remember you were created to be loved and to love and get on it.