Catholic at Home: Running on Fumes
The alarm I rarely hear went off. My husband Andrew and I agreed to rise early to “parallel pray” before the day got going. I felt his nudge, “Time to wake up.”
In mornings prior, I intended to wake up early to pray, but ultimately discerned that Jesus must want me to get more sleep instead. This morning, however, I bolted up and reached for my daily reading and journal. If I wanted to be the kind of woman who prayerfully readies for the day, I was going to have to fight against myself for it.
There in my room, I took a deep, slow breath and rested in Jesus, Who I knew at once had been waiting for me. The forthcoming hours played in my mind and I already felt weary. As a working mom, I asked God to bless my efforts on the job, and to help me be generous and receptive to my children. Give me the grace to be supportive and encouraging to my husband, and charitable in all circumstances today, I pleaded. I wanted to receive the life in our home and respond with love, which felt like a tall, dare I say impossible, order.
Regardless of our varying seasons in life, each of us is tasked with obligations. We have people to care for, work to do, problems to solve. In my busyness, I tend to become self- reliant, petitioning God for aid only when I feel out of my depth; but what I’ve realized is that to be human is to be in need of the Lord every single second. We run on fumes and exhaust ourselves unless we’re allowing God to fill us.
This one morning of prayer was absolutely transformative. Throughout the day, I was sweeter with my kids and we laughed together all day long. I ordered a cinnamon roll and coffee for my husband, leaving the surprise right where he’d find it next to a jotted YOU CAN DO IT note. I was productive around the house and cheerful.
I felt unburdened by life. Unburdened. Most of the time I feel dry, taxed, weighed upon – that spouse-parent-professional sensation we get.
But I see clearly that juggling stress, tasks, babies and marriage without solid time with the Lord greys the brightness of each blessing. It turns them into burdens and makes us feel as though they suck our life away instead of adding to it.
Jesus had been waiting to relieve me of this – I just had to draw near.
In prayer, I present my burdens and ask for the grace to see blessings instead. What results isn’t some kind of false optimism, but deep contentment. I’m more eager to radiate Jesus, and I submit myself to Him in order to do so.
And if, as human beings made in the Image and Likeness, we’re supposed to imitate the Lord in his responses to life and people, then being in honest, frequent conversation with him will sharpen that imitation. It harkens to the beautiful prayer: Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine. My heart and life can’t possibly resemble Christ’s unless I know Him.
So here’s to the start of something new – the start of being made new. I have every intention of keeping up with Andrew’s prompting, which is clearly the Holy Spirit working through my husband to get to me, and I can’t wait for how a build-up of days and days of Jesus in the morning will change our family’s world.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Mt. 11:28-29).
This article appeared in the September edition of The Catholic Telegraph Magazine. For your complimentary subscription, click here.