One of the Mary Moment Monday posts

A while back, Barb wrote a post about the gift of availability, which put words to many things that have been on my heart in the past few months. I did what I do when something resonates with me: I sent it to a certain friend.

Then, the other day, when I read Elizabeth Duffy’s brilliant piece “Released By Motherhood” at Faith & Family Live, I shared that link too.

The friend I sent it to replied, and her reply merits sharing with you.

Been feeling (or struggling with) similar feelings. Relieved that other(s) feel it too!

Would like to have my job well defined. Have either baby days behind me and full devotion to shaping older children (involvement at school, etc.) or know I have baby days ahead and keep myself in that mode.

And I’m 40 with no clear career path if I’m suddenly needed to earn money. My family is my primary job, yes, but I feel strongly that it should not be my only [job]. However, I don’t write or anything that I could do during my available time.

So struggling with this mini midlife crisis, I’ve decided to be a prayer warrior with service availabilty (I imagine myself as a part time nun). This is my gift to the world. Give up fear of the unknown, embrace God’s will and pray for everyone and anyone when ever I can. Offer services when I’m available.

This decision has certainly lifted my self imposed weight on my shoulders to produce something in my days and ease my guilt when I’m rundown as “just” a mom. And I’ll just have to trust God to help with the money part if needed.

This friend and I have been particularly struck by my sister-in-law’s new status as a single mom. A year ago, her husband died unexpectedly. Her income is…gone. She wasn’t the primary wage earner; in fact, her income (at her part-time job) offset the cost of their children’s Catholic education.

My brother-in-law didn’t have a will. He was only 38, after all. This came as a complete shock, a total surprise, and, really, it has me (and this good friend, too) totally tempted to manage by exception.

Back when I was involved in office life, and especially when I was the one in charge, I was dead set against managing by exception. “Rules and policies should not be made to deal with what-ifs and could-bes,” I’d tell myself and anyone who suggested a new rule or policy.

My husband suddenly dying is the exception, not the rule. It is unlikely, and if I live my life in fear of it happening, then I’m thumbing my nose at God’s goodness. I can’t help but think of yesterday’s Gospel reading, from Matthew 6:24-34. This, especially:

“Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.
Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”

This Gospel is a little love note from God, a reminder that He loves me far more than I can imagine and that He will take care of me, no matter what happens.

It’s also a reminder that I have to get past myself: past my own fears, past my conviction that what I think is what’s most important. There’s a lot of humility required in embracing life and trusting God.

When I ask myself, How would Mary deal with this difficulty?, the word Yes comes to mind. Mary is such a role model for me: she helps me to shoot for the more perfect path to holiness, as opposed to the way of least resistance that I have a tendency to choose on my own.

Sometimes, I have to say Yes to things that are difficult and hard.

Sometimes, I don’t have a choice.

But I have a choice far more than I don’t. I can choose, as my friend did, to offer my prayer time to others. I can say Yes and minister to others with little acts of kindness and prayer, and, most importantly, give my attention to those people in my house who are my primary vocation.

On a related note, written in the past:

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