Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Homemaker's Blessings {Guest Post by Mandy from This M Word}

I don't know about you, but I'm currently getting back into the swing of things after our Thanksgiving travels and playing that mental tug of war: "Ahh, so many projects to make/gifts to buy/things to do for Christmas!"  "Calm.  Advent.  Quiet.  Peaceful."  "Must. do. all. the. things." "Quiet.  Slow down."  And so while I wrestle with my to-do list (and my inability to do as many things as I dream), I have a lovely guest post to share with you today!

Joe & Mandy were good friends of ours in New York, and just as we were packing up to move, they too were preparing for a move - theirs across town to a new (to them) fixer-upper house.  Being the renovation-lover that I am, I was disappointed to not be there and able to see the transformation first-hand.  I asked her if she wanted to do a guest post (thinking perhaps that would be a way for me to see pictures of their newly completed - and amazing! - kitchen re-do), and she agreed.  However, instead of just before-and-after photos, she sent me this lovely post about the blessings in everyday life as a homemaker.  I hope you enjoy it!  Please visit her at her blog This M Word  (and you can see the kitchen pictures there...did I mention it's an incredible transformation?)

And so without further ado, here's Mandy:

I've found myself reflecting quite a bit since the renovations have died down and the everyday litany of things that make up a life start to be the focus in my world once again. Renovating a house built in the 1890's is for sure a nice distraction at times from laundry, cooking, cleaning, and teaching, but I have to admit I started to really miss taking care of my family. It is not something I'd recommend doing all the time, renovating an old home, but it puts into perspective the many many blessings that have been imparted on this family.

Early on in my journey as a mother I struggled to keep my household going, and keeping it to the standards that society has set down. In my mind, as a new mother, it was very important to establish a clean and functioning house with dinners at a specific time, laundry done, folded and put away, in a word, perfect. I drove myself a little crazy trying to do things a certain way, and ensuring all the chores were done by the end of the day for an evening of relaxing. To be sure, Joe must have thought I lost my mind, watching me move furniture, fold clothes a certain way and a myriad of other tasks I had set for myself. In retrospect, I realize all the lessons that were being taught to me in those moments. These little blessings in the mundane that I had hardly the time for and now, after two children, a diagnosis for my son and daily prayers I can see what these blessings are in my life and for this family.

For roughly a year I worked hard to create the perfect home, or what society showed us to be perfect. I had fallen into this trap, and willingly went along but never felt satisfied or complete. Something was missing and I couldn't put a finger on it so I started to pray. I prayed to God to speak to my heart, and I asked Mary to intercede on my behalf for wisdom and understanding. Another year passed and not much changed in my mind, and understanding did not come easily. It wasn't until we moved, and lived outside of our house in utter chaos, that finally in my prayers, understanding and awareness took place. Yep, you read that right, in the midst of chaos, kids going to bed as late as 11 pm or refusing to sleep at all, scattered or lost clothing, switching off nights to work on the house, meals from mcdonalds every day (sadly every day)....understanding and awareness took place.
It's hard to find blessings in the mundane. After all, the mundane is by definition dull, but this is where I found my biggest lessons from God and through those lessons, blessings. These mundane tasks range from doing laundry for the 5th time in a day, to scrubbing poop off of the wood floors, and taking the kids out on my husband's day off just so he can have some peace. These lessons have taught me service with a loving heart, and sacrifice. As I began the monumental task of righting our family's ship and setting a routine. Cleaning a cluttered and not fully completed home, cooking out of a bathroom with two little kids for over a month, while school started and renovations continued was no small feat. I prayed a lot to God in those moments and it eventually occurred to me that those moments were chances to choose right, a lovingly placed lesson by God to teach me and grow me into the human being I was meant to be. Chances to teach me to do these tasks gladly, because they helped my family, they taught my children love and responsibility and no where was there this expectation to be perfect. These were my blessings.
A Blessing: nevertheless, like a sacrament, a sacramental helps the faithful to sanctify each moment of life and to live in the paschal mystery of our Lord. 
As I began to realize these little moments for what they were, I started to wonder what Blessings were, by definition. I had never had such a rich and intellectually deep resource to search in before I became Catholic. So naturally I decided to see what the Church said on such matters. A fantastic explanation in full can be found here, but what truly stuck with me was this phrase "Nevertheless, like a sacrament, a sacramental helps the faithful to sanctify each moment of life and to live in the paschal mystery of our Lord." It called to me and said "Yes! See, even the mundane tasks can be filled with little blessings, little lessons and ways to live for God!"
Blessings come under the category of sacramentals. A sacramental is a special prayer, action or object which, through the prayers of the Church, prepares a person to receive grace and to better cooperate with it.
I have no doubt that these lessons I have become aware of are little blessings in my everyday tasks that have helped me to sanctify even the most mundane of moments, and in turn glorify God. I can't say I am perfect in this but I'm not supposed to be. Unlike society's imposing charade of perfection which weighed me down and proved me a failure, God's true perfection has elevated everyday tasks as a chance for sanctifying, loving and being simply human.

I can't say I would prefer it any different. Would you?


Thanks, Mandy!

If you're a new visitor to my blog from Mandy's, welcome!  I write about the challenges and joys of making a home, the frustrations (and blessings!) of life as a young mother, and our efforts to reclaim good, old-fashioned traditions.  (Oh, and you can see our own kitchen renovation here!)

1 comment:

  1. thank you for this post! it was like holding up a mirror! i eel like if the house is not clean, kids are not dressed, dinner is not done at exactly 6:30 then i have failed. I am trying not to be so concerned about my to do list and instead be more concerned with being a mother and loving my children and building memories with them