When I first learned I was going to be a mother, I faced a world of change. Learning of my unplanned pregnancy meant processing a slew of hopes and dreams for my life that would never reach fruition. The day my daughter was born, none of that mattered. When I looked into her eyes I understood God’s perfect love for the very first time. Letting go of the plans I had made for myself was part of the process so God could show me his plan handmade for me and my daughter.
No matter who we are, each of us has something we need to let go of. It could be expectations, grief, anger — anything that stands in the way of our relationship with God. When we let go, we make room for God to enter our hearts
Monday: The Sticky Note Habit
Before my daughter was born, my purpose had been measured by my productivity. As a new mother, I found myself feeling anxious about the unpredictability of motherhood. I became ultra-negative as I searched for a way this new life could fit into my old schedule. I needed to radically shift my thinking and let God remind me that I am enough, just as I am. Each night while I was brushing my teeth, I wrote down something I was grateful for and something I did well that day — something that was good and enough, even if it was only a load of laundry — and stuck the notes on my bathroom mirror. This habit was coupled with prayer, asking God to heal my anxious heart and wrap me in his truth that I was more than enough, a wonderful new mother. After one month, I saw a radical change in my thinking. Order some sticky notes, my friends!
Prayer: Lord, help me to let go of the lie that, as a parent, I am not enough. I am exhausted and human and all the things you made me to be. Thank you for loving me in all of my imperfection. Remind me that loving my child and guiding her to heaven is all you ask of me.
Tuesday: A Holy Dance Party
After Renley was born, I started a new job, moved into a new apartment and found myself struggling to wear both hats: mom and professional. I became overly serious and self-aware. I realized I needed to make space to be silly and childlike. I needed to remember that God wants motherhood to be joyful. So, I created a new habit: Come home, change into comfy sweats and turn up happy music — loud. And I danced with my daughter. When you’re anxious, sad or struggling to be present, dance with your children, because your joy is their joy.
Prayer: Lord, help me to let go of my fears and be more like a child in faith. Give me the grace to let my hair down, dance and stand in the joy you have given me, intentionally absorbing it. Help me to embrace the mess and, instead, relish the world you have given me — one of adventure, beauty, wonder and awe.
Wednesday: Make It an Early Wakeup Call for Prayer
Being a loving and present mother starts with filling my own cup first (think of the airplane mask metaphor). A life-altering practice for me has been waking up 30 minutes before my daughter in order to sit in silence and pray. I begin with a meditation from Divine Intimacy. I close my eyes and ask God to enter into that space, to heal my heart and be present with me in whatever hurt I’m facing and to grant me the patience to handle the day’s tasks ahead. I challenge you to set your alarm, slip out of your comfy bed (no matter how hard it is!), make yourself a cup of joe and enjoy the silence. You deserve this time!
Prayer: Lord, help me to let go of my selfishness and lend me the strength to come to you with every ache and desire. Allow me to feel your presence and use this space to enter into my heart. Let your will be done in my life.
Thursday: List Your Prayer People
Renley and I have shaped a daily prayer routine around the people we pray for: friends and family members, some who have passed, and even those whose stories I’ve surfaced through the news and social media. This list has created a rhythm, as I say the names aloud in unchanging order and Renley repeats them. Our nightly prayers have become a sacred bonding time. Think of the people in your life who need your prayers. Pull together a list and repeat it daily with your family.
Prayer: Lord, help me to let go of the anxieties of our human world. Though we are bombarded with information at our fingertips and violence whirls around us, bring me peace in knowing we are in the palm of your hand.
Friday: Bring God into the Conversation
Shortly after I brought Renley home from the hospital, I began piecing together a lullaby for her. Each night, as I rocked her to sleep, I added lines about my journey to this moment and what her existence meant to my life. I wrote about how I saw God’s love through her eyes. My challenge is not for you to write your children a lullaby but to spend one night (or many nights) telling your children about your faith. Tell your child about how they taught you love and about the emotions you felt when you first looked into their eyes. Though my 2-year-old squirms during my heartfelt stories, I know these conversations create a foundation for more someday. Every once in a while, she brings up Jesus out of nowhere, and I smile, knowing he lives in her little, restless heart.
Prayer: Lord, help me to let go of the heavy responsibility that my daughter’s life is under my protection and control. Please, take her and protect her always, lift the guilt from my heart and let me lead her lovingly into your arms.
Saturday: Practice Presence
This world is full of distraction: news notifications, never-ending emails and the temptation to tap the Instagram icon during every idle moment of our days. God asks us to strive to be present in prayer, and this practice can begin at home with our loved ones. Take one day a week to urge a zero-screen-time day (or weekend) for your littles and teach them the importance of family bonding time. Get your weekend cleaning done before the weekend so you can rest and enjoy at least one lazy day. And instead of talking about bills and this coming week’s logistics, spend some alone time with your spouse talking about your hopes and dreams.
Prayer: Lord, help me to let go of the distraction and worry in my mind. Help me to show up for my family. Bond us together this day and every day with you as our rock.
Sunday: Fill up a Meditative Bubble Bath
Whether you take it on a running trail, in an adoration chapel, in a bathtub or in a reading nook in your own home, establish a time with your child(ren) as “mom time.” Be intentional about what you need. Maybe you spend 15 minutes in meditation, or maybe you take that time to update your weekly planner. Whatever you do, set aside specific time to regroup and refill your cup. Remember, our peace is our family’s peace, and our joy, their joy.
Prayer: Lord, help to renew my spirit and fill me with your courage each day this week. Lend me the energy and discipline to wake early each morning with you. Remind me, as St. Teresa of Avila so beautifully put it, “All things are passing. God is unchanging.”