When I got married I had no idea what I was doing. In fact, I still don’t. Not because I wasn’t an intelligent person who understood the depth of commitment I was undertaking or because I didn’t know the laws of the church concerning marriage when we were married. I did then and I do now. And since my husband and I have been married for 18 years now and been blessed with eight living children, you’d think that I understood marriage inside and out as well as parenting…homeschooling…friendship and a host of other relationships, but the thing that comes clearer as each year passes is that I have only just begun to see the perfection, the depth, the height, the breath of what God calls us to in marriage, in motherhood, in family life, in friendship.
I have learned that marriage is impossible without the life of God in our souls. So it is with good parenting and with everything else. It is called “grace” but many people think this is should be served up as a nice warm comfy feeling in our hearts – when in fact I think it is most often served up cold in the most extraordinary ways – when you are least expecting it. When my husband was diagnosed with Leukemia, it was a total act of grace that allowed my son to turn to Mary, the Mother of God, for help. He knew that anyone who loved Jesus would take care of his father. It was a series of graces which kept me calm and at peace when John was in the hospital, and it has been grace that has allowed John to accept God’s will in all things – even in this terrible sickness. John has been able to consistently look at the bright side and keep an attitude of gratitude through out months and years of suffering. If that isn’t grace – I don’t know what is.
And parenting is much the same. I would never have survived any pregnancy without the conviction born of something beyond my present sight that not only I would survive the pain of morning sickness but I would actually be able to raise good kids who would love and support each other. Grace has been a moment by moment experience which supports those big decisions with little acts of faithful commitment – doing the daily work of living right; feeding people, cleaning up, teaching, paying bills, talking out misunderstandings, forgiving and forgetting the stupid and bad stuff…fulfilling our lofty vocation as a son or daughter of God.
Holy audacity tells me that sometimes God tells us to forge ahead with impossible tasks because He has all the strength needed to make the impossible possible. Sometimes God closes doors so that that He can teach us to move mountains out of the way. That’s grace.