After my most recent post, one of my long-time readers commented that she sensed things were pretty "full-on" for me right now. She went on to say, "Whatever struggles you are feeling I'm always so moved that you are able to frame things through beauty's lens." This comment was so moving to me. Over the nearly seven years I've been writing here, that's been my goal. I have had a lot of struggles over these seven years, along with a lot of ordinary days, and plenty of joys, too. But my goal has always been to infuse things here, and in my real life, with some beauty and grace. (Sometimes easier said than done.)
In the last six months, things have been more stressful than they ever have been. First with my husband's (now ongoing) unemployment, and the events of baby John's birth. For the most part, I stay pretty upbeat. Only a very few people -- my sister, my husband, and actually my biblical school teacher (and now, you all, ha!) -- really get to know the full extent of my fear and worry and stress. (Note: if you know me in real life, I'm still not likely to open up a lot about this. Since you know me, you know I keep things pretty close.)
At my class this week, my teacher this year handed back our year-end exams from last year. I'm in my fourth and final year of my program, and my class had the pleasure of having the same teacher for second and third year. Over those two years, I became pretty comfortable with being honest in the reflections that were part of our weekly homework. Over that time, I was able to express some things in writing to my teacher that I wouldn't ordinarily express. When I looked at the comments my teacher had written on the back of my exam, this is what I saw:
So fitting, right? I've heard it said that what we are named is our vocation (this is one reason I name my children very carefully), and I guess I shouldn't be surprised that mine would be! Sometimes I can be too caught up in being sensible and reasonable, and can forget that everything -- hardships, ease, life itself -- is by the grace of God. So, all that to say, yes, I've been struggling, and yes, I have, and will continue to, try to infuse this time with beauty and grace as much or more than any other.
Fast forward to last week when I was asked to participate in the blog tour for Small Steps for Catholic Moms. Although this book was co-written by my friend Elizabeth, it's new to me. (It's just been re-released.) It's a wonderful book of simple devotions, organized by the days of the year. It's just what I needed.
The month of May has reflections on the theme of grace, and I was asked to use one of these as part of my post today (again, so fitting).
Sometimes I'm all too aware of my faults and do nothing about them. And often, something very small and very concrete like this is just what I need when things have been tough.
I've been so happy to have the chance to be a part of this blog tour and to discover a book that will be a source of blessing and grace for me. I'm also very happy to say that I have the opportunity to introduce this book to one of you, as well -- I have an extra copy from the publisher for one of you! Please leave a comment for an opportunity to win!
(If you'd like an opportunity to win a complete set of CatholicMom.com books, be sure to check out the "Five Minutes Alone" contest.)